The Round Two Ding Report: Who Was Rejected & Why

Ms. Indian Engineer

  • 740 (Q48/V42) GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from a university in Singapore
  • Work experience includes four years in engineering and manufacturing for a Fortune 500 U.S. semiconductor company; one of four years spent working in new product development at U.S. headquarters, with one promotion but not title change
  • Recommendations from a manager in Singapore and a manager in the U.S. (“Expect very good things, although they’d never written B-school recs before)
  • Extracurricular involvement as the co-founder of a project within a local energy non-profit to raise awareness about renewable energy-related careers; volunteer for well-known global nonprofit for three years
  • Short-term goal: To transition to product management in tech
  • Long-term goal: To lead innovation or new product development in Cleantech
  • 26-year-old Indian female


Dinged with not interview by HBS, GSB, MIT & UC-Berkeley
Waitlisted after interview by Yale SOM
Admitted to Cornell, with some scholarship support

Sandy’s Analysis: So this is Indian IT/engineering with the wrinkle that you are female. If this was male Indian IT/engineering, the outcomes would be explained by the fact that HBS, Stanford, MIT and Berkeley just filled their Desi IT/engineering bucket with dudes from better known companies (brand names) and maybe better grades at elite schools, viz IIT.

You are a test case for how much difference being female makes in this bucket, and the answer seems to be, against my guess, not much. I think that working for a B-to-B (business to business) company vs. a B-to-C (business to consumer) semiconductor company was the big factor here (in addition to mad crowding of the bucket you’re in), although so-so grades might have made the decision a bit easier.

I think you have already had a wonderful career, with lots of accomplishments and extras, but alas, it supports the theory that especially in tech, and especially in chips, the BRAND NAME of company really matters.

The Yale WL says it all. HBS, Stanford, MIT and Berkeley combined take X number of people in semiconductors, and that is NOT a super high number, sorta like 100 to 130 total, out of all the semiconductor/techy engineers applicants in the big, big world. Well, depending on how you define techy engineers, but you get the point.

Your number was that +1. I think one lesson here is that the female software engineering halo is not that powerful. I think female engineers in old economy manufacturing still get a real plus.

Hope you make it at Yale, but your dreams can come true at Cornell. Going there is a license to hustle, but that is true at many schools. And given your rare-ish and real skills, you should be able to stand out and make your own breaks.

  • Swolecdn

    Oops. Undergrad at top Canadian Uni.

  • Swolecdn

    Canadian Male (but Korean descent), age 29 (30 for next round of apps)

    Undergrad: Biological Sciences, GPA 3.67
    – ECs: President and VP of two clubs (music & medical field)

    Graduate: MS in Medical Sci, GPA 3.7
    – ECs: Co-Chair of student association
    – Others: 3 scientific publications, couple scholarships (~15K total)

    GMAT: 710 Q50, V37

    Work experience:

    – 3 years at the largest non-profit, healthcare organization in Canada. Promoted twice in the three years, starting from: Data Analyst -> Research Assistant -> Health Technology Assessment Analyst

    Extracurriculars include:

    – overseas volunteering in Laos, volunteering in first nation reserves, church activity stuffs, hospital volunteering

    Short-Term Goal: Consulting
    LT Goal: Lead a life sci company ex. Genentech, J&J, etc.

    Interview invites to: Tuck & Yale
    Also interviewed: Kellogg
    Dinged @: Duke, Columbia.

    Would really appreciate some thoughts! Thinking of retaking GMAT and applying earlier. Also try to get promoted to another company outside of my organization.

  • Booth ding

    Dinged from booth with interview R2, but accepted to Kellogg. 29 y/o US white female, non trad background, 710/3.65 from lib arts school. Comms background in tech/sustainability, lots of mgmt experience. Currently a director at a PR agency in a big city. Good, but not great, volunteer experience. Wondering if it came down to interview with a sort of awkward second year and lowish quant GMAT for booth. I am WL at another M7.

  • hbsguru

    ahem! I said HBS ADCOM is politically left. Not HBS alums (altho that is prob. true as well, w. several exceptions). Adcoms are not Titans of Industry etc, they are admissions officers and academic administrators, a trad. left-leaning group in almost all settings, and cert. at Harvard in general. Starting at the top w. Pres. Drew Faust.

  • Sami

    Why do you think the HBS alumni are so bad in politics and somehow populists? It looks counter intuitive as the HBS is the birthplace for MBA, and modern business management and globalization! See these names: Bush, Romney, and Bannon! It is quite strange, unlike the law school or kennedy school grads..

  • hbsguru

    haha, I’m as prankish as the next guy, but just to make this clear, coming fr. ME, and especially under-repped countries like UAE, is a PLUS.
    Also, as often noted, HBS ADCOM is politically left-ish to the point of near-PC, cert. as to affirm action, globalism, energy, etc. and would in most cases only hold “offensive” political views against an applicant, e..g. hate speech or close to it. And that does not happen very often, given that most applicants, whatever their real views, are usually on their best behavior during the app process.

  • hbsguru

    Were you interviewed? Given low-ish stats (however explained), outcome could really turn on what they thought of size and impact of your family business and how well you convinced them that you are serious about taking it over, expanding etc.
    There is a LOT to like here, including coming fr. UAE (as explained below) and what seems like possibly tight connection between solar energy job and goals for family biz. That could be enuf, along w. grad GPA and 720 GMAT to have them wink at undergrad low grades, etc.
    Execution of this story: “Long term goal: start an energy development company with the focus on clean tech & further develop the family business” could have been important, if they believed you, and there was credible evidence of you doing so, that is a real positive narrative.

  • Ahmed

    Thanks for your response.

    Saying I was from the Middle East was possibly vague, I’m actually from the United Arab Emirates. Not many people from here go to HBS (50% of who went there graduated from the same school I went to)

    I plan to apply next year to different schools, would love to hear an insight.

  • Heidelberg

    “Middle Eastern” explains it all. HBS is the alma mater of Steve Bannon, the godfather of Drump. No “aliens” mid eastern allowed any more.

  • Ahmed

    Middle Eastern male, age 24

    Undergrad: Mechanical Engineering in a American university in the UAE, GPA 2.65

    Graduate: MS in Engineering System Management in the same university, GPA 3.5

    GMAT: 720

    Work experience:

    – 6 years serving as a director in a family real estate development company. increased the growth and the assets of the company. responsible for setting the strategy for investments. (low undergrad GPA explained in the essay due to working and studying post real estate crisis)

    post graduation:

    – 2 years at government utility company as a project engineer working on the largest solar power plant in the world. Did everything from preparing and evaluating the tenders, choosing the consultants and contractors and planning of the project.

    Extracurriculars include:

    – advisory board for youth minister

    – worked in an international event for 6 weeks as a volunteer

    – Active executive member of the student clubs

    – started a cycling amateur team and got sponsorships

    Long term goal: start an energy development company with the focus on clean tech & further develop the family business

    dinged r2: HBS

  • hbsguru

    Ahem any HBS Round 2 dings that want a quickie guess, just post and I’ll try my best. Note whether you were interviewed or not. If interviewed, say how you thought it went.

  • hbsguru

    As to company, I kinda knew that but my main point is still worth noting: youdings fr. USNEWS 1-6 etc. were in part caused by working for a firm without a history of sending kids to those schools. If that is wrong, please let me know. Your outcomes could also be caused by your inability, as in posts above, to explain exactly what company does do, altho I got some rough idea, e.g. it is NOT trad. pharma marketing, which actually could be OK as an analytical gig at big Pharma company, but I agree w. your note, sales rep is not a feeder job.
    As to where to apply, I already suggested USNEWS 8-20. I don’t have the micro skills (esp. in that part of USNEWS) to suggest which of those might be a bit better or worse, but check ’em out, go visit, and altho I don’t always say this, if you are serious, hire a consultant to make sure your story and work history is REAL clear, that is not always the case w. your posts.

    To wit, WHAT does this mean:
    “6 years of work experience into startup of pharmaceutical market
    research ( the only company in India of this kind) to do this work. 2
    promotions and have been handling team of 5-6 people since joining of
    this company and currently looking after pilot project of a
    pharmaceutical and directly engaging with the MD of supply chain and
    logistics, resulting in data capture up to 200%.”

  • Aditya Srivastava

    thanks hbsguru…but one things i would like to ask the job i am in currently is not pharma marketing(likes a sales rep.) but as a data analyst and clients are mostly of pharma. so does this mean this is not a favoured area for schools. If you could suggest me some for schools where I can try to put together an application

  • hbsguru

    low grades at non-feeder school, one job for a long time (six years) at non-feeder company in pharma marketing (not a favored area to B schools, altho that could depend) a 750 GMAT (good!) and recos fr. clients instead of direct supervisor. Lots of that is off the grid as a profile.
    Not sure how theatre and shot-put went down w. schools, not super important, but just more unusual stuff that makes them wonder what really gives here, when combined with no-name schooling and staying at one firm for 6 years.
    None of those things are app stoppers (well, 3.0 at no-name school is a big deal) but you put all of them in one app, you got something that could be hard to swallow, esp. if execution was affected or odd as well.
    I dont thnk you are headed for USNEWS 1-8 or so as a reapp. The Question then becomes is it worth it to try to get your ducks super in a row and try for USNEWS kinda 8-20 vs. Kelly + $$$.
    Answer could be no. Not sure there is super big diff that warrants the risk and hassle.

  • hbsguru

    let’s limit profiles under this article to DING REPORTS. As stated, ahem, several times below. Apply to HBS + Stan and when you get dinged, tell us all about it,
    Happy to explain it all then.

  • Elle

    Thank you so much HBS guru 🙂

  • OG

    Agreed… if Yale declines and Cornell waitlists you, I don’t think Wharton makes sense.

  • Rahul Sharma

    Hey Sandy & John!

    Applying to Round 3 (HBS 2+2, Stanford Deferred). What do you think the chances are (or what could be limiting)?

    23-yr old Indian male
    Undergrad: IIT Computer Science. GPA 8.1/10 but explained compellingly.
    Masters (current): Top 3 US CS (think Stanford, MIT, Berkeley) . GPA full.
    Internship & Pre-MBA Job: Top 3 CS (think Google/ Facebook/Apple)
    Recommendations from masters and internships advisors
    GRE: 170Q / 166V
    ECs: Volunteer in US-India edu initiative, led 50-member univ robotics club, Nat Geo photographer
    Awards – Full scholarships for 10 years, quant competitions
    Essay on childhood tragedy motivating professional decisions
    Post-MBA Goals – Move to PM / general mgmt, return to India to start company

  • hbsguru

    dude, write back when you get dinged from those places and tell us which.
    this thread is for DINGS.

  • Aditya Srivastava

    Hi sandy and john,

    Lovely insights and great article. It would of great help if you could do a review of my profile.

    1) GMAT 750 (Q51 V40)

    2) CGPA 3.0 Undergrad from JIIT (Top 50 india)

    3) Indian Male not into IT.

    4) 6 years of work experience into startup of pharmaceutical market research ( the only company in india of this kind) to do this work. 2 promotions and have been handling team of 5-6 people since joining of this company and currently looking after pilot project of a pharmaceutical and directly engaging with the MD of supply chain and logistics, resulting in data capture upto 200%.

    5) extracurricular – theatre artist (perform plays) was coordinator at undergrad for arts society, national level shot-put player.

    6) recommendations from clients ( alumi of IIM and SP jain)

    7) short term goal : to transition into healthcare consulting

    8) long term : to be in leadership position in healthcare driving functions across the globe

    target school : hbs, mit, booth, kellog, kelly, ohio, purdue

  • hbsguru

    let’s limit profiles to DING REPORTS. Apply to Stan and MIT and report back w. results.
    You may get lucky, get admitted to both, and kiss this site good-bye.

  • hbsguru

    big oil rotational leadership programs are an excellent first job, esp. for guys w. STEM background, non-Ivy, or in your case, EURO edu background. Fact that it was your 2nd job, prob. not a big deal, but first job needed to be explained.
    Along w. going to grad school while working, or whatever actually happened.
    Just a lot to explain, and as noted, that may have impacted outcome. Some adcoms, like HBS, if they like you based on some core things, will meet you half way, and interview you, and get things straight there. Other schools just want to get thru the pile, and any real confusion in your app (in reality or as you present yourself, or both) is just a happy moment, they can ding you with good conscience and move on. That, or infinite variants of that, is what prob. happened to you.
    It was not Big Oil per se, it was maybe issue that Big Oil was 2nd job, and surrounding activities were hard for them to digest, and there was no super motive to work real hard to do so when the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is another white guy in Oil. Even if fr. Sweden.
    A mildly off-the-grid set of facts like yours submitted by URM or up-from- adversity woman fr. Slovenia etc, well, in that case, you may have had better and more patient readings.

  • Big Oil Business IT

    Hi Sandy, thanks for a swift response. Such a great service you do for us!

    To clarify, my current job is Delivery Lead (a combination of project management and innovation implementation) at the Big Oil company I work for.

    As for the ”previous MBA”, I have a one-year master of international business degree with focus on Business intelligence and Information management, a fairly common thing to have for European applicants (according to my adm. consultant about 60-70% of european applicants with business undergraduate degrees also have a business master’s degree). So NOT an MBA.

    I feel that my HBS interview went smoothly and they seemed positive, not sure if I raised any red flags through my performance.

    The fact that HBS granted me an interview made me feel I managed to at least on some levels deliver a proper execution when it comes to my applications. But then again I was outright DOA on Columbia and Cornell, so there must have been something that made them unsure about me.


    Do you have any idea how the schools see Big Oil company’s rotational leadership programs? There’s so few people applying from my firm throughout the years that I’ve failed to establish a clear picture of success rate.

  • John

    Seems to be the case with CBS (most of the time) and with Booth?

  • hbsguru

    note to you and everyone else posting

    As to you, how was interview at HBS? How much did they make you explain steps on your resume? What else did they ask? How do you think you did??
    This is confusing and mixed bag, including what appears to be prior MBA, so lots of explaining needed and that could result in choppy outcomes, turn this profile one way, it’s real interesting, turn it 20 degrees in another direction, it’s confusing –diff schools turned it different ways. Not sure if better execution could have cured that a bit.
    Your dreams can come true at Tuck and you already got the Nov-March wardrobe needed from growing up in Sweden.
    As between Tuck and Duke, hmmmmm, go visit each, and sniff around about how hard to grad from each w. job at MBB.

  • hbsguru

    This is not an MIT profile, stats are too low, and they are not going to cut some non-American boutique consultant a break [just giving it to you straight]–even tho story is OK and extras are interesting.
    Schools that may be interested in this package, including 720 GMAT, are Kellogg, NYU, Tuck, UVA, Duke.
    I’d wait til next year vs. R3, you got too much DING KARMA in the air this year. Take a deep breath and start over.

    esp since you are youngish.

  • Nics

    sorry V41

  • Elle

    Hi Sandy and John,

    Thank you for doing this! I would very much appreciate it if you can do a review for me 🙂

    Here are my profile:
    R1: dinged from H/S/W/MIT/Chicago/Yale, waitlisted Cornell
    R2: dinged from Columbia, waiting for Oxford
    R3: thinking whether should apply

    1. GMAT 690 (R1); GMAT 720 (R2, V40, Q48, 6th attempt)
    2. GPA 3.25
    3. Undergrade: BBA Finance from Top university in Thailand (Thai Ivy)
    4. Female Asian 24 years old
    5. 2 years at boutique energy consulting firm, focus on strategies/finance to transition firms to clean tech, renewable energy. 7 months prior at Deloitte operations consulting. Moved because wanted more roles & responsibilities in strategy consulting. Promoted twice. Leadership role, team of 3-4.
    6. Internship/summer position at Deustche Bank and top Thai brokerage house
    7. Extracurriculars: VP of student association in college, business case team varsity (2 international case comps in Singapore, won 1 national). Led team to semifinalist in Shell competition for energy innovation and national 2nd runner-up in L’Oreal Brandstorm. Delegate in sustainable development goals MUN at Serbia. Assisting former prime minister in alternative energy research (6M+)
    8. Recoms from supervisor and the former prime minister
    8. Short-term goal: to work at MBB in energy sector to advise energy comps to adopt clean tech/alternative energy, new technology to reduce consumption/improve efficiency.
    9. Long-term goal: to be in leadership roles at energy companies to finance/support development of alternative energy/new infrastructure in Thailand to ensure access to clean, affordable, sustainable energy

    What are my chances as a reapplicant at MIT? Can I try to do something to reach Wharton? Kellogg? Should I apply R3 to Tuck/LBS or wait another year? Thank you so much for your help :))

  • Kim

    Also, just wanted to add that I was accepted into Duke ($$$) and Tuck; awaiting Kellogg decision. Not sure why W did not pan out in particular.

  • Kim

    Thanks Sandy! A good track record of sending people to W, but probably not as much with H, with people joining almost every year. A lot of partners at my local office are from W as well.
    7.5 is in the top 20%.
    My engineering college has a few alums at W but probably not too many at H.

  • Big Oil Business IT

    Hi Sandy, absolutely love these reports you do! Could you help me figure out what went wrong?

    Northern European white male, age 27
    Undergrad: A good university in Sweden, GPA in top 30% of class
    Graduate: top 25 business school in europe, just under average GPA of graduating class (ext. circumstances, see below*)
    GMAT: 750
    Extra coursework: Berkeley Ext. accounting course: grade A

    Work experience:
    – 1,5 years at a CPG-startup that I joined right from the start as a COO. Did everything from negotiating with subcontractors to improving operational efficiency of the factory. The startup witnessed a revenue increase of over 300% (2€M+) partially as a result of my work. Gave examples on an essee.
    – 3 years post graduate school at Big Oil company (think Shell, Chevron, Total etc.) in their rotational leadership development program in business IT (so digitalization, devops etc.). 3 promotions so far, currently work as a Delivery Lead for Major capital portfolio projects at the company’s upstream practice, leading a team of 6 and managing multiple projects. My developmental focus at the company’s leadership program has been Innovation management and all my roles have had something to do with it (ie. it is my domain).
    – Outstanding recommendations and job performance on top 1/3 on each assessment.

    Extracurriculars include:
    – President of graduate university consulting club
    – Member of Lions Club for 4 years, have organised fundraisers etc.
    – Active member of company’s young graduate network

    Short term goal: Transition into MBB energy practice
    Long term goal: Innovation management SPM related role at Cleantech/Greentech

    * My graduate GPA is lowish due to me working full-time for the Big Oil company during my studies to prove myself and earn the spot for their rotational leadership program. Also simultaneously went through a painful divorce, all this while living in a foreign country. Did my best to own my failure and not to make it sound too sobby.

    Results (some of these are R1):

    Ding /w interview Harvard
    Ding without interview at Columbia, Cornell
    Accepted to Tuck, Duke

  • MBA17

    It must be the low GPA isn’t it? 75/100… What can I do to better improve my candidacy given that there is nothing I can do about the GPA? Thank you!

  • Josh Moon

    Hi Sandy, thank you for a great insight. Would love to receive some feedback on my profile, too, if I may.

    Australian Chinese Male, age 30
    Undergrad: Bachelor of Pharmacy
    Post-grad: Master of Business (innovation & entrepreneurship)
    Both done at the University of Queensland
    GPA: 2.7 (undergrad), 3.7 (post-grad)
    GMAT: 750
    Work experience: 1) intern at a marketing research company – producing marketing reports based on primary and secondary data – 3 months
    2) intern at a technology transfer company, doing market analysis and preparation of investment proposals – 10 months
    3) business development manager at a start-up company to do with materials engineering. Joined as a co-founder and led to over $20M revenue company. Company now has presence in Australiasia and NA and have won numerous awards as a fast-growing start-up (3 years/current)

    I’m worried because of the low GPA especially in undergrad and having only 1 full-time job experience (although it’s a start-up which forced me to reject offers from boutique management consulting firms).
    I would like to take the skills, as well as credentials, from MBA back to the current company.

    My dream MBA provider would be Stanford or MIT, and I do realise the competition. Would I stand a chance?

  • MBA17

    I’ve been thinking it’s a GPA issue (75/100 is pretty low). Do you have recommendations on what schools I should apply to if I decide to try again for 2018? Thank you!

  • hbsguru

    ~5 years of experience on joining, with a well known healthcare consulting firm;–
    what is track record of that firm sending applicants to H and W.
    7.5/10 is what percent class rank?
    What is record of your engineering college sending alums to H and W?

  • hbsguru

    dunno. this seems like a together profile [college, job 1, job 2 all fit] and a 740.
    Jobs seem solid altho maybe not super elite, they fit goals.
    Female in “tech” another small plus.
    Could have been the intangibles, essay, recs, touch and feel of the app, did not show schools the right type of intensity of love, etc.
    Mildly crowded cohort and both schools are either mid-size (UCLA) or small (Berk), so that could be an overhang. Still, female, techie, 740 . . .ok-ish jobs.
    No interview was unexpected.

  • MBA17

    Apologies for not being clear the first time around. Here is more info on my profile:

    I studied at a top engineering school in Canada (UofT, U of Waterloo)
    Age: 27
    I moved to NYC after graduation and worked at a boutique consulting firm for 2 years. 1 year and half ago I moved to Silicon Valley and joined a Big Four Advisory firm doing Operations consulting for Technology companies in Silicon Valley.

    I had a promotion during my first consulting job, and got promoted again when I joined Big Four.

    My career goal is to do business strategy for startups/tech companies in Silicon Valley, hence applied to Haas and UCLA.

  • Cora Thompson

    Hi Sandy, Could you please evaluate my profile? Really appreciated !
    VERY atypical profile, an HR headache, GOOD or BAD?
    Codename: Mr. FORTUNE 500 Career Changer

    Work experience:
    1 year Internship in project management at Big Oil (Exxon / Shell / Chevron)
    1 year Technology consulting at top IT Consulting firms (Deloitte / Accenture / IBM)
    0.5 year Business project management at top 5 Canadian bank (TD / RBC / CIBC)
    1.5 years Brand management at top CPG company (P&G / Unilever / Nestlé)

    720 GMAT
    GPA Engineering Undergraduate from Canadian University (first year
    below 2.00 GPA due to personal/family circumstances , last two years
    above 3.6+ GPA)
    Professional certificate in Strategic planning from top US University (Harvard / Stanford / Booth)

    A lot of pro bono consulting / strategic planning for major non-profits
    in Canada. Director of a corporate governance non-profit promoting
    board of directors training to young professionals.

    Goal: in three
    letters, MBB. I have been a generalist problem solver since the
    beginning of my career and I want to stay a generalist post-MBA for a
    few years with a strategy powerhouse like McKinsey. Coming from a
    non-target Canadian school with a relatively low GPA due to exceptional
    personal situations (I was carrying my family for two years by working
    full-time during my engineering studies), my goal was to get top brands
    on my CV no matter in which industry to help me land an offer at MBB.

    Target Schools: Harvard, Booth, Kellogg, Wharton, Stanford, Tuck

    28 years old visible minority male

  • hbsguru

    ??? did I say that??? Where? Both are solid places to work, depending on what you do, when you worked there, and how job fits your career plan. 😉

  • hbsguru

    those are excellent questions. And why did you apply to those two schools, and how clear did you make it WHY you wanted to attend.
    Is it the case you are now in NYC? Seems that way, but not 100 pct clear fr. post.

  • Kim

    Hi Sandy, could you help me with your insight?

    I applied in R2 as an Indian female applicant, with ~5 years of experience on joining, with a well known healthcare consulting firm; one promotion and a transfer from India to the US, similar to a promotion (increased responsibilities and new title).
    Undergrad: Top Indian Engineering college with 7.5/10
    GMAT: 770 (51,44)
    Strong volunteer experience at education/economic upliftment non-profit in India
    Career goal: Healthcare/healthcare consulting
    Visited the schools last year and spent a lot of time crafting essays, but dinged without interview from HBS and Wharton.

    I would love some feedback on my profile, if possible! Thanks!

  • HBS

    Can I ask couple of questions?
    Where did you study(country, university)?
    What’s your age?
    What was the reason for the change in your job (salary increase, etc)?

    It may be a hard sell since you moved from Cali to New York, and are now applying to schools back in Cali.

  • MBA17

    Hi Sandy. Thank you for the article. Can you please give some feedback on my profile?

    Canadian Female
    Undergrad: Mathematics
    GPA: 75/100
    GMAT: 740
    Work Experience: 1) Management Consulting in a boutique consulting firm in NYC doing financial software implementations for investment banks 2) Big 4 Advisory doing operations consulting for tech start-ups in Silicon Valley
    Career Goal: Business strategy at Tech Start-ups
    Extracurricular: Career mentor at a education service startup

    Dinged with no Interview from Haas or UCLA.

  • HBS

    The real question is how did you score only 750 with Q50/V51?

  • curious16

    Why is Pepsi a feeder firm for HBS but Heineken is not ?

  • hbsguru


  • hbsguru

    odd, on the face of things, this is a pretty solid profile for those schools.
    how were interviews?

    “Did not have international experience/ Volunteer experience”

    Not sure that was a major deal in this case, altho you never know.
    Your first job was at leading national firm (and HBS feeder you say).
    2nd job was at ‘one of India’s largest but not well know abroad.’
    I suppose that could be an issue, so in other apps and recs, make sure size of firm etc.
    is well established. INDIA’S LARGEST should be on your resume in some clear way and in other parts of app, along w. stats as to sales, employees, etc.
    If you don’t get far w. K and UVA, you prob have messed up the app.

  • hbsguru

    that is a real possibility — and explains some odd WL or even Dings.
    If you are in that situation you need to visit school and make it clear you are serious about coming, and follow up w. that in essay, etc. .
    No one likes to be a safety and some schools keenly protect their yields.

  • A

    Honestly wonder if your test scores and GPA are too high ie 3.8+ and 760+ that most schools don’t take you as seriously and think your first choice must be somewhere else.

  • Nics

    Dear Sandy
    Thanks for the Article.

    I would be great if you can give some feedback on my profile

    Indian Male
    CGPA : 8.4/10
    Undergrad :: IIT (Chemical Engineering)
    GMAT: 750 ( Q50/V51)
    I joined a leading consumer goods company in India. Feeder firm to Harvard.
    In my two years with the firm I underwent rotational leadership program followed by many cross functional projects aimed at Operations excellence and quality improvement across multiple manufacturing locations.
    Also won National level food safety awards for the firm. Left the firm in order to find solutions to the supply chain problems in food sector globally.

    After this I joined an automotive firm in the Corporate strategy department. Here I was formulating operational and digital strategy for the group. This firm is one of India’s largest but not well know abroad. I joined this firm to learn more about the automotive supply chain which is more safe and robust.
    Position and profile was a jump. Was involved in IoT and other technological initiatives at this firm.

    Short Term post MBA goal :: Join MBB
    Long Term Goal :: Move back to food sector and build sustainable supply chain.

    Didnot have internation experience/ Volunteer experience

    Dinged : TUCK and Sloan
    Awaited : kellogg and UVA.
    Not Applied to HSW.

    Your feedback on the Ding from Tuck and Sloan would be great.

  • Kim

    Wonderful article, thank you Sandy and John. It got me thinking, because I have been having the very same question for the last few weeks, after R2 interview decisions were released. I applied to business school for this first time this year with a lot of preparation and was surprised by some of the results. I’m an Indian female candidate, with 4.5 years of work experience at the time of application at a well known consulting firm (not MBB but a smaller firm specializing in healthcare that is well known for recruiting at business schools). In my tenure here, I was promoted and transferred (been here less than 1 year) to the US offices. With the transfer came an elevated role and new title. I did my undergraduation at a top Indian engineering school with a GPA of 7.5. My GMAT score is a 770 with good splits. I also have a strong focus on social impact and community service. I did lots of research, visited schools last year and spoke to many students and in one case a program head before I applied in Round 2 this year. Unfortunately, Wharton and HBS rejected me without and interview, which surprised me. Duke and Tuck admitted me. Kellogg is yet to come. I would like to understand what could have gone sour with my applications, because I put a lot of thought and hard work into my essays. I understand that these schools are quite competitive but hoped at the least for an interview, especially at Wharton which I was very keen on. I would really love it if you could share your insights, if possible!

  • Erri Pooku

    Love Sandy’s insights. Please do more with him!