Tuck | Mr. Metamorphosis
GRE 324, GPA 3.15
Stanford GSB | Ms. Retail Innovator
GMAT 750, GPA 3.84
MIT Sloan | Mr. Unicorn Strategy
GMAT 740 (estimated), GPA 3.7
Darden | Ms. Teaching-To-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
Cambridge Judge | Mr. Nuclear Manager
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
London Business School | Ms. Aussie Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Geography Techie
GMAT 740, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Aussie Sustainability
GMAT 650 (retaking to boost chances), GPA 4
Wharton | Mr. Food & Beverage
GMAT 720, GPA 3.75
Stanford GSB | Just Jim
GRE 335, GPA 3.99
London Business School | Mr. Impact Financier
GMAT 750, GPA 7.35/10
Kellogg | Mr. Sales Engineer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.00
Columbia | Ms. Mechanical Engineer
GMAT 610, GPA 3.72
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. CRA11
GMAT 720, GPA 3.61
Harvard | Mr. Impact Investment
GMAT 760, GPA 3.2
Harvard | Mr. Private Equity
GMAT 750, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. Worker Bee
GMAT 710, GPA 3.56
Columbia | Mr. Alien
GMAT 700, GPA 3.83
Columbia | Mr. MD
GMAT 630, GPA 3.24
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Digital Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.27
Stanford GSB | Mr. Financial Controller
GRE Yet to Take, Target is ~330, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. AI in Asia
GMAT 760, GPA 3.25
IMD | Mr. Future Large Corp
GMAT 720, GPA 3.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Career Coach
GRE 292, GPA 3.468
Marshall School of Business | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
NYU Stern | Mr. Long Shot
GRE 303, GPA 2.75
NYU Stern | Mr. Bioinformatics
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7

A Publicity Stunt That Could Backfire

It’s a director of admissions worst nightmare: You accept an business school applicant to your world famous MBA program and then he uses the invite as little more than a publicity stunt to enhance his business.

Shockingly, that’s what Mike Moradian is doing to the Harvard Business School.

The Californian was accepted to HBS in December for the upcoming fall term. But instead of packing his bags for the trip to Boston, he sent out a news release yesterday (Aug. 8) on PR Newswire under the provocative headline: “Should I go to Harvard? Social Media Vote Decides for CollegeBudget.com CEO.”

To gain attention for the launch of another business last week, Moradian set up a website to ask people to vote on whether he should attend Harvard or stay with his business. The newly launched business, CollegeBudget, is a Groupon-like deal idea for college students.

The publicity gimmick apparently worked. The story has been picked up by media outlets as varied as The Washington Post, TechCrunch, BostInnovation, and Business Insider. Of more than 25,000 votes cast as of Aug. 10, slightly more than half are urging Moradian to go to HBS.

Moradian denies it’s merely an attempt to gain attention for his business. “I don’t consider this to be a publicity stunt,” he says. “It has been a meaningful way to get feedback. This is a crowdsourcing concept. It’s an opportunity to highlight what I’m doing and have people give me advice on what they’d like me to do.”

Though Moradian concedes he did provide advance warning of the publicity campaign to Harvard’s admissions staff, he has since been in touch with the school and says it did not express any displeasure over his decision to seek attention.

Moradian graduated from UCLA in 2007, worked as an advisory associate for KPMG for less than two years before starting a social website called CampusBuddy.com in early 2008. He was accepted into Harvard last December, but contends he is still undecided about starting school there this fall.

“I’m willing to walk away from what could be a once in a lifetime educational opportunity, but only if I feel that other people share my vision for CollegeBudget and see the value in what we can do for college students,” Moradian said in the news release. “The choice is yours America, choose wisely.”

Well, yes and no. “I put down a deposit already,” Moradian says in an interview, “so clearly I have the intention to go.”

On his LinkedIn profile, Moradian had already claimed the Harvard Business School degree, indicating that he attended the school from 2010 to 2011 (see below). Most incoming students wouldn’t put the degree on the educational portions of their LinkedIn profiles. Instead, they would write “MBA Candidate, Class of 2013.”

After reading an earlier version of this story, however, Moradian corrected his LinkedIn profile, removing any mention of Harvard Business School at all. He says that it was “a default setting” by LinkedIn that led to the error.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.