Their GMAT scores are 700-plus, in some cases as high as 790.
They earned their undergraduate degrees at some of the best universities in the world, including the Ivies.
They’ve worked for such prestige employers as McKinsey & Co., General Electric, Microsoft, Disney, Deloitte Consulting and Abbott Laboratories.
And yesterday (Dec. 11) they were dinged by either Harvard Business School or Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
For one thing, the odds of acceptance at either school are truly daunting. Stanford accepts less than 8% and Harvard less than 12%–yet many believe that as many as 80% of those who apply to top schools are fully qualified to attend and succeed. So luck and execution on an application plays an often significant role. Small imperfections, ranging from a below-average grade point average to an employer who lacks prestige, can torpedo a person who would otherwise be a shoo-in.
Consider Frank. He’s a 26-year-old biomedical engineer who scored a 790 out of a possible 800 GMAT. In his four years at Abbott Laboratories, he has gotten two promotions and won recognition from his leadership team. Yesterday, he was rejected by Harvard without an interview.
Or Aaron. He graduated from an Ivy with a 3.5 grade point average in biology. He scored an impressive 750 on the GMAT, in the 92nd percentile in quant. For the past year and one-half, he has worked in the innovation department of a small healthcare company. And he also tutored refugee children at inner-city schools and served on the board of an HIV/AIDS non-profit. Yesterday, Aaron was turned down by Harvard as well.
Or what about the 26-year-old with a 3.95 GPA and a 760 GMAT. After a two-year stint at a global investment banking firm, he has worked the past two years at a tony investment fund. The young professional even had a letter of recommendation from an Harvard Business School alum. His fate: Rejected from both Harvard and Stanford yesterday.
Sandy Kreisberg, a prominent MBA admissions consultant and founder of HBSGuru.com, has been analyzing the profiles and raw stats of jilted candidates for PoetsandQuants.com. If you’ve been dinged, let him know your stats and he’ll tell you why he thinks you’ve been turned down. Include the fact of whether you were interviewed by the school. (Please only post if you were rejected. For forthcoming applicants, Sandy’s regular handicapping series will resume shortly. You should post here for his analysis if you are an applicant who hasn’t been rejected from Harvard or Stanford.)
Typically, the most common reasons for getting dinged are varied–and often there is a combination of them. Bad timing. Poor execution on the application. A low GPA. Graduating with your bachelor’s from a less-than-stellar college. Working for an employer that is not known for sending candidates to Harvard or Stanford. No visible advancement in your job.
If you were dinged from Harvard or Stanford, just post your stats in the comment section and Sandy will take a shot at why you were turned down.
ONLY POST STATS IF YOU WERE DINGED FROM HBS OR STANFORD
For a curated collection of the best ding reports, with complete profiles and Sandy’s analysis, check out “Best of Sandy’s Harvard & Stanford Ding Report”