Cambridge Judge Business School | Mr. Social Scientist
GRE 330, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Rocket Scientist Lawyer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65 Cumulative
Harvard | Mr. Polyglot
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Darden | Mr. Federal Consultant
GMAT 780, GPA 3.26
INSEAD | Mr. Consulting Fin
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Enlisted Undergrad
GRE 315, GPA 3.75
INSEAD | Ms. Hope & Goodwill
GMAT 740, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Navy Officer
GMAT 770, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Milk Before Cereals
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3 (16/20 Portuguese scale)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Guy From Taiwan
GRE 326, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Leading Petty Officer
GRE (MCAT) 501, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Mr. Sales To Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 3.49
Tuck | Mr. Consulting To Tech
GMAT 750, GPA 3.2
Columbia | Mr. NYC Native
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tepper | Mr. Leadership Developement
GMAT 740, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Ms. Athlete Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Stock Up
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Darden | Mr. Education Consulting
GRE 326, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. Ambitious Hippie
GRE 329, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Classic Candidate
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Unrealistic Ambitions
GMAT 710, GPA 2.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Equal Opportunity
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Over-Experienced
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
HEC Paris | Mr. Indian Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 2.1
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Worldwide
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Wharton | Mr. LatAm Indian Trader
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5

Let Sandy Tell You Why You Were Dinged

rejected

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.

How come?

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

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

 

 

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.