Best Of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report

Male teacher

Dinged without interview at Harvard & Stanford


  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California
  • Work experience includes two years at Microsoft after college, working in core windows group for Windows 7 and Windows 8; more recently four years at Deloitte Consulting, working across telecom/financial/healthcare industries; notable work includes serving as team
  • lead on state healthcare insurance exchange project (first in the nation) for recent Obamacare implementation
  • Extracurricular involvement in marching band for four years and two part-time jobs in college; also a volunteer for an education non-profit; three years as Deloitte liaison for Junior Achievement; organized multiple events for Deloitte practitioners and USC Marshall students to teach kids in LA community
  • Goal: To increase knowledge about healthcare and implement creative healthcare delivery systems to augment health reform
  • 27-year-old male of Indian descent, raised in the United States

Sandy’s Analysis: The real deal breaker was too much work experience. You should have applied during your second year at Deloitte. Add to that low GPA and mildly odd career so far (MSFT to DC, that is odd) and I am not surprised. Extras were solid but HBS values more outre stuff more [not being good guy at DC initiatives, which is OK but generic].

Solid extras, like you have, will not rescue what is otherwise silver not gold schooling and jobs. Healthcare consulting was right call. What you said at Stanford was, ahem, too narrow although an okay idea if part of something larger in the same genre of doing good. Outcomes do not surprise me. Relive your life and get a 3.9 GPA and go directly to DC or MSFT and in two years have super impactful extracurrics with community education–you could be in the running.

HBS doesn’t care so much about accomplishments at work. If you work for a consulting firm, especially MBB, well, all your accomplishments are the same, more or less, and you can gain points by how well you varnish them. Six years of experience spread out, with two at Microsoft and four at Deloitte, is just odd in terms of all other people in the history of the world who have been admitted to HBS. That is my only point. God may think it is great. Sorry if I sound cynical, but I just am reporting on my experience in this world. Harvard and Stanford like ’em young. They like big stats. They like prestige schools and jobs, and they like conventional stories or real, real, real pwerful non-conventional ones. That ain’t you babe, in your current avatar.

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