Best Of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report


Dinged by Harvard 2+2 (without interview)


  • 750 GMAT (Q 52/V 41)
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in engineering from one of the three top Indian Institutes of Technology
  • Graduated in top 1% of class with a rank of five
  • Work experience includes founding the first telemedicine startup in Northern India as well as founding two more social entrepreneurial ventures
  • Extracurricular involvement helping an NGO with girls education, member of a student welfare board, and leader of an entrepreneurship cell
  • Goal: To enter the pharmaceutical industry through a family business
  • Indian male
  • “Was expecting an interview at least! No interview and dinged!

Sandy’s Analysis: Not sure to be honest. Harvard Business School’s 2+2 program plays by its own rules with a set of shifting agendas. For the recent past, they have favored STEM kids, science and technology types, engineers and math majors. Although ultra-prestige bankers and consultants continue to get in (but some powerful kids are dinged).

If I had to guess, aside from bad execution, you were rejected because 1. being an entrepreneur, as you seem to be, is hard for HBS to judge. Who knows what those companies you set up do, and how ‘real’ they are. You also seem focused on social entrepreneurship but goals are rather traditional: to build out or extend family business, so perhaps that bugged them.

You would have been better with a bunch of standard prestige internships and a straight line into your family business. That all fits together. You worked at a bank or consulting company and want to use that to build out family business. The standard wisdom is stand out, but the truth is, it is better to FIT IN. In your case, to have all this FIT IN some easily recognizable narrative. All that is TRUE, but to be honest, if you told me you GOT IN, I could easily believe that, too. That would be the case of them ignoring your presentation and just going with the DNA, which is very high. They often do that as well.

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