Best Of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report


Dinged at Stanford (without interveiw)


  • 710 GMAT
  • 3.2 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from Harvard/Yale/Princeton
  • “Pretty good story behind the low GPA incorporated in essays”
  • Work experience includes an internship and two years at a bulge bracket bank in New York City; one year doing leveraged finance at an Asian bank in New York, and last year and one-half working at a startup financial advisory firm in home town
  • “I’ve pretty much been the MVP”
  • Extracurricular involvement as a member of committee of student consultants for non-profit in college, edited college business magazine, currently involved in non-profit that provides support/mentorship for inner city youth in home town
  • Goal: To work for McKinsey/Bain/BCG as a consultant and then transition to entrepreneurship in home country
  • “Figured I fit the non-traditional mold and perhaps they didn’t know what to do with me? Also, low GPA and average GMAT?”
  • 26-year-old ethnic male, from English-speaking Latin American/Caribbean but went to Exeter/Andover

Sandy’s Analysis: You were turned down due to your low GPA and lack of super status jobs. It didn’t help that the three jobs you had were on a downward slope in the status hierarchy–and one too many (you had three jobs, ideal is two. There are exceptions but not for you.) Plus your story lacks dramatic leadership, and goals that seem random. That would do it at Stanford.

Are you a U.S. citizen and therefore a counted minority? I could see this ding either way, but just an issue readers should be aware of. Stanford is OBSESSED with ultra prestige jobs, especially for kids in banking, and high stats, and in only rare cases will anything overcome that.

As to being non-traditional, those kids go to Marcus University but not Stanford. You just did not have enough non-traditional firepower to overcome the muddled career, low stats, and confused goals.

If you also were rejected by Harvard or Stanford and would like an assessment from Sandy, go to Let Sandy Tell You Why You Were Dinged at Harvard or Stanford and provide your profile and stats in the comment section.

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