Best Of Sandy’s HBS & Stanford Ding Report


Dinged by Harvard & Stanford


  • 740 GMAT
  • 3.45 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Pennsylvania
  • Work experience includes two years at L.E.K. Consulting and three years at Barclays Bank in investment banking in London and New York
  • Extracurricular involvement in community; advised two startups by Penn grads; was on varsity crew and a scratch golfer; also climbed Mount Everest
  • Indian American “likely returning to UPenn”

Sandy’s Analysis: No surprise here. Climbing Mount Everest (and scratch golf) could turn gold minus into gold but not silver into gold, and what we got here is solid silver [a lowish GPA, a work history at LEK and Barclays, all solid but not a 3.9 at McKinsey and Goldman or KKR. There was nothing really driving you in. In a ultra-cohort, healthcare was a plus but not a super plus. For that, you would have needed to be in LEK’s HC/biotech practice and then moved into some boutique finance healthcare biz.

Funny, going to Penn and getting a solid 3.45 vs, going to Harvard College and getting a 3.8, the average GPA, sorta, right there is a flag for how unfair the world is, and for better or worse, how important it is to get IN at a top place. Don’t get me wrong, there are many success stories from outside Harvard, Yale and Princeton and even outside the Ivies, but everything is just so much harder + more uncertain.

People refuse to acknowledge the truth because they don’t want to be completely honest about how unfair admissions can be. But college is destiny. If you had gone to Princeton instead of Penn, you probably would have worked for McKinsey instead of L.E.K. and then would have transitioned to Goldman or Morgan Stanley instead of Barclays. You then would have been accepted at Harvard and Stanford. Instead, you might very well be going back to Wharton.

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