Best Of Sandy’s Post-Intvw R2 Ding Report

bizmanDinged from HBS after an interview. 

  • 720 GMAT (44V/46Q)
  • 3.57 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the engineering school ranked third in the nation
  • 3.14 GPA
  • Master’s in biomedical engineering from a top ten graduate school
  • Work experience includes three years at a small, neuromodulation medical device start up company, and three years at Boston Scientific taking on more leadership roles
  • Extracurricular involvement as a member of the ice hockey team; also received the highest academic award at the university and took on prominent leadership roles within biomedical engineering
  • Goal: To work for a medical technology venture capital firm or to found a startup
  • “Very good recommendations from the CEO of the start up and a VP (now CEO of another start up)”
  • “My interview went very well. I don’t know what my weaknesses would be. I could have scored a little higher on the GMAT, particularly the quantitative part, although I thought my technical background might offset that. Do I have a good chance at admission if I re-apply next year?
  • 27-year-old white male

Sandy’s Analysis: Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if your interview went well since what they are looking for is not the substance of your answers so much but a proxy for how well you can talk in classes when cold called, etc. So long, complex and thorough answers can sometimes come across as an inability to get to the point. But let’s take your word for it.

Man, they go for some version of this profile. probably with less question marks, e.g., in your case, low grad GPA and low GMAT Q score. Also six years of work experience is on high side, but not excessive.

Get the short feedback they offer kids who are dinged after an interview. They will signal if it was the interview, or if not, they often say, “we just liked other kids more than you . . .”

Sometimes they just say, no real reason. That usually means they liked other kids more than you. Anyway, let me know what they do say, I really collect those reports.

As to reapplications, sure. My advice is to retake GMAT just to clear the air, and let them know you are serious. More importantly, you may get lucky, and there may be fewer dudes like you next year. That would really get you in.


dreammanDinged without interview from both HBS and Stanford (although accepted everywhere else and happily heading to Tuck in the fall).

  • 770 GMAT (Q50/V44)
  • 3.5 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a top three Big Ten university
  • Work experience includes two years with Teach for America as well as two and one-half years in strategy consulting with a focus on M&A, private equity and public service.
  • Extracurricular involvement as founder and leader of a non-profit organization with an eight-person executive team; remain involved with fraternity in an advisor role
  • “My take is my weaknesses were that I am from an over-represented minority group, my college GPA was not stellar (below 3.6), and my strategy consulting experience is non-MBB. Otherwise, I had sterling recommendations and put together some pretty compelling essays.”
  • “Regardless, I actually beat out some current HBS and Stanford MBAs for a summer-internship with a VC in Palo Alto for the summer… and I don’t even start school for 6-months, so what does it matter?”
  • 26-year-old male

Sandy’s Analysis: Has anyone from your non-MBB consulting firm ever gotten into H or S? That could be one answer. And sure, a below 3.6 GPA could be another factor, given how competitive your cohort (strategy consulting) is.

Harvard and Stanford also are not crazy about undergrad business majors but they blink at that, unless it becomes part of a ‘dull fellow’ profile, given other issues. Not likely in your case but hard to dope out from your short profile.

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