This 28-year-old captain in the U.S. Marine Corps has been a prosecutor for the past three years, having been recently promoted as U.S. attorney for his air station. He grew up in Singapore and has an undergraduate degree from New York University and his J.D. from William & Mary. With a 720 GMAT, he applied to HBS to help him transition to a strategy consulting firm in Southeast Asia where he would like to work in the technology industry.
At 22 years of age, he boasts two engineering degrees–undergrad and graduate–from a top five U.S. university and has some work experience at one of the big three management consulting firms. His transcripts show an impressive GPA of 3.7 for his undergraduate work in engineering and a straight 4.0 for his master’s. With a GRE score of 164 Q (89%) and 162 V (91%), he wrote his essay on entrepreneurship.
This 24-year-old Asian professional crushed the GMAT, scoring an impressive 770. With a 3.41 grade point average from a top women’s college, she has been working as a senior analyst for a boutique economics consulting firm for the past two years.
He ranked first in his class at a top five Indian law school and then went on to become an M&A lawyer for a top-tier international law firm, dividing his time between London and Dubai for the past three years. He had been president of his university student body as well as president of the university academic society, With a 760 GMAT, he had filed his very first application for an MBA program with Harvard.
THOSE EARTH-SHATTERING REJECTIONS THAT END A DREAM
What all these and many more candidates share in common? They received a rejection from Harvard Business School last week when admissions sent out more than 2,000 “release” emails to first round applicants. Rejection in any form is painful and humbling, but when you receive a ‘no’ from an institution that occupied a key place in your life’s dreams, it can be earth shattering.
It’s even more confusing when you are in the zone, with the right stats, work and educational background to make it at Harvard. Yet, far more people apply to the school’s MBA program than classroom seats are available. So most dings hinge on small factors and nuances in an MBA application.
To sort through those often vague clues, we asked Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com and our regular MBA handicapping columnist, to evaluate the stats and profiles of released candidates and attempt to explain why he thinks they were turned down. Nearly 50 disappointed applicants sent in their stats already. You can do so either here or in the comment section below to get an analysis from Sandy.
If it’s any consolation, many extraordinary people got bad news last week, high achievers with stellar GMATs, undergraduate transcripts, and professional backgrounds. They included many 750-plus GMAT scorers, lawyers, consultants, bankers, and non-profit leaders. We created the table below so you can see just how extraordinary many of them were. Of course, the basic stats provide a very small glimpse into a person’s candidacy to attend Harvard but they do give you a basic idea of how hard it is to get through the HBS screen.
Stats & Profiles Of Round One Dings At Harvard Business School
|780*||3.9||NA||NA||Economics Consulting Firm||M||26||NA|
|770||3.87||Cornell University||NA||Leading Economics Consulting Firm||M||25||Caucasian|
|770||3.41||Top Women’s College||NA||Boutique Economics Consulting Firm||F||24||Asian|
|770||3.7||Top Five Liberal Arts||Economics||Top Economics Consulting Firm||M||24||Caucasian|
|770||3.87||Cornell||NA||Leading Economics Consulting Firm||M||25||Caucasian|
|770||3.4||Emory University||NA||Finance director at startup||F||25||NA|
|760||9.6/10||Top Five Indian Law School||Law||M&A lawyer in top-tier global firm||M||25||Indian|
|760||3.65||State School||Accounting||Internal auditor at public aerospace company||M||29||Caucasian|
|760||Top 20%||Top NIT in India||Engineering||Planning engineer for big civil engineering contractor||M||25||Indian|
|750||3.5||Top Liberal Arts||NA||Big 3 credit reporting agency||F||NA||NA|
|750||3.8||Ivy League||Economics/Psych||Social enterprise consulting||F||24||South Asian|
|750||3.95||NA||NA||Mid-market private equity firm||M||27||Caucasian|
|750||Top 20%||Top Ranked Indian Law School||Law||Business development at a global music label||M||26||Indian|
|750||3.7||Northwestern||Economics/td>||Bain & VC Firm||M||26||Asian|
|750||3.8||Ivy League||Economics/Psychology||Social Enterprise Consulting Startup||F||24||South Asian|
|750||3.6||Public Ivy||NA||Niche Consulting Firm||F||24||Pakistani|
|740||3.4||Top 20 university||Economics||Middle-market PE firm in NYC||M||25||Causasian|
|740||Top 10%||Top Indian architecture||Architecture||Founder of startup||M||26||Indian|
|740||3.5||Penn State||Mechanical Engineering||Consulting firm for banking operations||M||25||Caucasian|
|740||3.56||NA||Mechanical Engineering||Healthcare consulting||M||24||Caucasian|
|730||7.6/10||Top Brazilian University||Law||M&A lawyer in boutique Brazilian firm||M||28||Brazilian|
|730||3.36||U.S. Air Force Academy||Political Science||U.S. Air Force captain||M||28||Caucasian|
|730||3.31||McGill University||Economics||Account manager at commercial bank||M||27||Indian|
|730||3.7||NA||Engineering||Project manager reputed infrastructure engineering firm||M||26||Aussie Indian|
|720||3.5||William & Mary||J.D.||U.S. Marine Corps||M||28||Caucasian|
|710||Average||NA||Business||Global PE Fund||M||26||Indian|
|710||3.7||Top Canadian University||Finance||Big Four Accounting||M||22||2+2 Canadian|
|710||3.35||Small liberal arts||NA||Deloitte||M||26||South Asian|
|710||3.23||Top 20 Liberal Arts College||NA||Top-tier financial services firm||M||25||Asian|
|710||8.74/10.0||NIT in India||Computer science||Hewlett Packard||M||25||Indian|
|710||3.7||Georgia Tech||Economics/Mgt.||Director in boutique non-profit consulting firm||M||27||Caucasian|
|710||3.43||State university||NA||Hospitality management||F||26||Indian|
|700||3.85||University of Michigan||NA||Top global advertising agency||F||25||Caucasian|
|700||3.2||Top Five Liberal Arts||Economics||Family business||M||24||Caucasian|
|700||3.4||Wisconsin-Madisons||NA||Middle market investment bank||M||25||Caucasian|
|GRE: 164 Q (89%), 162 V (91%)||3.7/4.0||Top Five College||BS & MS Engineering||McKinsey/Bain/BCG||M||22||2+2|
|GRE: Q170, V, 165||3.3||Top Ranked Institute of Technology||Chemical Engineering||Project manager at a small military contractor||F||21||NA|
Source: Round one ding reports on Poets&Quants