You Won’t Believe Who Harvard Business School Just Rejected

sales guy

Mr. Canadian Banker


  • 700 GMAT (38V, 48Q, 5.5 AWA, 8 IR; 1st time)
  • 3.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a top Canadian university (think Toronto, Ivey or Queens)
  • Work experience includes one year in audit with a Big 4 accounting firm, three years in investment banking with a top Canadian firm, and one year in a corporate strategy role for a bank
  • “Current gig is in a strategy role with one of the Big 5 Canadian banks, essentially helping the executives on a wide range of questions including resource allocation, sales force optimization, digital disruption, and marketing strategy”

    Extracurricular involvement as an alumnus and as a student developed school clubs, volunteer consulting for local charities through an organization (led team)

  • “My essay focused on my experiences within the bank and the need to restore customer trust and address digital disruption within the industry.”
  • Goal: To take a more active operational management role
  • 26-year-old Asian male
  • Dinged by both Columbia and HBS

Sandy’s Analysis: Your Columbia ding is a mild surprise. They may have stumbled over your below average GMAT score (for them in finance for someone who is not an under-represented minority). It’s also hard to read the book ends of your career, e.g. audit which is disfavored and what exactly is your current gig, at what bank? Same as IB. They may have a “hard-ish” time understanding the Canadian banking totem pole. The rest of your profile is pretty bland, although I like you. Your HBS outcome was that only more so because you fall within a super competitive IB/PE cohort.

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