Emory Goizueta | Mr. Multimedia
GRE 308, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare Fanatic
GMAT 770, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. Sovereign Wealth Fund
GMAT 730, GPA 3.55
Harvard | Mr. Smart Operations
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Darden | Mr. Strategy Manager
GRE 321, GPA 3.5
Ross | Mr. Airline Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.73
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corporate VC Hustler
GMAT 780, GPA 3.17
Wharton | Mr. Marketing Director
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Ms. Healthcare Startup
GRE 321, GPA 3.51
Kellogg | Mr. Real Estate Finance
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Georgetown McDonough | Ms. Air Force
GMAT 610, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Poet At Heart
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Ukrainian Biz Man
GRE 310, GPA 4.75 out of 5
Darden | Mr. Former Scientist
GMAT 680, GPA 3.65
Stanford GSB | Mr. Sustainable Business
GRE 331, GPA 3.86
Wharton | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Yale | Ms. Impact Investing
GRE 323, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Food Waste Warrior
GMAT Not written yet (around 680), GPA 3.27
Stanford GSB | Ms. Future Tech Exec
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Finance To Education
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Rice Jones | Mr. Back To School
GRE 315, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. Aussie Military Man
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0 (rough conversion from Weighted Average Mark)
Harvard | Mr. Hopeful Philanthropist
GMAT 710, GPA 3.74
Stanford GSB | Mr. FinTech
GMAT Not Taken Yet, GPA 3.5
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Analytics Man
GMAT 740, GPA 3.1

You Won’t Believe Who Harvard Business School Rejected This Month


Mr. PwC

  • 730 GMAT
  • 3.3 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from Western University in Canada (3.7 and 3.8 GPAs in final years)
  • 3.8 GPA
  • Master’s degree in accounting from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada
  • Work experience includes working an an analyst for a Fortune 500 oil and gas company, then PwC as an auditor for three years; promoted three times to senior associate
  • “Was a stay-at-home father coming out of undergrad for 2 years. Wrote the CMA and CFA exams during this time hoping they would help with my job search when I return to the workforce. But I was caught between the new graduate and experienced hire streams coming out of parenthood, so I took the best available option which happened to be a call centre gig at CRA (Canadian equivalent of IRS) before the oil and gas company”
  • Extracurricular involvement as the treasurer of a chapter of large international nonprofit that aims to improve communication access and educational outcomes for children with hearing loss; nursery school teacher at church; and also sit on parent panels of the Calgary Educational School Board and an Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program.
  • Goal: “My son has profound hearing loss. My goal is to commercialize the hearing stem cell research once the technology is ready to be rolled-out. I hope to go through the MBA to transition into the pharmaceutical/biotech industry, get some experience in their rotational program, and either work in the venture capital arms of these biotech to invest in startups furthering the delivery of hearing loss solutions, or starting my own business if these’s a lack of entrepreneurs in this area. MBA also gives me the networking opportunity to meet consultants/PE/VC/healthcare professionals who will be extremely valuable in my endeavour to commercialize hearing loss research”
  • 29-years-old at matriculation

Sandy’s Analysis: As to HBS, too much is going on here (some of which is not your fault, as you note, but they don’t care(. You have silver but not gold jobs at accounting and government agencies and that is not helping. Audit is a dirty-ish word at HBS. PLUS, goals in biotech are coming out of no place (even though your son’s disability explains your motive, but you have no experience in those industries).

All that and your age and fragmented career makes this not worth sorting out to them, and even if they did, there are just a lot of guys in your bucket [PWC, audit, etc] with better stats and clearer stories. As noted often, audit/PWC is often where H/S/W go to find under-represented minorities, especially black women who are U.S. citizens. What you might have been thinking is that your many extra currics and stay-at-home father story would be a proxy for that. It isn’t. URM is a legal set of pretty clear requirements. Schools are ALSO open to appealing other narratives, such as yours, but that is a much more narrow and subjective gate into Harvard Business School or any other highly selective MBA program.

When applying to other schools, my strong suggestion is to drop the bio-tech PE/VC idea and say you want a rotational gig in finance roles at pharma companies, with a long-term goal of becoming Chief Financial Officer or on that track.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.