The 2016 Ding Report: Why Great Applicants Are Often Rejected

In this exclusive column for Poets&Quants, Fortuna admission consultants look at some of the myths that surround the MBA admissions process – and how schools evaluate candidates. So if you have ever asked yourself "Is it true that ...", you'll find all the myth busting answers right here.

Mr. Third Time HBS


  • 1500 GRE (770Q/730V)
  • Undergraduate degree in medicine from a Nigerian University
  • Master’s degree in public health from H/Y/P

    work experience includes a one year medical internship, one year in national service, 1.5 years at a healthcare non-profit, and 1.5 years in consulting at M/B/B; currently at a healthcare startup

  • Goal: To start a health insurance company in Nigeria for the mass market
  • “Interview: I think it was only borderline. I was startled by the indirect questioning way, The first questions was whether I was still at MBB, and I replied honestly that I was in transition to a startup and working to transfer my work visa. There were questions about why one of my interviewer had said he was not exposed to my quant skills (the project had no quant at all), questions about what I read in the NY Times if healthcare did not exist. etc.”
  • “Do you think I should give it one more shot or just suck it up and attend a top 10ish MBA that I was admitted to (think NYU/Yale/Tuck)?”
  • 31-year-old Nigerian maleDings:Harvard-Place on waitlist for one month after interview, then denied for the third year in a rowSandy’s Analysis: Ouch! I’d say your interview is what did it, even though you were placed on the waitlist.

    Do not WRITE to adcom. Call them on those days they set aside for giving feedback to kids who were dinged after the interview.

    But I have to tell you that this sounds like this was a downward spiral from the start. I don’t think a 4th application usually works at HBS, and you are not getting younger, although the HBS eco-system could help you make contacts, etc. That is why I would try to get real feedback. Maybe someone could give you the real lowdown about what happened.

    Ahem, moving out of M/B/B for Healthcare start-up might have struck them as odd, given that you would be leaving that in a year or two for business school.

    As noted, the fourth time is rarely the charm at HBS, and you are not getting younger. Applying yet another time might depend on how your healthcare start-up is going, but those other places you got in to seem fine and your dreams can come true there.

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