The 2016 Ding Report: Why Great Applicants Are Often Rejected


Mr. Consultant


  • GRE 335 (Q170 – 98%) (V165 – 95%) (Essay 4.5 – 80%). GMAT equivalent: 780
  • 7.1/10 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in electrical engineerings from the National Institute of Technology in Kurukshera
  • Work experience includes five years in management consulting in the pharma industry for Fortune 500 companies; two years in the oil industry setting up fuel stations in remote Indian geographies
  • Extracurricular involvement leading many student clubs in college; an avid quizzer and flutist; volunteers at an NGO for underprivileged children.
  • Short-term goal: Healthcare consulting in the US.
  • Long-term goal: To lead a technology based healthcare startup in India
  • 29-year-old Indian male


Virginia (Darden)- Denied without interview

Dartmouth (Tuck)-Denied without interview

MIT (Sloan)-Denied without interview

Duke (Fuqua)-Denied without interview

UCLA (Anderson)-Denied without interview

Northwestern (Kellogg)-Denied after interview

Michigan (Ross)-Waitlisted without interview, then denied

Texas (McCombs)-Waitlisted after interview

Sandy’s Analysis: Those results are surprising. I don’t think your age per se is the problem, as much as your five years of consulting experience.

1. That is long time to be a consultant

2. A lot of business school outcomes depend on what they think of the company you work for.

All that said, outcomes are surprising.

I’m not sure if the GMAT vs. GRE issue was super important, but as noted, if you had an actual 780 GMAT, schools really go for that as a plus.

My only macro comment is that you may have come off as a Consulting Burn Out, looking for something to save your life, not a story B-schools are partial to, or some variant of that. Somone who has seven years of work experience and five years in consulting at one firm is a very atypical B-school applicant. Wish I could dope this out some more, but that seems to be it.

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