You Won’t Believe Who Harvard Just Rejected


Mr. Digital Marketer


  • 710 GMAT
  • First Class Degree (no GPA)
  • Undergraduate degree in microbiology (“My undergrad record isn’t spectacular by any means”)
  • Work experience includes three years at a digital marketing firm working on various aspects of search and social media.; one year as a reporter for a small newspaperExtracurricular involvement on a few non-profit assignments working with children
  • “
My application focused on my marketing experience and my role as a key content strategist for a variety of clients – from Fortune 500 companies to startups”
  • Goal: To move into a marketing role at a leading CPG company, such as P&G or Unilever, or a marketing role at a tech company, such as Google or Facebook
  • Other target schools: Northwestern, Columbia, Wharton, Dartmouth
  • Indian male

Sandy’s Analysis: I think your HBS ding could have turned a lot on what they think of your current firm. Even in a ‘niche’ space like digital marketing, they prefer larger companies or companies they know about, or as you note in your goals, a digital marketing role in a Fortune-100 company. Kids from all those companies could have beaten you out, with similar stats.

If you actually checked that box, your ding could also be based on general application. execution, blah, blah, and recommendations. That stuff is hard to quantify without actually seeing it.

I’m also not sure your essay theme as stated fully answered what ELSE you want them to know. Again, it depends on execution. 
I think you will do better at Kellogg and Tuck who go for profiles like this, and should be competitive at Wharton and Columbia, who also would be glad to have a digital marketing guy in the mix, and are less selective than HBS.

Even a small amount of less selectivity could make a difference in your case because your work experience and scores are okay, although you do present an unfortunate issue as to whether a 710 needs to be a 730.
 That could be the case at Wharton and Columbia because those schools are more GMAT centric, though I hate to say it.

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