You Won’t Believe Who Harvard Just Rejected

Male teacher

Mr. Honda


  • 750 GMAT
  • 3.84 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Penn State University
  • Work Experience includes two years (3 at matriculation) at Honda, first working on vehicle handling and then moved into R&D work on futuristic concepts; Lead two smaller, but global teams; Promotions are on a strict schedule but on pace to be promoted at or ahead of schedule
  • Extracurricular involvement centers a lot around sports, coaching multiple youth teams, and am a nonprofit that focuses on after school activities for underprivileged children
  • Goal: To move into product management with a technology company, with a long-term objective of being in an executive leadership position to oversee product strategy for a large corporation
  • “Wrote essay highlighting leadership/impactful experience in an attempt to counterbalance my shorter work experience”
  • Other target schools: Columbia, Northwestern, MIT
  • 24-year-old white male

Sandy’s Analysis: Phew, the fact that Harvard didn’t even interview you is a surprise. I’m not sure what happened based on the facts and profile you present here. That is solid story and guys like you get in, and you are a good version in the other candidates you were competing against [e.g. high in cohort].

I think with a 750 and a 3.84 you should be real strong at your other target schools: Columbia, Northwestern, and MIT Sloan.

You say you wrote your essay highlighting leadership/impactful experience in an attempt to counterbalance your shorter work experience. 
Well, I hope it was not too braggy. They might have preferred a more personal and ‘touching’ essay, but I dont think that was it.