Harvard | Mr. Community Impact
GMAT 690, GPA 3.0
IMD | Mr. Gap Year To IMD
GMAT 660, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Upward Trajectory
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Brazilian Banker
GMAT 600, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Future VC
GMAT 750, GPA 3.6
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Fish
GRE 327, GPA 3.733
Harvard | Mr. Italian In Tokyo
GMAT (710-740), GPA 4.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Blockchain
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Colombian M7 Deferral
GMAT 710, GPA 3.84
Harvard | Mr. Google Tech
GMAT 770, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
Chicago Booth | Mr. Consulting Hopeful
GMAT 720, GPA 3.6
Yale | Mr. Healthcare Geek
GMAT 680, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Low GPA Product Manager
GMAT 780, GPA 3.1
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Healthcare Provider
GMAT COVID19 Exemption, GPA 3.68
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Controller & Critic
GMAT 750, GPA 6.61 / 7.00 (equivalent to 3.78 / 4.00)
Kellogg | Mr. PE Social Impact
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.51
MIT Sloan | Mr. International Impact
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Enthusiast
GMAT 730, GPA 8.39
Chicago Booth | Ms. Future CMO
GMAT Have Not Taken, GPA 2.99
Said Business School | Mr. Global Sales Guy
GMAT 630, GPA 3.5
N U Singapore | Mr. Just And Right
GMAT 700, GPA 4.0
Georgetown McDonough | Mr. International Youngster
GMAT 720, GPA 3.55
Columbia | Mr. Chartered Accountant
GMAT 730, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Spanish Army Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3

The Ding Report: Who Was Rejected & Why

Ms. Investment Risk

  • 750 (44V/49Q) GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a mid-tier college
  • Work experience includes four years at a top financial firm as an investment risk analyst (fastest growing group at the firm), help build and maintain multi-manager and factor portfolios
  • Extracurricular involvement as a board member of a non-profit organization (founded youth engagement group, on finance committee, fundraising committee and gala committee); founded a voiceover/vocals company; president of Toastmasters group at employer, having doubled membership
  • Goal: To do a tech/media startup
  • 27-year-old while female
  • “Wondering where I went wrong! Could have been my focus on entrepreneurship or seemingly bad title at my current job? Or maybe my application just didn’t stand out enough?”


Dinged without interview at Harvard, Wharton

Dinged with interview at Columbia

Admitted to UCLA, with scholarship

Sandy’s Analysis: Wow, a ding without an interview on these facts is certainly unexpected. I think a lot of this turns on your job, which you describe as:

“4 years at a top financial firm as an investment risk analyst (fastest growing group at the firm), help build and maintain multi-manager and factor portfolios  . . . .”

Couple of things.

1. You are in a very competitive bucket of ‘finance’ types and that bucket includes lots of people like you who present with two years of gold-plated IB and two years of gold-plated private equity backgrounds. The fact you have spent FOUR years in the same gig, and that gig seems silver and not gold (see below) is something that adcoms will blame you for in the crazy world known as Planet Finance.

2. I’m not sure what “top financial” firm means in your case, but what is the track record of that firm and your group sending applicants to HSW? That is the key question, as always. If there is little record of admits to HSW from your firm, that can explain a lot. If you tell me that your group routinely sends one or two applicants out of four or so each year to H and W, well, that is different story, and I would then seriously wonder about you execution, since you did not get an interview.

The number of people presenting a 750/3.6 GMAT/GPA split at Wharton and NOT getting an interview, is OOTSILTK (One Of Those Stats I’d Love To Know). But I got a feeling it is a small-ish number, maybe 25% to 35%, meaning you may have screwed up your application less likely) or that Wharton just does not go for your company/role compared to other applicants in the finance bucket.

Let me add a few thoughts about your goal to “start a tech/media company post MBA.” That may have appeared as odd. After four years of doing the same thing, you are now trying to transform your life instead of getting a different job to do that after two years.

A lot of your extras are impressive beyond the average, but also, unfairly or not, they hint that you are a seeker and are not a boring and reliable and totally employable dull grad that B-schools adore. That vibe and daring goals may have been a red flag at Wharton, despite your most excellent stats.

As to your other outcomes:

“Dinged w/ interview (Columbia, thought it went well)

Accepted (UCLA $$)”

Your Columbia ding, rather than being put on the waitlist after interview usually means they really doubted your desire to attend, despite how well or not the surface interview went.

As to $$$ at UCLA, this may be a blessing in disguise. UCLA is a great school, and you will be on the West Coast and have many opportunities to find or discover (more likely) what you are really looking for.

I would call this, dings with a happy outcome.

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.