MIT Sloan | Mr. Surgery to MBB
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Career Coach
GRE 292, GPA 3.468
Columbia | Ms. Cybersecurity
GRE 322, GPA 3.7
Yale | Mr. Fencer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Ms. Ultimate Frisbee
GRE 326, GPA 3.47
IESE | Mr. Future Brand Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
Stanford GSB | Ms. Civil Servant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Navy Electronics
GRE 316, GPA 3.24
Wharton | Mr. Naval Submariner
GMAT 760, GPA 3.83
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
London Business School | Mr. Indian Electric Tech
GMAT 620, GPA 3.5
Marshall School of Business | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Jones Graduate School of Business | Mr. Late Bloomer
GRE 325, GPA 7.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. MS From MSU
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Ms. Healthcare Visionary
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. S&P Global
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3

The Ding Report: Who Was Rejected & Why

Mr. Quant

  • 770 GMAT
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from HYP
  • Work experience with a well-known economic consulting firm, working on finance-related projects doing relatively quantitative work
  • Extracurricular involvement as founder of a small non-profit consulting organization; also have worked on a pro-bono consulting project for a social enterprise in East Africa (discussed in his essays)
  • Goal: To transition into investment management (mutual funds, retirement funds)
  • “I assume I’m DOA at Stanford, so will likely attend Wharton (which of course I’m happy about!) but still wanted to get your thoughts on the weaknesses of my profile”
  • 26-year-old white male

Outcomes:

Dinged without an interview by HBS & Columbia Business School

Admitted to Wharton

Waitlisted at Chicago Booth

Still waiting a decision from Stanford GSB

Sandy’s Analysis: I giggle a bit at how starkly you present the case: What is a white boy with a 770 GMAT and a 3.9 GPA (HYP) gotta do to get a flippin interview! (not an admit, an interview!) at HBS?

Answer: Probably not work for an economic consulting firm, or at least not the one you work for. There are some feeder economic consulting firms to HBS, the super big ones (names escape me at the moment, anyone?), but it sounds like yours is not one of them. That is my guess as the number one you didn’t catch HBS’ interest. If you did work for a feeder firm, your execution on the app might have bugged them.

For instance, saying you wanted to transition into investment management (mutual funds) and by implication, stop being serious and make a lot of money, was not a positive tactic. Although it could depend on how you sounded or spun it.
You might have done better saying you are interested in consulting to make an impact, more of an expansion of what you are doing with maybe a slightly more real world focus. You should have said you wanted to work for MBB in their public policy arms.

If HBS sniffed you out as a wonk for hire, but were mostly interested in $$$, that could have done it—along with maybe any other boo-boos in your application. If your recs were under executed (assuming they really like you) that could be an explanation here. Econ consultants are sometimes too busy, too wonky, too out of it or inexperienced to deliver class A recs.

I think CBS just did not believe you were serious about them. Ditto Booth, but they used the waitlist to find out.
Wharton is a perfect outcome and you will be successful, powerful, rich alum. I think Stanford is long-shot, as you suggest.

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.