Mr. Bond Trader
- 730 (Q47, V44) GMAT
- 3.6 GPA
- Undergraduate degree in public policy from a lower-tier Ivy (Think Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth)
- Work experience includes a year as a bond trader at a top-tier bank (Think Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley); two and one-half years as head of sales at a ten person VC-backed startup working for a semi-famous founder
- Goal: To start a search fund to buy a company in North Africa (where his parents are from)
- “My questions: 1) What went wrong? 2) If no interview at HBS, feel like Im likely dead on arrival for GSB… what can I do between now and next year to improve my HBS odds? Any particular extracurricular activities?”
- 25-year-old male
Dinged without interview by HBS
Waiting decision from Stanford GSB
Sandy’s Analysis: Lots to like, but you may be Exhibit A in the Sandy Rule: HBS Does Not Like Traders (or salespeople, even in VC firms).
You will recall HBS rejected Warren Buffet after an interview when they found out he was a stock trader. Buffet went to Columbia and said it was the best rejection of his life because he got to study with value investing gurus G+D.
That is the only explanation for your HBS ding that I can think of, if execution of app was otherwise normal.
You may get lucky at GSB. You got a very Stanford-y story and they don’t have any overt anti-trading/sales bias.
As for next year at HBS, you should present yourself as an impact investor and not a sales dude to the degree you can. Another issue might have been what they thought of your firm
You said “as head of sales at 10 person VC backed startup working for a semi-famous founder. Roughly doubled sales each year. ”
Was this a finance firm (my impresssion on first reading, or was it X and also VC backed? If they did not like your firm or industry that could also be an overhang. Your semi-famous founder is another X factor. HBS may not like his style or persona or the biz. But mostly, I believe, they do not like sales, unless you are in some tech sales at GE and selling pipelines to other businesses. Retail sales is usually a big negative.