Ding Time At HBS, Round One

For a couple of thousand hopeful candidates who applied to Harvard Business School in time for its round one deadline, today (Oct. 5) will likely be a day of disappointment. Starting at approximately noon EST, HBS will send out its remaining invites for an admissions interview but will largely notify the applicants who didn’t quite make the cut. In the more gentle language of highly selective admissions, HBS calls rejection a “release” and labels “waitlisted” candidates as those getting “further consideration.”

For the admissions team at Harvard, which only admits 11% of the nearly 10,000 candidates who annually apply for admission to its MBA program, it’s also a tough day because the school is mostly dinging a group of extraordinary would-be students who are fully qualified to go to HBS and do well in its program. After all, it’s a self-selecting group of high achievers who apply to Harvard. But with only 930 seats in an incoming class, the system is designed to turn down the vast majority of candidates.

Dings often mean that a school just liked other candidates a bit more than the ones they turn down. Rejection, however, can still be nuanced or rather obvious, especially to those who have been turned away. Typically, the most common reasons for getting dinged are varied–and often there is a combination of them. Bad timing. Poor execution on the application. A low GPA. Graduating with your bachelor’s from a less-than-stellar college. Working for an employer that is not known for sending candidates to Harvard or Stanford. No visible advancement in your job.

LET SANDY TELL YOU WHY YOU WERE DINGED

Get Sandy Kriesberg's advice to make handicapping your odds of getting in possible

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com

Once again, HBSGuru Sandy Kreisberg, a prominent MBA admissions consultant, has agreed to lend some insight into why a person didn’t quite make it through this round one hurdle. Sandy has been analyzing the profiles and raw stats of jilted candidates for PoetsandQuants.com for several years. If you’ve been dinged, let him know your stats in the comment section below and he’ll tell you why he thinks you’ve been turned down. (Please only post if you were rejected. For forthcoming applicants, Sandy’s regular handicapping series will resume shortly.)

Many candidates who take a shot at HBS usually apply to an array of business schools. In fact, many other elite schools report a cascading effect on acceptances of their admits when HBS releases waitlisted applicants. So just because you’ve been dinged by HBS doesn’t mean you won’t be getting an invite from another great MBA program, one that may even suit you better than Harvard.

DON’T MISS: BEST OF SANDY’S HBS AND STANFORD DING REPORTS

  • waddah fadul

    Thank you Sandy @hbsguru@hbsguru:disqus , I have B.Sc. in Electrical & electronics Engineering from the top school in my country, and Pos-grad Dip. in Strategic Planning from Heriot-Watt University. I worked for Westcon (global technology MNC) and recently work for Ingram Micro (MNC) the global technology provider and a Fortune former top 100 companies (before going private). We are Cisco’s #1 technology provider in Africa, Middle East , Turkey and Levant and I am responsible to develop the high-tech business in the territory.
    And yes , I am not an American citiizn
    Do you think HBS and M7’s round 3 would be suitable for me?

  • PM

    I was dinged. Without interview.

  • PM

    I was dinged. Without interview.

  • hbsguru

    well, there is MUCH to like here and some unclear issues about places you actually work, work history, and schooling. Do you work for Cisco? IN some conventional role, if so, this outcome is deeply surprising. GPA is way below HBS average, altho they would blink at that if there was lots else that gave them confidence you could be plus in the class.
    Also note, if you are not a US CITIZEN you are not technically a URM for federal headcount purposes, not sure how impt. that was, but worth noting. HBS will still respect your story, but in some ways you get put in a different bucket, viz, internationals/males/31 year olds, fr. Africa. That is still usually an advantage but . . . .

  • hbsguru

    were you dinged with this, or do you want my handicapping analysis? If handicapping, you and everyone else need to post on the current HC thread-let’s keep this thread for DING reports.

  • waddah fadul

    Hi Sandy @hbsguru:disqus
    your priceless input would much appreciated:

    -31 y/o
    -African
    -Languages: 3: Arabic, English and Local Nubian Language.
    – Highest National Mark in my country (Math).
    -GSSA Award for top academic performance in High Schools (National)
    -GPA: 3.2
    -GMAT: 710 (49Q 38V)

    ECs:
    – Fine Artist and Calligrapher (painting)
    – Nominated : M.R.Ingram Leadership Award 2018
    – Nominated : African Leadership Institute Fellowship 2018
    -Cisco Systems worldwide champion 2017
    -Founded an award-winning Think tank in 2015. we work with students to develop technical solutions to the top-ranked challenges we have in Africa and the Middle East (Education, Health, Global warming, Farmers-Herders conflicts, Energy, Agriculture, etc..), Listed as one of top 20 new think tanks in the world 2016 by University of Pennsylvania.
    -Featured on BBC and couple of News and Business websites.

    Work:
    -Working in Technology Industry for one of the giant providers
    – Manages territory of 7 countries.
    – Work Experience in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe.
    – Consultant and Business Development Manager, promoted twice
    – Award winning team leader in different technologies in the Middle East.

    Recs:
    – One direct supervisor, One ex Minister (whom I worked with in couple of volunteering projects)

    Essay: Growing up in a war-torn country, solutions I developed to the rural areas. Educational projects for children and what I have learned so far, my passion to be a part of the change in Africa.

    Post-MBA Goal:
    -Consulting (Strategy)

  • PM

    Hi Sandy

    Would really appreciate your thoughts on my profile. Thanks in advance.

    – 25 yo Indian female
    – 6.85/10 GPA (top 20% in class), Finance & Accounting major from top-3 Commerce college in India
    – passed 2 Levels of CFA exam
    – 760 GMAT (Q49, V46)
    – WE at matriculation: 4 years (1.5 years in actuarial consulting in European market at Big 4 firm with quick promotion, 2.5 years in Strategy at Fortune500 real estate consulting firm reporting directly to India CEO)
    – Reco: former supervisor (qualified actuary & Senior Consultant), current supervisor (CEO at real estate company)
    – EC: extensive public speaking & developing language skills of low-income girls
    – Awards: awarded at former job at Big4, for debating in college, and by Former President of India for academic excellence in high school
    – Essay: started with how i have always done unconventional things despite unfavorable circumstances as a woman from a sub-urban Indian town and moved on to why career switch to real estate & how i want to open up real estate to masses in India long-term
    – Post MBA goals: Product manager at real estate fin-tech firm or investment role at real estate investment fund

  • lala545

    Hi Sandy – I was deferred in R1 from HBS and was wondering if you could shed some light on the best ways to approach process. What can help a candidate increase their odds of an interview in R2?

    Stats:
    – 27yo white female
    – 760 GMAT (V48, Q48)
    – 3.8 GPA from top 15 school; Double major in Economics and International Development
    – 2 yrs at MBB
    – 3 years at large tech start-up (ala Airbnb, Uber, Lyft) with time split between US and emerging market offices. Moved between ops, strategy and product roles – promoted twice.

    Was also recently rejected without interview from Stanford.

  • hbsguru

    The way white people w. so-so stats (3.5, 710GMAT) get into HBS fr. Deloitte is to use Del. as a way to get a more selective job in consulting/IB/PE or maybe hot growing tech company, and then apply from that 2nd job. As often noted, HBS/Stan use Big 3 Accting/Consulting firms as way to find URMs.
    Being a woman helped but youth, only one job at Del, and lower than average stats were the deal breaker here.
    As often noted, Stanford for years took 1-2 URM women a year fr. Big 3/4. etc.
    I also say this with some sadness, given how nutty things have become, but you could make a real case in retaking GMAT and trying to bag a 730, just part of the stupid hazing that has developed in this process, it proves nothing but your ability to sit still and eat sh!t, which is actually one of the key thing schools like HBS/Stanford look for.

  • go_mba_2017

    Rejected HBS round 1
    -24 year old white female
    -710 GMAT
    -3.5/4 GPA undergrad mechanical engineering major at Duke
    -3 yrs experience technology consulting (Deloitte)
    -Recs: Deloitte partner and manager (previous direct supervisor) – worked closely with both in my time at Deloitte
    -Essay: focus on the importance of mentoring my peers and juniors and also taking initiative to take on leadership in activities; used anecdotes from mentoring in college and drew parallels to my work experience
    -Future goals: return to consulting and focus on digital transformation in retail

  • RZ

    Thanks, Sandy! I realize it’s easy to wonder what may have went wrong, especially after digging so deep for the application, but seeing all the awesome profiles here that were also dinged definitely puts into perspective just how competitive it is. I certainly don’t envy the adcom–they have to make some really tough decisions, and amazing people like those in this thread will inevitably get the short end of the stick. Will keep pushing forward! Applied to a couple other awesome programs that I’m super excited about, so fingers crossed one comes through.

  • Piyush Anand

    Hi Sandy,
    Dinged
    -29yo Indian male
    -7.42/10 GPA from top engineering college in India (not sure what the conversion to 4 point scale is)
    -750 GMAT (51Q, 39V)
    -WE: 5.5+ yrs at P&G (1 promotion, quit in Mar’17), 2 yrs at agribusiness startup (1.5 yrs part-time with P&G)
    -EC: Football captain & coach in college and P&G, Vocalist
    -Recs: 1 former direct supervisor, and one peer (co-founder)
    -Essay: How my family upbringing helped me develop compassionate & collaborative nature > experienced issue of farmers suicides up-close while working at P&G > how this led me to startup & shaped my future aspirations
    -Post-MBA goals: Returning to startup to scale operations after developing entrepreneurial & gen-man skills & professional network (+leveraging industry-specific programs at HBS)

    thanks for your input!

  • CanadianMBA23

    Hi Sandy,

    I was dinged for an HBS R1 interview and would appreciate your feedback on the following stats:

    – 25 year old White Male
    – GMAT: 780 (Q50 / V47 / IR8 /AWA5.5)
    – GPA: 3.9 (top 2% of class); Business Degree; Top Canadian Business School
    – W.E.: 3 years at MBB in Canada; promoted at earliest window; 1 year exchange to European office
    – EC: Varsity athlete in college; Alumni mentor of prominent club I was part of and led while in college
    – Recommenders: 1 partner and 1 junior partner; worked with each for 8+ months who were aligned with my story
    – Essay: values of perseverance and humility learned from father / grand-father who were entrepreneurs founding successful companies
    – Post-MBA: return to MBB; found own analytics service firm later on

    Thanks for your input.

  • hbsguru

    good one, hope this leads to an admit.
    This data point is also helpful for others about how lottery-like the system can be, when guy does not even get interview invite at HBS, where the class is near 2x as large as Stanford, and then gets the call at Stanford.
    Any other HBS dingbats out there with GSB interview invites, please post. It is really helpful to see it in black and white.
    Good luck w. the interview and here’s hoping you get admitted.

  • CADHBS

    Dinged.

    – 28yo male Canadian citizen (Asian immigrant)
    – 3.6/4.0 GPA from undergrad business school
    – 710 GMAT
    – Work experience: currently at a top five non-quant hedge fund in NYC – 4 person team manages $1.5B of Fund’s $35B AUM, previously at a top five mutual fund in Boston as an investment associate, and prior to that I was at JPMorgan IB in Canada.
    – EC: Big Brother, former Rotaract (Rotary for young adults) president
    – Post-MBA goal: strategy/VC

  • JohnAByrne

    Congrats. That is great news. Wishing you much luck at the GSB.

  • Modounu

    Thank you for your insights. I am happy to report that I just received an invitation for the interview from Stanford GSB. such a refreshing news after the HBS ding.

  • hbsguru

    Yup, true, but one wonders how true. Recs are not usually deal breakers, or even tie breakers, altho that could happen. The puzzling cases on this thread are often kids coming out of trad consulting, banking, PE shops which have sent many other kids to HBS and where the rec writers are quite practiced in the genre. yeah, always outliers of ‘stab in the back recs,’ intentionally or in some Freudian way, and many variants of that genre, but rare-ish in my experience.
    From my experience a lot of recs from Top Shops regress to the (very high) mean.
    You do make a good point that developing a rec fr. the applicants side does require managing up and in most cases, writing an outline/draft. That is something worth paying attention to.
    Not inserting an advert here, but that is also something good and esp. experienced consultants can help with.

  • hbsguru

    beats me, what is firm track record with HBS and white males for past 3 years.
    As often noted, HBS often looks to alt. consulting (Big 3 and boutiques) for URM applicants, altho I am reaching at straws, dunno what happened. Read comment above this, similar story. Altho recent track record of firm at HBS IS important.

  • hbsguru

    grrrrr. hard to say on the info given and could be hard to say even if I had the whole app. MBB cohort becomes lottery like at some point, and applying with only 1.5 yrs experience might be construed as negative, vs. say, 2yrs at MBB and 1.5 yrs at PE,
    in the lastest concoction of the admit algo (just guessing). Aside from that, bad recs, bad execution, and very likely, bad luck.
    White guys fr. MBB only is a tuff nut.

  • AK

    Hey Sandy @hbsguru:disqus ,

    Not the right forum but seeking guidance – can you shed light on prospects at Haas/Yale/Ross…. Can provide more on profile if required.

  • HOO SH

    Hi Sandy,

    Would appreciate your insights on getting dinged.

    – 24yr old Caucasian male (EU background)
    – 770 GMAT (51Q, 44V)
    – BA (1st class) and M.Eng (Distinction) from Oxbridge (Oxford, Cambridge)
    – 1.5yrs consulting (MBB) experience in US and Canada
    – Goal: Return to MBB and specialize in corporate turnarounds

    Thanks.

  • smargo

    Dinged:

    26 yo white male, from Midwest but living in NYC
    TMT boutique strategy consulting firm that has sent to HBS/GSB/Wharton
    2 promotions in 3 years; now in traditionally post-MBA role
    3.9 GPA from Brown, 770 GMAT
    Goal: Corp Strat/Corp Dev in tech
    EC: lead firm’s pro-bono practice; organize charity events for Alzheimer’s Association; founder/president of 2 big clubs back in undergrad

  • Kinstak

    Hi Sandy (@@hbsguru:disqus ) I really love your videos and posts on P&Q! Extremely useful. However about a week ago I was one of those couple of thousands who got dinged by HBS w/o an interview…

    I am debating if reapplying is worth, moreover after having been admitted to other schools, but before I want to find out if there’s something wrong with my stats.

    Nationality: Male, Caucasian, Western European, not UK (roughly 25 at matriculation)
    GPA: Percentile <1% at a #1 Business University in my country
    GMAT: 740
    Work Experience: 3y WE at MBB (top 5% of my class)
    Past Work Experience: Summer internship at top 3 American Investment Bank
    Extraurrs.: Lots of volunteering and crowdfunding work, founded own NGO, played out sports competitively, endurance competitions, etc.

  • Kinstak

    ….

  • EM

    Where a lot of these great profiles could’ve looked a little less than great is the place least out of applicant’s control – recommendations. Not only an average rec reflects badly on an application as a whole, but also one’s ability to manage up and read person’s motivations, skills (to recommend/write well) and of course perceptions towards the applicant. That’s certainly an important leadership trait that adcoms can successfully assess from an application.

  • Sanderp

    Sandy – requesting your inputs

  • Usha

    Out there**

  • Usha

    Hi Sandy! Sorry about that! I did file it over in the handicapping thread too. Hoping to hear you put there!

  • hbsguru

    hi there this is the HBS DINGED thread, so if you file this on the Handicapping thread it will get noticed there.
    Let’s keep this thread focused on HBS Round 1 dings.
    sk

  • Usha

    Hi Sandy! Hope this finds you well!
    I am writing to ask you regarding my chances at Cornell/Columbia/MIT LGO programs. Here’s a brief summary of my profile:

    29 year old female from India, with GMAT score of 700 (Q-43 V-42 AWA-6.0
    IR-7). Professional experience includes both IT(Business Analyst to
    Product Owner to Business Analytics consulting) and research experience
    (CFD Analysis @ Chrysler Automobiles). I have switched fields in line
    with my entrepreneurial interests. While my target schools are NYU
    Stern, CMU Tepper, Kenan Flagler and Chicago Booth, I’d like to know my
    chances at Cornell/Columbia. My Post MBA plans are to work with MBB as a
    Strategy and Leadership consultant for few years and then take on a
    leadership role or start my own business.

    Thank you for your time!
    Best,
    Usha

  • hbsguru

    Look, not sure this was the issue, just speculating. In general, a brag-y essay is a highlight reel, “In college I was proud to be both student body president and captain of the lacrosse team, and both gave me a taste of what being a leader is.”
    At my first job at ___, I got a rapid promotion and still found time to be a VP at WECARE, a charity set up by firm to help teach inner city kids how to read.
    When I got to my PE firm, I got staffed on the
    x billion dollar merger of X and Y and got a chance to see how guys with real swinging dicks conduct negotiations.”
    That is a brag-y essay. Bascially it is sorta highlighting stuff on your resume like a highlight reel and not adding anything in terms of what you learned, how you operated, what influences the exp. had, etc.”

  • Chang the Pharmaguy

    thank you Sandy. About the essay, could you help me clarify what you mean by braggy? How could I improve this for my application essays in the future? thank you 🙂

  • hbsguru

    not sure what happened. Those are good essay topics.

  • hbsguru

    well said!!!

  • hbsguru

    dunno, I like you, and biotech is a trending interest at HBS, so this is a bit surprising: maybe age, too many zig-zag jobs, nerdy current job, and possibly brag-y essay did it. If I had to guess.

    “post-MBA goals: starting my own biotech startup . . .” Well, that might make better LT goal, and makes us wonder for a second, how realistic you are in general.

  • Sanderp

    Was waitlisted at Harvard law last year. Around the same time, they announced they would start accepting GRE scores the next season. So I took the GRE without much prep hoping to intimate them of my scores if they turn out to be good, while I was on the WL.as I realised it is equivalent to 750, I didn’t take the GMAT. Talked to a few admission consultants. They felt that’s fine. Had a 740 on GMAT diagnostic. Can prep for a couple of weeks and take the test if someone can convince me it played a significant role in the ding 🙂

  • Ques

    why GRE?

  • Chang the pharmaguy

    Hey Sandy, would appreciate your thoughts.
    29yo Canadian citizen (Chinese immigrant)
    3.3/4.0 GPA from pharmacy school, 3.4/4.0 GPA from 3 years of undergrad studies
    740 GMAT
    WE: currently a health economist at a fortune 500 biotech company for 2 years, worked at a boutique pharma consulting firm for 1 year, worked as a marketing manager at a mobile health app startup for 2 years
    EC: volunteered a makeshift health clinic in Africa, went back over 2 years to helped to raise funds and design parts of it into a free clinic and pharmacy
    Essay: growing up from poverty in rural china and making it to Canada with $100 – how that sense of determination to take
    post-MBA goals: starting my own biotech startup

  • True

    He’s not being sarcastic, if you have close connections to a 1) Influential HBS Professor 2) Bigwig donor or 3) Son/daughter of billionaire/head of sovereign nation that could be donor or 4) Very close relations to head of firm that hires HBS grads your path is easier and standards are relaxed. You still have to have a pulse. These aren’t connections like “I met this person at a conference once” and most applicants don’t have them so don’t worry. It is unfair but does keep the HBS well oiled machine running and I get why they do it.

  • HBS2020

    Sandy, I have a question for you. You’ve mentioned few times that an applicant might had a “connection” or is a descendent of a donor. Etc..

    Are those sarcastic comments? Or is there an easy way into HBS for some lucky and fortunate applicants regardless of their GMAT, work experience and UG GPA.

  • Modounu

    Thank you. I wrote about my personal background and how it influenced me to initiate the establishment of the kindergartens for poor kids. It was great experience to bring in Shlumberger to contribute in funding the venture. I also wrote about winning the Fulbright scholarship to do graduate work in Berkeley.

  • Sanderp

    Hi Sandy,
    Dinged at hbs. Please provide feedback.

    GRE: VR: 160; QR: 170 (Equivalent to 750 GMAT as per ETS) – if necessary, can take GMAT as well
    LSAT : 95th percentile: Have admits from a couple of Top 15 law schools
    Indian Male, 30 years at matriculation, Engineer from top 12 school (top 20% of class) and PGDM from top 4 school (exchange semester at AIT, Thailand) and top 30% in class
    Certified Financial Risk Manager; CFA Level II candidate
    Several single and double digit country ranks at aptitude exams and management entrance exams in India
    Internships during Under-grad and grad at Siemens, BMW and nuclear and thermal power plants
    Total work ex of 6 years (7 at matriculation)
    3.5 years – Working at a very large Indian power company: started off with Project Finance working with US Exim on a 600Mn USD deal – helped close financing documents and obtain first disbursement.
    Moved to Regulatory and policy advocacy role: Worked with industry associations to push for reforms in energy sector in India – responsible for many new policy reforms (as part of groups)
    Filed multiple petitions in courts and helped company win lawsuits worth ~20Bn USD.
    0.5 year – Assisted the chairman of another large power company in regulatory and policy related works
    Last 2 years – co-founded a renewable energy company (consulting and project management work) now backed by PE and traditional lenders; team of about 50 now with experience of reviving stranded hydro projects and setting up many rooftop solar projects.
    Goal: Plan A: grow network to join a start up or directly start a renewable energy company; Plan B: move to a top consult in energy practice in US; Plan C: work with a large power/energy company (not sure if that is possible as an international). Second MBA to expand network and reach out to entrepreneurs.
    Extra-currics – Lots of teaching to underprivileged students, set up infra for villagers through our company (not as CSR), set up blood donation camps, many Club president etc work at college and grad school; debating, editorial board,scuba diving and quizzing.
    Other factors: From a poor background, can speak four Indian languages fluently, overcame alienation as a child.
    LOR from present CEO of our company who knows me for six years and my previous boss who was president of reliance power and an alum of hbs.
    Thanks,
    Sandeep

  • ExMBB

    XTOL nailed it. Spec Ops washout with friends from undergrad who were still working in consulting. A bit of a 1-off situation, not particularly reliable as a backup plan to MBA applications.

  • hbsguru

    “They probably took a 25-26 year old HYP/MIT grad who crushed the GMAT and worked for Exxon.”
    Well, they did take people like that, and always do.
    I’m still a bit baffled, howver, lots to like in this profile.
    Age and 6yrs experience is something they sometimes wink at easily, and rest is real solid.
    Senegal is a plus, there are usually 0-1 kid per year from there, and Africa/Energy is a hot button.
    Schlum and Shell are feeder companies (esp. Schlum!).
    Dunno, kinda baffled. Altho if you put a gun to my head, I’d go w. My Guess guy. Oldish and shinier jelly beans in the bag.
    What did you write about??

  • hbsguru

    I’m hoping that the issues is that I didn’t sell my MBA reasoning
    enough and I’ll have better luck at schools with a discrete why MBA
    essay, thanks again.
    ————————————-
    You should. G’luck

  • XTOL

    I’m guessing he/she commissioned but then was either injured (in training or on deployment) OR washed out of some competitive program (i.e. Force Recon, SEALs). After that they applied to McK with their strong undergraduate resume.

  • MedChem2MBA

    Thanks for the feedback Sandy. As far as your first point, my research career (at least in MedChem would be over if I went back, at most VPs can get a part time MBA, but that isn’t necessarily required; however, a PhD/MD is). My company is a fairly well regarded biotech (midsized might be a bit of a misnomer it has a 40B market cap). I’m hoping that the issues is that I didn’t sell my MBA reasoning enough and I’ll have better luck at schools with a discrete why MBA essay, thanks again.

  • Modounu

    Thank you. It is a job with P&L responsibility ($XXXm). It is a critical role in managing shell business, both locally and globally. I thought being from senegal would be a plus.

  • my guess

    Older side and not a rad sounding job “account manager” – field engineer they probably know.
    They probably took a 25-26 year old HYP/MIT grad who crushed the GMAT and worked for Exxon.

  • top eng

    What is a top 5 engineering school? I know top 3 are MIT/CalTech/Stanford. Is this like Georgia Tech/Cal/Michigan? There’s an ocean between the top 3 and others and doubt adcoms are going to care if the school is super duper in engineering – they’re just going to check overall brand of school.

  • Modounu

    Sorry, I also speak 3 languages fluently: French, English, and local senegalese mandinka !

  • Modounu

    29 Ys male from Senegal.
    6 Ys in Oil; 4 with Schlumberger (Field Engineer, one assignment was in Far east russia for 1 year, 1 Y in Kazakhistan, and 2 Ys in nigeria), and 2 with Shell (account manager, current job)
    BEng in Electrical Engineering from Imperial (GPA equivalent 3.8)
    MS Electrical Engineering from UC Berkeley (GPA 3.9)
    GRE: 168Q, 164V
    Recommendation: one from SVP in large oil company (HBS alumnus, worked with him for 1 year), the other from direct supervisor.
    Post-MBA goal: to move to consulting in the energy area.
    EC: founded 3 not-for-profit kindergartens that helped 350 kids to gain quality education in math.
    Why the ding?!

  • Ex-MBB

    Sorry for the lack of clarity – I didn’t brand it anywhere in my applications as an FEC – just pulled a slightly less applicable acronym for the purposes of not calling out my employer directly. As for the “legitimate passion,” my story is something like being a collegiate golfer who went to work at TopGolf, an avid skydiver working at iFLY, or someone with a longtime gaming interest working at Dave & Busters. My company is PE-owned, >$100M revenues, strong growth prospects, etc.

    In my extracurriculars, etc. in last year’s application, I mentioned the above interest. Should not have come as a “whaa” type surprise to anyone (especially anyone reading both files side by side).

    I have the McKinsey offer to return but didn’t (don’t) plan to go back. I don’t have official sponsorship from the new company, but do plan to go back – don’t want to use the MBA as a way to change industries or functions.

    With that added color, any ideas? Thanks!

  • CatchCow

    26, Asian-American male, born/raised in US
    Top 5 engineering school
    3.72 GPA, 740 GMAT (49Q, 42V)
    5-yr WE (at matriculation) at large CPG doing supply chain strategy – promoted twice/high-performer
    Goal: brand mgt at CPG
    EC: highly involved at mega church children’s ministry – numerous leadership roles, marathoner
    Essay: what I learned in children’s ministry and how I applied it to my professional life
    Recs: 1 direct supervisor, 1 colleague

  • hbsguru

    if I had to guess.
    1. “researcher” is not a common source of admits, even tho biotech is a hot area. I am not sure if there is a “technical leadership” track at your company e.g. V-P Research, but often that is something that does not nec. req MBA (altho some of those guys do have MBAs, esp at super big companies).
    2. Sister theme in essay is OK hook to start with but you sound like your real passion is curing disease (well sure) and not creating R+D and distribution platform to cure disease.
    3. Your PM at health care company goal focusing on AI (using your CS background) and genetic data is an inspired idea but has a MacGyver feel to it, and is one of those things that may wind up winning a Nobel prize but adcoms cannot see at this point.

    It’s mostly, to sum up, how convincing you were that knew about MBAs and actually seemed to want/need one.

    All that said, given stats, biotech, etc. I wudda predicted an interview.
    Size and reputation of current company could also have been a factor. There is a cohort of guys like you fr. F-100/500 feeder device and pharma companies (often with medical/science backgrounds) and rotational leadership gigs, saying they want MBAs and their case is just more clear.

  • MedChem2MBA

    Hi Sandy, I really would like some input after my ding. My stats are as follows:
    25 y.o while male
    3.6 GPA top 50 school: Chemistry
    4.0 GPA part time MSCS (top program)
    780 GMAT (50Q 48V)
    3
    years as a researcher at a medium sized biotech company in the
    northeast (top 5% performer two promotions) working on rare diseases
    ECs: Teach CS at inner city high school, mentored high schoolers entering Science Fair, marathoner
    Recs: 1 direct supervisor, 1 previous supervisor
    Essay: Sister’s struggle with a rare disease and how it has motivated me to help.
    Post MBA goals: PM at a health tech company focusing on using AI and genetic data
    Thanks Sandy!

  • hbsguru

    GRR, seeing a lot of kids who were interviewed last year, reapplied, and got dinged w. NO interview this time. I sure hope there is no adcom file called NEVER which contains interview kids from last time that were sooo annoying that the adcom just had to say, “NOT ONLY IS THAT KID NOT GETTING IN, THAT KID IS NEVER GETTING IN.” Hence, the NEVER file.
    OK, let’s assume there is no such file, altho there might be some unofficial version of it 🙁

    As I say, an impt issue in reapps is what is NEW, and you got lots of new stuff, including a new passion for “0.5 years in “FEC” (Family Entertainment Concept, like a D&B or TopGolf).” which I just Googled. Ahem, your FEC does not rise to the top of many meanings of FEC, and once you find out what it means, to wit below, I gotta tell you, I wanna go, but I think adcom may have had 2nd thoughts about this being a passionate exit and a great landing from McKinsey:

    ———————————————————
    “A family entertainment center (or centre), often abbreviated FEC in the entertainment industry,[1] (also known as indoor amusement park or indoor theme park) is a small amusement park
    marketed towards families with small children to teenagers, and often
    entirely indoors or associated with a larger operation such as a theme park. They usually cater to “sub-regional markets of larger metropolitan areas.”[1]
    FECs are generally small compared to full-scale amusement parks, with
    fewer attractions, a lower per-person per-hour cost to consumers than a
    traditional amusement park, and not usually major tourist attractions,
    but sustained by an area customer base. Many are locally owned and
    operated, although there are a number of chains and franchises in the
    field.[1]”
    ———————————————————————————

    Don’t get me wrong, with the right amount of experience and passion you can make any business sound promising but this “space” is a harder sell, certainly as something you fell in love with while working at McK.
    Hate to say it, but it is a mighty interesting question if you would have been better off as a reapp if you never left McK.
    The difficulty of explaining all this, and their initial “whaa” when finding out about the idea, may have been a couple of bridges too far.
    I hope you did not sell goals as a business plan vs. a career, which would have been, and should have been, wider in terms of the ‘space’ involved, e.g. entertainment in general, or even real estate/entertainment, or whatever the correct lingo is.

    Also saying you wanted to RETURN to current employer may not have helped. Kids sometimes say they are being sponsored by KKR or McKinsey etc. and plan to return,
    That is not usually the case with folks working for SMEs. etc.

  • navyfinance

    As another military applicant, how did you go from the military straight to McKinsey? Just wondering as a backup plan if my MBA apps don’t pan out.

  • hbsguru

    guys with this profile often get in at Duke, Darden, USC, etc. Reach is maybe Tuck, you are their type. All that said, 33 is old anyplace, e.g. you will be 35-36 at grad. My guess is, most top-30 B schools have a small cohort of peeps ~33 year old, but each is a separate story. At that point you start looking like EMBA.

  • Ex-MBB Reapplicant

    HI Sandy – back again, really surprised.
    (You previously reviewed me on a prior handicapping post at >50%)

    Reapplicant, interviewed but not admitted last year
    Dinged, no interview this year

    -27 year old white male
    -3.75 GPA from top-10 school
    -GRE: 170 V / 167 M / 6.0 W
    -My fiancee is a current HBS student
    -Work experience: 2 years military, 2.5 years McKinsey, 0.5 years in “FEC” (Family Entertainment Concept, like a D&B or TopGolf). Progressed from junior military officer –> BA –> Senior BA –> Director (current position). Would have >5y at matriculation
    -EC: 100+ volunteer hours with vet-centric higher education organization
    -Essay: Introspection and self-discovery after last year’s HBS rejection; led me to leave McK to follow my true passions at current company; still need the MBA to round out a managerial toolkit and improve global business knowledge to be ready to head the organization in the future
    -Post-MBA goals: near term, return to current company and gain P&L responsibility over a geographic region. long term, CEO.
    -Recommendations: 1 direct manager at McKinsey (also military, HBS grad); 1 indirect manager / long-standing mentor (also HBS grad). Both know me VERY well, and were intimately familiar with the story I was crafting.
    -Biggest differences from last application to this one:
    + Improved GRE by 10 points
    + Left McKinsey, improving title and increasing responsibility
    + Took on significant volunteer effort
    + Story and future goals tied better to demonstrated past success

    Time for me to call it quits on a top MBA?

  • hbsnogo

    Hi Sandy,

    I would love a little insight into my rejection. I think it’s my lack of career advancement, but it still hurts a bit that I wasn’t even deferred to next round.

    – 25 yo Asian-American female
    – 3.3 GPA from HYP, Biology major
    – 770 GMAT (with 8 IR, 6 AWA)
    – WE: 4 years at matriculation–1 year of small healthcare non-profit, 1.5 years at well-known mid-tier pharma consulting firm (we’ve only sent 1 to HBS in the last few years), currently doing corporate strategy at health insurance
    – EC: active in local alumni group, leadership of a local entertainment club
    – 1-year varsity athlete in college
    – Essay was on turning down med school to pursue consulting
    – post-MBA goals: go into MBB and switch out of health care

    Thank you!!

  • structuraleng

    Noted and thanks – the honesty is better late than never and I so appreciate it!!

  • hbsguru

    dunno, age is fine and after the smoke clears, both schools look for ~mostly the same things.
    I think Stan will be an uphill climb. Nothing pushing you in.

  • structuraleng

    Thanks so much for the input. I think I explained how my goals stem from my particular work experiences, but I get it that the question still remains on why I need an MBA in the first place.

    Do you think, given my age and post-MBA goals, that I stand a chance at GSB even with this ding at HBS? I figure I’m grasping at straws since I always thought of my profile as stronger for HBS than GSB. But now that I look at it again I wonder if I misjudged and that I might be on the young side for HBS, excluding 2+2 candidates.

  • Remington Roth

    Those stats look SOLID.

  • MBA20TWENTY

    Hi Sandy, would appreciate your input
    -28yo Caucasian from Latin-american background
    -3.8 GPA from service academy: Economics
    -770 GMAT (50Q, 44V)
    -WE: 6 years military officer (nuke subs)
    -EC: volunteer teacher in poor Latin American village over the course of 8 years (every summer)
    -Recs: 1 direct supervisor, and one peer.
    -Essay: Growing up between poor village in Latin America and suburb in the US, how this perspective has influence my decisions and future aspirations.
    -Post-MBA goals: consulting focused on the energy industry

  • hbsguru

    that is one suspicion, and not sure that goals you hint at emerge from work history either. While consulting always does.

  • structuraleng

    Sorry, I meant 4 years total… 1.5 years + 2.5 years per company. I’m 25 right now, graduated from college when I was 20, about to turn 21. Started working after graduation and continued with my master’s part-time.
    I explained that I wanted to move to a tech company like Autodesk to develop tools for the industry. I suspected my goals might be a problem, but since product management takes MBA grads I thought that would be a smoother way to transition, although an MBA is not necessary. You would suspect that’s the reason for the ding – not convincing enough?

  • hbsguru

    8 years of work ex is on the high side altho you are young, those are separate categories sometimes.
    goals: product management in architecture-engineering-construction focused tech company
    Do you need an MBA for that??? And not sure what it means exactly, did you explain? What is the product you are managing?
    Sorry for my ignorance, but I’m smarter than most adcoms.
    Given lots of work ex, and goals, do you need MBA?
    Might have been better to say goals were more in line with consulting Engineering and Construction, viz. this is from the McKinsey website, sure it stupid BS, and hateful, but it does kinda smell of what is extruded by MBAs and not architects.
    ______________________________________

    Since 2008, McKinsey has worked with more than 100 of the world’s
    largest E&C companies. In addition to our work with the industry, we
    have global experience working on all major asset classes—from
    residential single-family homes to national power plants, and from
    regional roads to transcontinental railways.

    Our teams bring a unique combination of strategic advisors,
    researchers, senior industry professionals with decades of hands-on
    experience, and functional experts with backgrounds in areas such as
    lean organization and risk.

    We often work with companies on end-to-end transformations. Combining
    our experience in operational transformation and restructuring, our
    deep understanding of the E&C industry, and insights and
    inspirations from other industries, we help companies make significant
    improvements to their operations.

    We support E&C companies with targeted initiatives, including:

    Due diligence. Provide in-depth due diligence of potential targets to drive successful inorganic expansion strategies.

    Strategy development and execution. Advise on
    portfolio management, growth strategy, commercial excellence, mergers
    and acquisitions, emerging-market entry, and carbon-abatement
    opportunities along the construction value chain.

    Procurement. Drive value through a rigorous process that includes capability building, supplier development, pricing, and demand management.

    Cost and productivity improvement. Help deliver
    complex projects on time and within budget using value-driven,
    end-to-end project management, design-to-value, and lean construction
    principles.

    Organization, governance, and talent management.
    Build governance models that balance cohesion with entrepreneurship and
    manage portfolio risk. We also support project-manager training,
    performance management, and the development of incentive systems to
    drive continuous improvement.

    Restructuring. Improve profitability margins
    across entire portfolios or in specific projects through a rigorous
    process of assessment, validation, and implementation of our proprietary
    tracking methodology.

    Examples of our work

    Conducted due diligence for a US firm, helping it confirm that it should proceed with a major acquisition.

    Helped a global European E&C client achieve 15 percent
    savings through productivity and purchasing optimization in residential
    construction.

    Conducted an overall capital-expenditure diagnostic that helped
    the largest real-estate company in India achieve a 25 percent cost
    savings in large-scale office projects.

    Worked with a client to reduce costs and improve the timeline of a $1 billion flagship project in the Middle East.

    Helped a North American firm double its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in a 2-year period.

    Advised a Chinese E&C company on the development of a strategy that resulted in domestic and international growth.

  • hbsguru

    dont think GPA was big factor in light of you being in top 15 percent of class and GMAT and success later on. We are not talking about some bottom 20 percent of class stuff that needs to be explained away somehow.
    did not say job was back office, said it was ‘hybrid’ altho no need to split hairs, the issue may have been how you explained it in light of focus of the company, and how you described what you do.

  • hbsguru

    ahem, you can expect to wait. What deferred often means is that you are “just
    miss” in your industry etc. cohort, and they got a quota for that
    cohort, and they are waiting to see how many admitted kids fr. that
    cohort accept and what that cohort pool looks like in Round 2,
    and where you fit in. So that part is kinda out of your hands.
    Not sure what percent of deferreds show up as admits, but my guess is, you could fit em all on a school bus.
    beyond that, if anyone has any stats or personal experience, please post.

  • structuraleng

    Hi Sandy – would appreciate your comment:
    -25 yo Asian-American female (26 at matriculation)
    -3.6 GPA from mid-tier Ivy in civil engineering, completed undergrad in 3 years and grad in 2 years part-time while working
    -750 GMAT (Q50 V42)
    -WE: 4 years as a structural engineer in public transportation, 1.5 years in mid-size firm and 2.5 years in large firm
    -ECs: college extracurriculars as head of civil engineering competition team, student professional organization, after college as volunteer at various organizations for people with disabilities
    -Recs: from 2 direct supervisors, were both solid letters
    -Goals: product management in architecture-engineering-construction focused tech company

  • Filthydelphia

    Thanks, Sandy. I suppose HBS is out of my league. No 33 year old with my background can just switch careers to an HBS feeder. Disappointing.

  • FranzVoss

    I did try to focus on long term plans at the family company, but maybe they didn’t like them or something else.
    Thanks for the feedback.

  • hbsguru

    there is a kind of formula for applying w. goal of joining family business. They REALLY want to know about the business, size, revenues, and your plans etc.
    Not sure if that was it but is the way you should have applied

  • Consultant

    Thanks Sandy. Realize consulting is a tough cohort, and maybe just not interesting enough despite the solid stats. Out of curiosity, if you were doing your “Handicapping the Odds” %s, what would you put this profile as for H/S?

  • hbsguru

    “Associate working in a Risk Management/Compliance function, JPM: 2015 – Present
    Mutual Fund Accountant, BNY Mellon: 2012 – 2015 (broken time due to military service/deployment)”
    Some tuff love, those are not HBS feeder jobs, viz, accounting and compliance, and that sank the rest of the app, which has lots to like. And if they had any trouble squeezing the ding trigger, 33 years old made it easier.

  • hbsguru

    Dunno, sorry, this would be an easy profile to blink past the low GPA and silver first job given gmat and hi-profile start-up exp. Also the music thread seems solid.
    Man, a lot of these dings are more interesting than many of the kids who have signed more R1 mock interview service.
    Altho some of those kids (who did get interviews) are mild oddballs so you just cannot say in some blanket way that adcom does not take chances.

  • hbsguru

    Yikes nothing jumps out at me and lots to like.
    After the smoke clears, see if you can work some MCK back channel to find out if there was an issue, and reapply.
    No GPA and GMAT is below average, I sure hope that was not the reason. This a more interesting than most MBB profile.

  • hbsguru

    read entry right above this, not sure what happened, and you seem a bit more interesting than average MBB applicant.
    Dont think it was IR (and I never do, but will start paying more attention, by view is that barely gets looked at, I could be wrong.)

    You may have one bridge too far on the automation shtick, but dunno, not sure how that played out.

    As a reapp, more exp. is nice but DIFFERENT experience is better, reapp essays should focus on what is NEW since last app.

  • FranzVoss

    It is my family’s company. Wanted to get to know the industry and the company better before going for an MBA. Around 400 employees.

  • hbsguru

    WISH there was something that stood out, but this seems pretty solid all around. Dont think Q score or extras were the issue, more prob. recs, or just bad luck. That is a pretty solid package, altho sure, execution might have been annoying in some dog whistle way, but as noted often below. MBB decisions are hard to make if you are an adcom.

  • Consultant

    Hi Sandy,

    -25 y.o. Asian-American male, LGBTQ
    -3.95 GPA from mid-tier Ivy, completed 2 degrees in 4 years
    -3 years at MBB when applying (2 promotions, spent time abroad as well)
    -760 GMAT
    -Post-MBA goals: Back to MBB before transition to strategy group in industry, eventually to become Chief Strategy Officer at a major multinational in sector of interest
    -ECs: Very involved with / have led various MBB initiatives (incl. a few social-impact oriented ones), middle-of-the-road during college (e.g., research, various mentor roles, moderate club leadership)
    -Recs: Both from MBB – assume they were pretty solid; one likely more focused on work initiative leadership and the other on analytical horsepower
    -Other: Essay described my sector of interest, how I explored it in school and at work, my long term career goals in the space, and how HBS played a role in that vision; realize it’s not a dramatic narrative, but the essay was very well written and helped connect all the experiences in the application together
    -Reflections: Hypothesize weaker areas were the ECs / community service and the lower quant score (47 and 7 for IR). App was definitely my best foot forward, so a bit disappointed and would love a few thoughts from an expert 🙂

  • kk

    Hi Sandy,

    Appreciate any input you can provide:

    25y Indian (grew up in the US and have US citizenship) male from a big ten state school (think OSU/MSU/Penn State), double majored and graduated with honors
    GMAT: 720 (q49 v40) IR3
    WE: 3 years in a CPG in supply chain (think Kellogg/P&G/General Mills etc.) with 1 promotion, but expanded responsibility each year. Then lateraled to MBB, would have had 2 years at MBB at matriculation if I was accepted.
    EC: Involved in an education non-profit for the past 3 years, started out as a mentor and moved up to the associate board
    Essay: I did a project with our internal think tank while in consulting, the topic was the impact of automation on jobs. Essay was about witnessing the impact education could have on a student from an underprivileged background (my mentoring experience), and how that led me to want to use education to help those displaced by automation
    Post-MBA goals: return to my firm as a sponsored candidate, focusing work on social/public sector. Eventually launch a program within my firm or separately to provide education/training to help those displaced by automation

    Did my IR hurt me dramatically? Any advice on whether my chances would improve substantially w/more experience applying next year?

  • alexandra

    Hi Sandy,

    Dinged today.

    My profile:
    26y Russian female from top Russian schools
    2y in McKinsey Moscow, transferred to the US to join McKinsey Global M&A Practice 1y ago
    GMAT 710, TOEFL 111
    EC: pro Bono consulting, political activism, sports
    Post-MBA goals: come back to McK and than transition to PE
    Essay about challenges I faced as a female professional while pursuing new opportunities (like moving to new cities and countries and new career roles) and how I want to share my experience with others

  • And here is another series of questions from a waitlisted candidate today: Hey guys – just found out that my rd 1 app was unfortunately deferred. What do people know about this process? Does it essentially just mean my app will be reviewed against rd 2? Does it signal anything at all? Is there much hope of being admitted down the road?

  • RZ

    Hi Sandy,

    Would really appreciate your thoughts on my profile below and why you think I was dinged. Honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. Thought my app was interesting and well rounded apart from my GPA (which I briefly explained). Guess it wasn’t enough.

    Dinged, no interview

    Male, URM, 25
    3.2 GPA in econ & finance from top 5 undergrad b school (extenuating circumstances in family affected academic performance, explained in optional essay)
    730 GMAT (49Q, 40V, 8 IR)… 3 attempts and received the same overall score every time
    -Experience: 1.5 years in management consulting at tier 2/3 consulting firm (think Accenture/PwC) -> 2 years at a top unicorn in strategy & ops (think Airbnb/Uber/Spotify) with one big promotion and an additional raise. Work on high visibility growth strategy projects with H/S/W grads across the company. Recently promoted to youngest manager in org, and manage high impact projects with exec level exposure.
    -Really strong recs (neither were HBS alums, tho)
    -ECs: Professionally trained & accomplished singer in Eastern style of music. Have performed on television and won regional competitions. Also coach students who have gone on to win regional competitions as well. Student leader in undergrad (university government, student council, admissions ambassador, etc.). Also co-founded media publication and tutored middle school students in college. Pro bono consulting engagement for a well known nonprofit.
    -Post MBA Goal: Transition to entertainment & media industry in a strategic role.
    -Wrote essay about background in music, and how it impacted the way I approached personal and professional challenges. Related directly to goals.

  • Filthydelphia

    Not sure if this post was in response to mine which was removed (the Marine captain working at JPM with a 760 GMAT)? If so, I am surprised. What stats are you seeing which were lower than average?

  • Army Guy

    Hi Sandy!
    Dinged
    White Male, 36 (37 at matriculation, which certainly didn’t help me), 3.7 from regional private university, 3.4 from regional private law school
    740 GMAT (45Q, 47 V)
    10 years as judge advocate in the U.S. Army; 2 deployments to Afghanistan; want to move into Health Care management in delivery or device industries. Wrote my essay about my children and their medical issues and how that has driven me to shift career paths at this stage of my life.

  • Alexander

    Dinged. Any advice?

  • J C

    Hi Sandy,

    Dinged
    Asian female, 26, 3.6 econ from Duke/Dartmouth/Penn
    740 GMAT (48Q, 42V)
    2.5 years in investment banking at GS/MS/JPM –>1.5 years in FP&A at Google/FB/LinkedIn
    Extracurriculars in college: president of Women’s business organization, exec board of other business clubs, volunteer for social entrepreneurship in Guatemala, leadership awards in econ dept
    Extracurriculars now: Mentor for high school students, young alumni board
    Good recs (no HBS alum)
    Post-MBA goals:product management @ tech company
    Wrote essay about competitive figure skating, women leadership

  • Filthydelphia

    Hi Sandy. Not sure what happened to my post.

    Hi Sandy,
    I was dinged without interview for the second year. My
    stats are below. I would be curious to see where you think I made a
    mistake.

    Age: 33 at matriculation
    Undergrad GPA: 3.66
    GMAT: 760 (47/47)
    Education: Bachelors of Business from Temple University (public state school) (Finance major)
    Demographics: White (Middle Eastern) Male, American

    Career:
    Captain, US Marine Corps Reserve (logistics officer w/ one overseas deployment): 2013 – Present
    Associate working in a Risk Management/Compliance function, JPM: 2015 – Present
    Mutual Fund Accountant, BNY Mellon: 2012 – 2015 (broken time due to military service/deployment)
    Various blue collar and odd jobs post-college including manager at campus food court, manager at fast food restaurant, etc.

    Extracurriculars:
    I am a video game developer (part-time) for a Microsoft-published game series which has sold 4 million copies.

    Post-MBA Goal:
    Transition to product management for consumer goods

    Essay
    was about the challenges I faced growing up in an abusive home in
    inner-city Philadelphia, working my way through college, and joining the
    military (it was a longer process than usual for me). End-note of how
    the journey shaped me but it is in the past. I do not believe in resting
    on accomplishments but remain focused on what to accomplish next. As my
    former commander would say, “You have not arrived” no matter what
    titles, powers, or roles you are given. It’s what you do with those
    achievements that matter.

    Thanks, Sandy.

  • eastvillager

    White Male, 27, 3.8 BBA from top public university (Michigan/Virginia)
    760 GMAT (49W, 44V)
    2 Years at Booz & Co (Pre-PWC), 1.5 Years at Top CPG corporate strategy team, 2 Years at well regarded hedge fund
    Good recs, one from VP of Strategy (HBS alum), one from director of research at current job
    EC’s a bit lacking, was mentor for underprivileged children and fraternity leadership roles in college
    Wrote essay about wanting to transition to a healthcare startup focused on improving deficiencies in healthcare, based my experience in short selling some of the companies that benefit from inefficiencies in the system

  • hbsguru

    dunno, see notes below about HBS sorts out winners and losers from TPG/KKR etc.
    “wrote essays about various examples of leadership at work and in school” yeah,similar guy below, post which says adcoms have ha!r across their asz, now being moderated, could easily become trite and annoying and braggy.

  • hbsguru

    if I had to guess: consulting is tuff cohort, not being MBB is hard for not URMs, extras: involvement in young professional board and firm activities now–do not really bang with HBS, too business like vs. helping victims, etc.
    GOAL: impact businesses and ultimately home state (rural America) by impacting the organizational behavior enterprises.”
    WTF does that mean, sorry, maybe real deal was more clear.
    Anyway, if you did get interview and this is a prank, I would also not be surprised.

  • hbsguru

    ANSW. TO A POST THAT HAS BEEN REMOVED,
    see note below on how hard it is for Indian males to get into HBS with
    ONLY Big 4 exper. Not sure of your story but sound like white, male, if
    so, same goes for you. Real hard and stats were actually LOWER than
    average at HBS and no WOW stuff to make this happen.

  • bernarian

    Makes sense. I figured my employment might have had something to do with it. I honestly did feel like I grew a lot over those four years, and that leaving after two would not be enough experience for me. But that’s my take and I’m sure they have images in their head that are different. It’s a challenging and engaging job.

    Hopefully other schools have a different general opinion on the industry. I’m not super surprised not to get an interview given how competitive it is, but I was really hoping to with my GMAT, GPA, fellowship, and awards.

  • hbsguru

    well, I’m sticking with lots to like, might happen. Not sure,
    you may have done better casting yourself as guy interested in growing companies, and start-ups, vs. boring and hateful AMZN and GOOG, but not sure that was the issue.

  • hbsguru

    Now working at a family company.
    YOUR OWN? if so a lot could turn on size and impact. if not your own, duh, that seems an odd move?

  • Notanengineer

    Thanks for the analysis Sandy, 5 years of work ex thus far – it was 4 years at feeder FMCG, a little less than a year in FP&A at the other FMCG and been at the e-com major since June this year, would have waited another year to apply but was worried about the age factor (almost 29 already) and so did it anyway, 3 months into the latest e-com Job. Would other schools be more forgiving?

  • hbsguru

    PWC is often hunting ground for URMs, and a tough place to come from otherwise. esp for Indian Male.
    Number of Indian males admitted to HBS in past 10 years with ONLY Big 3 experience like you, even if in strat. part of Big 3, could be a SHOCKINGLY low number, altho I do not know it.
    Esp. if you took that number and subtracted kids w. connections.

  • Juan Vargas

    Thanks Sandy! Ops at a startup is not a back office job. We are a logistics/delivery company, so it is one of the core roles in the company. Agree with that comment from the bank, even though it was a role close to bankers and i was in charge of analyzing deals.
    My consultant believes that GPA and class rank were the reason too.

  • hbsguru

    Ec consulting is a tougher band to break out of, and what they expect in cases like this [4 years!] is that you would get a more selective job after two, e.g. at MBB or banking.

  • hbsguru

    dunno, lots to like but too many jobs were hybrid ops and back office stuff, nothing super solid adcom can sink into.
    As you seem to be aware. That could be a big negative since you are emerged fr. crowded cohort. Start-up ex is good but same thing about hybrid roles.

  • dinged

    Dinged

    Female, 24, 3.8 STEM major Harvard
    770 GMAT
    almost 2 years at top-tier consulting firm (just outside of big 3) – fast promotion record
    Very good recs from project partner and former advisor (business related thesis)
    High extracurricular leadership in college, involvement in young professional board and firm activities now
    Wrote essay about wanting to impact businesses and ultimately home state (rural America) by impacting the organizational behavior enterprises.

  • hbsguru

    Dunno, this kinda says it all: “4 Years with an Indian CPG Giant in their finance cadre. The co. is a
    feeder – 1-2 guys go to HBS every year, but they aren’t accountants like
    me, they’re engineers from IIT.”
    The number of non-IIT Indians at HBS would be an interesting number, and on top of that accounting is
    is tuff feeder industry.
    “1 year in FP&A at another Indian FMCG Co. ” More eye-glazing viz. FP &A.
    “Currently in a senior mid-management role with the Indian operations of
    THE largest e-commerce company in the world (US Based e-com giant).” Sounds like a Prime job and that might have helped save you, but it didn’t. Too much baggage. And how long have you had that job. We are also getting in to too many jobs issue.
    “Essay was focussed on creative problem solving at work and in extra curricular endeavors including some anecdotes about working in remote factories as the only female manager.”
    Sounds fine see note above about baggage, too many jobs.

  • hbsguru

    dunno, just noting here, S+T is not a favored place to come from, not sure of your chrono, but you may have been at MBB shorter than usual when you applied,
    GOAL: to lead consulting practice specifically focused on pension fund operating models
    I’d reject someone who said something that specific and mildly odd, and was not aware of how WTF it sounds, even if true and important in the real world.

  • hbsguru

    breaking out the KKR/TPG etc. admits and dings

    is hard, and often random. Sometimes turns on tiny or debatable things in mind of decision maker.

  • hbsguru

    you can expect to wait. What deferred often means is that you are “just miss” in your industry etc. cohort, and they got a quota for that cohort, and they are waiting to see how many admitted kids fr. that cohort accept and what that cohort pool looks like in Round 2,
    and where you fit in. So that part is kinda out of your hands.
    Not sure what percent of deferreds show up as admits, but my guess is, you could fit em all on a school bus.

  • Dinged

    Similar background here and got rejected with no interview (from a top megafund like Carlyle/TPG/KKR).

  • Dinged

    Dinged: no interview
    3.7 / 740 / top liberal arts school
    Asian / Indian male
    Top tier banking (GS / MS) –> Top tier PE (TPG/Blackstone/KKR)
    Recs from HBS alums
    Led student organizations in undergrad, wrote essays about various examples of leadership at work and in school

  • Consultant123

    Dinged

    25 white male

    3.6 GPA from top Canadian University
    770 GMAT
    2.5 years S&T at Canadian bank before moving to MBB for past year. Promotions at each
    Recs from manager and partner at MBB firm
    On board for education focused student group and do pro-bono consulting for educational charity
    Post MBA goal to lead consulting practice specifically focused on pension fund operating models

  • wlc

    Sandy,

    What can we expect if we were deferred for “further consideration”?

  • Notanengineer

    Forgot to add, application was decently executed, worked with a well-regarded consultant.

  • Notanengineer

    Dinged!
    Indian Female 28. 3 Year Undergrad (B.Com) from one of the top 5 Indian Universities. No GPA but graduated with the highest pass class – first class with distinction. Earned a CA designation (Indian equivalent of the CPA – but tougher, with 3 levels of tough exams and a 3.5 year mandatory internship)
    770 Q50 V46 IR 8 AWA 9
    4 Years with an Indian CPG Giant in their finance cadre. The co. is a feeder – 1-2 guys go to HBS every year, but they aren’t accountants like me, they’re engineers from IIT.
    1 year in FP&A at another Indian FMCG Co. Currently in a senior mid-management role with the Indian operations of THE largest e-commerce company in the world (US Based e-com giant).
    Speak 5 languages. Extra currics include voluntary tutoring and pro-bono accounting services for a children’s NGO and editorship of the college magazine back in 2007. Also have some French language certifications.
    Post MBA Goal is to do Corporate Strategy at a CPG Co. and eventually lead Strategy at a CPG Co.
    Essay was focussed on creative problem solving at work and in extra curricular endeavors including some anecdotes about working in remote factories as the only female manager.
    Reccs from Former Supervisor at Company 1 and Professional Mentor at Company 2.

  • Juan Vargas

    Colombian and Spanish male
    26 years old
    3.34 GPA top Colombian university. Graduated 20 out of 144
    740 GMAT (42V – 49Q)
    3 years experience at top bulge bracket bank (JPM/GS/MS) in middle office role, fast track promoted to associate
    1 year experience at top VC funded startup in role overlapping operations/business development/project management. Company is new so no track record of sending employees to MBAs yet, but management team and interns include alumni from Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, IMD and Booth.
    Extracurricular involvements include being part of a team that worked on a financial consulting project for a non-profit foundation. I also play tennis (competitively in high school now non competitively).
    Goal: join the Latin American practice of one of the top management consulting firms (MBB).
    Applied together with girlfriend who did get an invite

  • bernarian

    Rejected, no interview.

    Asian male, 27
    780 GMAT
    3.95 GPA, top NESCAC (A/W)
    Awards for honors thesis, and extra curricular activity. One year on international fellowship (Fulbright/Watson/Etc.)

    Working in econ consulting for last four years, want to pivot to cleantech. Believe recs are very good. Extracurricular involves youth mentoring for last four years.

  • Akash Kapoor

    Nationality: Canadian, born in India, 26 (27 at matriculation)
    GPA: 95.7% (Class rank 1) – Accounting, University of Waterloo
    CPA: National medalist
    GMAT: 710 (49Q 38V)
    Progressed to manager in 2 years, managed firm wide analytics platform roll-out (working at PwC – Analytics consulting)
    Goal: Join internal consulting focused in the tech industry
    Extracurrs: Board member at NFP, App developer – launched first Canadian CPA prep app with consulting company, and lecturer at UWaterloo

  • Mr.Austria

    Forgot to mention: recs were really good.

  • FranzVoss

    Mexican, male, 28.
    770 GMAT
    BS Chemical Engineering from top Mexican university 94/100 GPA

    Rapidly grew at a textile company up to business unit director, leading 400 people, reporting directly to the board.
    Now working at a family company.

    Spent a full year doing volunteer work.

  • Mr.Austria

    Hi Sandy,
    I posted on “odds to get in” a while ago. Your assessment was “lots to like/ might happen..” and to check back with outcome.

    Well I just go dinged without interview.
    27, white male from Austria
    750 gmat, magna cum laude from top 5 University in Switzerland
    Most recent job in VC funded startup in Berlin (>150 people, very senior position and leadership experience)
    Strong extras, including founding of non-profit
    post mba goal: transition to work with a global leader in tech (think Google/ Amazon)
    Application was well executed, worked with consultant

  • Filthydelphia

    Hi Sandy,
    I was dinged without interview for the second year. My
    stats are below. I would be curious to see where you think I made a
    mistake.

    Age: 33 at matriculation
    Undergrad GPA: 3.66
    GMAT: 760 (47/47)
    Education: Bachelors of Business from Temple University (public state school) (Finance major)
    Demographics: White (Middle Eastern) Male, American

    Career:
    Captain, US Marine Corps Reserve (logistics officer w/ one overseas deployment): 2013 – Present
    Associate, JPM: 2015 – Present
    Accountant, BNY Mellon: 2012 – 2015 (broken time due to military service/deployment)
    Various blue collar and odd jobs post-college including manager at campus food court, manager at fast food restaurant, etc.

    Extracurriculars:
    I am a video game developer (part-time) for a Microsoft-published game series which has sold 4 million copies.

    Post-MBA Goal:
    Transition to product management for consumer goods

    Thanks, Sandy.

  • Anonymous

    last year 2/3 got it. They ended up at H/S/W one each.

    Anyway i didn’t get an interview. Kind fo shocking tbh

  • hbsguru

    You said your firm is one
    “that sends ~1 / yr to HBS out of 3-4 applicants”
    Jeepers, can you figure out anything from that record? E.g. those kids are under-rep types or all have HIGH GMAT, etc. Where do the other 3 dingbats wind up going? How many kids from your firm get HBS interviews per year?

  • Anonymous

    Male, 25, Asian-american. Thanks!

  • Alexander

    Yep male

  • hbsguru

    white, male? Age? And good luck.

  • hbsguru

    howz about waiting til you get officially dinged.
    MALE?

  • Alexander

    GPA: 3.7
    GMAT: 730
    Asian-American
    Undergrad from top US school (HYPSM), major in Economics
    Tech banking experience at top tier investment bank (GS/JPM/MS), then top-tier VC fund focused on technology
    (VC fund doesn’t typically send people to MBA programs as people usually stay here / go to other VC jobs)
    Extracurricular activities include co-founding a nonprofit that helps promote the arts in urban neighborhoods in hometown
    Post-MBA plan: start my own company or stay in VC but transition to a larger fund

  • Anonymous

    T-2 hours: 760 GMAT | 3.82 GPA, magna (top 10 u-grad b-school, think uva mcintire) | Top IB (GS/MS) -> large cap PE in Boston that sends ~1 / yr to HBS out of 3-4 applicants | Good extra curriculars | Consultant reviewed essay

    Will let you know what happens but I am far less optimistic today than I was Monday morning.

  • hbsguru

    Bad timing. Poor execution on the application. A low GPA. Graduating
    with your bachelor’s from a less-than-stellar college. Working for an
    employer that is not known for sending candidates to Harvard or
    Stanford. No visible advancement in your job.

    AHEM AND LOW GMAT/GRE SCORES. SK