Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Quality Assurance
GMAT 770, GPA 3.6
Columbia | Mr. Energy Italian
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Aspirant
GRE 322, GPA 3.5
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Army Aviator
GRE 314, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare PE
GRE 340, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Military Quant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
UCLA Anderson | Mr. SME Consulting
GMAT 740, GPA 3.55 (as per WES paid service)
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Mr. Concrete Angel
GRE 318, GPA 3.33
Kellogg | Mr. Maximum Impact
GMAT Waiver, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Wharton | Ms. Interstellar Thinker
GMAT 740, GPA 7.6/10
Harvard | Mr. Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Female Sales Leader
GMAT 740 (target), GPA 3.45
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Gay Techie
GRE 332, GPA 3.88
INSEAD | Mr. Product Manager
GMAT 740, GPA 63%

You’d Never Believe These MBA Applicants Were Just Rejected By Harvard Business School

Mr. Consultant In Public Health Nonprofit

  • 760 GMAT (Q50/V44)
  • 8.3/10.0 GPA
  • Undergraduate & master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay
  • Four years of work experience, including as a management trainee at a multinational pharma for 10 months; founder of a venture in the logistics-tech space which lasted for 20 months; and currently as a management consultant at a leading global non-profit in the public health sector for the last 18 months
  • Extracurriculars include leadership roles in community development projects; head of student placement committee during undergrad; debating
  • Essay focused on “my startup and public-health experiences. I demonstrated my interest in the use of technologies for tackling complex problems. Also focused on the power of collaboration that I’ve observed while working on community development projects and during under-grad. Stated my future goal of starting a social-enterprise in public health”
  • Recommenders include supervisors (current and former) at my current organization. The first is from a senior manager manager with 10+ years of work-experience and an MBA (top 3 in India), and the second is from a director with 15+ years of work experience and a Wharton MBA.
  • 26-year-old Indian male

Sandy’s Analysis: As an Indian male with an engineering background, you are in a real hard cohort. But you did everything right, well, for a while. e.g. IIT, high grades, and a 760 GMAT.

After that your story gets murky, to wit:

Work Experience – Total 4 years of work-ex; (1) Management trainee at a

multi-national pharma for 10 months;

WHAA??? TRAINEE IN WHAT? FINANCE, OPERATIONS, ROTATIONAL LEADERSHIP?

(2) Started my own venture in the logistics-tech space which lasted for 20 months;

LET ME TELL YOU AND OTHERS A DIRTY LITTLE SECRET. ADCOMS DO NOT FULLY TRUST OR CREDIT START-UPS. THEY SUSPECT YOU GOT FIRED AND COULD NOT FIND A JOB, OR ON THE OTHER HAND, WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO QUIT AND ACTUALLY START A COMPANY, SO THIS PHASE NEEDS SOME REAL EXPLAINING, AND MAY BE UNEXPLAINABLE.

(3) Currently working as a management consultant at a leading global non-profit in public-health sector since the last 18 months

YEAH, IF YOU HAD STARTED AT MCKINSEY AND CAME HERE FOR YOUR SECOND JOB, THAT WOULD COMPUTE. WHAT WE GOT NOW IS A KID WITH A ZIG-ZAG PAST FALLING INTO POSSIBLY AN OK JOB [DEPENDING ON THE REPUTATION OF THE ORGANIZATION AND ITS HISTORY OF SENDING KIDS TO MBA PROGRAMS.

ALSO, SINCE YOU ARE A CONSULTANT, YOU ARE POSSIBLY COMPETING AGAINST SOME OF THE USUAL IVY/MBB TYPES. ADCOMS COULD HAVE FOUND YOU MORE INTERESTING THAN THOSE DUDES, BUT SOMEHOW THEY DID NOT. COULD BE FISSURES IN YOUR STORY OR EXECUTION.

ADCOMS ACTUALLY LIKE TO DING DO-GOODERS, JUST TO FEEL TOUGH. THAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE LAST STRAW.

YOU WERE AN EASY DO-GOODER FOR HBS TO DING.

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.