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.