MIT Sloan | Mr. AI & Robotics
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Industry Switch
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Stanford GSB | Mr. Irish Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Marine Executive Officer
GRE 322, GPA 3.28
Tuck | Mr. Liberal Arts Military
GMAT 680, GPA 2.9
Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
GMAT 780, GPA 3.63
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Tough Guy
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
Chicago Booth | Mr. Bank AVP
GRE 322, GPA 3.22
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Infantry Officer
GRE 320, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Ernst & Young
GMAT 600 (hopeful estimate), GPA 3.86
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Mr. Operations Analyst
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.3
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Kellogg | Mr. Innovator
GRE 300, GPA 3.75
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
Yale | Ms. Biotech
GMAT 740, GPA 3.29
Stanford GSB | Ms. Global Empowerment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.66
Harvard | Mr. Renewables Athlete
GMAT 710 (1st take), GPA 3.63
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Apparel Entrepreneur
GMAT 690, GPA 3.2

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

Mr. Big Four Turned Mid-Market Leveraged Debt Analyst

  • 740 GMAT (48Q/44V)
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in business from a top four business progrm at a top public university, graduating a semester early
  • Master’s degree in accounting from same school with a CPA
  • CFA (passed in shortest time possible)
  • Work experience includes one and one half years at a Big Four firm (thesis was to start career in audit to immediately apply his MAcc degree; transitioned to finance directly following second busy season); then two and one-half years at a top middle market leveraged debt firm (current full-time position),
  • Also co-founder/CFO for an SEC-registered long-short cryptocurrency hedge fund (both domestic and international investors through a subsidiary feeder fund) (current part-time position); summer internship in between undergrad and masters program working in the micro-finance department for bank in Africa
  • Extracurriculars include two years of volunteer work for a nonprofit focused on mentoring low-income high school students (ceased involvement after being diagnosed with cancer) and two years of volunteer work for a cancer support organization as both a mentor (survivor to survivor) and captain responsible for organizing monthly events at a local hospital (diagnosed with cancer in Summer ’16, currently in remission)
  • Post-MBA Goal: Fintech, “motivated by experiences in Africa and research efforts for the crypto fund, looking to leverage business acumen to date and work toward marrying micro finance with tech with a focus on financial inclusion”
  • Recommendations from direct supervisors
  • 28-year-old white male

Sandy’s Analysis: Your work experience was more silver than gold. The audit job in a Big Four is a great job for an URM or an international candidate but less so for a white male in the U.S. You were smart to transition into a leveraged debt firm, but not knowing which one, the firm may not qualify as gold in adcom’s eyes.

Unfortunately, for Harvard at least, you are in a super competitive bucket with people from Blackstone, Goldman, JPMorgan, etc. It’s not that there is anything glaringly wrong here; it’s just that HBS liked you less than other people in the same bucket.

Even so, I would have thought the “extras” in your profile would have offset these issues, particularly your work as a co-founder of a cryptocurrency hedge fund, your experience in and passion for Africa, and your volunteer activities. Your career goal lines up nicely with your profile as well. All those things, I find more impressive than your master in accounting, by the way. I would want you in my class!

Bottom line: White males in Big Four audit is a very tough cohort for kids applying to HBS. If anyone out there is such a person, or knows of one, please check in, and maybe add stats and extras. I’m kinda curious about what it takes.

Despite all the blather about what HSW is looking for, like humility, etc. what they are really looking for are people from top IB and MBB.

Funny what LIARS they are.

Anyway, this is not Divinity School, although they lie too. 😉

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.