Sandy’s Drive-By Analysis Of R2 Harvard Business School Dings

London Lawyer Dinged By HBS, Wharton & Columbia 

The Basics:

  • 740 GMAT
  • First-class honors in an undergraduate degree
  • Law degree
  • Work experience includes five years as a lawyer in London
  • 30-year-old male Southeast Asian

Application Outcomes:

Harvard Business School (dinged)

Wharton (dinged)

Columbia Business School (dinged)

Chicago Booth (invited to interview)

NYU Stern (invited to interview)

Sandy’s Analysis: Business schools don’t like lawyers in general, especially ones that will be 33-year-olds when they start looking for that first post-MBA job.

How prestigious is your law firm? That always matters to the schools you’ve targeted because the more prestigious the firm, the more selective it would be. My guess is that for non-under-represented minnority males, the only 30-year-old lawyers getting into top business schools are guys from the tippy-top, highly selective law firms.

Even then, it won’t be easy.

Edtech Guy Dinged By HBS But Gets Free Ride At One Target School

The Basics:

  • 720 GMAT
  • 3.4 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in STEM from a small private liberal arts college that is not highly ranked or well known
  • Work experience of about 64 months at matriculation in education and consulting, edtech
  • Applied through the Consortium
  • Extracurricular focus in organizations addressing minority underrepresentation in colleges and business
  • Goal: Strategy consulting for higher education
  • 26-year-old white male

Application Outcomes:

Harvard Business School (dinged, without interview)

Virginia Darden (Invited to interview but withdrew)

Michigan Ross (Invited to interview but withdrew)

Ohio State Fisher (Admitted with $$$$, plus $20,000 a year stipend through a fellowship)

Boston University Questrom (Interviewed)

Dartmouth Tuck (Self-initiated interview)

Yale SOM (Applied, waiting for the outcome)

Sandy’s Analysis: As to Harvard Business School, for a white male, with both a 3.4 GPA and a GMAT of 720, you’re under HBS averages. And coming out of a “not high ranked or well known” small liberal arts school, you needed some X factor.

Like what? Like national magazine attention to your work in ed/tech and minority college recruitment and admissions.

There are lots to like here, including a straight path from work experience to goals. Other schools may see the value of that and you’re solid but not top 5% stats. Not sure applying through the Consortium was an idea that paid off.

Product Manager At Top Tech & Mobile Game Companies Dinged By HBS, Wharton & Booth 

The Basics:

  • 740 GMAT
  • 2.7 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in computer science from a non-ranked public (upward GPA trend in last two years)
  • 3.36 GPA
  • Master’s degree in computer science from a top 25 public
  • Work experience racks up to eight years as a product manager at a top tech firm (think Google or Facebook), a top mobile game company (think Zynga or King), and a technical game designer at a top AAA game (think Naughty Dog or Rockstar) as well as other engineering roles at startups, 3D printing and research
  • Extracurricular involvement in amateur sports competitions (MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ), coach for three amateur fighters, Muay Thai referee and judge (refereed over 100 fights), president and captain for three years of Kendo Club, host a weekly podcast on game industry business
  • Short-term goal: DoP at game publisher
  • Long-term goal: Entrepreneur
  • 31-year-old white male

Application Outcomes:

Harvard Business School (dinged, without interview)

Chicago Booth (dinged, without interview)

Wharton (dinged, without interview)

Stanford (Applied, waiting for the outcome)

NIT Sloan (Applied, waiting for the outcome)

Sandy’s Analysis: Long story short is that you are too old, your undergrad and master’s GPAs are too low, and Harvard, Stanford and Wharton don’t like the game space.

As often noted, they might blink at one of those, especially in light of the 740- you achieved on the GMAT. But not all three.

I also think saying you want to use your MBA to return to the game space was probably ill-advised. Applications are read by MBA moms for the most part who dislike the violence, bad mental health habits, etc., of gaming and tolerate it a bit with their own kids because, well, that is the way the world is.

On the other hand, they do not have to tolerate you one freaking byte.

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