Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
Yale | Mr. Yale Hopeful
GMAT 750, GPA 2.9
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Mr. Latino Insurance
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5 / 10
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Darden | Ms. Inclusive Management
GRE 313, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Mr. Mountaineer
GRE 327, GPA 2.96
Harvard | Mr. MedTech Startup
GMAT 740, GPA 3.80
Stanford GSB | Mr. SpaceX
GMAT 740, GPA 3.65
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Failed Entrepreneur
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Latin American
GMAT 770, GPA 8 of 10
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Stanford GSB | Mr. Nuclear Vet
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99
NYU Stern | Mr. NYC Consultant
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
NYU Stern | Mr. Brolic Bro
GRE 305, GPA 3.63
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. JD To MBA
GRE 326, GPA 3.01
Kellogg | Mr. Pro Sports MGMT
GMAT GMAT Waived, GPA 3.78
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Real Estate Developer
GMAT 740, GPA 3.12
Tuck | Mr. Mega Bank
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Commercial Lawyer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Data & Strategy
GMAT 710 (estimate), GPA 3.4
INSEAD | Mr. Dreaming Civil Servant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2

Rejected By HBS. Find Out Why

FORMER POLITICAL STAFFER FROM RWANDA NOW A COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR A NON-PROFIT

Profile Basics:

  • 710 (Q49, V38) GMAT
  • 3.57 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from Harvard, Yale or Princeton in political science after an earlier degree in development studies at the University of Rwanda
  • “English is the third language I learned, so my verbal was low. I am not a native speaker”
  • Work experience includes one year as a political staffer. After a lost election, he moved on to become a policy advisor for a well known non-profit advocacy organization. After about 1.5 years as a policy adviser, I was promoted (diagonally) to the communications director with three direct reports
  • Recommendations from the politician who I was a staffer for, my current supervisor, and the nonprofit president. All should have been strong.
  • Essay on my work empowering the people of Rwanda. “Although the wounds of genocide have made incredible steps towards healing in the last 25 years, the people of Rwanda are still scarred by poverty, and AIDS, and overpopulation, and lack of access to water and sanitation.
  • Extracurriculars include working as a volunteer for an organization based out of Kigali that is working to lift up the next generation of children. “Most notably they run an orphanage and school near Kigali. I have raised over $85,000 for this organization and do much of their translation and communications work”
  • “I am afraid I am too old. My GPA is low, but it’s from a premier institution so I thought it would be OK. My GMAT is low, but my English is still far from perfect and my quantitative score was OK.”
  • 31-year-old from Rwanda

Sandy’s Assessment:

Grrrr, sorry to hear this. Lots to like. I don’t think your GPA/GMAT scores were the issues, those were OK.

Nor was being 31. Based on your profile, I think it is more likely that adcom questioned your need for MBA vs. getting a Public Administration degree at the Kennedy School. In your post, elected politics and public jobs are the totality of your experience. And beyond that, those are your goals.

You say you wrote your essay “about my work empowering the people of Rwanda – although
the wounds of genocide have made incredible steps towards healing in the
last 25 years, the people of Rwanda are still scarred by poverty, and
AIDS, and overpopulation, and lack of access to water and sanitation.”

That is a powerful story, but did you make it link up to an MBA degree?

And was it personal enough? You seem dedicated to public service. A version of that works for HBS, but it does not appear you tapped into it.

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.