MIT Sloan | Mr. Healthtech Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.44
NYU Stern | Mr. Army Prop Trader
GRE 313, GPA 2.31
Harvard | Mr. Software PE
GMAT 760, GPA 3.45
Kellogg | Mr. Social Impact Initiative
GMAT 710, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Policy Player
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4
Chicago Booth | Mr. Unilever To MBB
GRE 308, GPA 3.8
INSEAD | Ms. Spaniard Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 8.5/10.00
Rice Jones | Mr. Carbon-Free Future
GMAT 710, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Private Equity Angel
GMAT 660, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Navy Nuke
GMAT 710, GPA 3.66
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Salesman
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Entertainment Strategist
GMAT Have not taken, GPA 2.92
Wharton | Mr. Future Non-Profit
GMAT 720, GPA 8/10
Chicago Booth | Ms. Indian Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 9.18/10
London Business School | Mr. FANG Strategy
GMAT 740, GPA 2.9
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Indian Dreamer
GRE 331, GPA 8.5/10
Wharton | Mr. Hopeful Fund Manager
GMAT 770, GPA 8.52/10
London Business School | Mr. LGBT Pivot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Defense Engineer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.15
Harvard | Mr. CPPIB Strategy
GRE 329 (Q169 V160), GPA 3.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Student Government
GMAT 34 (ACT for Early Admit Program), GPA 3.75
Chicago Booth | Mr. Healthcare PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Kellogg | Ms. Sustainable Development
GRE N/A, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Army Engineer
GRE 326, GPA 3.89
Kellogg | Ms. Big4 M&A
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
MIT Sloan | Ms. Rocket Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.9
Harvard | Mr. African Energy
GMAT 750, GPA 3.4

The Round 2 Ding Report For Harvard Business School MBA Hopefuls

Ms. Special Sauce

  • 740 (41V/49Q) GMAT
  • 3.6 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree from a “nowhere liberal arts school” in economics and politics ((double major, graduated a year early)
  • Work experience includes two and one-half years as an analyst at a top rating agency (S&P/Moody’s) and two and one-half years as an associate at an endowment for a well-known think tank (“niche I know, but has many ties to the university/HBS in particular”), with promotions
  • Extracurriculars include consistent volunteer work
  • Passed CFA level 1
  • “I have a feeling I just didn’t have that special sauce HBS is looking for?”
    Under-represented minority woman
  • “Ding definitely stings on the heels of a ding at CBS, but boy oh boy am I glad I cast a wide net and have some interviews coming up to look forward to.”

Sandy’s Ding Analysis: Lots of strong stuff to like in your application, including your 740 GMAT, your 3.6 GPA, and the fact that you are a URM and female. I would have predicted an interview despite work history being silver and not gold.

What you really needed was for a recommendation writer or someone at work who knows HBS to reach out strongly in writing or by telcom (preference for the phone call obviously) to make your case, if indeed your firm has HBS connections.

I’m still a bit surprised that you didn’t even get an interview, quite frankly, but you needed to have really sung and explained why you took those jobs, what you did there, and how the jobs connected to your goals. Doesn’t everyone need to do that?? Some more than others.

For really strong and obvious candidates, they can write essays about their hobbies or grandma or one mentor. For borderline cases like yours, an essay and recs really had to explain your silvery work history.

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.