Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Corp Finance
GMAT 740, GPA 3.75
Kellogg | Mr. Marketing Maven
GRE 325, GPA 7.6/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Vroom Vroom
GMAT 760, GPA 2.88
Stanford GSB | Mr. Singing Banking Lawyer
GMAT 720, GPA 110-point scale. Got 110/110 with honors
MIT Sloan | Mr. Low GPA Over Achiever
GMAT 700, GPA 2.5
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
MIT Sloan | Mr. Refinery Engineer
GMAT 700- will retake, GPA 3.87
Yale | Mr. Army Infantry Officer
GMAT 730, GPA 2.83
Berkeley Haas | Ms. 10 Years Experience
GMAT To be taken, GPA 3.1
Yale | Ms. Social Impact AKS
GRE 315, GPA 7.56
Harvard | Mr. Political Consultant
GRE 337, GPA 3.85
Kellogg | Mr. Chief Product Officer
GMAT 740, GPA 77.53% (First Class with Distinction, Dean's List Candidate)
Said Business School | Mr. Across The Pond
GMAT 680, GPA 2.8
Wharton | Mr. Army & Consulting
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Improve Healthcare
GMAT 730, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Wake Up & Grind
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Darden | Mr. Fintech Nerd
GMAT 740, GPA 7.7/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Minority Champ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Indian Telecom ENG
GRE 340, GPA 3.56
Stanford GSB | Ms. East Africa Specialist
GMAT 690, GPA 3.34
Harvard | Mr. Nonprofit Social Entrepreneur
GMAT 740, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 318 current; 324 intended, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3

Dinged By HBS? Let Sandy Tell You Why

Harvard Business School’s iconic Baker Library

Without question, a rejection from Harvard Business School hurts.

As one 25-year-old applicant with a 760 GMAT and a 3.64 GPA from a top ten undergraduate school put it today: “Denied. Not surprising but it was my top choice and I had some hope, so it stings a bit to get the outright rejection. Additionally, both my parents went to HBS to the extent that it matters so here is an example to a question that gets asked around here. Evidently, still not enough for HBS.”

The candidate would have racked up four years of work experience at a data-analytics boutique consulting firm. He was promoted to a post-MBA level, and he volunteers as a weekly tutor. Yet, as he admitted on Reddit, this young professional was “fundamentally fighting an uphill battle vs. MBB et al folks.” He’s still in the fight at Stanford, Wharton, MIT Sloan, Kellogg and Columbia.

But at HBS today, it was a battle he lost.


Roughly 3,000 round one applicants to Harvard Business School received bad news today. They were, in the euphemistic words of Admissions Managing Director Chad Losee, “released.” These often highly qualified candidates to HBS were not invited to an admissions interview and, to use a less sensitive word, dinged.

There is no shame in getting turned down. Many of the applicants who were dinged today are every bit as solid as those who were invited to a virtual interview. But HBS has only so many seats in its incoming class to offer and unfortunately, that means the vast majority of people who apply–as many as 90% in this more competitive admissions season–is going to get passed over.

They could have GMAT test scores above 500. They could have gone to Ivy League schools for their undergraduate degrees. And they could be working for feeder companies from McKinsey and Goldman to Google and Apple. Yet another applicant today, one with a 780 GMAT (51Q, 48V) and 4.0 GPA, who has worked in private equity for two years, also was turned down. “At some point,” writes the candidate who went to a state school, “it’s hard to know what else could be done.”


Headshot of Sandy Kriesberg, aka HBS guru.

Sandy Kreisberg, founder of

As we have in the past, we’ve asked Sandy Kreisberg, founder of, a leading MBA admissions consultant and an astute reader of all HBS tea leaves, to take a look at the profiles of “released” applicants and explain why they didn’t make the first cut.

If you would like Sandy to explain your HBS ding, just post your profile, your GPA, GMAT, company information, and any other facts you think made your application different. The more detail you provide, including what you wrote in your essay to HBS, the easier it will be for Sandy to determine why HBS turned you down.

To give you an idea of how this plays out, here is his round one ding report from last year: Rejected By Harvard Business School: Here’s Why


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.