Harvard | Ms. Analytical Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Non-Profit Latino
GMAT 710, GPA 3.06
Darden | Mr. Financial World
GMAT 730, GPA 7.8
Cambridge Judge Business School | Ms. Story-Teller To Data-Cruncher
GMAT 700 (anticipated), GPA 3.5 (converted from Australia)
Kellogg | Mr. Operator
GMAT 740, GPA 4.17/4.3
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Air Force Vet
GRE 311, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Mr. Engagement Manager
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2
London Business School | Mr. Family Investment Fund
GMAT 790, GPA 3.0
Columbia | Mr. M&A Analyst
GRE 323, GPA 3.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Top Performer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. STEM Minor
GMAT 740, GPA 3.78
Harvard | Mr. Fresh Perspective
GRE 318, GPA 3.0
USC Marshall | Mr. Supply Chain Guru
GMAT GMAT Waiver, GPA 2.6
Wharton | Mr. MBA When Ready
GMAT 700 (expected), GPA 2.1
HEC Paris | Mr. Productivity Focused
GMAT 700, GPA 3.6
MIT Sloan | Mr. Energy Transition
GMAT 760, GPA 3.95
Harvard | Mr. Sommelier
GMAT 710, GPA 3.62
Kellogg | Ms. Strategic Photographer
GRE 318 (to retake), GPA 3.68
INSEAD | Ms. Social Business
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. Comeback Kid
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Harvard | Mr. MBB Latino Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Wharton | Mr. African Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Funder
GMAT 790, GPA 3.82
London Business School | Mr. College Dropout
HEC Paris | Ms. Freelancer
GMAT 710, GPA 5.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Healthcare AI
GRE 366, GPA 3.91

Rejected By Harvard Business School. Can You Believe It?

Mr. Investment Analyst


  • 330 (165Q, 165V) GRE
  • 3.87 GPA
  • Undergraduate degree in economics from a Top 5 liberal arts college
  • Work experience includes three years in the front office of a private investment firm (Prestige should be on par with top banks/PE shops). in an investing role, focusing on fixed income.
  • Letters of Recommendation written by two supervisors (strong recommendations)
  • Essay didn’t address goals but was very personal. “I talked about my relationship with a mentor who taught me how to think, led me to create my ethos & frames how I view the world today.”
  • Extracurriculars include club sports and student investment club in college; started working with an affordable housing provider when COVID hit to help residents with resumes/jobs.
  • Post-MBA Goal: To enter the real estate investments/development industry, gain industry experience, and ultimately build out a development arm for the family construction business
  • “Maybe this was too specific? Adcoms possibly thinking this person better off going to Wharton where they have real estate major MBAs”

Sandy’s Analysis: If your as goal is to join YOUR family construction business, you need to know that a lot of family business apps at HBS turn on the size and the impact of the family business.
 Assuming not, guys like you get in and dinged, depending on execution, luck, and not blowing the interview which you obviously didn’t get.

You say that in your essay you “talked about relationship with a mentor who taught me how to think, led
me to create my ethos & frames how I view the world today.”

That is often a theme that inspires cliches (although the experience was real). Not kidding. They don’t care about mentors per se,
or ethos or frames or values or ethics in general. They care about your accomplishments, lessons, overcoming adversities of all kinds. etc. How well did you execute on real stories with personal lessons.?



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.