Applied 19x to Elite MBA programs.....this is what I learned

My background for context...

Undergrad: Mid-ranked State School/STEM-Business triple major/B-average GPA

Graduate: Masters degree in STEM field from top 30 private (non-IVY) university/A- average GPA

WE: 7+ years at NY sector-focused boutique IB, promoted-twice

EC: Founded non-profit focused on veteran's healthcare; raised $15k+

Career Goal: sector focused HF/AM

GMAT: 740

Indian Male

Since Fall 2018, I've applied 19 times to 10 different MBA programs.....all of the M7's including 3 others.  I've been interviewed by three programs and waitlisted at a non-HSW M7 and by one other non-M7 program.  I've spent thousands and thousands of dollars on GMAT fees, GMAT tutoring, App Fees, Admissions Consultants, etc.  Here is what I've learned about the MBA admissions process...

1) The first and foremost priority for MBA admissions committee is "building a diverse class."  This means that the boxes you check for sex and ethnicity are the most important factors influencing your admissions chances because you are competing against people whom look like you.  You might be vastly more competitive that the most competitive applicant in a different ethnic group or sex but they will get a spot and you will not.

(Side note: If you are in an over-represented group, you better have strong GPA (major agnostic), solid GMAT and brand-name companies on resume.  You may also be able to fool admissions into thinking you've done something super unique (guy I know latched onto a successful non-profit founded by his older brother as a "co-founder" and managed to get into HSW on the back of that "accomplishment")).

2) Admissions committees have absolutely no sense of how to compare the rigor of various majors from various undergraduate institutions so they choose to be agnostic with regards to field of undergraduate study i.e. accept humanities majors, STEM majors, business majors, etc. with little preference for one over the other with obvious preference for degrees from more prestigious institutions.

3)  Admissions officers are always going to encourage you to apply. Idk if they are paid by how many applications they read or what…but you will not get an honest assessment of your admissions chances from them.

4) Very few schools offer feedback for rejected applicants as they are likely deathly afraid of being sued for racial/sexual bias in the admissions process.  This is also likely why admissions is such a "black box."  No school is transparent about the criteria for admission because they want to maintain the most flexibility in being able to build the class how they want i.e. discriminate on the basis of sex and or race.  It seems admissions at elite institutions view it as their mission to cure social disparities on the basis of race and sex and seem to be okay with going about this by de-valuing merit.  The SFA vs Harvard supreme court decision is going to have fascinating implications for admissions at both the undergraduate and graduate level. 

5) Having taken the both the GRE for grad school and GMAT for MBA applications, acceptance of the GRE in place of the GMAT is a blatant effort by MBA admissions to devalue the Quantitative skills that might disproportionately detract from the applications of certain racial/sexual groups and make them less competitive.  The GRE is a complete joke compared to the GMAT.

While I'm sure this comes off as vitriolic rantings of a spurned applicant who maybe just wasn't qualified…I honestly wish someone had told me these things in 2018 when I first set out on this disastrous journey.  I've spent countless hours studying, writing essays, etc. and thousands of dollars on fees and consultants for nothing.  I incorrectly assumed business school admissions decisions were heavily based on merit, that work experience in competitive, grueling positions like IB or consulting was valued and that, as a lot of admissions was supposedly based on "luck", persistence in the process would ultimately be rewarded (being interviewed and waitlisted enforced this).  I was very wrong on all of these and would discourage anyone in a similar position as I was from following my path….

Comments (133)

  • Managing Director in Consulting
Oct 28, 2021 - 2:43pm

I appreciate the frustrations you feel, but You have limited yourself in a few ways(past and present) and don't seem to address those things in your post 

1) you went to a non target and had a mediocre gpa

2) you limited yourself to applying to elite programs (understandable…)

3) you went to a non target masters  and had an ok gpa.. is it related to the sectors you work in/want to work in? 

4) you have roughly the average/median +-10-20 GMAT score for the most elite M7

5) Not too sure on the EC situation, but I could write a check to a foundation I setup for more than that at that stage of my career…

6) unsure where your boutique ranks….  

So you have a lot going against you plus all the things you said. 

Consultants will take your money.. did they not suggest applying to other lower ranked programs? 

What are the compelling unique things that make you stand out among the elite of the elite also gunning for these spots? 

Not trying to sound harsh.. I'm not sure I'd get into an M7 these days.. I'm not that unique in the scheme of things. Doesnt mean you won't go on to make a shit ton of money in the future.. just find a path that works for you!. 

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 3:36pm

Appreciate the feedback and the positivity in your response....

1) Yes it was a non-target with a mediocre GPA......while triple majoring in a STEM field and two business fields.  My grades in my business classes probably averaged out to a 3.6 while those in my STEM classes were a 2.6-7.  Adcoms tout that rigor of courseload is considered so my GPA should be evaluated in that context.

2) Elite programs are the only ones that offer a viable network in the field I want to enter post-MBA

3) Yes the masters is directly relevant to the sector I want to work in and is at a target institution.

6) My boutique is well-known in our sector but its not a large, agnostic M&A firm like Greenhill, Centerview, etc.  It was founded by guys with blue chip backgrounds all Harvard MBA's (these guys wrote my recs).  Alumni of my firm have gone to MIT and Northwestern.

The consultants did suggest other programs but see answer #2.

As far as compelling unique things that make me stand out among the elite of the elite....I would say the triple major (despite the GPA) is fairly unique and compelling.  My "story" also flows as my undergrad, grad, and professional experience are all related to the field I want to enter Post-MBA.  Regardless, I have spent a fair amount of time evaluating the profiles of people whom I know personally that were accepted to M7 schools and while a few certainly did some extraordinary things (usually the White/Asian males).....most of them did not have anything particularly exciting in their profile....they just had a solid GPA (usually in a Business major), solid GMAT and worked at a brand-name firm (independent of their actual function which could include accounting, operations, IT consulting, etc. [almost 100% women])

[Just wanted to add that I also did my masters (again in a highly quantitative field) while working full-time in IB at my firm.  Think that's pretty unique and compelling, particularly for candidates coming from IB.]

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other
Oct 28, 2021 - 7:50pm

I went to one of H/S for bschool and I want to say some of your claims do hold validity. People act like M7 bschools have these brilliant, top notch students, but in actuality, that's like a quarter of the class and the remainder don't have flawless backgrounds. Plenty of non-target alumni and people who have pretty random work experience. In the end, if you don't fit what they want (and it's impossible to know what they want), you're shit out of luck. 

You're putting too much stock in your triple major. Major hardly matters in the US and the only people who emphasize major are those with STEM backgrounds because they want to feel better about themselves. Your GPA is pretty inexcusable. My second major is STEM and I know it's hard, but not sub 3.0 hard or even 3.3 hard. 

My advice is to aim for T15 schools or even T20. You should also get your GMAT a little higher to "make up" for the poor GPA. They want to know that you're smart and a low GPA and okay/mediocre GMAT (relative to others at the M7 schools) doesn't quite sell that story.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 2:47pm

Your lack of success could be due to other factors. Your undergrad GPA is from an average to mediocre school and is 2.7, which is below 99% of admits at T10 schools. This is already a significant disadvantage. You're also a bit older than most candidates (I'm assuming you graduates from your Master's at 23 which would put you at ~30 today), are at a no-name boutique, and are from an over-represented demographic. The only strong part of your application is your GMAT, and even then, it's above average but not exceptional either. Finally, your career goal doesn't make much sense given that HFs don't really look at MBAs.

I don't mean to twist the knife, but I wouldn't say that your outcome is too surprising. I certainly wouldn't say that it brings in question the degree to which elite MBAs are meritocratic. The fact that you got a waitlist at a M7 is honestly pretty good all things considered 

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 3:41pm

You are correct that HF's don't really look at MBA's.  However, in the particular sector I want to focus on, many of the PM's have MBA's from Harvard, Wharton or Columbia.  So independent of whether they specifically recruit from those schools, coming from those schools would facilitate a transition to one of these funds.  With regard to your other points, please see my responses above.  Given this context, I do think it brings into question the degree to which elite MBA are meritocratic.

Dec 14, 2021 - 6:07pm
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're also a bit older than most candidates (I'm assuming you graduates from your Master's at 23 which would put you at ~30 today)

Is being older seen poorly by adcoms? It might not be the average, but I feel like that would make you underrepresented, which could be good for admissions

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Most Helpful
Oct 28, 2021 - 3:45pm
hahahahahaha, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yeah dude it's definitely diversity efforts that are keeping you down and not the fact you're a clown with a 3.0 from a bad school and a GMAT that's below the outright average (never mind the cohort you're actually up against) who very clearly has a giant chip on his shoulder despite not much going on. Grow up.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 5:09pm

Thank you for your response.  I will say I certainly feel like a clown.  I feel like a clown for taking on challenging coursework as an undergrad.  I feel like a clown for choosing to work long hours in a IB job.  I feel like a clown for spending so much time studying to achieve a 740 on the GMAT.  I feel like a clown for believing that my experience and achievements, such as they were, spoke more about my character than the color of my skin or what is between my legs.

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:45pm
hahahahahahaha, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You are wildly missing the point my man. You don't have any achievements that would put you anywhere near the top of the pile, straight up. There is nothing that stands out about you. Nothing to do with your race or your gender. HBS is literally 55% dudes and 25% Asian, and from firsthand knowledge I can tell you probably upwards of half of that Asian stat are South Asian. Stop crying "woke oppression" just because your self-image is too fragile to handle the fact you're not cut out for the big leagues. Stay mad

Oct 28, 2021 - 8:56pm
hghgg, what's your opinion? Comment below:

1. Why do you keep going on about your "challenging coursework" when you were business major at some random state school? These are literally known for how easy they are. Ok you also took some STEM courses good for you - averaging 2.7 gpa in your stem classes is very much not elite material. 

2. The fact that your biggest takeaway from the admissions process is that it wasn't your fault shows a lack of maturity and introspection which programs look for. This probably came across and might be why you were dinged 

3. GRE quant is easier but verbal is arguably harder (i also took both), why should schools value quamt skills more than verbal skills? Processing and communicating qualitative info is a large part of many post MBA jobs 

  • 5
Oct 29, 2021 - 12:41pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Adjust for the fact OP is an Indian male


  • 2
Nov 3, 2021 - 6:23pm
PeRmAnEnTiNtErN, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Also I thin that you could probably back into it.  It looks like HBS median is 730 and range is 590-790.  this tells us that there is a heavy weighting in the upper side of the range as if we assumed a more normal distribution, we would expect the median to sit closer to the mean which would be ~690.  So now that we know that we can assume that the average profile is probably more like 740-750.   

Oct 28, 2021 - 5:08pm
hq_life, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can you share details about your applications? You applied to 10 different schools 19 times. So you were a re-applicant to 9 of them. What were your applications like the first time around? What did you improve the second time around? Just wondering if there was a significant improvement because the schools are not re-applicant friendly. 

  • 1
  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 5:23pm

In general between the first and second cycles of applications, I improved my GMAT score and refined my post-MBA career goal.  Was interviewed and waitlisted during this round.  After my eventual dings, I was encouraged by admissions officers of both of those programs to re-apply for the next cycle in earlier rounds (the deadlines for which left very little time (1-2 months) between my ding notification and my application submission) and even got a app fee waiver for one program.  These applications were also dinged.  I applied to certain programs so many times because I received feedback that encouraged me to make certain changes and re-apply.  After following that feedback and re-applying, I was still dinged.

Oct 30, 2021 - 8:37am
Bubbadog, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For perspective, I went to a super target where I earned both a ba and ms in a stem field with a 3.8+ gpa in 4 years . I took the GMAT once with minimal prep and got a 760. I was also a varsity athlete and at a top BB. I had outstanding LORs from distinguished alumni. I am a white male. I applied to 4 M7 schools. I was dinged at H/S without an interview. I was accepted to W. Only one of my peers was accepted to a M7 (not H/S/W) during the same admissions cycle despite similar qualifications. I'm sorry you've wasted so much time and money, but you're beating a dead horse. 

Oct 28, 2021 - 6:45pm
Arroz con Pollo, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sub 3.0 gpa and you're bitching about not getting in lmao come on bro. Nobody gives a fuck you overextended yourself in undergrad - life isn't fair and just because you did "hard" stuff and did so at a mediocre level doesn't mean you deserve a spot at a good grad school. Your post, even with the disclaimer at the end, comes off as entitled as fuck. The only thing you're a victim of is your own failure up to this point in life

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 7:14pm

Appreciate the response although I am disappointed in its tone.  The post may come off as entitled to you but I hope you can appreciate the context in which it was written.  I certainly do not know of anyone who spent as much time and effort getting into an Elite MBA program as I did.  While it was ultimately not successful, I certainly learned alot about the process and would like to share that knowledge with others who may be in a similar position and maybe spark a thoughtful discussion about the positives and negatives.

While I don't think my qualifications have necessarily "earned" me a spot, I also do not believe alot of the candidates that do get spots are particularly more deserving.  Your right in that life isn't fair but that doesn't mean that people who have the power to, shouldn't strive to make it so.  You disparage "[doing] hard stuff AT a mediocre level" but I say that building a base level competency in a highly technical field is preferable to "excelling" in a field that is a dime a dozen.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Oct 29, 2021 - 5:05pm

How can you say you know everything about what other people had to sacrifice for their admissions? The sole fact you saying, "I certainly do not know of anyone who spent as much time and effort getting into an Elite MBA program as I did," tells us enough why you didn't get in, even from those you had interviews with. You just have too many chips on your shoulder, and I bet those interviewers saw through it and made a better decision for their alma mater.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Oct 30, 2021 - 12:21pm

"who spent as much time and effort getting into an Elite MBA program as I did"

just because you spent so much time and effort doesn't mean you deserve a spot

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Nov 5, 2021 - 8:18pm

This answer right here just shows why you didn't get in. The actual entitlement!!!

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Oct 28, 2021 - 9:41pm

I can see why you were rejected so many times. From your replies I can tell you have a giant chip on your shoulder and feel like you deserve to get in. This probably came through in your essays. This is on top of your mediocre performance in school. As an Asian male, I hate diversity recruiting/affirmative action as much as most of the people on this forum but it seems like you believe that's what's stopping you from getting accepted.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 9:59pm

Maybe it did come through in my essays for my first app cycle.  However, if it did, then that problem was solved when I hired admission consultants to help write my essays for the second and subsequent app cycles.

I do believe it is stopping me from getting accepted.  If I had no hope because of my GPA or some other factor.  I would not have had a signs of success at all and I would have been done with this process in early 2020.  It would have been easier on my wallet and my sanity.  However, that is not what happened and here we are today.  I think I'm fairly unique in having tried so many times and I think my failure can prompt a thoughtful discussion as to why.

Oct 28, 2021 - 9:46pm
D.O.U.G., what's your opinion? Comment below:

So only M7 (+3)?  Really?

Read the room, my friend.

Jesus.  I was HYP,  varsity letters, 3 years at Goldman in S&T handing $200mm + per day in flow and got a 630 on GMAT (perfect math).

Knew I didnt have ANY shot at the top schools due to the competition...and this was 25 years ago.

Not everyone is cut out to be a BSD at HBS or Wharton.  There will always be someone better.  Someone with an 800.  Someone whose last name is Trump.  Someone who saved the manatees.

Managing your own expectations is the most important part of maximizing your career.  The system did not conspire to put you down.  The system ranked you where you should be.

Hard work does not guarantee sucess.  Reality plus hard work does.



  • 9
  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 10:17pm

Thanks for your candor.  It's not like I was H/S/W or bust. I applied to a number of programs.  I'm not suggesting the system conspired to put me down.  I'm suggesting the system conspired to lift others up and I am collateral damage.  I'm not disgruntled about losing out to "Someone with an 800. Some whose last name is Trump. Someone who saved the manatees." I'm disgruntled about losing out to candidates who, 10-20 years ago would not have been competitive but are today because MBA admissions feel they should be correcting for social disparities rather than evaluating candidates on the basis of merit.

Oct 28, 2021 - 10:26pm
arbjunkie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Your problem is obviously:

1. your goals make no sense. no hedge fund is gonna hire an IB VP in his 30s out of MBA and adcoms know it. it doesn't make sense, if that was what you wanted to do why did you stay in IB for 7 years? you might get in if you told them you wanted to move to BB IB but even then you're gonna have a problem cus you're too senior. I honestly think this accounts for 85%+ of your problems. you are too senior for an MBA and there is no recruiting track that makes sense for you

2. your GPA sucks

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 10:31pm

When I started this process, I was 26 and was still an associate. If I "aged myself out" of the MBA….it's because they kept dinging me lol.

With regard to no HF's hiring….i spoke directly with an adjunct prof at one of the MBA programs who is a PM at a fund in my sector of interest. He told me he specifically hires students who take his class. I mentioned this in my app to that school.

Oct 28, 2021 - 10:45pm
arbjunkie, what's your opinion? Comment below:

if you applied consistently with an "Investment management only" goal, from a no-name IB boutique, in a position above analyst (i.e. your responsibilities are moving away from modeling towards relationship/people management), with a sub 3.0 GPA, the criticism still applies. Think of it from their perspective - if you want to be an investor, why didnt you recruit out of the analyst role into a PE/HF/AM role? these roles are super competitive and they aren't generally looking for senior IB people, they want analysts who they can train. the mba adcoms know you are unlikely to hit your goal, which is a TOP red flag for admissions

... and if the answer is "I couldn't get interviews for those jobs"... well... what does that tell you? IM doesn't preference MBAs that much anyway, so if you couldn't interview for them without the MBA, why should the MBA take a chance on a weak candidate

Oct 30, 2021 - 1:41am
browniverson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

+1 on this.

I think the biggest red flag is OP might be telling adcoms he wants to exit to the buyside. Buyside seats out of even M7 are in insane demand - it's vicious out there. You literally have people who did the typical 2 + 2 (BB/EB -> UMM/MF) that strike out on grabbing a post-MBA UMM/MF seat; and those guys had the GPA, GMAT, and shiny brand name resume. 

Tell adcoms you wanna do Consulting, Corp Strat, or Large cap IB and you'll get into the T15. This is one of the cases where telling the truth about career goals is getting you dinged. That's it.

There's tons of ~3.0/730+ splitter applicants that get into programs like Johnson/Stern/Fuqua/Darden/Ross. 


  • 2
  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 28, 2021 - 10:46pm

I understand you mean well, but your responses come off as entitled and show you're completely missing the point. 

1) Drop the DEI gripe. You sound extremely bitter - I'd be willing to wager that the majority of URM applicants with your profile would end up with similar results.

2) Not exactly sure if your story makes sense here. Sounds like your goal is biotech HF/ should not need an MBA if you have 7+ years of related-sector IB. I saw your previous comment: "However, in the particular sector I want to focus on, many of the PM's have MBA's from Harvard, Wharton or Columbia." a lot of times, this is folks with science/academia background bolstering their profile. Absolutely not essential for you since you have a masters STEM degree. Just look at Peter Kolchinsky for example.

3) Look at where you consistently shift the blame - repeatedly mentioning the AdCom process is at fault. Your profile does not stand out. Look in the Top 15-ish range and you will have much more success.

Best of luck

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 28, 2021 - 11:03pm

1) I apologize if my responses are coming off as entitled.  I generally am interested in having a discussion about the merits of DEI as they apply to MBA admissions.  I obviously don't know the real reason why I was unsuccessful and I am positing that DEI has undue influence.  I'd absolutely take that wager on URM applicants with my profile.

2) The MBA may not be essential.  But it can certainly facilitate what is a fairly difficult transition.

3) I'm shifting the blame on the AdCom process because I have reason to believe that it is biased.  Could there be other reasons my efforts were fruitless? Maybe, but none that are as apparent to me at this time.  Again, I don't disagree that my profile does not stand out.  However, I also don't think M7 classroom's are bursting at the seams with people whose profiles do stand out.

Oct 29, 2021 - 2:48pm
Rocket Man, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hate to say it but this is just wrong. There are ~100-150 black test takers that score >700 on the GMAT in any given year. There are certainly many, many more than that the go to the M7 schools. A black test taker with a 740 is basically guaranteed admission and the question would be H/S or one of the other M7 and how big of a scholarship they are getting.

We do need the lies to stop. Go look at the profiles of DEI candidates at M7. These are often not backgrounds that a white or Asian male would have a chance of getting accepted with.

Before anyone claims a chip on the shoulder-went to W. It is just a fact of life that people want to pretend doesn't exist and claim people are bitter when it is noticed.

  • Analyst 1 in AM - Equities
Oct 29, 2021 - 3:06pm

Good thing GMAT is the only thing considered in an MBA application, right? I talked about his entire profile -  1) very weak GPA 2) work experience doesn't jump off the page (small boutique) 3) story for why MBA (aka what value do you bring to the table for the school?) does not make sense

740 GMAT absolutely does not make up for these concerns, and I find it hard to believe you could argue that it would for a URM applicant

  • Senior VP in AM - FI
Oct 29, 2021 - 1:00am

I say this in the least dickish way possible but you're just super salty and its your own fault. In banking on of the keys is managing expectations and you didn't manage yours. Its not because of diversity quotas, its not because they didn't understand your major was hard, its not because of the GRE...its because you were a middling candidate for the programs you applied and the results show. Those "diversity" candidates didn't take your spot...even removing that percent of the class you'd have never made it at the schools you applied. You should have known your GPA basically made you DOA. For top programs you can have one maybe two chinks in your armor but not several, as you did. Really low GPA (this is a big one), unknown firm, unrealistic career goals (your background statistically isn't getting you into AM/HF regardless of the school you attend). H/S/W where clearly zero percent chances. Booth/Kellogg/Columbia/MIT were extreme long shots. Hass/NYU/Tuck also long shots goes do to small class sizes and being in NYC which over indexes their acceptance rates. Then you get to Darden/Fuqua/Ross/Yale where you're likely be more of a coin flip and schools like UCLA/USC/UNC/Georgetown/UT/Cornell, etc. are where you probably had an decent chance. However you only focused on the zero chance to extreme long shots. This is your fault for not doing the proper diligence. The reality is you would have basically been able to get the same job at any of these schools but your blinders let you focus on the "elite" ones. What's odd is despite your hundreds of hours of research this wasn't apparent to you. You need to be more introspective and self aware about this process. 

The bright said is this - you have done well in your job and are smart and thus will likely still have a great career. Its deflating not doubt but these programs won't dictate your success you will. With a positive attitudeI'm sure you will do great and one day realize while this seemed like a big deal it wasn't. 

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 6:52am

Thanks for your encouraging words. I certainly am "salty" as you say but that is only because I spent so much time, effort and money pursuing this path (having been encouraged to in conversations with adcoms/app fees waived) with no success. 

I'm not sure how you can suggest that they were extreme long shots given I was interviewed and waitlisted at M7 programs. They do not interview candidates whom have no chance at being accepted. Therefore, it's not like I was not at all competitive. I'm not suggesting I'm not a middling candidate for those programs. But there are plenty of other middling candidates that get accepted. I thought persistence and profile improvements would work in my favor in this regard.

You say background prevents me from getting into AM/HF and maybe your right. This is exactly why I focused on the stronger programs.  The alumni network at those programs was going to facilitate the transition. There are plenty of people in my target sector whom have MBA's.  So there is certainly a path from the MBA.  However, we certainly will never know for sure given that I was never given the opportunity it's to try recruiting from a strong MBA programs.

  • VP in IB - Restr
Oct 29, 2021 - 7:18am

"However, we certainly will never know for sure given that I was never given the opportunity it's to try recruiting from a strong MBA programs."

no, we know. We know you're not good enough because you didn't get in. Therefore we know you never deserved a shot from an M7 MBA program. 

the more you post here, the more it should be obvious: you come up short as a human being. Stats aside, you probably fail to come across well in your interviews which is where your dings are coming from. I'm sure you'd have earned dings pretty much everywhere had you applied elsewhere 

  • Senior VP in AM - FI
Oct 29, 2021 - 11:15am

Look, if you weren't an extreme long shot you'd have gotten in. Full stop. Lots of people get interviewed and waitlisted. The waitlists are very long and rarely do people get in. While you're right they don't interview auto dings...long shots can still be interviewed. Its a free hours of time to potentially find a diamond in the rough. You can't fit a square peg into a round hole no matter how persistent you are. Persistence would have been applying to a 10-15 school and networking a ton to get the career you wanted...not wasting so much time on something that was way more likely not to work out that it would. 

Your follow up comment on using the MBA network to get into AM/HF yet again shows how little you actually diligenced schools. I went to one of these schools in question...and saw many class mates make the same mistake. The assumption is everyone is created equal once in the program and jobs are available to all. This is far from the truth. I does not matter if you are at HBS, if you don't have the right pre-mba background its very unlikely you're going to be getting those jobs. The kids getting the few and far between AM/HF jobs are going to be the ones that did BB banking -> top PE/HF/AM, likely with some top tier UG as well. Your competition would have been insanely stiff, more so the better the school as you'd be more the outlier. You'd have been some ok state school, with a poor gpa and an unknow bank competing against like 100+ kids with way better pedigrees. You'd have been a small fish in a huge pond. 

What you should have realized throughout your persistence, is going to a lower ranked but still great program, is you'd have a better chance of standing out. The real play would have been to do banking at a top bank to increase your brand and then hope to transition into a AM/HF later. 

Hopefully for you, you absorb some of these comments and pivot you plans accordingly. Being salty when you were deserving one thing...being salty when you're just wrong is another. 

  • VP in IB - CB
Oct 29, 2021 - 8:54am

The amusing part about this is that you weren't even competitive among your own demographic, yet your posts come off as if you're blaming URM's.

You obviously know these programs want a certain number of people from certain demographics to create a diverse class. It is what it is. Whether you agree or disagree with that is a different story, but the fact that you weren't competitive within your own says a lot.

Nov 4, 2021 - 10:39am
DeltaDecay, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Mate if you're applying to these programs you should be aware that unless you are an IIT-ian your chances are basically negligible. The probability that an Indian IIT-ian candidate gets admitted into these programs is about 1%. I've met a lot of IIT-ians and damn do they have an impressive profile. BSchools will always (99.999%) prefer them because they are safe candidates. They are the cream and already have an existing network. the BSchools know these guys n gals will for sure get a damn good job. Look there are limited seats at the end of the day and basically the schools are looking at any and every reason to ding you especially if you're an Indian male which is one of the most over represented demographic. 

I understand why you want to go to an elite school. But your profile is just not up to scratch. Your mentality is if I can go to HSW / M7 it will change my life. But that is not the right approach. You need to invert that thinking. You should be a candidate that BSchools think that I need to get him as he will change or add something to the class profile. 

Oct 29, 2021 - 9:36am
joeschmuck, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Ignoring the fact that you're blaming the 25% of the class that's URMs for your failure to get in despite being a bubble candidate even if they doubled class sizes, your whole schtick doesn't make any sense to me. I have never seen an easier time to get L/S seats in 10 years than right now. I'm seeing kids fresh out of UG land because people are desperate to hire right now. You seem obsessed with getting an M7 degree despite not being a good fit and it not helping your career goals at all…just skip all that and reach out to a good HF recruiter. If your work experience is as good as you claim it is, you'll be able to get a seat. And luckily for you, I can assure you there's no minorities or women or whatever for you to blame if you fail to do so!

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 9:59am

Thanks for your perspectives on the L/S hiring market.  If you look back through this increasingly lengthy discussion, I don't think I ever claimed my work experience is particularly impressive or unique.  There are pluses and minuses of working in sector-focused IB.  Again, the funds I'm focused on do not recruit from IB. Throughout my responses in this discussion, I have consistently stated that I don't think I'm anything more that a middling or bubble candidate.  However, I think that there are plenty of other middling candidates that do get into these programs.  From my research, these candidates do not tend to be (non-military) Asian or White Males.

I think I've articulated that the reason I've been focused on getting an M7 degree is that I look at the professionals in the space that I want to be in and they generally have M7 MBA's.  I'm simply trying to work towards emulating what I consider to be a profile of success.  Given the opportunity to get an MBA is relatively fleeting (hard to get in past 30), I've done everything I could to take advantage of that opportunity while I could.

  • Associate 3 in HF - EquityHedge
Oct 29, 2021 - 10:53am

Everyone agrees this guy has a mediocre profile and it's no surprise he didn't get in. But what everyone seems to gloss over is that he got waitlisted and told to reapply earlier in the cycle by these admissions officers. They were the ones who gave him the impression he was competitive and now he feels lied to and thus extra salty. Maybe he hopes that by creating this thread he can discourage some prospective applicants and thus exact some measure of karmic revenge on the admissions officers who only care about boosting their applicant numbers.

Guy, I'm sorry you got conned but you've been working for almost a decade. People act based on their incentives and will lie to you. Just because they work at a school doesn't change any of that...

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 10:59am

Really, really appreciate this man. You've conveyed my perspective better than I have. You're absolutely right regarding people acting in whichever line their incentive points them towards.

It never really occurred to me that admissions officers would be that incentivized to bring in one more application to add to the pile of thousands rather than kindly discouraging someone from applying another time.  Additionally, when they point to tangible things that you can change to improve your chances….it makes you think hard about whether you have a shot or not.  What I'd like people to learn from my experience is that, despite the positive rhetoric and inspiring stories of successful re-applicants touted by consultants and admissions offices, you probably don't have a shot because no matter how much you change/improve, you ultimately can't change the bucket of applicants you're competing against.

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:06pm
cookie_monster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What part of your application was elite? Or made you standout from other candidates?

Was it your undergrad institution? No

Was it your grad school? No

Was it your gpa? No

Was it your gmat score? No

Was it your work exp? No

Literally your only standout point is that you majored in three subjects, which in the grand scheme of thing's didn't do a whole lot.

Now you tell me why you should have been accepted?

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:09pm
cookie_monster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Neither does your story for post-MBA goals flow at all. A MBA in most cases isn't going to get a VP at a no name boutique bank a hedge fund straight after the MBA program.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 12:25pm

I'm also fairly proud of having done grad school while working in IB (which is why I went to the school I was close to my apartment/office).  With regard to your "elite" questions, I'll reiterate the point that I seem to be making over and over again.....the 4000-5000 admits to M7 programs every year do not all have a "Yes" to one of your questions.  There are plenty of people who are not "elite" that get into these programs.  It has been my observation that these people are not Asian or White males who seem to held to a different standard.  I'd like to understand why that is acceptable.

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:08pm
ConfusedGuru, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Meh just another South Asian trying to go to an elite business school just for the name brand. Color me surprised. You very well know you are competing with other Indians for these spots, so why would they take you over the young Indian guy with a 3.9 GPA and 780 GMAT that did his undergrad at Yale? And no one cares about your triple major dude, that's a conscious decision on your part - if you wanted to learn from all 3 of those disciplines, great, but not sure why you're expecting special treatment for it. I mean getting below a 3.0 GPA is inexcusable. I used to play computer games 10-15 hours a day in college and still managed to get a GPA above 3.0 in a tough major.

  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 12:31pm

Don't think I'm asking for special treatment.  Admissions doesn't view a 4.0 in Physics the same as 4.0 in Communications the same way.  So, isn't it logical that that philosophy of evaluating GPA in the context of rigor apply to taking on a multi-disciplinary curriculum.  If it doesn't, aren't you implicitly encouraging undergrads to spend 4 years maximizing GPA and discouraging intellectual curiosity?  Why would anyone interested in a business career ever major in a STEM field again?  

Oct 29, 2021 - 1:19pm
IncomingIBDreject, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Admissions doesn't view a 4.0 in Physics the same as 4.0 in Communications the same way. 

I don't think this comparison holds much water because it really depends on the career path and point of the MBA. For an applicant trying to become a manager at FAANG, physics makes more sense over journalism, but for less technical managerial roles, communications might be a plus due to the writing and soft skills developed. Journalism is a major that is necessary to get into that specific field, not just a throwaway major like gender studies or art history. To that point I'd question if physics is the most compelling major to use here. STEM majors like CS or Stats make a bit more sense here.

So let's change this to comparing a 4.0 in CS to a 4.0 in gender studies. In that case, I'd agree with you that the CS major is given a premium to the gender studies kid. But a 3.0 in CS vs. 4.0 in gender studies? That's not as cut and dry. Nobody is arguing that CS is harder than gender studies but to argue that it is a full point harder? There may be some merit to that but then it would come down to E.C.s

So, isn't it logical that that philosophy of evaluating GPA in the context of rigor apply to taking on a multi-disciplinary curriculum.

4.0 triple major beats out a 4.0 single major but you didn't get a 4.0. You got a very poor GPA (sub 3.0). To me it shows you are terrible at gauging how much workload you can handle. A good example in finance is the guy who volunteers and gets staffed on too many projects to impress and ends up producing mediocre output for all his projects. It's better to have someone do 1 thing perfectly than 3 things poorly (which effectively is doing nothing correctly). For the MBA specifically, they would be concerned that you stack yourself up on too many E.C.s or even a double discipline (MBA/JD) and do poorly again.

If it doesn't, aren't you implicitly encouraging undergrads to spend 4 years maximizing GPA and discouraging intellectual curiosity?  

"Intellectual curiosity" is a nonsense take spouted by departments with worthless value trying to get you to enroll in them and say things like "career=/= major!!!". There is some truth to this at Ivy leagues, but outside those schools it's flat out wrong. I networked and interviewed with several regional firms that wouldn't even look at the resume of a kid who didn't study in the business school (I graduated from a nontarget btw). A degree is a means to get a job and that's it. Stick to reading Wikipedia in your free time if you want to learn about other topics. 

Why would anyone interested in a business career ever major in a STEM field again?  

This is obviously going to depend a lot on your role. In traditional finance roles it's not necessary, but if you're trying to do quant or SWE, then it would be useful. Majoring in STEM and getting a worse GPA to try to impress employers though is a failing strategy. GPA is a check of the box. Extracurriculars and more importantly internships carry far more weight. 


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  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 12:37pm

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone that has replied so far.  Even if you were derogatory, you're criticisms have allowed me to flesh out the arguments I've been having with myself for the past three years.  I hope I've managed to encourage some of you to at least think about the questions my particular experience raises about the MBA admissions process.  I'm hoping going forward the discussion can be less about my situation specifically and focus more on the positives and negatives about the MBA admissions process some of which I think have been made more transparent by my experience. 

Oct 29, 2021 - 1:22pm
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

It sounds like you're looking at this from the perspective of "I'm really accomplished and the schools should recognize that and accept me." Instead ask yourself, "Why would the school want me and how can I help the school achieve its goals?"

IMO the AdComs want to admit kids who have a good story and a realistic path to their stated goals. They want to take these kids far and they want the kids to look back on their time at HSW fondly so that they donate money, make the school look good, and recruit other students.

If I was an AdCom, I'd probably say to myself "He has good work experience and a good background. But he already studied STEM + business and has an MS. We probably can't teach him much academically. And he wants to work in HF/AM. Those can be hard fields to break into, even for our top students. And besides, what's stopping him from going to HF/IM from investment banking right now? People do this all the time. And if he didn't work as an IB analyst can be really even help him much to make this switch? Will he be a satisfied customer if he strikes out?"

Compare that to a Naval officer who wants to leave USN and work in consulting, or an IB O&G analyst who wants to move to a clean tech company to do corporate development, or a federal consultant working with the CDC who wants to switch to a private sector biotech firm. Those are all very compelling stories because the school can take the kid from point A to B pretty easily and add serious value to his/her career. The student wins and the school looks good.

You have stiff competition not just because you're an Indian male but because you're competing against folks with really good stories. 

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  • Associate 2 in IB - Gen
Oct 29, 2021 - 1:43pm

This is the most thoughtful response so far.  I definitely do get what you're saying with regard to admissions wanting to see a clear role for the MBA in someone's story.  I got direct feedback from an admissions officer saying exactly what you said about "satisfied customer."  I will say that I articulated that the background of the guys whose career I was trying to emulate included an MBA and in the case of one program, identified and talked to a professor who is also a PM.  Now that may not be and cut-and-dry in terms of value as Navy > MBA > Consulting but I don't think people should be dinged because there career goals are not as MBA dependent as others.

Oct 29, 2021 - 3:33pm
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're only getting dinged relative to the competition, though. If your app was stronger in other areas things could have gone differently (or if you had applied to other schools). It also sounds like you're in a more senior role at work which can't help.

Oct 29, 2021 - 1:53pm
hq_life, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is my 3rd comment on this particular post. Every time I post - I learn something new. But this particular topic has been on my mind quite a bit. 

There are two things that I wanted to talk about. 

1) MBA Admissions

2) Personality. 

So let's dive into MBA Admissions.

We all know that diversity plays a role in admissions. Not just in MBA but other programs as well. But is it really that big of a deal as the OP is suggesting? I don't think so. Asian applicants account for a large number of international applicants. So to keep the class 'diverse' - there has to be a limit of how many you can admit. To throw numbers out there (these are not accurate) - but let's say 10% Indian, 10% Chinese, 10% rest of Asia. Within the "10%" Indian - I would assume that these have to be diverse as well. Can't have all men. Can't have all IITians. Can't have all Engineers. These categories are very popular among Indians. Now IIM A/B/C are extremely hard to get into. unless you have a CAT score of 98 Percentile and above, you won't even get an interview. Sometimes being in the 98th percentile also gets you dinged. Can you imagine? In this case EXTREMELY smart candidates who have scores 95th, 96th, 97th, 98th percentile look for a secondary option. That is to take their GMAT and pursue an MBA at either ISB (Indian MBA) or in the US/EU. This is where it gets tough for fellow Indians applying to US/EU MBAs. They score a very high GMAT - merely making the 740 look below average. The OPs GMAT is slightly above average, but below average if he is an Indian. You see these IITs/BITs/NITs that couldn't get into IIMs - score an extremely high GMAT - limiting your chances. Now is it fair to you? probably not. But since you are Indian you should be well aware of the "reservation" system. The system for low-caste individuals to get a chance to compete that the top level. Merit wise you could be better off than them, but you may not get a chance if you fall below the general category's admission list. Think about the same here. You have a decent profile - but just got overshadowed. 

Second thing under MBA Admissions topic is you getting dinged. I am going to ignore the fact that you could've went for Georgetown, UNC, Cornell, UCLA, etc... Since you had the goal of these "10" schools and you re-applied to 9 of them with a better GMAT of 740, something isn't setting well with me. For someone with an average GPA in undergrad and 3.8 in GRAD. No-named work - but still in IB. Okay ECs. Not even getting an interview at majority of the programs? The GMAT alone should be making them look at your application. But there seems to be a huge gap/hole in the application. I don't know what it is, but it is definitely not diversity. If this was a case for diversity - you would at least have an interview in most of those places. There is just something that is missing out of the picture. 

2) Personality - 

There are many individuals on this post that are well accomplished. An MD in consulting, Associate in PE, Principal in PE, VP in PE, Senior VP in AM to list a few. It is a bit surprising that you are playing down most of their comments by saying you have done "extensive" research. By saying you know a certain individual going this route, or these are the only schools that can get you somewhere, etc. If anything take this as an opportunity to learn and network. A lot of individuals here are downplaying your GPA but do appreciate your experience and your persistence. No matter how good or bad your profile was - you tried and you failed. Not once, but twice. I have it to give it to you for trying, but having an answer for every individuals comment here is not the way to go. You may have rode a high horse or not, I don't know. What I do know this is a good learning opportunity rather than pointing fingers. 
it's been 3 years since you started this process, at this point - you can either go for low tiered schools or aim to achieve your goal without an MBA. Good luck!

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Oct 29, 2021 - 8:40pm
cookie_monster, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Haha you make it sound like people come to the usa/Europe b schools because they couldn't get in iim.That's certainly not the case, atleast from literally everyone I have ever talked to.

India isn't exactly a global financial hub you know,and the iim name is unknown outside India.

I say this and someone who rejected a iim 5 year program admit to do engineering at well known but non iit/nit/bits institute

Our uni sends ton of alumni abroad,though more to Europe than the usa.Lbs and insead admits are common,and pretty sure we have a rare h/s/w admit as well.

The ones I know and talked to never prepared for cat and called it too much trouble for little worth

Oct 30, 2021 - 7:00pm
hq_life, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Every interactions are different. I am basing what I have wrote based on my network and with the individuals I have met. You are disagreeing based on who you have met. 
From what I have learned SRCC for undergrad business majors/IIT/BITS/NITS pursuing an MBA - IIMA/B/C has become a first choice. They may not agree to it, but its either they don't want to go through the competitive process of CAT or have scored low. This usually happens in the early stages as IIMs are prone to accept students with little to no experience. An individual who has already received a job out of undergrad does not look to go to IIMs because by the time they want to leave - they might be a bit above average for the age - which puts them perfectly in the spot for US/EU MBA
IIM is an unknown brand outside of India - nevertheless it is a very well known within India AND it is pretty hard to get into. There are no Harvard/Stanford brands or LBS/Oxbridge Brands in India or other countries - but that does not mean a specific country doesn't have a well known college within it. 

Your statement is a bit confusing. Usually students from Eng go to IIM. This is the first time I have heard someone going from rejecting IIM to Eng. 

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Oct 29, 2021 - 3:13pm
mrharveyspecter, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This thread has really blown up since I looked at a couple of days ago. I think the posts above generally touch on all of the relevant points. To give my quick take, to the OP, it's a shame you didn't get into the schools of your choice and that you've spent a number of years getting continued rejections. You certainly don't have a bad profile and although the M7 is probably a reach, there's a world where you do get into one of them with luck, timing, and proper execution on essays.

With that being said, I think you're placing a little too much emphasis on the unfairness of the process, especially when it comes to diversity. Fortunately or unfortunately, the class needs to be diverse, so folks with the highest scores, best jobs etc, don't always get in. Both narrative and diversity of ethnicity, skillset, prior jobs/ future jobs is important to these schools. Either you or your consultant should have taken this into account. The bar for ORM groups such as males, financial professionals, asians is higher than it is for females, teachers, etc. To look at that group and to think that because your tests scores are higher and your job is better, that you're more qualified for a spot in the class is silly and although you probably wouldn't admit that openly on this forum, that seems to be the ultimate crux of your unhappiness. Is it 100% fair, no, is it life, yes.

Secondly, I think for better or worse, you're a little too high on your own accomplishments, especially as they relate to the caliber of the students at the M7/Top 10 schools. As some other posters have pointed out (perhaps harshly),

  • You grades are mediocre to below mediocre for undergrad, without a good story as to why. The graduate GPA is good, but schools don't really care about graduate program GPAs, plus, if it's in a field similar to an MBA that raises questions as to why you need an MBA in the first place. The average GPA is like a 3.5/3.6 across the M7 with probably more than 50% of that coming from top schools. Below a 3.0, from a no name state school, is almost a deal killer from the start unless you're exceptional somewhere else.
  • GMAT is average, but if the GRE is so easy in your eyes, I can tell you that a perfect GRE score would be more impressive than a 740 GMAT. There's generally diminishing returns to the score unless you need it to be exceptional, which based on your GPA, you do.
  • You work experience is mediocre as well, the promotions are good, but you're what a Senior Associate/VP at a niche, no-name investment bank. If you've been applying since 2016 to B school, why not make the leap to a BB or an elite boutique? That would show much better. Again, I don't doubt that the role you're in is a good one, but it doesn't stand out. Plus, because of your work, you're being placed into the ultra competitive finance bucket, where based on your grades and WE, you're basically bottom bucket. 
  • ECs are average to average+. It depends on how you told this story. Starting a charity is commendable, $15k is something, but again, as someone else posted, I could probably start a charity and donate 15k to it today. Some of my M7 classmates had extremely significant charitable efforts on their resumes, like millions in fundraising and a very tight story around why they were passionate about what they were doing. 
  • Your story doesn't make much sense, and as and adcom, this would be my biggest concern. As others have pointed out, making the leap to HF/IM is going to be very tough with your background. HFs are extremely competitive and as with all buyside roles, usually require prior experience to break in post-MBA. It's the same reason career switchers are usually discouraged from saying their post-MBA goal is PE, because it's so unlikely to happen and adcoms realize 1. You haven't done enough research to figure out what is realistic 2. You're going to struggle to get a job and they don't want someone who is going to hurt their job placement %. As much as you want to be honest, you need to position both the short term and the longterm goals in the right way.

I'm not sure what your consultants were advising you on, but it sounds like there was a slight lack of honestly and introspection throughout the processes, which is probably why you're struggling. If nothing else, I would have dropped the HF narrative and tried to differentiate you from the other bankers. 

The honest truth is that while you might suffer minor bias due to being an ORM, the admissions process is fairly merit based and on your merit, you're just not a strong candidate for an M7 school. As I said, over time and deepening on the year, folks like yourself could get lucky and slip into the class, but 90% you get rejected, which means the adcoms are doing their job. I think with an overhaul to your approach, you might still have a shot at some of the M7 or you should open the aperture on the schools you're willing to look at and find another route into the world of HF/IM. Plenty of schools have more regional strengths and could place into those roles, schools like UT Austin come to mind.

Keep your head up, and I wish you the best.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:06pm
Ovid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Keep your head up man. This comment section, perhaps well intentioned, is mostly a circle jerk. Take the rejection in stride; don't let an adcom run by people who probably get aroused by the idea they're masters of fate, beholden to some ill defined ideal, convince you that you don't have something to offer. Save your money and spend your effort learning through your own volition. An MBA can open doors (for a pretty penny) but any firm that puts pedigree ahead of skill, is not a place you want to work. I'd argue a 2 year country club hiatus is not the best way to refine any skill (unless it's flirting with classmates, then you're SOL)You have more than enough degrees..

Also, hold yourself accountable and don't blame others. Good for everyone who was accepted over you, wish them the best. As pointed out, there's plenty you could have done differently. learn from that. An error only becomes a mistake if you refuse to correct it. I'm sure there's a way you can come out on top here. Be positive.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:48pm
Telemachus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm very sorry you had to go through such a long and arduous process, and aren't even there yet.

I've had friends who've gotten into M7 programs with worse stats, and friends rejected from T15 programs with better stats. The two issues I see from these rejected friends are 1) attitude and 2) goals.

Attitude – no one wants to hire a 'negative Nancy' or 'salty dog.' Your posts come across unhappy, this will not make you friends, get you hired or help you grow your network. I totally get that you're upset! Getting all those dings would upset anyone. But schools want to admit applicants who are excited "can do" types. Blaming others for your problems doesn't solve anything and creates a toxic negative energy that no one wants to be around.  This negative energy probably comes across in interviews and essays.

I suggest taking a nice vacation and coming back to this process with renewed positive can do energy!

Goals – getting into the HF industry is extremely difficult. Any adcom member looking at your CV is going to think twice if you can make it into this difficult sector. Admissions especially doesn't want to admit someone who has very lofty goals and then makes their lives difficult by complaining after they fail, and going after their "horrendous" OCR. Adcom wants someone who has a clear path to their post-MBA job, can come back and hire as well as donate.

I think your stats and work experience are just fine. I also think your focus on the M7 is a bit much. There are M7 grads who fail and T15 alums who succeed, even in the HF world. So much of it comes down to the candidate.

If you have a view that you will succeed no matter what the hurdles, you will find a way to make it happen. An M7 MBA is only one way to make your goals happen, there are plenty of other paths, you just need to be flexible enough to take them.

Best of luck!

Oct 29, 2021 - 9:40pm
qwertyboy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So long story short, all you got going for you is the 750 gmat because the rest of your sob stories definitely don't make the cut. Aside from that, seems like the adcoms did a good job in not letting in someone with such a grandiose sense of self and lack of accountability. I think you ended up exactly where you should have. Your UG workload might raise eyebrows, your execution on the other hand leaves much to be wanted.

Oct 29, 2021 - 9:43pm
qwertyboy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You also keep bringing up that you worked so hard on your apps. I wonder why that is?

Oct 29, 2021 - 10:32pm
Draper Specter and Co., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Jesus give the guy a break.  It's not like he's the first person to have a gripe about institutional diversity effort potentially impacting decision criteria.....there is literally a case going before the fuckin Supreme Court about it.  Its clearly a real issue.  Guy busted his ass trying to accomplish a goal, came up short and is frustrated and looking for answers.  While the og post was kinda a tinfoil hat rant, his responses to the comments add a lot of color.  People asked what he thought his strengths were, he responded.....then a bunch of dumbasses shit on him for it. 

I think its a fair question why GPA is relied upon as a such an important measure of ability to succeed.  It is an extremely subjective measure influenced by school, individual professors, personal situation, etc.  GMAT, as a standardized measure, should absolutely be weighted more heavily in the process.  Plenty of people overcome sub-par GPA's towards success life so why should b-school admissions be any different?

This post reminded me of another one from early last year (  Everyone insisting that he's a complete idiot for thinking he had a shot at top programs.....take a look at some of the people in the sample from that 2020 post.  He's certainly talking about issue that engages people and stirs strong feelings so rather than dismissing him as butthurt and wrong....maybe we should actually try discussing why things are the way they are?

  • Senior VP in AM - FI
Oct 30, 2021 - 12:40am

You literally linked to his older post as support of his newer rant, lol. That is clearly the same person - look at the account handle and tone.

Its one thing, to be the poor smuck that has a 4.5 GPA,  1590 SAT score, class president, etc that doesn't get into an ivy bc of his perception of diversity and being upset (though the reality is there are too many good kids and too few seats). This guys is literally below average on basically every metric (which is not to say he isn't accomplished, just on a relative basis to literally the best schools in the world) and still blaming diversity. He reminds of that girl that lost the court case because she didn't get into UT and tried to claim it was bc she was discriminated against being white, when in reality he numbers just sucked. You need GPA as a metric otherwise it will be absolutely impossible. But sure, remove GPA and in his case he still worked at a no name firm so unfortunately that wouldn't be easy either. 

The reality is the more I've read his responses, the more I actually don't feel bad for him because his attitude and sense of entitlement are absolutely horrible. 

Oct 30, 2021 - 1:20am
Draper Specter and Co., what's your opinion? Comment below:

Doesn't really seem like his firm is an issue…..he said other kids have gotten into M7's from there.

You're right….it does look like the same dude. Honestly, didn't re-read the whole old post. Still, whether you feel bad for him or not, he made some valid points in that old post….

Oct 30, 2021 - 11:55am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think there is a lot of merit to the feedback that you're getting in this thread. That includes some of the replies that are beating you up and it's good that you're replying to most of them. So, I won't continue to "kick a guy while he's down" and take a slightly different view:

I participate in the admissions process for my T50 school as an alumni so I have contact with any number of people in admissions and I've interviewed, literally, hundreds of applicants (both undergrad and grad). One of the things admissions emphasizes with us is that we need to get a sense for why the applicant wants to come to this school. Not why they want to continue their education or why they want to be an X major, but why does it have to be at this school. Whenever I want to shake up an applicant, and they've told me their major, I always ask, "Why don't you go do that at Florida State? They have a fine program and the weather is better" and wait for their (nervous) answer :)

From your story, I just see, "well everyone I want to rub elbows with in the future went to HSW so I'm applying to HSW". I'm not seeing a compelling reason why you want to be at these schools. Do you have a specific, valid reason for each and every school you've applied to other than my previous statement? Are your motivations for attending each and every one of these schools independent of money & career goals? If they are not, I guarantee you that this will shine in your application packet and not lead to a positive outcome.  

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Oct 30, 2021 - 9:56pm
oil_quant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You can't control what the committees look for.  But you can control your own perspective, and I think you are internalizing a lot of unhealthy thoughts.

To say that you "didn't get accepted because the process doesn't value merit" is to believe that if admissions did care about merit, you would have succeeded.  But there's no way you really know this. Maybe in a fair world you would have succeeded, maybe not.

But believing that you failed because of the world and not yourself will not help you even if you are right.  Concentrate on improving yourself.  Master what you can affect.  Maintain a healthy attitude about what is realistic and what is a fantasy.  These schools are not golden tickets to success.  Even if you got in, there's a very high chance you would have failed to get that job you want.  Even if you got the job you want, you might realize you hate it.  Be real about what is real- don't fantasize about a credential or a job title and become bitter if you don't get it.  You don't want psychological delusions controlling your life like that.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Oct 31, 2021 - 6:17pm

Keep your head up. Lots of people have jumped on the opportunity to give you well-deserved yet biting criticism. Most of them are incredibly successful people, who deserve all of that success, but probably have never felt true, consistent, repeated failure. That is a painful experience and I'm sorry you had to go through it, even IF it is entirely and unquestionably your own fault.

I've also fallen short repeatedly. I've also started working hard too late for it to make a difference. I echo the advice above that adjusting your expectations will be liberating and help you achieve your goals and be a happier person. After these years of trying I think you'd make a great candidate at T15s like Johnson, Fuqua, Stern if you go in armed with a better attitude. Then instead of constantly comparing yourself to the few people from M7 and thinking you pissed away all your hard work, be THANKFUL that your hard work paid off in a great MBA and comp that's probably better than 90% of people.

I used to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself for never getting into an EB/BB/PE role. I humbled myself, adjusted my expectations, doubled my efforts, expanded my outreach, and landed a great mm IB job. Instead of thinking my work and struggle were wasted since I'm  not at an EB/BB, I'm glad my struggle has allowed me to do more interesting work, have better trajectory, and make double my peers getting $85k in standard corporate job. I'm not giving advice just sharing my experience. There's still hope for you yet.

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Nov 1, 2021 - 11:08am

That sucks man.  I'm sorry you're in this position.  Applying so many time was probably a huge effort for you and it's bullshit that the admissions people kept encouraging you.  I went to a non-HSW M7 as an Asian male coming from the Navy.  I also graduated from a middling school with a mediocre GPA in a STEM field.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't have gotten in if not for my time in the Navy.  Certainly very accomplished people from the spectrum of race/sex, but definitely recall not having any fucking clue how some (usually URM) kids got in there.

This is just one man's opinion but having actually been involved in strategic discussions about the competitiveness of the USA vs our global counterparts, I will say there is EXTREME concern at the highest-levels of military/government about the next-generation's ability to compete technologically and militarily.  Part of the reason I left the Navy was because of the bureaucratic, political BS which, like in every other institution in this country, is seeing diversity triumph over merit/talent.  I'm very pessimistic about our future but I hold out hope that we can balance out the AOC's with future John McCain's.  Hopefully, this will translate to the corporate world as well because, the global competitiveness of the United States is collective effort.  

Jan 24, 2022 - 10:01pm
Dumbanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Dude, i did what you did. I can relate to you completely. Applied to schools tens of times. Retook GMAT seven times. Eventually ended with 720. Discovered i have some attention deficit stuff going on leading to oversight of small details repeatedly. Started therapy for it. Mediocre GPA purely my fault. Indian male. I presume you're my age too.

Started with m7. Then t15. Now got into programs at 15+. Joined a 20+ because i liked their scholarship and also the school is reputed in the field I'm in.

I had a lot of introspection and I know exactly where I stand in market's eyes.

Of course it sucks to accept it. However, i began to realise that accepting it will liberate you from the weight of expectations you have for yourself and your victimhood.

I started to look forward and the opportunity that the US provides. I can get into banking from the school I'm going. I can shift into investing from there. It may be more intellectually stimulating and prestigious to have attended a top University. But the secret is in gratitude. I scoffed at 20+ previously. But I'm grateful that i still have a shot at my goals. I'm grateful that i got a lot of money.

I think it is not a particularly extraordinary revelation, but finding gratitude in simplest of things is a game changer for me. And applying to business schools and receiving rejections after rejections revealed this lesson to me. Set yourself free from the burden of your regret, frustration and expectations. Just be grateful for the experience and chin up. You can get into hedge funds with a lot effort i hope. With or without MBA.

Good luck, man.

Feb 2, 2022 - 8:06am
seanconnery007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I read this thread yesterday and it has been living in my head rent free since. I get some of your frustrations, and that you're making a more nuanced point than "race is all that matters," but your original post does not convey that so well. So allow me to take a stab at summarizing your post based on your responses, with some of mine baked in.

Applied 19x To Elite MBA Programs.....This Is What I Learned

  1. Applying to Elite MBA programs with a 2.7 undergraduate GPA from a mid-ranked state school will always make you a long shot, regardless of your sex or race. That's not to say it's impossible, but it will always be hard - you're a full grade point below the Harvard median. To counter this, you should have kick-ass ECs, a super high GMAT score, or really impressive work experience. Absent those, you're in the long-shot candidate bucket
  2. MBAs put a higher premium on STEM but not by an extraordinary amount. A 3.7 in Stats is probably better than a 3.8 in English. But a 2.anything in anything is worse than a 3.7 in anything.
  3. As a long-shot candidate, for purely merit-based reasons, you're not competing for most of the spots in the class. You're competing for ~25% of the slots, which go to long-shot candidates. To gain one of these spots, the more diverse you are, the better. Here if you're ORM, your chances will be noticeably worse. To avoid this, see point 1
  4. Admissions officers and consultants do not have incentives that align with your own. They will tell you what aligns with their incentives, not yours. Take everything they say with a pinch or a pound of salt.
  5. If your school selection strategy is "M7 or bust", be prepared for the eventuality that you bust. It's fine to limit your strategy to a certain few schools. But you have to really be ok with not getting in if that's the case.
  6. If at first you don't succeed, think hard before try trying again. Reapplicants have a decent shot often, but schools don't provide you with detailed feedback, making it hard to know how to improve. Point 4 comes into play here. If you do decide to reapply, revisit point 5.
  7. Ultimately, you can never know why you didn't get into an Elite MBA. You can put your story on WSO and 20 anonymous strangers will have 20 different points of view. Was it your GPA? Your story? Your conduct in interviews? Your essays? Your race and sex? You will never find out which makes this an inherently frustrating process.

Is that a fair summary of your points?

  • Associate 3 in IB - Cov
Feb 2, 2022 - 9:40am

Appreciate you bumping this and the thought that you've put into your response.  Agree wholehearted with your point 3-7 and generally with 1 and 2 with some additional nuance.....

1.  I agree that a nominally low GPA will make you a long shot.  It shouldn't but it does. I think relying on GPA represents a lazy approach to evaluating academic performance. GPA's should be evaluated in the context of the difficulty of the coursework they're grading in addition to the student's other commitments.  (i.e. Someone working 10-20 hours a week while taking a full courseload or someone who had a bad freshman year then improved are generally given some leeway with regard to GPA.  I don't see why these are more valid than taking more that a full courseload to get fundamental training in multiple fields.)

2. Agree that it is the case because practically, the people evaluating the applications do not generally have STEM degrees and cannot credibly judge the difficulty of the coursework.

Feb 2, 2022 - 10:09am
seanconnery007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Feb 2, 2022 - 10:14am
seanconnery007, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Jun 21, 2022 - 9:21am
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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