HBS 2+2/GSB Deferred possible?


-Asian/Indian male, age 21, Canadian citizenship 

-Current senior at top undergraduate Canadian business school (Ivey/Queen's/McGill). 

-GMAT: 760

-GPA: 3.95/4.00 

Work experience: 

-Management consulting, McKinsey/BCG/Bain (3rd summer) - rejoining full-time after graduation

-Management consulting, McKinsey/BCG/Bain (2nd summer) 

-Investment banking, Big 5 Canadian Bank (1st summer) 

Extracurriculars not mentioned to preserve anonymity but they are fairly strong. I know the odds are stacked against me as an ORM on a traditional business path (+ international), but was hoping a strong GMAT, GPA, and work experience could make up some ground. With well-written application essays and recommendation letters, what are my odds at HBS 2+2 and GSB?

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Comments (8)

Oct 4, 2021 - 10:09am

You have a fairly competitive profile. I can't judge your ECs because you want to be anonymous - but if they are strong like you say, than I don't see anything wrong with your profile. 
Sure you are an ORM and international - but your profile makes up for everything else. High GPA, High GPA, great internships. You are on top of your game.

Make sure those LoRs and Essays are good. I think you have fairly high odds.


  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Oct 4, 2021 - 12:25pm

You background is strong, but I would advise against applying. I have similar background as you except I'm from an Asian country, I did my undergrad in the US and will work in banking. I've talked with a few MBA consulting firms, and they all say the same. An Asian male working in finance/consulting is not what Harvard/Stanford are looking for in the 2+2 round. They may think you are a good candidate but still reject you. Wharton maybe, but for HBS/GSB I would suggest you wait for a few years.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Oct 4, 2021 - 5:25pm

For those who gave me MS, I'm curious why you think this is inaccurate cuz if it is, I'm gonna apply as well. I was also speaking from experience. A good friend of mine had almost the same background as OP. Asian male from Australia, went to a top school in the US, working in MBB, even did some entrepreneur stuff, still got rejected at HBS/GSB deferred programs and is going to Wharton. Another friend is working in infra PE, Asian male, top school, also going to Wharton, rejected by HBS/GSB. I think unless you went to Harvard undergrad and are going to work at Bx, you'd better save the application fee and effort and have fun ur last year of school and pick up a hobby. OP will do great at the regular round.

Most Helpful
Oct 4, 2021 - 10:20pm

I didn't throw any MS. But I did want to clear something up. 

Harvard and Stanford are one of the most competitive schools in the world of business. We all know this. They don't take unknown kids and turn them into future leaders. They take future leaders and provide them a bigger and a better platform to succeed. 

Demographics play a role into admissions. No doubt. But it does not mean you will straight up get dinged just for being from an over-represented category. It just means that you have to fight harder/have better statistics. 

No top school in this world will guarantee (100%) you an admission. 2+2 is a competitive field because you don't necessarily have any work experience to show. You have your extracurriculars, academics, essays, LoRs, where you have to hit the ball out of the park. Harvard/Stanford are just that hard to get into. A traditional MBA at Stanford has 6-8% acceptance rate. This rate is from a pool of applicants that have high GMAT, high GPA, amazing academics, over-represented/under-represented-demographics, amazing work experience. Yet they get rejected. It's sad but true. 


At least they had a chance. 

When you advice "against" applying. You are telling the person you have NO chance at all. Just like 100% guaranteed admission is not possible at Harvard/Stanford, same way 100% guaranteed rejection is also not possible. The OP has some chance - especially given his profile - he has a very good chance. "You can't fail until you try".

Only way the OP has guaranteed rejection is by not applying. Which you are suggesting him to do so. Don't put him down. Give him some advise on how he can get better.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Oct 4, 2021 - 11:08pm

Thanks for the response.

I'd also like clear something up. I'm in the completely same situation as the OP as I said before. I asked for professional help, the MBA admission consultants, and they all gave me the same answer as I wrote above. I was offering genuine advice that I got from people who are familiar with the process. They told me that they could still reject me even if they like me. Why? If people do their research, they should know that Stanford and Harvard are looking not just for under-represented minorities in this deferred round, but most importantly people who would not normally do mba programs like those "going into a technically demanding role" or "pursuing entrepreneurship". These quotes are straight from Harvard website. I was advising for spending resources more strategically because writing essays takes time, asking for recommendations takes social capital, applying costs money. And I wasn't completely dismissive because I said the OP had good chances of getting in if he just applies after getting a couple of years of experience like most do, which is what others have told me. 

And I totally get what this poster is saying. I also want to believe I had a chance. Trust me, I want to hear people say you have good chances of getting in because I was thinking about applying just last month after getting my return offer. But the truth is not always you want to hear. I don't think it benefits the OP at all if everyone is just sugarcoating everything. 

I didn't want to say this, BUT the OP does not have good chance in the DEFERRED ROUND because of all the reasons I listed and my friends' experience. If you have to ask, I don't see where OP can really distinguish himself from the rest unless he has something spectacular in the ECs. My friend went to a top 10 US school, work in McKinsey every summer in college, returned to McKinsey, was president of very popular clubs on campus, did several entrepreneurial endeavors, is in general a very smart and enterprising person, and he didn't get into Harvard, so what made you think the OP can? 

Now to the OP, I didn't mean to say anything to discourage you. As a fellow international Asian male, I understanding how difficult things are, so I was just giving you some advice I heard for you to reevaluate you choices. Again, I think you have good chances after a few years of solid work experience. But if you do decided to apply, good luck and let me know how it goes. 


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Oct 5, 2021 - 8:13am

Possible? Sure. Probable? Doubt it. But you should apply anyway, because why not/

And who cares if you don't get it? With your profile, you'd stand a good shot of getting in the "regular" way. 

Also, these days even MBB don't require MBAs to continue promoting you. You can get promoted to EM at McKinsey after 3 years of being a BA.

In short... don't worry about all of this. Shoot your shot, but don't worry if it doesn't pan out. You're pretty much set already. You sound like one of those motherfucking relatives my Asian parents keep comparing me to.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Cov
Oct 7, 2021 - 11:04pm

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