business school, Harvard

Famous Harvard Rejects

harvard 1.jpg Believe it or not, there are a bunch of prominent businesspeople who did not go to Harvard. Some of these people were even rejected, according to the most recent feature in 02138 Magazine. Here’s a profile of the famous Harvard rejects in business:
Warren Buffet –
Since Warren Buffet grew up before college was invented, he could not experience the thin envelope from Harvard College. Instead Buffet got rejected from HBS in 1950 at age 19 for being “too young,” and for being a prominent sharecropper (seriously – Buffet used his paper boy proceeds as a youth to start a “farmland leasing” racket).
Jann Wenner –
Wenner got rejected by Harvard College in 1964 and went on to drop out of Berkeley to construct the ultimate college application essay – Rolling Stone (at least originally). The magazine’s first few years certainly captured a great “unique journey of self-discovery” narrative like the ones fawned over by college admissions officers.
Ted Turner –
Little Ted got turned away from Harvard College in 1957 for being “an average student,” which, if you’re rich, means “fucking retarded.” After getting a 470 on his SATs, Ted ended up sailing at Brown, where he was eventually kicked out for rich-kid antic misbehavior and an unhealthy love for swabbing the poop deck. What on earth do you have to do to get kicked out of Brown?
Scott McNealy –
McNealy, the chairman and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, is one of those rare Harvard take-backs. McNealy graduated from Harvard with an A.B. in economics but was rejected from HBS. McNealy, who had a notoriously crap work ethic and a penchant for hockey (buggery on ice), eventually went to Stanford Business School, but not before the Cardinal rejected him twice.
Read more about some prominent non-businesspeople after the jump…


Meredith Viera –
Meredith Viera wouldn’t be admitted to Harvard in retrospect. Didn’t the list have enough women? Nope, she’s the only one. That explains it.
John Kerry –
Harvard did not flip-flop in its rejection of John Kerry, turning Kerry away from the College in 1962 and then the Law School in 1973. Kerry had to settle for his safety school, Yale. Apparently you need four purple hearts to get into HLS, as Kerry went to Boston College for law school.
David Remnick –
The current New Yorker Chief Editor had to settle for Princeton after getting turned away from Harvard. Remnick is not bitter, and wants you to know that “Harvard’s smarmy 25th reunion book is “the funniest work of literature since Gulliver’s Travels,” and that “Princeton is astonishing for undergraduates…and kicks Harvard around the block in basketball.” Remnick was the only member of the little known “Solus” Eating Club.
Harold Varmus –
Varmus is the President of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and proud Harvard Medical School reject, twice over. Varmus got the double shaft despite the fact that he was a pseudo-legacy, as his father, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland (if you check that box off on your app you usually get pushed right though), went to Harvard for two years before being kicked out due to poverty. The Harvard Medical School admissions board didn’t think Varmus had the maturity to study at HMS, and thought it already trained enough Noble Prize winning doctors.
Lee Bollinger –
Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger got rejected by Harvard College in 1964 and got rejected by the “Who Wants to Be an Ivy League College President” committee in 2001 when Larry Summers knocked the panel dead with a spot-on rendition of My Cherie Amore.
The Rejects [02138 Magazine]

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