Harvard admits it was wrong not to accept Steve Schwarzman

Harvard campusAP Photo/Lisa PooleSchwarzman didn’t get to live in Cambridge until business school.

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman didn’t get into Harvard.

And Harvard apologised for the slight.

Today at Bloomberg, there was this:

Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire co-founder of Blackstone Group LP, said a former admission dean of Harvard College later told him it was a mistake to have rejected him as an undergraduate applicant.

“He wrote me a few years ago saying, ‘I guess we got that one wrong,'” Schwarzman said Tuesday in a Bloomberg Television interview with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle in which he recounted his application. “My number-one choice was Harvard and I didn’t get in,” Schwarzman said, adding that he called the dean from his high-school pay phone to ask him to change his mind, which was “like dialling God.”

Schwarzman, by almost any measure, is an incredibly successful person.

And so it would seem that for an average person, a Harvard rejection is something to let go at some point during college, perhaps orientation week at Yale. Or maybe when you get accepted to Harvard Business School.

But Steve Schwarzman is no average person. Maybe this sort of tenacity is what makes him so good at what he does.

Schwarzman co-founded one of the largest companies in the US, he’s worth more than $US10 billion, and Wikipedia describes him as an “American business magnate and financier.”

Schwarzman was in the Skull and Bones society at Yale with former US president George W. Bush, and he just made headlines by donating $US150 million to his alma mater for a new student center.

And yet, Schwarzman is still talking about his one big failure: He got rejected from Harvard.

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