CoBPA Graduate Student Admitted to Ivy League School


Averi Haugesag

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


It’s a Monday and University of North Dakota Data Strategy Specialist, John Mitzel, has been in a meeting for work all morning. Suddenly, John’s cell phone starts to ring. He looks down to see the caller ID says, “Cambridge, Mass.,” and steps out to answer. While the timing was unexpected, John had been waiting on the call for nearly two months. “The person on the phone said that she had some good news for me, especially for a Monday morning… and it didn’t disappoint,” says Mitzel.

John had been admitted to Harvard Law School.

Harvard Law School’s website says last year’s class, the class of 2018, had 5,207 applicants and 931 admission offers. Meaning only 17 percent of applicants were accepted. We tried to reach out to the school to find out this year’s statistics, but the college says they do not calculate the numbers until the end of summer. While John will not be a part of the class of 2018, it gives an idea of how slim chances are to be offered a spot.

John graduated from the UND College of Business and Public Administration in May of 2015 with a degree in banking and financial economics, as well as a minor in political science. He is currently finishing up his master’s degree in science and applied economics. John says the program’s coursework is very rigorous. “The challenge that the academic environment at UND provided to me, inspired me to keep challenging myself,” says Mitzel. Challenging himself enough to qualify for a seat at an Ivy League school.

John says he’s had an interest in going to law school since he joined speech and debate in high school. And he’s always aspired to go to one school in particular. “Harvard is an incredible institution with a phenomenal reputation and a lot of opportunities for their graduates,” says Mitzel. As a matter of fact, “It was the only application I put out this cycle.”

John’s primary interest is corporate law. He has not yet accepted, deferred or rejected Harvard Law School’s offer. However, he does say being admitted was a tremendous honor. “It felt good to finally see all of the hard work I’d put in through the preparation process yield those results so it was very exciting,” says Mitzel with a smile. And certainly quite the accomplishment.