If you are a college junior and you are confident that an MBA is the next step for you, the Harvard Business School 2+2 program may be an ideal fit. The admissions cycle will start sooner than the traditional programs, and you must submit your application by July 1, 2009 for this year’s application cycle.
The Harvard Business School 2+2 program is designed for high potential students who do not necessarily have a business background. Students work for 2 years post college, and then enter classes and complete a 2-year full time MBA.
Harvard Business School has published the essay questions for this year’s applicants and this edition of Tuesday Tips will focus on how you should approach these questions as a college junior.
Required Questions For The Harvard Business School
* What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)
This question is a chance to brag about your most impressive achievements, while also demonstrating a bit about your personality and values. It will be most interesting to choose accomplishments from 2 or 3 different areas in your life – perhaps academic and extracurricular. It is also important to describe why you choose these three accomplishments and what they mean to you.
Because of the limited number of words you have to work with, it’s important to focus your accomplishments tightly and make sure you can tell the beginning, middle and end of the accomplishment in approximately 100 words to leave space to discuss the meaning to you.
* What would you like Harvard Business School to know about your undergraduate academic experience? (400-word limit)
As a college junior this should be a fairly straightforward question. This question is an opportunity to showcase your academic interests and demonstrate your intellectual curiosity.
Choose a topic that you have passion for, and that is related to your desire to pursue an MBA through the Harvard Business School 2+2 program. If you can draw a clear line from your academic interests and experiences to your next two years of work and MBA, that will demonstrate that you have clarity of vision.
• What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)
This is a great opportunity to show your introspection, dedication and ability to handle setbacks. As a college senior, it’s an additional opportunity to demonstrate your maturity and ability to learn from your own mistakes.
In choosing a mistake make sure your mistake is genuine – meaning it is one that did cause you some concern at the time – and that you took a lesson from it. Make sure you are able to discuss the mistake, what you learned from it, and how you have applied the lesson in subsequent experiences in the small number of words available.
Please also respond to one of the following (400-word limit each):
In choosing which one of these Harvard Business School questions to answer it will be important to look at the examples you used in the previous three essays, to consider where you might have holes in your application strategy. If you have not discussed your community involvement, it may be helpful to answer essay 1. If you did not discuss your goals in the academic experience essay, you may want to answer essay 3.
1. Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization.
This essay is your opportunity to highlight your community involvement, whether it’s with the rugby team or as a tutor. Leadership will be an important quality to demonstrate here, so think about examples that show how you have impacted a community or organization through your leadership, whether formal or informal.
2. What area of the world are you most curious about and why?
If you have studied abroad this is an ideal opportunity to discuss the experience and talk about your interaction with a different culture. Because this question is open ended it can be an opportunity to tie in long-term career goals, when appropriate, or discuss relevant leadership or academic experiences.
3. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?
If you have not discussed your career goals in prior essays in your Harvard Business School application, this might be a good choice for you. As a college junior without any business background, this may seem like an abstract question. Think about the activities and academic pursuits that you have been part of and the relevant careers. Since it is a career vision, there is an element of long-term dreams involved. As you outline your career vision, make sure you also explain why this choice is meaningful to you, which might related to your past experiences, your background or extracurriculars you have been involved in.
Good luck, and maybe take a little advice from a blogging Harvard undergrad while you work on those applications.