Tag Archives: HBS

Harvard Celebrates New Venture Competition’s 20th Anniversary

In April, Harvard Business School students and alumni will compete for $300,000 in cash prizes to fund their startup dreams in the 20th Anniversary New Venture Competition. Past competition winners and participants will also return …

In April, Harvard Business School students and alumni will compete for $300,000 in cash prizes to fund their startup dreams in the 20th Anniversary New Venture Competition. Past competition winners and participants will also return to campus for programs and a celebratory 20th Anniversary New Venture Competition Finale on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

The school is offering its biggest prizes to date, with a $75,000 Grand Prize for top winners in the Student Business, Student Social Enterprise, and Alumni competitions. Additional prizes are a $25,000 Runner-Up Prize, $5,000 Audience Award, and in-kind services. Previously the Grand Prize was $50,000 in each category.

More than 200 judges will vigorously review the new ventures in several rounds of judging. Past winners include Rent the Runway, Birchbox, and GrabTaxi.

“The New Venture Competition is critical to entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School,” says Jodi Gernon, Director of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, which oversees the student and alumni business tracks of the competition. “Competition winners say it was the launching point of their businesses, helped them to attract funding, and gave them the confidence, exposure, and skills to found companies.”

Matt Segneri, Director of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative, which manages the social enterprise track, says, “The winning teams developed innovative approaches—using for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid models—to tackle society’s toughest challenges, including HIV prevention and K-12 education reform.”

171 alumni teams applied in January and are being judged in 15 regions. Four alumni teams will make it to the semifinals to present and be judged at the April Finale at HBS. More than 70 student teams on the business track and 48 social entrepreneurs have already applied in advance of the March 8 deadline.

HBS also offers workshops and other support for students. You can learn more about the New Venture Competition at hbs.edu/nvc and track Harvard Business School’s 20th Anniversary New Venture Competition on Twitter at #HBSNVC.

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5 Tips for Harvard Business School Applicants

Harvard Business School is famously difficult to get into, but don’t let low acceptance rates keep you from applying if this is truly your dream MBA program. In a recent post to the school’s MBA Voices …

HBS application tipsHarvard Business School is famously difficult to get into, but don’t let low acceptance rates keep you from applying if this is truly your dream MBA program. In a recent post to the school’s MBA Voices Blog, six recent or soon-to-be graduates offer their advice for future applicants eager to learn all they can about the HBS admissions process.

Tip 1: Be your authentic self

“Be honest and genuine. I spent time reflecting on what really motivates me and what is most important to me. It may sound straight-forward, but I think it’s really important to have clear direction on what you want to do and how the HBS experience will help you get there. Then make sure that your application really shows your personality and conveys this message of who you are and where you want to go.” Stephanie Marr, MBA 2016

We say: The admissions committee wants to get to know you as a person beyond the resume—don’t write anything just because it seems like something an admissions committee would want to hear.

The trick to fleshing out your human side in the application is to take just a couple of experiences, activities, or themes and expand upon them in a much more detailed and nuanced way. Don’t shy away from your true interests; illustrate how they have helped shape the incredibly dynamic and fascinating person that you are.

Tip 2: Pick your recommenders carefully

“Select recommenders who know you well enough to tell a story that covers your accomplishments and the obstacles you overcame to achieve them. I chose recommenders who had seen me take on responsibility, struggle at times, and adapt to reach my goals. I think this matters much more than having recommenders with a particular job title or connection with HBS.” Sam Travers, MBA 2016

We say: When considering potential references, ask yourself whether the person has worked closely with you, thinks favorably of you, and will put in the time to write a thoughtful, detailed endorsement of your candidacy. If you can’t answer yes to these three requirements, move on until you find the person who fits the bill perfectly. Your chances of admission to the school of your dreams may well depend on it.

Tip 3: Learn more about the generous financial aid options HBS offers

“Trying to figure out how you’re going to afford your Harvard MBA can feel very scary – I definitely remember the sticker shock I felt when I read the expected student budget for the first time. Luckily, there are a lot of ways for you to get support as you decide how you want to finance your time at HBS. Many students, myself included, aren’t able to pay for business school out of their savings and instead utilize a combination of financial aid, scholarships, and loans to get themselves through the program. 

HBS has an incredible need-based financial aid program; over $36 million dollars is awarded to students each year. The administration firmly believes that funding should not be a barrier for anyone to attend business school and they ensure that no student is required to take on too much debt. HBS wants everyone who is admitted to be able to come and therefore the aid is awarded solely based on financial need. Nearly 50% of the class receives HBS Fellowships with the majority of Fellowships in the $30,000-$50,000 range per year.

The average starting salary at graduation is $135,000. Most alums are able to pay back loans in considerably less time than the terms provided. HBS also offers a variety loan forgiveness programs available at graduation for those students plan to pursue a career path in a less lucrative field—for example, there are financing options for graduates heading into social enterprise or pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.” Leslie Moser, MBA 2015

We say: People will tell you that you will find the money you need to go, but we know that thinking about all those zeros can get overwhelming and intimidating. Just know that most students use multiple sources; it’s never too soon to start researching your options; don’t underestimate your costs; and rest assured that schools want you to find funding and will do everything they possibly can to help accepted applicants.

Tip 4: Keep in mind HBS is reapplicant-friendly 

I had been dinged from HBS once and wondered if it was worth applying a second time.  Although uncertain of whether or not I’d be accepted to the program, I wanted to give it another shot.  Fortunately, and likely due to some divine intervention, I was accepted to the program.  I was absolutely elated when I received the good news.” Ryan Hansen, MBA 2017

We say: Many people in b-school right now were dinged the first time they applied. Reapplying shows you are serious about your interest in the MBA program. Make sure your letters of recommendation and your GMAT or GRE scores are rock-solid, and don’t recycle essays from the first time around.

Use the additional essay question to explain what’s changed in your situation to make you a stronger candidate this time around. Make sure to address both professional and personal advancements, but show that you are realistic and self-aware. Revealing your humanity in the form of quirks, weaknesses and flaws can often help the admissions committee to like you.

Tip 5: Don’t self-select out

“When you’re lifting your finger to hit the submit button, or when you’re walking into your interview, stop thinking about your imperfections and deficiencies. In fact, stop thinking about yourself as an individual. Rather, think of yourself as a piece of something bigger – your potential HBS class. What you do have to offer? What characteristics you bring to the table that will make your section that much better? I bet there are several things about you that no one else can claim, and that’s the good stuff. Tell admissions about them.” Peter Nolan, MBA 2017

“To those thinking about applying to HBS, I encourage you to go for it. Don’t let your own self-doubt sabotage what could be one of the best experiences of your life.”   Terrance Rogers (MBA 2017)

We say: It’s hard not to feel intimidated when you read the admitted student profiles at many of the elite MBA programs, which might include Olympians, successful entrepreneurs, decorated military officers and candidates with outstanding public service experience. However, don’t get psyched out of applying just because you can’t list anything similarly noteworthy on your application.

To stand out in the eyes of the admissions committee, you just need to provide hard proof that you made a difference. Remember, it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Image credit: Flickr user Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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HBS Update on Round 2 Applications

The final wave of Round 2 interview invitations from Harvard Business School will go out on Wednesday, February 1st at noon EST. According to a new update by MBA admissions director Chad Losee, the online …

Harvard Business School interviewThe final wave of Round 2 interview invitations from Harvard Business School will go out on Wednesday, February 1st at noon EST. According to a new update by MBA admissions director Chad Losee, the online scheduler for this wave of interview invites will go live immediately.

As a reminder, whether you interview on campus, a global hub city, or via Skype, your odds of acceptance are the same as members of the admissions board conduct all HBS interviews.

The admissions team will also send out release notifications on Wednesday, and Losee takes a moment to reassure these candidates that HBS welcomes re-applicants, noting that “about 10% of each class is composed of students who didn’t get into HBS on their first try.”

If you’re planning to reapply if you don’t get accepted this year, here at SBC we recommend you treat the re-application process as a blank slate instead of reusing old essays.  It’s always a good idea to paint a new self-portrait based on the experiences you have gained during the past year.

Also, a word to future Round 1 applicants: Spring is a great time to plan a campus visit if you want to see the case method in action, as there’s limited availability for visiting a class in the early fall.

Good luck to all the Round 2 applicants out there, as well as those on the HBS waitlist.

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5 Common Interview Questions from Harvard Business School

 

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Advice for First-Years from an HBS Alumna

There’s nothing like advice that comes straight from the source, so if Harvard Business School is on your short list, you shouldn’t miss this great post published recently in the student newspaper The Harbus. In What …

There’s nothing like advice that comes straight from the source, so if Harvard Business School is on your short list, you shouldn’t miss this great post published recently in the student newspaper The Harbus.

Harvard Business School students

In What I Wish I’d Known This Time Last Year, Rahima Dosani (MBA ’16)  offers advice for first-year students, AKA RCs, which she wrote during her EC year.  We’ll share some excerpts here, but definitely check out her entire piece for some really helpful tips for students just getting their bearings as they settle in on campus.

You are your own worst critic. No one remembers a comment for more than 2 minutes after you make it. Sometimes not even that long. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say what you are thinking, and don’t beat yourself up afterward. Your opinions matter.

Stay in touch with your family and friends. In the craziness that is RC year, it is so easy to forget to call home and forget about your high school, college, and work friends who have been by your side for years. They may not really understand what your life is like, but keeping them close will be restorative and grounding for you in so many ways.

Quality over quantity.  Ask yourself: “Who would I want to keep in touch with or take a trip with many years after graduation?” Those are the people you should spend most of your time with. Be friendly with everyone, but don’t exhaust yourself trying to build close friendships with 95 people. 

Ain’t no shame in getting a 3. Your life and career will be filled with just as much meaning, fulfillment, success, and happiness as it would be if you had gotten a 2. Guaranteed.

Professors are awesome. Share with them your concerns or thoughts about participation, class content, or just life. They value connecting with you and can be an incredible source of inspiration and comfort.

You do belong here. When you feel like you don’t fit in, can’t figure out FIN for the life of you, and don’t see things the same way as other people, just remember that’s the value you bring to the table. And other people are definitely feeling the same way – you’re not alone.

HBS doesnt need to be the best two years of your life. It’s awesome if it is. But it’s totally okay if it’s not. It just needs to be worth it for you. So “do you.” Invest in what you really enjoy or want to learn. Do what you need to do to make this time here meaningful for you.

You may also be interested in:

5 Common Interview Questions from Harvard Business School

Image by HBS1908 (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 

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Advice for the Harvard Business School Admissions Essay

This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but Harvard Business School has notoriously low acceptance rates, which is why applicants to HBS must answer the required essay question both thoughtfully and strategically. Business …

HBS essay tips

This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but Harvard Business School has notoriously low acceptance rates, which is why applicants to HBS must answer the required essay question both thoughtfully and strategically.

Business Insider recently shared my tips for this season’s crop of candidates, who, quite honestly, will probably have an easier time compared to last year’s simply because HBS decided to forgo the creative prompt for a simple, straightforward question.

It’s interesting to note how the essay at this top b-school has morphed over the past three years. Two seasons ago, there was an optional essay question that threw many applicants into a tailspin. Realizing applicants didn’t really want “optional,” the school posed this question for the Class of 2018 application essay:

It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.

Introduce yourself.

I think that the more ‘creative’ format of the introduction may have muddied some of the answers, wasting word count being cute, setting up a conversation, etc., prompting the admissions team to look toward something vastly more streamlined for this year. This is the question for the Class of 2019 application essay:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

The most challenging part of this essay is remaining disciplined. With unlimited space to make your case, you may be tempted to compose a laundry list of everything interesting or impressive you have ever done.

That urge could backfire, as the essay is used to determine who isn’t a fit for HBS as much as those who deserve the chance to move into the interview round. Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued qualities and this essay is your chance to display those qualities through the stories you choose and the voice coming through your writing.

Is Harvard Business School on your list of target schools this season? If so, follow the link above to the full article on Business Insider to read more of my HBS essay tips!

You may also be interested in:

No. 1 Trait HBS Looks for in MBA Applicants

Image credit: Flickr user Chris Han (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Harvard’s Bio-Tech Life Lab Set to Open

The Harvard Life Lab, poised to open in November, is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of innovation facilities at Harvard Business School. Made possible by a gift from HBS alumni Judy and Steve Pagliuca, the …

A rendering of the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab by Shepley Bulfinch

The Harvard Life Lab, poised to open in November, is the newest addition to the growing portfolio of innovation facilities at Harvard Business School. Made possible by a gift from HBS alumni Judy and Steve Pagliuca, the lab will connect students and alumni interested in biotech, pharma, and other life sciences-related fields with a fully equipped wet lab environment and the resources they need to take their ventures to the next stage of development.

Building on the success of the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab), the Harvard Launch Lab, and the One Harvard mission, the Life Lab offers shared space for high-potential life sciences and biotech startups founded by Harvard faculty, alumni, students, and postdoctoral scholars.

Over the past five years the i-lab has attracted students and faculty from across the university, some of whom want to pursue ideas in the life sciences that require wet lab facilities. Wet labs are laboratories that test chemicals, drugs or other materials that require direct ventilation and specialized accommodations.

The Life Lab will contribute to building a thriving start-up community in Allston by seeding the campus with early stage scientific ventures. Together with the i-lab and Launch Lab, the Life Lab will foster the cross-disciplinary approach to entrepreneurship that will enable deeper impact and outcomes, and will reinforce President Drew Faust’s vision of One Harvard.

“The Life Lab is a vital building block in Harvard’s efforts to create an innovation hub in Allston that encourages our students and faculty to explore and nurture ideas that lead to new knowledge, new products, new services and perhaps even new industries,” says Faust.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will have fully equipped and permitted laboratory and office space for early-stage companies. The Life Lab will house approximately 20 ventures at a time, and typically would comprise two to five individuals who demonstrate expertise in the technology/science, as well as an understanding of the commercial/market need, and a vision for how they will build a viable business. The ventures represent eight different Harvard schools and nearly 50% have a female founder.

“We hope by building community we will accelerate their development and increase their likelihood of future success and ultimate impact on the world,” says Jodi Goldstein, Managing Director of the Harvard Innovation Labs, who notes that the inaugural teams reflect the breadth and diversity of Harvard representing the One Harvard, cross disciplinary approach to innovation that builds community and connection among the ventures.

“We believe innovation in the life sciences is critically important to the future of our region from an economic standpoint and equally important to all of our futures in its potential to solve complex health problems,” says Steve Pagliuca.

“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to the innovation movement at Harvard and we are excited at the potential of the ideas that will emerge from this new space,” added Judy Pagliuca.

Image via Harvard Business School

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