Tag Archives: HBS

Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

Harvard Business School just announced the deadlines for the class of 2020, and the essay question, which is unchanged from last year. It’s worth trying hard to hit the first round deadline when there is …

HBS essay tipsHarvard Business School just announced the deadlines for the class of 2020, and the essay question, which is unchanged from last year. It’s worth trying hard to hit the first round deadline when there is a lower volume of applicants and therefore more time for the admissions committee to evaluate your candidacy. You have just a few months until the September 6th deadline.

The most challenging part of the HBS 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.

Class of 2020 admissions essay question:
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? (no word count limit)

A note on word count: HBS values brevity in essays. Do not be tempted to go overboard with a 2,000 word essay, rather focus on concise and clear writing and consider keeping this essay in the ~1,000 word range. Our clients have successfully composed essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words, though you should take a pass through your essay to cut any unnecessary words if you find yourself on the upper end of that range.

Because there is no stated word count you do have the flexibility to take extra space if you are telling a compelling story that needs it.

The goal of this essay is to know yourself, know HBS, and know how to match the two to demonstrate your fit for the school. Your first task should be to evaluate all of the other aspects of your candidacy – what is the story your resume tells? What do you think recommenders will say? How does your transcript communicate your skills, accomplishments and interests? Then you need to evaluate how to fill the gaps with the essay.

HBS is devoted to the case method, and published a video a few years ago, which is worth watching now. The video clearly shows that diverse perspectives are valuable to the case method experience. In your essay preparations consider what diverse experience you bring.

Check out the incoming class profile for some idea of what a “typical” HBS student is like. We have found that both personal and career oriented topics can work, and most candidates tell more than one story in the essay. In the past we have observed that successful HBS essays also demonstrate a core driving passion. HBS students are ambitious, motivated and never boring.

As you consider possible stories to tell in this essay keep in mind that HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and really loves candidates with a track record of leadership impact and a success trajectory that indicates upper management potential and a passion for impact in both business and society.

Accomplishments have traditionally been a strong focus of HBS essays, and using at least one accomplishment story in this essay may be a good strategy, particularly if your accomplishments are not obvious when reading your resume or transcripts.

A note on what not to do: We see many applicants tempted to include “why HBS” type information in HBS essays. Explaining why the case method specifically is a good fit for you and your learning style is absolutely appropriate, but more detailed “why HBS” content has never been asked for in an HBS application essay question. We believe it’s more effective for you to use the space to provide detailed information about yourself and your candidacy.

Looking for guidance on your HBS application? Contact us to learn more about Stacy Blackman Consulting.

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Harvard Business School’s Fall 2018 Deadlines, Essay Question

Chad Losee, Harvard Business School’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid, took to his blog this week to preview the following MBA application deadlines and essay question for the 2017-18 admissions season. Round 1 Application due: …

successful HBS applicantChad Losee, Harvard Business School’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid, took to his blog this week to preview the following MBA application deadlines and essay question for the 2017-18 admissions season.

Round 1

Application due: September 6, 2017
Decision released: TBA

Round 2

Application due: January 3, 2018
Decision released: TBA

Round 3/2+2

Application due: Early April 2018
Decision released: TBA

Harvard Business School strongly encourages international applicants to apply in rounds one or two to allow sufficient time for visa processing, as well as additional time to work on English fluency.

All applications are due at 12 noon EST on the day of the deadline. If submitted after 12 noon, applications will be considered in the following round.

Essay Question

The essay question will remain the same as last year: 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? (no word count limit)

In the past, the HBS admissions team has suggested that applicants watch this video about the Case Method before beginning to write. Note that there is no word limit for this question, but as always, the team stresses that the goal is not to overthink, overcraft, and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that anyone outside of your industry would understand.

Applicants will have to answer a written reflection within 24 hours of their interview with an admissions staffer. The new application will go live in early June. For more information, please visit the HBS admissions website.

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Paying for a Harvard MBA

In his recent update to the Director’s Blog, Harvard Business School‘s head of admissions and financial aid Chad Losee shared a few important points of how financial aid works at HBS. The inspiration for the …

HBS financial aidIn his recent update to the Director’s Blog, Harvard Business School‘s head of admissions and financial aid Chad Losee shared a few important points of how financial aid works at HBS. The inspiration for the post came after attending the school’s annual “Fellowship Dinner” for current students who have received need-based aid to study and the donors who make it possible.

“I intellectually know that 50% of all HBS students receive an average fellowship of $74,000 over the two years (money that doesn’t need to be paid back), ” Losee writes, “But seeing everyone together—filling up three basketball courts in the HBS gym (Shad Hall)—I was struck by how many people’s lives are impacted for good.”

Alumni donations to HBS don’t go into a large pot to be divided up among students with need, Losee explains, adding that fellowships are not provided as an anonymous way of discounting tuition for some students.  “The funds are real money from real people, and each donor’s contribution goes to a specific student,” he explained.

“At the Fellowship Dinner, those giving and those receiving sit next to one another, and students are able to personally thank their benefactors. At my table last night, I saw great conversations, genuine heartfelt gratitude, and budding mentor relationships take hold. It was moving,” he shared.

“These are busy people with busy lives all over the world,” Losee writes, “But here they are on campus to support these students. Many were fellowship recipients themselves as HBS students and feel an enduring connection to the School.”

Cash-strapped applicants can take heart when they hear what Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria said in this Bloomberg interview in 2015: “What we’re looking for is the brightest people with great leadership potential. And I promise you, if you apply to Harvard Business School you will be able to attend irrespective of your financial needs.”

Some very worthy applicants become scared off of applying to a school of this caliber for fear that the expense will be too great to bear. Losee’s post therefore is extremely important to keep qualified candidates from self-selecting out of the HBS applicant pool next season.

For more information about the financial aid process at Harvard Business School, take a look at this webinar on the school’s website.

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A Look at One Successful HBS Applicant

Prospective applicants always wants to know how to land a seat at the (usually) top-ranked MBA program in the land, Harvard Business School. If that sounds like you, then check out the recent piece in …

successful HBS applicantProspective applicants always wants to know how to land a seat at the (usually) top-ranked MBA program in the land, Harvard Business School. If that sounds like you, then check out the recent piece in BusinessInsider profiling first-year MBA student Ayse Baybars and her journey to HBS.

Baybars graduated from Harvard University in 2012 with a major in human evolutionary biology and minor in English. Her work experience prior to applying to business school included a stint at a small nonprofit focused on STEM, and a role at the lingerie startup Peach.

“I am one of the only students with a science background who also has significant startup experience, so I think that brings a very different view to our case discussions when we talk about making decisions using very little data,” she said of her contributions to the class.

Her best advice to MBA hopefuls is, “Be true to who you are. Don’t try to craft the story before you’ve lived it. The story and the narrative will come as long as you pick steps with authenticity that speak to what you want to do.”

Click on over to the original article for more details on how Baybars’s non-traditional background, coupled with an adroit packaging of her story for the admissions team,  helped her gain admission to this elite business school.

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Ace Your Harvard Business School Interview

Harvard Business School interviews just 25% of applicants each season. On the bright side, HBS admits about half of interviewed candidates, so if you can successfully pass this hurdle in the application process, your chances …

HBS interview tips

Harvard Business School interviews just 25% of applicants each season. On the bright side, HBS admits about half of interviewed candidates, so if you can successfully pass this hurdle in the application process, your chances of admission skyrocket.

As I explained in my recent article published in Business Insider, the admissions team seeks applicants who can demonstrate that they share the values central to HBS culture: passion, self-awareness, maturity, integrity, focus on solutions, high-impact leadership, and case-method compatibility.

While you can’t predict which specific questions will come up during your interview, you can expect the types of questions to fall into three broad categories representing your past, present, and future. The interviewer will probe in great depth about your career goals, professional choices, and interest in the MBA program. He or she will be very familiar with your essays — so familiar, in fact, that your interviewer will seem determined to find a “hole” in your story.

The anecdotes you share about your past experiences — both successes and failures — will give the interviewer some insight into your self-awareness and maturity. Your story should reveal how you confront life choices, the values and principles that help you negotiate complex situations, your beliefs, and your worldview.

Expect to receive a number of questions that will help interviewers gauge how life has tested you, and how you responded to that test.

As you prepare for the interview, focus on the experiences, anecdotes, and answers that will showcase your strengths. To learn exactly how to successfully wow your interviewer for a shot of admission at this ultra-elite school, click on over to Business Insider to continue reading my article with the best HBS interview tips.

You may also be interested in:

5 Tips for Harvard Business School Applicants
Advice for the Harvard Business School Admissions Essay

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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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