Tag Archives: HBS

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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No. 1 Trait HBS Looks for in MBA Applicants

Do you have an idea about what the number one characteristic the admissions team at Harvard Business School is looking for in MBA applicants? I recently shared my thoughts on the subject with Business Insider, …

HBS applicantsDo you have an idea about what the number one characteristic the admissions team at Harvard Business School is looking for in MBA applicants? I recently shared my thoughts on the subject with Business Insider, based on my 15 years of experience advising clients on how to position themselves when applying to the world’s top business schools.

It may not surprise you to learn that the most important trait the AdCom looks for is high-impact leadership, or what I call the “big kahuna” at HBS.

When evaluating your leadership potential, the admissions committee will be looking for evidence that you have made a positive impact on the communities of which you’ve been a part, both personally and professionally. However, it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Click on over to Business Insider to read more about what I believe are the 10 traits Harvard Business School looks for in the ideal MBA candidate.

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

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Tuesday Tips: Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Tips

Harvard Business School continues to provide one open-ended essay question to applicants. This year the essay is required (unlike two years ago) but the essay question has changed from last year, and is instead much …

HBS essay adviceHarvard Business School continues to provide one open-ended essay question to applicants. This year the essay is required (unlike two years ago) but the essay question has changed from last year, and is instead much more flexible (like two years ago).

Last year the HBS admissions director blog noted that the “optional” element was dropped because: “this season, every applicant submitted a response. We get it. You want to tell us things.”

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.

There is one 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?

From HBS: There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

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 to 1,200 words or less. 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.

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.

Last year HBS recommended a video on the case method, which is worth watching now. The video clearly shows that diverse perspectives are valuable to the case method experience. Think about what diverse experience you bring. 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.

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. HBS admissions is quite clear on the value of an HBS degree, and they would rather see you use the space to provide more information about yourself and your candidacy.

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

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

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HBS 2+2 Program Now Has Single Application Deadline

Earlier this month, Harvard Business School announced a significant change to the application process for its 2+2 program. This deferred admissions program is designed for college seniors, who, if accepted, work for two years (or …

Harvard Business School-Flickr

Earlier this month, Harvard Business School announced a significant change to the application process for its 2+2 program. This deferred admissions program is designed for college seniors, who, if accepted, work for two years (or more) after their college graduations before entering the b-school.

Going forward, there will be a single deadline for these applicants—April 3, 2017—and one decision notification in mid-May.

In an update to the Director’s Blog, outgoing head of MBA admissions Dee Leopold notes that the change now offers the admissions team the opportunity to see applicants’ fall term grades and activities, and allows the team to review the entire pool at once.

While applicants can submit their materials earlier, Leopold stresses that this is not a rolling admissions process and no application will be considered prior to the April deadline.

“Many participants elect to work for three years and some for four,” adds Leopold. “You’ve heard us say this before and we’ll say it again: 2+2 probably should be re-named ‘Flex+2’…Your plans for employment need to be approved by us but we encourage a wide range of career exploration.”

Interview dates have not yet been set, though successful applicants can anticipate interviewing in late April-early May.

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

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