Tag Archives: HBS

Tuesday Tips: 2015 Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay Tips

This year Harvard Business School has decided to continue with one open-ended essay. The question has changed slightly and focused emphasis on the case method and your interaction with classmates. The HBS admissions director blog …

This year Harvard Business School has decided to continue with one open-ended essay. The question has changed slightly and focused emphasis on the case method and your interaction with classmates. The HBS admissions director blog notes 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 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.

Note: Should you enroll at HBS, there will be an opportunity for you to share this with them.

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 as you introduce yourself to your classmates. 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.

When you view the recommended video on the case method you can see 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. Consider that from your classmates’ perspective the most interesting information will be both personal and professional. You will be studying together and socializing together. Later, you will be professional contacts in your classmates’ career network. In the past we have observed that successful HBS essays also demonstrate of a core driving passion.

As you consider possible stories to tell in this essay keep in mind that HBS has always been highly focused on leadership and wants to accept candidates who have 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.

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Hot MBA Jobs of the Future

Are you wondering what the hot MBA jobs of the future will be? Take a look at these six up-and-coming jobs that US News & World Report highlights as well-suited for business school graduates. Not …

Are you wondering what the hot MBA jobs of the future will be? Take a look at these six up-and-coming jobs that US News & World Report highlights as well-suited for business school graduates. Not surprising, they all command solid salaries, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts hiring growth in these industries.

Here are US News’s top picks:

Operations research analyst: Higher-level operations research analysts usually have an MBA with a specialization in production and operations management. Consider top schools, such as University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Michigan Ross School of Business.

IT Manager: These professionals supervise employees, communicate with internal executives and outside vendors as well as plan various tech upgrades for their employer. Check out the excellent program for information systems at MIT Sloan School of Management.

Management Analyst: These professionals provide feedback on improving an organization’s efficiency and profitability. Competitive candidates have a few years of experience in operations, and have earned an MBA with a focus on management. Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Business School have top programs.?

 Financial analyst: These professionals help companies determine when to buy and sell investments.  The Chicago Booth School of Business and the NYU Stern School of Business offer top finance programs.

HR specialist: These professionals work with a company’s employees, by doing anything from recruiting them to training them to explaining their benefits. HR specialists don’t need an MBA, but the degree will help them stand out from the competition.

Information security analyst: These analysts monitor and protect an organization’s computer network and systems. Companies prefer to hire those with an MBA. The UT McCombs School of Business and Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business are top-notch programs for studying information systems.

As you can see, employers are looking for skilled managers to lead the way in today’s global economy. Business and management degrees can be a powerful driver of confidence and opportunity to achieve those ambitious goals.

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Strong Job Market Predicted for 2015 B-School Graduates

 

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Round 2 Deadline at Harvard Business School

Today is the Round 2 deadline at Harvard Business School, and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold updated her blog with a brief re-cap of what will happen. As a reminder, the …

Today is the Round 2 deadline at Harvard Business School, and Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold updated her blog with a brief re-cap of what will happen.

As a reminder, the deadline is at noon EST, and you can expect traffic on the server to be heavy around that time, so don’t panic if it takes time to successfully submit, Leopold urges.

While the deadline for applications and recommenders is officially the same, Leopold explains that the admissions team will keep the system open for a few days to allow recommendations to arrive. Once there is one recommendation letter in the file, the AdCom will begin to review your application.

By mid-day Wednesday, AdCom will have a handle on the size of the Round 2 applicant pool, and Leopold expects her team to have a good idea of when interview invitations will go out.

Off-campus interviews will take place in Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, London, Paris, Menlo Park, and New York City, she says.

As soon as we hear additional interview details, we’ll share them here. Good luck HBS applicants!

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MBA Trends at Harvard Business School and Beyond

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First Year HBS Student Debunks 3 Common Preconceptions

People have a lot of preconceived notions about what Harvard Business School is like, much of it good but some of it not so great. I came across an article written by MBA candidate Philip …

People have a lot of preconceived notions about what Harvard Business School is like, much of it good but some of it not so great. I came across an article written by MBA candidate Philip Blackett, which does a bit of HBS myth-busting that I think current and future applicants will appreciate reading.

Myth #1 HBS is Cutthroat

Blackett’s imagination ran wild before he came to Cambridge in August, imagining his future classmates would go out of their way to sabotage the success of their peers. “What I found was the exact opposite,” he writes. “I was most surprised by how tight my 93-person section became and how much we genuinely cared for one another after only a few months.”

This sense of collaboration and closeness extends beyond the section to the whole study body, he adds, noting how touched he felt when fellow students reacted to the Mike Brown and Eric Garner incidents by holding a candlelight vigil. Attending Harvard doesn’t mean you can’t relate to life outside of campus, says Blackett.

Myth #2 You Can’t Learn Finance from Case Studies

He wasn’t the only incoming student feeling apprehensive about learning finance through reading cases. With textbooks and practice problems for reference, Blackett says he was able to learn NPV, dividend growth model and EV/EBITDA valuation multiples just fine.

“These concepts that we learned in finance (and accounting) helped my classmates make better decisions when we put ourselves in the shoes of each case protagonist,” Blackett writes. “This simulation practice will help prepare us for similar decisions to be made once we’re back in the real world with real problems to solve.”

Myth #3 The Only Thing You’ll Learn at Harvard is Leadership

While Harvard Business School is nicknamed the “West Point of Capitalism,” Blackett writes that in addition to leadership skills, he was surprised to discover an unexpected lesson during his first semester.  In these few short months, he has learned a great deal about both time and priority management at HBS.

With something new and exciting to do every day of the week both on and off campus, many incoming students become overwhelmed by FOMO (fear of missing out). “Each day, I had to make tough decisions on which activities to participate in after school, while considering the tradeoffs of each decision,” he writes, knowing full well that managing his commitments will only become more challenging during the two-year program.

Perhaps the best way to learn whether an MBA program is a good fit for you is by finding out how current students and alumni feel about their experience. To read more of Blackett’s thoughts on his HBS journey so far, please follow the link above for the full article.

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HBS Students Fight Stereotypes with Food Bank Fundraiser

What my MBA at Harvard did NOT teach me

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HBS Students Fight Stereotypes with Food Bank Fundraiser

The actions of Ben Edelman, the Harvard Business School professor who landed in the national news this week by quarreling with the manager of a Chinese restaurant about a $4 overcharge, have spurred HBS students …

The actions of Ben Edelman, the Harvard Business School professor who landed in the national news this week by quarreling with the manager of a Chinese restaurant about a $4 overcharge, have spurred HBS students to publicly denounce his behavior.

HBS students often confront the negative stereotype that they are elitist and self-involved. One first-year student felt that Edelman’s behavior only furthered that perception, and he acted quickly to change the tide of public opinion.

Jon Staff and other HBS students decided to launch a campaign asking members of the public to donate $4 – the amount of the Edelman overcharge – to the Greater Boston Food Bank, Boston.com reports.

From the fundraiser homepage:

Negative stereotypes of Harvard and HBS were reinforced by an article in Boston.com about a $4 dispute between an HBS professor and a small business owner. In accordance with our community values, we are calling on all Harvard students to flip the script by donating $4 to provide food for those in need.  All donations will be given to The Greater Boston Food Bank, which will match all donations received before December 31.

“It’s an upsetting article,” Staff told Boston.com. “People here are really amazing and smart and supportive and humble. What Edelman did makes it much harder to make the case that this is an institution full of good people. This one action doesn’t define who we are as a community. Or it shouldn’t.”

Edelman has since apologized for his actions on his website. “I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future,” he wrote.

As of Thursday morning, the campaign had raised $4,994, with 320 contributors.

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Round 1 Notification at Harvard Business School

In an update to her blog, Dee Leopold, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, informed readers that interviewed Round 1 applicants will have a status update on Wednesday, December 10th. At …

In an update to her blog, Dee Leopold, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, informed readers that interviewed Round 1 applicants will have a status update on Wednesday, December 10th.

At approximately noon Boston time, you may log in to your application and one of three decisions will appear: denied, waitlisted, or admitted.

Leopold explains that admitted candidates will have immediate access to the prematriculation website, while waitlisted candidates will learn more about timing, updates, etc., and denied applicants will learn about opportunities for “touchpoint” calls.

Good luck to those of you anxiously awaiting Wednesday’s news!

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Harvard Business School MBA Application Essay Tips 2014

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