Tag Archives: HBS

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.

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Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Question

Harvard Business School has introduced the required essay prompt for the 2016-2017 MBA application season, which is a revisit of the optional question HBS used a few admission cycles back. It is as follows: As …

Harvard Business School SpanglerHarvard Business School has introduced the required essay prompt for the 2016-2017 MBA application season, which is a revisit of the optional question HBS used a few admission cycles back. It is as follows:

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?

Per 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.

The post-interview reflection remains a part of the HBS application process. Within 24 hours of the interview, candidates must submit a written reflection through the online application system. Detailed instructions will be provided to those applicants who are invited to the interview process.

For more information, please visit the HBS MBA admissions website. And stay tuned for our expert tips on how best to answer this prompt!

You may also be interested in:

Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

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Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Application Deadlines

Harvard Business School has announced the application deadlines for the 2016-2017 MBA admissions cycle. They are as follows: Round 1 Application due: September 7, 2016 Decision released: December 7, 2016 Round 2 Application due: January …

Harvard Business School deadlines

Harvard Business School has announced the application deadlines for the 2016-2017 MBA admissions cycle. They are as follows:

Round 1

Application due: September 7, 2016
Decision released: December 7, 2016

Round 2

Application due: January 4, 2017
Decision released: March 22, 2017

Round 3

Application due: April 3, 2017
Decision released: May 10, 2017

Applications are due by 12 noon on the day of the deadline. Harvard Business School anticipates that many candidates will submit their online application materials very close to 12 noon on submission deadline dates. To avoid heavy server traffic and potential delays, HBS encourages candidates to submit application materials as early as possible.

For more information, please visit the HBS MBA admissions website.

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Harvard Business School Fall 2017 MBA Essay Question

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Harvard Business School Names New Head of MBA Admissions

A five-month search culminated yesterday with Harvard Business School’s announcement that Chad Losee, Harvard MBA Class of 2013, will be its next Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. Losee will succeed Dee Leopold, …

new head of admissions at HBS

A five-month search culminated yesterday with Harvard Business School’s announcement that Chad Losee, Harvard MBA Class of 2013, will be its next Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid.

Losee will succeed Dee Leopold, who has headed the school’s MBA selection process since 2006. Leopold will remain at HBS as Program Director for 2+2, a deferred admission process for students in college or full-time master’s programs.

After graduating from HBS in 2013 as a Baker Scholar (an academic honor awarded to the top 5% of the graduating class of some 900 students), Losee worked for a year as an HBS Leadership Fellow in the Dean’s Office. In that role, he collaborated with the school’s senior leadership on a range of strategic projects.

One such effort was at HBX, where Losee helped to launch and set strategy for this unique digital learning platform. In particular, he co-led the exam and credential strategy for CORe (Credential of Readiness), which teaches students the fundamentals of accounting, business analytics, and economics for managers.

In addition, he worked with HBS professor Clayton Christensen to develop an HBX course on Disruptive Strategy, an offering designed for executives around the world.

Losee also served as an observer with the HBS Admissions Board, evaluating prospective students during their interviews – an interest that had been piqued during his student days when he was an Admissions Ambassador for his HBS section, helping candidates during their visits to the campus. Losee has remained active as an HBS alumnus, serving a term on the HBS Alumni Board, one of about 70 graduates appointed to provide expertise and input to the School’s leaders.

I am a real believer in Harvard Business School’s mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, says Losee.

In 2014, Losee returned to Bain & Company’s Dallas office, where he had worked from 2008 to 2011, including a stint in Stockholm. As a manager at Bain, Losee has led consulting teams in client engagements across multiple industries. He graduated in 2008 from the Honors Program at Brigham Young University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations summa cum laude.

“I’ve seen firsthand how my classmates, the amazing body of HBS alumni, and the outstanding faculty and staff all strive to shape the world around them for the better,” Losee says.

“The experience of a two-year, full-time MBA at HBS continues to have a great impact on me personally and as a leader. My goal as Dee’s successor is to make sure that each diverse MBA class continues to have a transformative experience at HBS and go on to make a real difference in the world.”

“We are delighted to welcome Chad back to the School and his family back to Boston,” said Jana Pompadur Kierstead, Executive Director of the MBA Program. “He has a deep understanding of HBS and its pedagogy and mission; superb interpersonal, analytical, and strategic skills; and a passion for admissions. That combination of talent and experience positions him well to lead our Admissions and Financial Aid teams.”

Losee will begin his new role in June.

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HBS Admissions Director on Applying in Round 3

To apply or not to apply in the final round, that is the perennial question. Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, Dee Leopold, recently gave a crystal-clear answer…for college seniors, at …

applying in round 3

To apply or not to apply in the final round, that is the perennial question. Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid, Dee Leopold, recently gave a crystal-clear answer…for college seniors, at least.

“If you are a college senior who has the bandwidth to complete an application, I think that you should,” Leopold says, noting that there’s really no downside risk other than missing out on the last weeks of college life to prep for the GMAT or GRE.

“The worst that can happen is that you get turned down to the very small 2+2 Program. Many current students at HBS found themselves in that situation, went out and joined the work world, and reapplied successfully,” she adds.

As for candidates with a few years of work experience under their belts, Leopold acknowledges the third round is more complicated since most of the seats in the Class of 2018 have already been taken and it may be difficult to get a visa.

Despite those potential challenges, the director clears up a few myths that may be keeping qualified candidates from considering Round 3. Contrary to popular wisdom, needs-based financial aid is just as available for last-round applicants as it is for Round 1 admits.

If you do apply and are not successful, rest assured you can reapply in the future with absolutely no negative repercussions.

One plus of Round Three is the quick turnaround time between interview invitations going out and final decisions coming down. Invites will be sent by April 20th at noon, and your fate will be revealed on May 11th.

As always, we at SBC suggest candidates submit only once they feel their application is as strong as possible. If you apply in the final round, do make use of the optional essay to explain why you waited so that the admissions committee doesn’t come to the conclusion that this is just a last-ditch effort after failing to receive an admit at another MBA program in an earlier round.

“We ALWAYS admit people from Round 3,” Leopold says. “And they are always very wonderful.”

You may also be interested in:

What are My Round 3 Chances?
Should You Consider Applying in Round 3?
Face the Challenge of Round 3 Business School Applications

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