Tag Archives: HBS
December 23, 2014
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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December 11, 2014
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.
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.
December 9, 2014
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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October 9, 2014
Earlier this week, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold announced that the first wave of interview invites to Round 1 applicants were heading out to roughly 800 lucky inboxes, …
Earlier this week, Harvard Business School‘s Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Dee Leopold announced that the first wave of interview invites to Round 1 applicants were heading out to roughly 800 lucky inboxes, with another batch of 150 to come on October 15th.
On that date, HBS will also inform about 200 applicants via email that the admissions team would like to “further consider” their applications in Round 2. Applicants to the 2+2 program will be invited to interview on the October 15th wave as well.
October 15th is also the date HBS will “release” candidates who are not moving forward. “We hope that by doing this early, we are enabling this group to pursue other options sooner vs. later,” the director explains.
Finally, Leopold requests that applicants refrain from sending in any additional supporting documents. “We’ve designed an evaluation process that we believe is as thorough and fair as we can make it,” she says. “It’s not perfect, but it certainly is a process to which we dedicate a tremendous amount of care and concern.”
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September 16, 2014
In her recent blog update, Harvard Business School‘s director of admissions and financial aid Dee Leopold explained exactly what MBA hopefuls who submitted their applications last week for Round 1 can expect over the next …
In her recent blog update, Harvard Business School‘s director of admissions and financial aid Dee Leopold explained exactly what MBA hopefuls who submitted their applications last week for Round 1 can expect over the next two months.
Candidates invited to interview will receive an email invitation on either October 8th or October 15th with detailed instructions about the sign-up procedure. Applicants who are not invited to interview will be notified of their release on October 15th.
Leopold expects 100-150 Round 1 applicants to fall under the category of “further consideration,” aka the waitlist. These candidates will either be reviewed and invited to interview during Round 2, or released on the R2 timetable, she explains.
Harvard Business School will conduct Round 1 interviews between October 20–November 21 on campus and at various locations around the globe. These off-sight locations are: New York City, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Santiago, Chile. Candidates who are unable to travel may be accommodated via Skype, the director assures.
The Round 2 deadline at HBS is January 5, 2015. If you’d like a little extra guidance on how to approach the optional essay question, read our Harvard Business School MBA essay tips for an array of possible strategies.
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May 27, 2014
Harvard Business School has decided to repeat the same essay question this year as originally used in last year’s application cycle. Though the admissions committee said they were planning to change the essay questions every …
Harvard Business School has decided to repeat the same essay question this year as originally used in last year’s application cycle. Though the admissions committee said they were planning to change the essay questions every year, it turned out that the one open-ended essay was helpful enough to use it again.
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 selecting the lucky candidates who make it 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, technically optional, for the Class of 2017 application essay:
You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?
HBS adds this tip to the essay prompt:
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 traditionally has limited essays to around 400 words each. 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 successful clients had essays anywhere from 500-1,300 words last year, 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.
We advised many successful clients on this essay last year, and those who received an acceptance letter from Harvard Business School pursued a range of topics. Some applicants focused on their career journey and aspirations while others wrote about their personal background. Both highly personal and career oriented essays were successful, and most candidates told more than one story in the essay. One common thread we observed was that all of the successful essays demonstrated a core driving passion.
While comparisons with Stanford’s “What Matters Most” open-ended question may come immediately to mind, HBS is very different and it will be important to know the program. 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. This has never been part of an HBS application essay question and we don’t recommend including that sort of angle here. HBS is quite clear on why applicants are interested in the school, and they would rather see you use the space to provide more information about yourself and your candidacy.