Words of Advice for Round 2 HBS Applicants

HBS applicantsThe Round 2 deadline is coming up at Harvard Business School on January 3rd, and there’s no time like the present to review some of the key elements your MBA application should highlight if you’re targeting this upcoming round.

It may not surprise you to learn that high-impact leadership, or what we call the “Big Kahuna” at HBS, is the most important trait the AdCom looks for. When evaluating your leadership potential, the admissions committee will look for evidence that you’ve made a positive impact on the communities of which you’ve been a part, both personally and professionally.

Your past leadership achievements are the best gauge of your potential for realizing your future ambitions, so make sure to highlight instances that support your case in this area. The admissions committee understands you may not have several years of work experience from which to draw. Take comfort in knowing that it’s not about the scale of your achievements – rather, it’s the fact that you left indelible footprints.

Be sure also to focus on service to others in your application. As with leadership, the committee is concerned with the connection between your achievements and how they reflect who you are. Community service is important because a.) it provides insights into your deeper interests and the causes that you care about; and b.) the admissions officers want to see evidence that you’re the type of person who devotes energy to making a community stronger because they may be inviting you into their community.

With a mission to “educate leaders to make a difference in the world,” HBS isn’t looking for candidates who simply want a résumé boost. If you’re applying to Harvard, you have to have passion and vision–think big. Passion is a useful tool for staying motivated and productive, whether it’s in school or business.

But it goes much deeper than simply being passionate about what you’re doing. You need to express your passion in a way that inspires and projects energy onto those you work with. It’s not just your footprints that interest HBS admissions; they also want to see the footprints of those who follow you as you blaze a new trail in an area of passion.

Finally, applicants may want to take advantage of today’s admissions Q&A webinar at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Harvard Business School is closed from December 22 through January 1, so this will be your last chance to communicate with the admissions team regarding any questions that might help as you put those finishing touches on your application over the next two weeks.

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