HBS Keeps “Optional” Essay for 2014-2015 Admissions Cycle

HBS R1Just one day after Harvard Business School sent out Round 3 decisions, director of MBA admissions and financial aid Dee Leopold was back on the blog today with the news that HBS would be repeating the optional essay prompt that created such a stir when it was first announced.

The (optional) “essay” question is:

“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career intentions, test scores, and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”

Although Leopold went on record last year saying Harvard Business School would always be changing the essay question, the director admits the admissions team really liked the wide range of responses they received from admitted candidates.

She goes on to list the two recommender questions for the upcoming season, which are as follows:

How do the candidate’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)

Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)

The application will go live in mid-June, says Leopold, and the Round 1 deadline has been set for September 9, 2014. HBS will conduct interviews from mid-October through November, with notification on or around December 10th, the director adds.

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