Harvard Business School Application


“Habit of leadership, analytical aptitude & appetite and engaged community citizenship, are what HBS is looking for in its applicants,” shared Andrea, who is a former HBS Admissions Officer and HBS MBA on the Stacy Blackman Consulting team.

Contact us for an assessment of your HBS MBA candidacy today. Here’s a snapshot of our HBS expertise on the SBC admissions consulting team:

HBS Program Overview
Home of the case method of business education, Harvard Business School brings, “the complex and dynamic realities of business analysis and decision making into the classroom.” The school’s mission is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world.

Students at Harvard Business School are part of a storied institution with a dense network of connections and resources. The volume of cases, research and publications which the school puts out each year is part of what makes Harvard unique. Ideas are exchanged at nearly 20 conferences each year, and at speaking engagements which take place regularly.

Within the larger MBA program, students become part of a smaller community through their “section” groups. Each group of about ninety students has a dedicated faculty team and together they complete the first year curriculum. All students take the same five courses during the first year, focusing on the internal functional operations of business enterprise. With one of the largest and most influential alumni networks around, Harvard Business School is very well-connected. In fact, 20% of the top three executive positions at Fortune 500 companies are filled by HBS alumni.

Admissions Stats

Here’s a snapshot of HBS’s student class, relative to Stanford:

Admission Stats Harvard Stanford
Average GMAT 730 738
GMAT Range 590-790 610-790
Average GPA 3.69 3.78
Estimated selectivity 10.02% 7.00%


Class of 2023 Harvard    Stanford 
Enrolled MBA Students 1,010 426
International MBA Students 37% 47%
Women MBA Students 46% 44%
Black American Students 12% 5%
Hispanic/Latinx Students 11% 12%
Asian American Students 24% 23%

HBS Admissions Essay

Here’s HBS essay prompt and HBS essay tips can be found here. Even outside the actual essay prompts, HBS embeds within its application data form short answer questions that are not to be dismissed, as they are as scrutinized by MBA Admissions readers.

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? (no word count limit)

HBS Admissions Tips

SBC reviews its admit pool each season to identify key trends and lessons. For instance, we recently wrote about how to demystify the HBS acceptance rateWhen we evaluated all our successful HBS admits across our SBC client pool, past clients who received admits, we found that their essays had some common success factors:

  1. Core passion and driving motivation shared through several examples, professional, community, personal
  2. Autobiographical and also key achievements
  3. Multi-topical as opposed to one topic, but with a structured framework of some type and not colloquial, freeflow presentation

Similarly, academic stats, intellectual horsepower, leadership track record, career clarity, and proven ambition are all table stakes for HBS admissions.  

Sample HBS Essays

Winning essays from our successful admits are new on the SBC site and can be found here:

HBS Essay Examples

More HBS Application Tips

View our extensive overview of how the application for Harvard varies from that of Stanford here.


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