28 May 2015
Commencement is upon us, and this is an exciting year for the Doctoral Programs Office as we are graduating 28 doctoral students this year across our 8 programs. This is one of the largest group of graduates our program has seen in our history, and we are thrilled to celebrate their success in reaching this pivotal milestone. These newly minted scholars will be conferred a special honor in a “hooding ceremony” for doctoral candidates during which a faculty member places the doctoral hood over the head of the graduate, signifying his or her success in completing the graduate program. In addition to completing the program, our graduates have accepted academic positions globally, including leading schools in North America, the Middle East and Asia. These schools include, but are not limited to: Columbia Business School, Chicago Booth, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, New York University, and the University of Southern California. Please join us in congratulating the next generation of thought leaders from HBS on their next steps in their academic journey.
This piece has two purposes: first, to tell you a bit about our admitted students; and, second, to give those of you who have offers some unsolicited advice.
The HBS doctoral programs admissions pool was very strong this year. Not only was the quality excellent, the total number of applications was up 12% over last year. Reflective of the high quality, we actually interviewed a higher percentage of the pool this year than in past years. In the end, we made offers to 4.4% of our applicants. Over our eight doctoral programs, 13 countries are represented, with 46% of the admitted students from non-U.S. countries. Additionally, 35% are U.S. minorities, 51% are female, and the average age is 26 years old. Nine of the admitted students hold at least one masters degree.
Once again, we had a great pool of applicants. We're looking forward to seeing our admitted students at the end of the month. So, now let's get to the unsolicited advice.
The general decision date of April 15th is just over six weeks away. At this point, doctoral programs are making admissions decisions, planning for Admitted Student events, and recruiting you to accept their offer. As you think about your options, here are few more points to ponder. Doctoral admissions is different from other admissions processes. While we pay particular attention to past academic performance, research experience, and research interests, we also assess how an admitted student will fit into our research culture. In making admissions decisions, we are looking for the very best applicants who we believe will be highly successful in our programs.
For the student deciding on which offer to accept, the decision is a highly personal one. And, the fit between the student and the institution is a critical part of the equation. Admitted students should carefully weigh a number of important factors, such as faculty support for doctoral students, institutional resources available to doctoral students, and an overall sense of the scholarly community. In my opinion, one of the worst things that can happen is a student gets accepted to a top-tier program, accepts that offer, and then finds that they aren't a great fit for the program or school. So, take the time to really evaluate the schools that have offered you admissions to ensure you will have a great experience as a student and as a scholar.