I’m quite surprised (ok, make that “happy” and “impressed”) at the number of inquiries we’re getting from those of you who would like to get started on the application for the class entering in August, 2015. So, with Round 3 Class of 2016 notification yesterday’s news, here we go.
This is what the (optional) “essay” question will be:
"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?”
Use your judgment as to how much to tell us. We don't have a "right answer" or "correct length" in mind. We review all the elements of your written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage.
Why are we repeating this question when we usually dream up something new? In fact, I went on record last year as saying that we’d ALWAYS be changing the essay question. I was wrong. We liked it. When we look at the responses of admitted candidates, there was a wider-than-usual range of how folks approached it. Some are completely about professional lives, others barely mention work experience. Some are very brief, others are not.
And, sorry to repeat myself, but getting into HBS isn’t an essay-writing contest. If we were to publish 50 “essays that worked” and another 50 that “didn’t work”, I would challenge anyone to make a perfect distinction. It’s just one element of the application.
Now, on to recommender questions:
• 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 itself will go “live” in mid-June. I’ll post here when we’ve got a definite date. And please watch our website for both our in-person information sessions around the world and our informational webinars.
And finally, something you may want to know: Round One application deadline will be September 9, 2014. Interviews, by invitation only, will be conducted from mid-October through end of November. Notification will be on or around December 10.