26 Jan 2015


Greetings from Boston. Definitely the topic of the day is SNOW and everyone here is busy making Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. depending on the strength and length of the storm.

Yes, we know that we are scheduled to send out Round 2 interview invitations on Wednesday. We have every reason to believe that will happen on schedule. If we need to delay, we will let you know via this blog, a general announcement on the admissions website, and also with a voicemail recording on our general phone line.

Here is some GENERAL (non-storm related) information about Round 2 interview invitations:

  • Our planned timing is noon, Boston time on Wednesday.
  • Lots of detail in the invitation about scheduling, dates, etc.
  • The online interview scheduler goes live the day AFTER interview invitations go out (that gives you time to think about dates/times/locations).
  • Two waves of invitations: The first one is Wednesday, January 28; the other is Wednesday, February 4. On February 4, we will also send "release" notifications to all Round 2 candidates not being invited to interview.
  • How many in each wave? We really don't know yet and that's because we're not actually finished with reading the written applications. So best guess might be 600 in the first wave and 200 in the second. I've said this before, but please don't speculate or develop theories or algorithms about first vs. second. It doesn't work that way. And it has nothing to do with when you submitted, where you live, or the first letter of your last name.
  • ALL 2+2 INVITATIONS WILL BE SENT ON FEBRUARY 4!!! That means none on January 28.

Back to the snow. Still too early to tell, but the Admissions Office may need to be closed tomorrow, January 27 if the snow is severe and travel to and from work is prohibitive. We plan to manage the general email box - admissions@hbs.edu - remotely. And watch the admissions website and this page for updates.

Most important...if you're in the reach of this snowstorm, stay safe and warm and take care of those around you. And say thanks to all the workers out there who will be doing so much.

08 Jan 2015

Round 2 Interview Invitations and Dates

Happy to report that the Round 2 application deadline went smoothly and we are now in hibernation-mode and happily reading. (Yes, it's true - it's zero degrees here today - we love it and you will too!)

Here's the scoop on "what’s next":

Interview invitations: Will go out in two waves - January 28 and February 4. Please don't waste time speculating about how many in each wave. And please don't send us any additional materials or ask others to do so for you.

Interview dates: Interviews begin on February 12 and continue through early March. Detailed information will be included in the invitation email.

As always, hope this is helpful.

05 Jan 2015

Happy New Year and Last Minute-ish Info for Round 2 Applicants

Hope your holiday break was as restorative and festive as ours.

We're back. And we're ready for Round 2.

Please note that I know it’s not really the "last minute" - it's all relative. For some of you, it may seem like plenty of time 'til noon tomorrow - for others, maybe it does feel like the clock is ticking.

For ALL of you, here's a re-cap of what happens tomorrow:

  • Yes, the deadline is at 12:00 NOON, BOSTON TIME. We anticipate lots of traffic so don't panic if it takes a while to successfully "submit."
  • Yes, the deadline for recommenders is OFFICIALLY the same. The reality is that we'll keep the system open for a few days for recommendations to arrive. We will begin to review your application when there is ONE recommendation in the file.

We'll get out info on when interview invitations will be extended as soon as we can get a handle on the size of the Round 2 application pool - probably by Wednesday mid-day.

We do know the hub cities where we'll be conducting interviews - Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, London, Paris, Menlo Park, and New York City.

So...we're here if you need us via email, slatesupport@hbs.edu, or phone, 617-495-6128.


15 Dec 2014

Winter Holidays - Some Information for Round 2 Applicants

We're getting ready for a holiday break (yesssss!), but we know you'll be busy so...

Our office (and all of HBS) will be CLOSED from December 24 through January 4. We re-open at 9:00am EST on Monday, January 5, 2015.

But, before we go, we'll be busy this week making sure you're all set for Round 2.

  • Campus info sessions: 12/15 at 4:00pm EST; 12/19 and 12/22 at 2:00pm EST
  • Campus tours: 12/15 at 3:15pm EST; 12/19 and 12/22 at 1:15pm EST
  • Phone #: 617.495.6128
  • Webinar: Admissions Q&A (with me) on 12/17 at 12:00 noon EST

We will not have telephone support over the break. We'll be responding to technical application support questions at slatesupport@hbs.edu over the break, but response time may be longer than normal business hours.

And while we don't advise waiting until 11:00am (the eleventh hour!) on January 6 to hit the submit button, we don't operate on a first-in, first-reviewed basis so if you have questions, it's fine to wait until we're back on Monday, January 5.

We've had a great 2014 in Dillon House. We've had two new babies, said a tearful but happy farewell to two long-term staff who have sailed off to next adventures, launched one of our favorites to a new area of HBS, and welcomed four great new hires who already feel like family.

We're looking forward to 2015.

Sending you all our warmest wishes for a safe and happy season.

Peace on earth.

08 Dec 2014

Round 1 Notification Day News

This info is for Round One applicants who have interviewed and are waiting (patiently) for December 10. But hearing how things happen here might be interesting for those of you planning on Rounds 2 or 3.

All interviewed candidates will get news from us on Wednesday, December 10. Hopefully this will happen at noon, EST. If we anticipate any delays, we’ll get word out. At noon, you may log in to your application and you will find a status update.

One of three decisions will be there:

  • Sorry, but we’re unable to offer you a place
  • We’d like to put you on the waitlist
  • You’re in!

All admitted candidates will have immediate access to the Prematriculation website which has lots of detail about what’s ahead.

All waitlisted candidates will receive more information about timing, updates, etc.

Candidates who are denied post-interview will learn about opportunities for touchpoint calls.

That’s about it. All I can add is that we met great people in the interview process and are honored that they want to be at HBS.

Back to checking decisions, double-checking, triple-checking and so on.

25 Nov 2014

Giving Thanks

As we get ready to head home for the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought a little update for both Round 1 post-interviewees and Round 2 applicants might be a good idea.

Round 1 - You've done everything we asked! There's not much more waiting time. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, it's pretty much a hibernation time here for making decisions and checking them twice. Or three times. We are on track to get decisions out on December 10 at 12:00 noon Boston time.

Round 2 - We are looking forward to "meeting" you! Because of the holiday calendar, we've already decided to move the Round 2 application deadline to January 6. We'll write more about our winter holiday schedule in a couple of weeks, but we will definitely be closed from December 24 until we re-open on January 5, 2015. Before we close for the winter break, we are offering many opportunities for you to get your questions answered about the application as well as to learn more about the school. We will be hosting webinars throughout the next month on topics like the 2+2 program, the community of women at HBS, and diversity perspectives on the MBA program. These are in addition to general Q&A webinars where we answer any questions you have about the application process. Please join us either online or in person – we will continue to offer on campus tours and information sessions until the winter break.

So, in closing, we are thankful for all the hard work you put into your applications and are honored that you want to be HBS students.

10 Nov 2014

Class of 2016 - “Years Out of Undergrad”

We meant to do this earlier, but got distracted by Round 1 applications.

Like many other elements of the Class Profile, please keep in mind that we are “reporting” vs. trying to signal a “template” for the design of a class.

07 Oct 2014

For Round 1 Applicants - News about Interview Invitations

Here's what our plan is for tomorrow, October 8:

At 12:00 noon ET, we will send interview invitations via email to roughly 800 Round 1 applicants. The email will contain detailed instructions on the scheduling process.

On October 15, we will extend about 150 additional invitations. On that date we will also notify another group of applicants that we wish to "further consider" their applications in Round 2. Again, the email will provide information about the timetable and communication plan for this group. We anticipate that there will be ~200 applicants in this group.

Please don't speculate about the difference between receiving the interview invitation on October 8 vs. the 15th. It's not about you. It's about us and how we set internal deadlines for applications to be read.

Important: 2+2 candidates will be invited to interview in the October 15 wave. There will be no news for 2+2ers on October 8.

October 15 is also the date on which we will "release" candidates who are not moving forward in our process. We hope that by doing this early, we are enabling this group to pursue other options sooner vs. later.

And now, a request: Please don't send any additional materials or letters of support. We've designed an evaluation process that we believe is as thorough and fair as we can make it. It's not perfect, but it certainly is a process to which we dedicate a tremendous amount of care and concern.

Finally, I don’t think I've said this yet: Thank you to all Round 1 applicants. You met quite an early deadline! The buzz around Dillon House these past few weeks has been: Wow, this is a strong group - really strong. We're impressed and pleased and proud that HBS is the place you'd like to be. The vast majority of you are very well-qualified to be students and these decisions are tough. We're doing it the old-fashioned way - one application at a time - and wish we could say "yes" to so many more.

Back to work.

12 Sep 2014

Round 1 - Next Steps

While you are happily back in your Real Lives, Dillon is in reading mode.

This is how the next stage of the process will unfold:

Interview invitations will be sent out via email on October 8 and October 15. Candidates invited to interview will receive detailed instructions about the sign-up procedure. The interview scheduler will go live the following day.

On October 15, candidates who will not be invited to interview will be notified of their release.

A group of Round 1 applicants, possibly 100-150, will be placed under "Further Consideration." These candidates will be reviewed in Round 2 and either be invited to interview or released on the Round 2 timetable.

Round 1 interviews will be conducted between October 20 and November 21. Not all dates will be available in all locations. In addition to on-campus interviews, we will be interviewing in New York City, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Santiago. Candidates who cannot travel may be accommodated via Skype.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: We love having interviewees visit campus and will have a full day of get-to-know HBS activities, but the location of your interview plays no part in the selection process.


09 Sep 2014

Round 1!

Big day here in Dillon House! We're ready to go underground and start reading applications.

Everything seems to have gone smoothly, but if you've had any problems submitting, let us know.

Important note: We'll keep access open for recommenders for a couple more days. We'll begin to send your application out for review when there is one recommendation. The second can be added later.

Thanks to all...keep watching this blog for our Round 1 interview plans. We'll be able to give you a road map by the end of this week.

05 Sep 2014

Round 1 Deadline - Weekend Phone Coverage

Round 1 deadline – 12:00 noon on Tuesday, September 9!

We'll have weekend phone coverage on Saturday, September 6 from 8:30am to 11:30am ET and Sunday, September 7 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm ET to answer urgent application questions. You may also reach us during normal business hours on Monday, September 8 and Tuesday, September 9 from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Our phone number is 617-495-6128.

02 Sep 2014

Meet the Class of 2016!

We are definitely in full swing here. Check out the Student Life section of our website for glimpses of our students in their first few days of school.

The Class of 2016 Profile is now up on our website.

And here's some off-the-grid info about the class:

Worked for a startup



Founded a business



Know a programming language



Have a blog or Twitter feed



Graduated from medical school



Served in the armed forces of any country



First generation of family to graduate from college



Worked outside of home country



Played a varsity sport in college



Completed a triathlon



29 Aug 2014

The Online Application: Details?

I'm writing this post because I am the person here in Dillon who triages the general admissions mailbox. I don't claim to answer all the questions - and I don't manage the phones because I'm not as nice (or knowledgeable) as the people who do - but, as we approach the September 9 Round 1 deadline, we are fielding a lot of questions that indicate a level of anxiety about details. First, we're happy you're applying. Second, we know you want to "get it right." But I hope this post can put some of this into perspective.

We're getting a lot of questions about exactly what to put on each line of the online application. Especially in the "employment" and "education" sections. Here's how we think about it:

We need the online application so we can capture a variety of fields to run some reports, look easily across the applicant pool, etc.

The reality is that we are reading your resume and transcripts carefully to understand what you've been doing.

Another reality is that everyone reading applications has done this for a long (long) time and "gets it."

So, as long as what you enter on the online application captures the general facts correctly - the firm where you work, the dates, the website, the school that granted your degrees, the extracurricular activities you want us to know about, test scores and dates - all should be fine.

This is NOT meant to shift anxiety from one place to another. We are not hoping to have multi-page resumes with tons of detail. Just want you to know that if you don't know where to put something or how to communicate role changes within firms, the resume is the best place.

Maybe this is a way to summarize:

Although this is probably YOUR first experience with an HBS online application, it's not ours! We know how to figure things out. We will. If we can't, we'll let you know.

Again, hoping this is helpful.

25 Aug 2014

GMAT/GRE: How we think about your score

We promised that we’d be a bit more transparent about the GMAT/GRE issue. We’ve said for a while now that not only do we accept both tests, but we are agnostic about our preference. So here are some numbers. Please don’t over-crunch.

It’s important to note that candidates this year will NOT have an option to submit both tests. We need to officially verify scores and prefer to do it for only one test per candidate.

Total Matriculating Admits Total Applicants during 2013-2014
GMAT 844 8288
GRE 81 1115
Both 10 140
Total 935 9543

Those are the numbers, but the reasoning behind how we look at the scores is probably important for you to understand. We care less about the overall score than we do about the components. And we look at the subscores in the context of the candidate’s profile.

For example, an engineer with top grades who’s been doing highly quantitative work doesn’t need a high GMAT/GRE-Q to convince us he/she is capable of doing the quantitative work at HBS. But an English major whose transcript shows no quantitative coursework and has not done anything quantitative professionally or in post-college academics would be helped by a strong GMAT/GRE quant score. The corollary is true too: candidates who don’t have a background that demonstrates extensive practice in reading and writing may be helped by strong verbal subscores.

Another important reminder: every candidate needs to submit EITHER the GMAT or GRE at the time of application. We don’t accept LSATs, MCATs, SATs or the fact that you had exceptional undergraduate grades. On our application, you input the unofficial score - the official score report can reach us after the deadline.

Hope this is helpful . . . .

20 Aug 2014

Financial Aid: How We Do It At HBS

You don’t need me to tell you that business school is an expensive undertaking. Beyond the actual tuition and living expenses, there are the difficult-to-truly-calculate opportunity costs. Everyone whom we admit is undoubtedly doing VERY well out there in the Real World. Embarking on a two year business school adventure is a big decision.

We want to make it affordable.

Last year we awarded about $26 million in need-based financial aid. We plan to increase the amount for the Class of 2017.

Where does this money come from? Our alumni. They look back on the HBS experience as having been transformational in both professional and personal ways and they are eager to give back. Their favorite way to do this is through financial aid.

You’ve heard this before but I want to repeat it: our admissions process is need-blind. Although we ask for your income, this is more for us to understand different industries/paths vs. anything to do with evaluation. Our financial aid is need-based.

Here are 3 bullet points which may be helpful:

• We do not award full fellowships. This means that no student will be fully funded by HBS.

• You do not apply for financial aid until AFTER you receive an offer of admission.

• We have a loan program for international students which does not require a U.S. co-signer.

After you have completed a financial aid application, you will receive an award package from HBS. In making our awards, we rely on a formula which takes into account whether you are single or married and can be adjusted for documented exceptional circumstances. Parental income and assets are not considered in the calculation.

Let me repeat what I said earlier: we want to make HBS affordable. We want you to make post-MBA career decisions based on your dreams and aspirations, not a burdensome debt repayment obligation. We believe in the value proposition of our MBA - a place where leadership talent becomes a force to make a positive difference in the world. And we are confident that our students will become the alumni who are enthusiastic about enabling the next generation of HBS-aspirants to do the same.

13 Aug 2014


We’re officially in Back-to-School mode and want you to know how we welcome visitors to campus.

Registration for our September class visits opens on Friday, August 15. A couple of things about these first few weeks of visits:

• The date that you can first visit a class is September 10th. This is after the Round 1 deadline. While we would love for you to see a class in action (we think our classroom experience is distinctive, special, magical, etc.), whether you visit or not does not influence the evaluation process one way or the other. Should you be invited to interview and choose to come to campus to do so, you will have an opportunity to sit in on a class. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the case method through our video Inside the Case Method.

• September visits are for SECOND YEAR CLASSES. Faculty like to give our new first year students a chance to settle in a bit with the case method and their sectionmates before visitors arrive. Visitors begin to sit in on first year classes in early October. Registration will be available in early September.

In addition to class visits, in September, our second year students begin leading our tours and information sessions. This is a great way to hear from current students about the MBA program. We will also always have an admissions staff member at these sessions as well. Please check the events section of our website for the schedule of tours and info sessions.

I must close with another enthusiastic plug for Inside the Case Method. While we do love you to come see us in person, there is truly no need to make an expensive pilgrimage. However, we do want you to understand that the case method is the signature pedagogy here at HBS – every day! Watching this video will give you a good sense of how and why we are so committed to this provocative way of learning.

10 Jun 2014

Class of 2017 Application - the Starting Line!

It's ready.

We've tried to provide instructions that are as down-to-earth as possible. We know that starting this process can feel unsettling. You may be wondering if doing b-school applications (and thinking about b-school applications) is going to be a full-time job.

We hope not.

We'll work hard here to be very transparent about what's going on here. By the end of June we'll post a recorded info session on the website that is a walk-through of the application. We'll also be hosting webinars where you can get questions answered.

And you're always welcome to come to campus - no students or classes but it's beautiful and there's food. And information sessions conducted by the Admissions Board on Mondays and Fridays at 2pm. No reservations necessary.

That's all!

02 Jun 2014

A Sneak Peak at the Class of 2016 and some other things . . .

Here's a sneak peak into the Class of 2016. These numbers will change slightly - there will be some “summer melt” and we hope to still be able to make a handful of waitlist offers. Class will end up somewhere in the 930-939 range. But this is how things look today. These are the barebones stats we capture from applications. Our admits are polled later so we can add some more colorful information about them. Those responses are still coming in so we’ll post here again in a couple of weeks.

We’re also planning on posting more information about how our GMAT and GRE scores break out - subscores, how many take each test, etc.

We’re on target to launch the Class of 2017 application on June 10. Until then, there simply isn’t a way to start an application online - so please don’t get frustrated. It won’t be long!

15 May 2014

Getting started: The Class of 2017

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.


12 May 2014

Round 3 Notification Details

Round 3 Notification Details

Here’s the way things will happen on Wednesday for Round 3 candidates. Decisions become available at 12:00noon Boston time (ET).

An email will be sent directing you to your application account. The email may take a few minutes to get to you, so you might want to go directly to the Applicant Status page on your account any time after noon.

Decisions will either be:

• “Sorry, we don’t have a spot for you” and the letter you receive will give you dates/times for touchpoint calls.

• Waitlist - yes, there will definitely be a few of these. We hope these will be resolved speedily and we definitely will be making offers to some in this group. More details about waitlist management will be in the letter you receive.

• Admit - yay! Letters will include lots of details on what-to-do-next and how to get to the Prematriculation site.

Here in Dillon we’ll be on duty and planning a big drum roll at noon on Wednesday!

29 Apr 2014

Moving in the General Direction of Summer

Greetings. We are re-cycling this title from last year’s post around this time. Feels like it’s still appropriate.

Tis the season for folks to start thinking about next year, visiting campus, figuring out where we’ll be traveling to do info sessions.

Last class visit is on May 9. We don't have any summer classes so there's nothing to see!

Information sessions: The schedule changes to Mondays and Fridays at 2:00 pm Boston time beginning May 12. No advance notice required. All of our sessions are conducted by members of the Admissions Board with plenty of time for Q&A. We do not meet individually with candidates. Please check out our calendar for dates and locations of the information sessions.

Campus tours: Beginning on May 12, we'll host tours at 1:15 pm Boston time on Mondays and Fridays. Again, no advance notice required - report to Dillon House. If you come to campus when a tour is not offered, you can come by Dillon House (we love visitors) and borrow an iPod with a campus tour. You can also download a tour from iTunes.

We'll be hosting various types of presentations about HBS this summer, including student panels - watch the website for our schedule.

We'll be launching the application for the Class of 2017 in mid-June.

Here's some advance info: The Round 1 deadline will be mid-September.

New: THERE IS NO SUMMER ROUND FOR 2+2 CANDIDATES. 2+2 will follow the same application season calendar as the “regular” MBA Program. 

14 Apr 2014

Round 3 Interviews and Beyond

Here's the plan:

On Thursday, April 17, hopefully at 12:00 noon Boston time, we will send out both interview invitations and release notifications. Thus, all Round 3 candidates will be hearing something from us on Thursday. Interviewees will receive detailed instructions via email. Interviews will be conducted here on campus on April 28 and May 2. Skype interviews will be available for international candidates and college students with academic conflicts.

Round 3 decisions (to all interviewed candidates) will go out on May 14. Noon. You know the drill.

The application for the Class of 2017 will go live in mid-June. We'll post the essay and recommender questions before that - most likely in early June.


Hope this is helpful.

04 Apr 2014

Round Three Application Deadline

We're coming down the home stretch now.

The Round 3 application deadline is Monday, April 7 at 12:00 noon EDT.

We'll be here this weekend to answer questions: We'll have phone coverage on Saturday, April 5 from 1:00 - 4:00pm EDT and again on Sunday, April 6 from 3:00 - 6:00pm EDT. Technical questions about the application can be directed to slatesupport@hbs.edu.

Our next post here will give details about the Round 3 interview schedule.

One more thing - lots of "Am I eligible for the 2+2 Program?" questions coming in. Here's the scoop: To be considered for admission to the 2+2 Program class entering in Fall 2016, your graduation date from your bachelor’s or master’s program must be between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014. The 2+2 application is meant for current students who have not been out in the professional world yet (not including summer internships or work associated with degree programs, e.g. co-ops). Additionally, if you are in a professional degree program (JD, PhD, or MD) you may apply to HBS via our regular admissions application, but not via the 2+2 application. As always, there is more information on our 2+2 website.

Hope your weekend is good...and that you feel great when you hit the "submit" button.

25 Mar 2014

Round 2 Notification

Countdown to Wednesday! As we anticipate The Very Last Snowstorm of the Season, we're all set to get decisions out. Here's how it works:

    • We won't make phone calls ahead of time. You've been feeling "out of control" for quite a while, so we want to make sure that you can be where you want to be - and with whom - when you get the news from us.
    • Your decision will be available at 12:00 noon, Boston time. You can access it by logging in to your Applicant Status Page. You'll also get an email from HBS saying your decision is available, but you don't need to wait for this email.
    • In the rare case that we experience any glitches that make the noon target not possible, we'll do a blog post about it.
    • All admitted candidates will get immediate access to the Prematriculation website.

As always, I hope this is helpful.

21 Feb 2014

Round 3 - Should You or Shouldn't You?

You want to go to business school. You really do. But the fall season kind of got away from you. You were busy. Work was demanding. You simply didn't have time to hunker down and focus on b-school applications.

Now you've got it together. Ready. But there's all this noise about Round 3. Discouraging and worrisome noise. Let's try to address some of the myths.

Myth #1: There are no spots available.
Not true. We manage the selection process to ensure that there are always spots open for the candidates we want. Are there as many spots open as in Rounds 1 and 2? No. Are there as many applicants? No. Do I think a strong candidate has a fair shot? Yes.

Myth #2: We’ve run out of financial aid.
Not true. The very last person admitted to the class has access to the same need-based financial aid that the very first person received.

Myth #3: If I get dinged in Round 3, I can't/shouldn't apply the next season in Round 1.
Not true. There's absolutely no stigma in re-applying 5 months later. Happens a lot. Many people in our classroom today were successful re-applicants.

Myth #4: It's too late for 2+2 applicants.
Not true. Not even close to true. Round 3 is a great choice for 2+2 applicants. Why? We can be more flexible about the number of 2+2 admits given that we are not worried about a "seat being occupied" for this September. College seniors have another semester of grades to show us. And another semester of activities. I also see a 2+2 application as a good dress rehearsal for future applications - and possibly interviews - to lots of other selective scenarios. If you aren't admitted to 2+2, we like to say (over and over): It doesn't mean not ever, it means not now. Besides, it's a great deal. $100 application fee. A chance to get the standardized tests over with when you're in test-taking mode. And, best of all, two or three years to explore and then come to HBS.

Myth #5: There's no Welcome Weekend for Round 3 admits.
True. But all the interviews will be held on campus so you'll get to see us in real time. And here's some advice about visiting classes and the campus:

If you want to see the case method in action, there are many spots available to visit a HBS class this spring. Also, there will be limited availability for visiting a class before the Round 1 application deadline next fall, so this is a great time to visit. Register for a class visit through our online scheduling system. We will also be hosting several other events on campus in the next few months, including an LGBT Open House, Prospective Students’ Diversity Day, and lunches for prospective women applicants with members of the Women’s Student Association.

You can always meet us online, too. We will be hosting Admissions Q&A webinars to answer your questions before the Round 3 deadline, as well as webinars featuring members of the Women’s Student Association and the Armed Forces Alumni Association. To learn more, please see the Admissions Events page of our website.

Here's a reminder: The Round 3 deadline is April 7. We'll do our usual posts right after the deadline about timing of interview invitations. As always, hope this helps.

28 Jan 2014

Round 2 Interview Invitations

Good morning!

Tomorrow, January 29th, we will send out the first of two waves of interview invitations. We hope this will be at 12:00 noon Boston time and they will arrive as an email from Harvard Business School. Interview invitations contain detailed information about locations and the process for signing up for an interview.

We will send "many," but not "all" invitations tomorrow. The second wave will go out on February 5th. At that time we will also send "releases" to candidates who are not being invited to interview. There will also be a small number of candidates we would like to "further consider" in Round 3.

All 2+2 interview decisions will be sent on February 5.

I'm aware of all the speculation about how many invitations go out in each wave and if certain geographies or backgrounds are more likely to go out in the first vs. second wave. How we split up these waves varies from year to year and to avoid a lot of algorithms being built out there by those with far more sophisticated quant skills than we possess in Dillon, I'd rather just leave it at "many" and "some." I can assure you that geography and background have nothing to do with the waves - it's all about human beings here in Dillon reading a lot of applications thoroughly. We devote a great amount of effort to finding the right balance between minimizing your wait-time and maximizing the care and attention we give to each application. We are not running your applications through any kind of machine - we're reading them. And reading again.

If you don't receive an invitation on January 29th, please don't send in additional materials or letters of support. I understand the impulse, but please don't.

And, as always, I really do understand that waiting is hard.

07 Jan 2014

Round Two...What happens next?

Now that the adrenaline rush of getting the application submitted has passed, you may be wondering what happens next. Here's the plan:

We will send out interview invitations in two waves, January 29th and February 5th. The invitation will be an email from Harvard Business School. Nothing will happen on any dates before, after, or in between!

On February 5th, we will also notify all Round Two applicants who are not moving forward in our process that they have been "released".

There will be detailed instructions about interview dates, locations, and the sign-up process in the interview invitation.

Interviews will take place on campus between February 13th and 28th. We'll also be in the following hub cities: Mumbai, Dubai, Shanghai, London, Paris, New York City, and Palo Alto, CA. We don't have definite dates for hub city interviews yet - we will by the time interview invitations are sent. Candidates unable to travel to interview will be able to arrange for Skype interviews.

That's all for now.

04 Jan 2014

Round Two Deadline Update:

The deadline will be 12:00 noon ET on Monday, January 6 - no change.

We know there’s been a snowstorm, but we don’t anticipate that applicants will have been handicapped by the weather. If you believe that the weather has created a hardship for you that warrants an extension, please send us an email at admissions@hbs.edu with “Weather Related Request for Deadline Extension” in the subject line.

Yes, the deadline is at noon. Do we shut off the system at 12:01? No, never. If the past is a predictor of the future, the servers will be slow because of last minute submissions. We expect that. We will make sure that everyone who is in the processing of submitting an application is included in Round 2. And we always allow a grace period for recommenders…most likely a couple of days.

One question I’m getting asked over and over: Can I submit test scores after January 6? No. Really, no. You need a valid GRE or GMAT score in order to submit an application. If you don’t have one, you need to be in Round 3.

Which leads me to say something about Round 3. You have heard our advice to international students to apply in Rounds 1 and 2. That’s not because of the “chances” of being admitted in any given round are different for internationals. The specific advice for internationals is because of three issues:

    • The process of getting a visa can be complicated and admits in Round 3 may experience delays.
    • All Round 3 interviews are conducted on-campus so interviewees will need to travel to Boston at their own expense. This is different from Rounds 1 and 2 when we travel to hub cities.
    • The on-campus housing lottery will be over by the time Round 3 decisions are made.

Which now leads me to say something about Round 3 and 2+2 candidates:

    • Round 3 is just fine for 2+2 applicants. We plan accordingly. We know that submitting in Round 3 gives you the opportunity to show us fall semester grades and perhaps gives you a better idea of how you’d like to spend the years before business school.

Remember, we’ll be watching email - general questions to admissions@hbs.edu and tech support questions to slatesupport@hbs.edu. And we’ll be in the office on Saturday from 10am-2pm ET and Sunday from 3-7pm ET.

Over and out.


02 Jan 2014

To Round Two Applicants - It’s Snowing!!

Greetings from snowy Boston. We hope we’ve already made the case that HBS is an exciting place to be and we’ve got the weather drama to support that claim.

We’ve all had a nice holiday break and were looking forward to being on-hand to help with last-minute  questions as we head toward the Monday, January 6 Round 2 deadline.

That was the plan. But there’s a big snowstorm here and we’re not likely to be in the office at 9am tomorrow due to travel conditions and instructions from the City of Boston and Harvard University to wait for the roads to be able to be cleared.

This is what’s going to happen:

    • Delayed opening of the Admissions Office
      • We’ll be in the office answering the phone lines from 1-5pm ET tomorrow
    • Weekend phone coverage - as previously announced - will be on Saturday, January 4 from 10am-2pm ET and Sunday, January 5 from 3pm-7pm ET
    • Email coverage - we’ll be responding to email during normal business hours tomorrow and over the weekend
      • General application questions should be directed to admissions@hbs.edu
      • Technical support questions should be directed to slatesupport@hbs.edu
      • PLEASE consult our FAQs before submitting a question – we’ve done our best to anticipate your needs

We’re on this.  And we’ll do our very best to minimize your stress and calm your nerves. Deep breath.

Warmly (ha),


23 Dec 2013

Visiting HBS in December/January

I just want to make sure you all know what to expect if you want to visit HBS over the next few weeks. You will see snow. You will not see students. They are all taking off for their winter break and some well-deserved rest.

So are we. The campus - all buildings and departments - will be closed from end of day, December 23 through January 1. We'll be back in the office on January 2, 2014 at 9 am.

Until January 27, all tours and info sessions will be led by MBA admissions staff. There will not be student participants, so if you want to meet our students and see them in action, this is not the best time to come (although in the admissions department, we like the company). The tours and info sessions will be on Mondays and Fridays with the tour starting at 1:15 and the info session starting at 2:00. No signup is necessary – you can just come by our office here in Dillon House.

Students will be back to leading the tours starting on January 27th and class visits will also resume at the end of January. You will need to sign up to visit a class and you can do that now.

As always, please be sure to check our events calendar for an updated schedule of what's happening.

Wishing you all a happy and safe winter holiday.

Peace on earth.


20 Dec 2013

Holiday Coverage - With Special Information for Round 2 Applicants

‘Tis the season around here for HBS to close for the Holiday Season.  We are feeling very jolly about Round 1 admits and getting ready for 2014 and the January 6 Round 2 deadline.

Our office - and all offices at HBS - will be CLOSED from Tuesday, December 24 through Wednesday, January 1. We’ll re-open at 9:00am EST on Thursday, January 2.

If you are a Round 2 applicant and have questions during our break, please contact us via email:

·         For general application questions, please contact us via admissions@hbs.edu

·         If you need technical support for the online application, please contact us at slatesupport@hbs.edu

We’ll be responding to email only during the break. Response time may be longer than during normal business hours.

We will have additional telephone support the weekend prior to the Round 2 application deadline. We will be available from 10:00am to 2:00pm (EST) on Saturday, January 4 and 3:00pm to 7:00pm (EST) on Sunday, January 5.

Let me repeat the answers to (truly) the most frequently asked questions:

·         GMAT/GRE TEST SCORES MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED AFTER JAN 6. If you do so, you will be moved to Round 3.



Sorry for the upper case - I’m not shouting - but need to get your attention.

Wishing all of you a happy and safe winter break…and see you in 2014!

09 Dec 2013

Round One Notification Day

Getting ready for Wednesday at noon, Boston time. Here's how it works:

Nothing happening 'til Wednesday. We do all our notification online so there's no reason to jump every time a 617 area code pops up on your phone. On Wednesday, you get to choose where you're going to be - and with whom - when the news comes in.

If all goes well operationally (knocking on wood as I write this), emails will be released at noon which will say "your decision is ready." Subject line in the email will be "HBS Decision Available Online."

When you access your online application, one of three letters will appear:

  1. Sorry, but no
  2. Waitlist
  3. Yes!

More detail will be in each of these letters.

This may be my last chance to really have your attention so I'm going to take advantage:

It's been a privilege to get to know you through the interview process. We thank you for wanting to bring your talent, energy, and sense of purpose here for two years. We are honored.

17 Oct 2013

What's the Difference Between "Waitlist" and "Further Consideration?"

I think there's some confusion out there about these categories so here's an attempt at getting inside our "glossary of terms":

    • Further Consideration (FC): We've reviewed your written application and have decided to neither move you forward to "interview" nor "deny" at this time. One reason is that we have a finite number of interview spots we can offer and still keep to our promised December 11 notification date. The other is that we can't see Round 2 applications before we need to make final Round 1 decisions - December 11 is the Round 1 notification date and the Round 2 application deadline is January 6. So we'd like to hold on to you and "further consider" your application in Round 2. We anticipate being able to interview a meaningful number of those "FCs" in February/March. Once in the interview group, these candidates have the same chances of being admitted as any other interviewee - somewhere between 50% and 60%.
    • Waitlist: No one is on the waitlist at this moment. After all interviews in Round 1 are completed, on December 11 candidates (all of whom have been interviewed) will receive one of the following three decisions: “Yes," "No" or "Waitlist." Waitlisters will receive periodic updates and be able to contact a designated Dillon staff member. We know it's not what you planned for, but the waitlist is an active category and every year we admit in the range of 50-75 waitlisters into the class.

So...the lingo we use is "FC" and "Waitlist." We don't use the term "Deferred" - adding another term would just confuse us!

It is highly unlikely that a candidate would be FC’d in Round 1, interviewed in Round 2, and then placed on the Waitlist in Round 2. Sort of an Endless Application Season. Yikes.

16 Oct 2013

Another Round 1 Update

At noon Boston time we'll be sending out some more interview invitations via email. Detailed instructions for sign-ups will be included.

There will also be some "Further Consideration" decisions. This means that we are unable to invite you to interview now, but wish to keep your application under consideration. In Round 2, we'll be either inviting you to interview - and you'll move along on the Round 2 timetable - or "releasing" you. I know this prolongs the wait for a decision. There will be information in the Further Consideration decision letter about a contact person here in Dillon to answer questions and keep you informed. Of course, you may decline to stay in the process and withdraw your application at any time.

We'll also be sending "Deny" decisions to the candidates who are not going to move forward in the process. This is our attempt to give you clarity and closure in time to make other plans.

As I always say, I hope this is helpful.

09 Oct 2013

Round One Interview Invitations

If it's helpful, our plan is to send out some interview invitations at NOON today, Boston time. Via email. Nothing until noon.

And we'll send more on October 16.

07 Oct 2013

Class Visits

I wish we had classes every day of the year – and evenings too – because there is a great demand from visitors who want to see the case method in action. That makes us happy. But, back to reality:

We still have some class visit slots available for anyone who wants to visit in October (through the 23rd). My hope is that these will be for folks thinking about Round 2 applications.

Round 1 applicants who are invited to interview will have many options for setting up a class visit and information will be included in interview invitations – there is no need for these applicants to register for a class visit before then. So I’m asking Round 1 applicants to please wait.

For Round 2 applicants, there are going to be 9 days of class visits available starting November 12th through December 5th, these slots will be available for registration on our website later this week. Our students will be in final exams, Winter Break, and FIELD throughout December and January. We will continue to offer staff led tours and information sessions through December and January (other than during the two week “Winter Break” when the school is closed). I know it’s not ideal to make a big trip here and not be able to see a class, but it’s still a great way to get a sense of the campus and hear about the admissions process.

Class visits will resume in early February for the Spring Semester and will be available for registration in early January. Similar to Round 1, our Round 2 interviewing applicants will have many opportunities to visit a class while on campus for their interview in February.

And, yes, as you anticipated, this gives me yet another chance to plug the video, which shows real footage inside a first-year classroom plus faculty and student perspectives.

Back to Round 1 applications!

18 Sep 2013

Round One - Next Steps

Here in Dillon House we are happily hunkering down to read Round One applications. This is how the next stage of the process will unfold:

Interview invitations will be sent out via email on October 9 and October 16.

Candidates invited to interview will receive detailed instructions about the sign-up procedure. The interview scheduler will go live the following day.

On October 16, candidates who will not be invited to interview will be notified of their release.

A group of Round One applicants, possibly 100-150, will be placed under "further consideration." These candidates will be re-viewed in Round Two and either be invited to interview or released on the Round Two timetable.

Round One interviews will be conducted between October 21 and November 22. Not all dates will be available in all locations. In addition to on-campus interviews, we will be interviewing in New York City, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, and Santiago. Candidates who cannot travel may be accommodated via Skype.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Interviewing on campus is a great opportunity to get to see life at HBS, but the location of an interview is not a factor in the selection process.

10 Sep 2013

Round One Deadline

We’re less than a week away from the Round One application deadline. For all of you working hard to get things ready, I’ll try to say helpful things here.


    • We’ve posted some technical FAQs already. We think we’re on top of things and are responding quickly to your questions. Remember, the email is slatesupport@hbs.edu.
    • We will be responding to emails over the weekend.
    • Phone coverage will also be available over the weekend during the following times:
      • Saturday, September 14 – 12noon-2:00pm ET
      • Sunday, September 15 – 3:00-6:00pm ET


    • This may not be easy to hear, but it’s true: Writing this (optional) essay is not a tightrope walk. One false move (i.e. only discussing professional things, only discussing personal things, only talking about things that happened recently, only talking about things that happened long ago, etc., etc., etc.) is not going to have you “fall”. It just doesn’t work like that. I know that this question is being experienced by many of you as very ambiguous. But, seriously, it’s ambiguous in a good way, not in a “gotcha” way. Maybe you would have preferred fill-in-the-blank responses or questions we’ve used in the past so you can search for “successful” essays (which are really not going to have any relevance to you), but that just isn’t going to happen and that’s a good thing for you. Read the essay prompt slowly a couple of times. Your “blink” response is, in my opinion, what should guide you. Write it down. Read it out loud to see if it makes sense. Edit it for spelling errors. Move on.
    • Recommendations: This is kind of housekeeping vs. substantive. Encourage your recommenders to submit before Monday. It’s not mission-critical, but it will probably make for a somewhat better weekend for you. If recommenders are having trouble getting in gear on Monday by noon, we’re ready for it. We will keep the system open a while longer for them.
    • The fill-in-the-blank stuff on the application: I know it’s hard for every single scenario to be captured in the format presented. Try not to worry too much about what-to-fit-where-when-it’s-not-exactly-what-you-want-to-tell-us. I mean school majors, extra-curriculars, employment roles and timelines. We’ll figure it out from your resume and if we can’t, we’ll contact you.

Onward. Good luck.

06 Sep 2013

Hello to all First Round Applicants!

Now that we're approaching countdown mode, I promise to keep you as informed about what's going on here as I am!

For today, here are some answers to technical questions about the application:

    • If a recommender has not received a Recommendation Request email, please contact slatesupport@hbs.edu and include your full name as well as the full name and email address of the recommender(s) who has not received the Request.
    • If you need to make any changes to recommender information that is currently listed (for example, changing the recommender's email address or changing your "right to waive"), please "Exclude" that recommendation from your application and re-enter your recommender in a new slot with the updated information. Please note, this means the recommender will have to re-enter or re-submit a recommendation if already started or completed.
    • If you would like to change one of your recommenders, please "Exclude" the current recommender listed, and enter a new recommender in a new slot.
    • If your school did not provide a GPA or Class Rank, or if you have not received your AWA or IR score, please enter 0.0 into those spots. The application needs a numerical value - we promise we will know you did not receive 0's!
    • If you have previously listed Harvard Business School as a recipient of your GMAT score and the score is still valid, you do not need to resend your GMAT score.

More info next week!

27 Aug 2013


We’re about three weeks away from our Round One deadline so here’s some information about where we’ll be interviewing.

We’ll be sending interview invitations out in mid-October  -  exact dates for each location will be announced later.

On Campus (weekdays)
Palo Alto 
Sao Paulo

Note: in Round 2 we will be in all the above cities except Sao Paulo and Santiago.

We will offer Skype interviews to candidates for whom travel is not possible.

More details after September 16.

23 Aug 2013

“Additional Information”: What do we mean by this?

As you complete the application, you will come upon this question:

Additional Information

Instructions: Use this section to include any additional information that you believe is important for the MBA Admissions Board to have in evaluating your application, but that you were unable to include because of the constraints of the online application.

Please limit your additional information to the space in this section. Do not send HBS any additional materials (e.g., additional recommendations, work portfolios, etc.) as they will not be considered and will delay processing of your application.

What are we looking for? Should you say anything here?

Here’s when you should use this space

    • To explain any extenuating life circumstances that may have impacted your record at school or work.
    • When you are unable to submit a recommendation from a current employer. This happens all the time – just use this space to explain the situation and how you selected the alternative recommender.

Some advice - don’t use this space for:

    • Another essay!
    • Even worse: another school’s essay cut and pasted here!

19 Aug 2013

Class Visits

We're more than halfway into August and it's time to acknowledge that summer is almost over.  For us here at HBS, it means gearing up for returning students.  We love the excitement and energy.....the longer lines in the food court, not so much.

Many of you may be interested in seeing a class before the Round One deadline, September 16.  We really wish this were easier, but the reality is that the faculty doesn't open first year classes to visitors until October.  It's for a good reason: the case method is new for everyone and we want the students to settle into section life before visitors arrive.

We hope that applicants do want to see the case method in action.  We certainly talk about it enough on the road and in our materials and website.  It's our signature pedagogy and it's not at all like traditional sit-still-and-listen-to-a-lecture classrooms.

We do make a limited number of spots in second-year (elective classes) available to visitors and registration for these will be going live this week.  For details about sign-ups, go to the Visit section of our website. 

And, for the zillionth time, I want to send you to view the Inside the Case Method, a video which shows real footage in a first-year classroom plus the valuable perspective of the faculty.

Information sessions and tours are generally held on Monday and Friday afternoons.  Check our Events page to plan your visit.  Also, once students get back, even if you can't see a class, the energy on campus is a sight to behold.  Our students are very approachable and just hanging around Spangler, our student center, can give you a good sense of who we are.


06 Aug 2013

More about the Class of 2015

Here's another look at the Class of 2015 - the long (264 to be exact) list of schools where they received undergrad degrees.

24 Jul 2013

More about the Class of 2015

This is still a little preliminary, but I wanted to show some more detail about who's in the Class of 2015.


This histogram shows the "number of years since graduation from undergraduate school" for the classes of 2013 – 2015.

15 Jul 2013

Today is the deadline for Summer Round 2+2 Applications!

This is the kick-off of the new application season. We're ready. I think you know this, but this is a loud and clear reminder that today’s deadline is for 2+2 Program applications only. Visit the 2+2 Application Process page for more details about eligibility.

The deadline is at 12:00 noon Boston time.

We'll begin reading applications tonight and our plan is to send out interview invitations on Wednesday, July 24th.

We're here...excited to begin the new cycle and ready to help!

03 Jul 2013


If you are unable to visit us on campus or meet us out on the road, we have posted presentations to help you get to know HBS and the admissions process a little better. On this new webpage you will find presentations that include overviews on the MBA program, the admissions process for the class of 2016, and the career and professional development resources available to HBS students. We will posting additional presentations throughout the year on other topics here at HBS.

As a reminder, you can always join our weekly webinars for a live Q&A session with an Admissions Officer.  
P.S. Our office will be closed on the July 4th and 5th for the US holiday.  We will be back in on the 8th.


01 Jul 2013

2+2 Program - A Change in Eligibility

The 2+2 Program is designed to give college students an opportunity to apply to Harvard Business School before entering the world of work.   The HBS classroom relies on the Real World experience of students.   Students bring not only some content knowledge of their pre-MBA industry but also the perspective of what it feels like to be in a workplace, have a boss and have experienced the rhythms of professional  life.

2+2 admits must work for at least two years before coming to the MBA Program – and they are permitted to extend that to three or four years.
What’s the change?   Candidates who have gone directly to a master’s degree program after the undergraduate degree are now eligible for 2+2.  So we will re-word the eligibility requirement to read:
“Candidates are eligible as they begin their final year of university study.  Candidates who already have full-time work experience (between the bachelor’s and master’s degrees) should apply using the regular MBA application format.”


03 Jun 2013

Update: Class of 2016 Application

The Class of 2016 application is now live!

03 Jun 2013

Introducing the Class of 2015

Here's a preliminary look at the Class of 2015 Profile. We anticipate that we will lose a few people ("summer melt") and add a few from the waitlist. We re-post the class profile in late August at matriculation.

So as we continue thinking about the Class of 2016, here's a reminder that I'll be doing an online information session this Friday, June 7 at 11 am EDT. To register, visit the Admissions Events page.

30 May 2013

Season Opener: The Class of 2016!

Lots to say today.  On the website today, you’ll see deadline and notification dates and the applicant and recommender questions.  The application will go live in the next few days.  We’ll also be posting a preliminary profile of the Class of 2015 early next week.

Here’s what you will notice:
·         This is the only “essay” question:
“You’re applying to Harvard Business School.  We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you.  What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”
That’s it.  No word limit.  Use your own judgment as to how much to tell us.  We have neither a “right answer” nor a “correct length” in mind.  We will review all the elements of the written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage of our process.

Why the reduction in number of essays?  Sorry to repeat myself but “it’s not an essay-writing contest”.   There is always –and will always be - great variance in both subject matter and degree of polish in the essays of admitted candidates.  Maybe there will be admits this year who say we don’t need to know anything else beyond the credentials they have already submitted – for them, the application may be “essay-less”.  I also think that removing the word limit brings this process closer to the way things work in the Real World which is always our goal.

This is also a chance to remind everyone that the written application is just the first stage of our selection process.  We review written applications in order to determine who moves forward to the interview stage.  We predict that this will be roughly 1800 candidates this year - as it has been for a number of years.  From this group we select the admits – roughly 1100 in order to matriculate a class of 930 or so.  Our interview process is customized, careful and subject to continuous improvement.  All interviews are conducted by members of the Admissions Board and we make a significant investment in their training and development.
·         Here’s the second innovation in this year’s application: only two recommendations.  We’ve required three for a long time.  I think we can do our job with two and I hope that this may remove at least one hurdle for prospective candidates who come from organizations where there is not a tried-and-true path for talented folks to leave for business school.
A few other notes:
·         We’ll be doing the Post-Interview reflection again.  We liked it. 
·         Dates: Please note that the Summer Round is only for 2+2 candidates.  Here are the details about eligibility for this Program for college seniors.
·         Webinars:  These are online information sessions conducted by the Admissions Board that are essentially the same format as our on-campus and on-the-road in person presentations.  A good opportunity to ask questions.  Details are on the events section of the website.
So here we go.    Hope this finds you eager to get started.   Please sign up for a webinar so I can hear what’s on your minds.
Forgot to add,  it’s Graduation Day here today and there have been an awful lot of happy/sad students  telling me they wish they could stay longer!


23 May 2013

We’re On the Road Looking for the Class of 2016

There are lots of ways to learn about HBS:

Come to campus and get a tour and an info session led by a board member.

    • No students on campus in the summer so no classes (but also no food court lines!)

Sign up for a webinar designed to tell you about the MBA Program and the application process.

    • Plenty of time for Q+A and you can do this in your pajamas!

Catch an info session in a city near you.

    • All of these sessions will have panels of current students or alums who will share their experiences and enthusiasm.

Schedule and logistical details can be found here.  Please check back as we will be adding to this schedule over the coming weeks.

Reminder:  We hope to launch the Class of 2016 application next week!


20 May 2013

2+2 Summer Application Timeline

As we finish up the academic year next week with Commencement, our thoughts here in Dillon naturally turn towards the summer. And summer for us means getting ready to start the 2+2 application cycle again! So, here is the timeline of our plans for the 2+2 Summer Round:

    • Monday, July 15th Noon (EDT): Application deadline
    • Wednesday, July 24th: Interview invitations will be sent out
    • Friday, August 23rd: On-campus interviews
    • Monday, August 26th: On-campus interviews
    • Wednesday, September 4th: Notification

Finally, the 2013-2014 application will be going live the week of May 27th...stay tuned.

14 May 2013

Round 3 Notification

Looking ahead to tomorrow, here's what will happen. We're planning to release Round 3 decisions at noon Boston time. There will be a handful of candidates invited to join the waitlist. The turnaround time for Round 3 admits to accept a spot in the class is quick - May 30. This means that we will be able to address the waitlist in early June. By mid-June, there should be only a small group (about a dozen or so) whom we will ask to remain on the waitlist until early July should some unexpected spots in the class open up.

Next week, I'll post about our outreach travel locations and a tentative schedule.

Still looking at the last week in May for a launch of the Class of 2016 application.

01 May 2013

Real Students of HBS


Jyot, a second year student from Los Angeles, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a dual degree in Industrial Engineering and Political Science/Government.  Upon graduation, he joined one of his professors and a PhD student to start a company that provides operational consulting for bio-pharmaceutical firms.  Jyot left that venture to help his father’s aerospace manufacturing company.

A very significant part of Jyot’s life, before entering business school, was starting the Los Angeles chapter of a non-profit called New Leaders Council. NLC trains young professionals in civic leadership.

After HBS graduation, Jyot hopes to learn Spanish abroad, and then move to San Francisco in September to join Bain & Company.

READING: A few weeks ago, after a late night, three- hour conversation about life with a classmate, I found a box from Amazon in front of my door; The Alchemist was inside. I loved it and highlighted the hell out of it!

EATING: My section mates make fun of me for eating hardboiled eggs all the time. Other than that, I like the omelets in Spangler made by Filipe, who knows exactly what everyone wants. The rest of the day       I dive into Spangler’s huge salad bar.

PLANNING: My favorite planning is around small group dinners. A few trips are also in the works, but recently, I have been strategizing for an eventual return to California. Should I buy or rent? What routines should I keep from my days at HBS and what new routines should I establish to serve me at Bain?

DREAMING: I had a fantasy about who I was before I got here. HBS has given me time to build my basics: learn how to learn, figure out what I'm strong and weak in, understand what it feels like when I'm really enjoying my work, but also figure out what in life really gets under my skin. These two years have really helped me shred the fantasy of what motivated me and who I thought I was before business school. Now my dreams feel more in line with what I really want - a strong family, a daily routine that allows me to maintain my health, a job in which I am aligning people behind a difficult project that fulfills a real need I can connect with, a position in a non-private sector organization that focuses on improving an aspect of U.S. economic competitiveness (probably around the subject of technical education), and a network of business and political leaders whom I can work on initiatives with to lessen the suffering of others.

ANYTHING ELSE: I found the application process for business school arduous, lonely, and wonderful. It forced me to put into words how everything I had done previously fit together. It profoundly impacted my identity. If I hadn’t had the application process as the excuse to escape from social invitations and other distractions to really consider this, I would never have had that experience. I wish that for everyone applying.

24 Apr 2013

Moving in the General Direction of Summer

Although the weather might indicate otherwise, we're actually moving toward the end of the school year here and looking forward to summer.

Here's what happens in the world of MBA Admissions:

Last class visit is on April 30. We don't have any summer classes so there's nothing to see!

Information sessions: The schedule changes to Mondays and Fridays at 2:00 pm Boston time beginning May 10. No advance notice required. All of our sessions are conducted by members of the Admissions Board with plenty of time for Q&A. We do not meet individually with candidates. Please check out our calendar for dates and locations of the information sessions.

Campus tours: Beginning on May 10, we'll host tours at 1:00 pm Boston time on Mondays and Fridays. Again, no advance notice required - report to Dillon House.

We'll be hosting various types of presentations about HBS this summer, including student panels - watch the website for our schedule.

We'll be launching the application for the Class of 2016 at the end of May. Here's some advance info: The Round 1 deadline will be September 16. For 2+2 candidates only (rising college seniors), there will be a Summer Round with an application deadline of July 15.

10 Apr 2013

Real Students of HBS

Feeling bad about how little admissions info I have right now (Round 3 is waiting til April 22 and Class of 2016 hopefuls need to wait til end of May) so thought you might enjoy a return to the fascinating Real Students of HBS!

Patrick Erker.jpg

Patrick Erker is a second year student from St. Louis, Missouri.  Patrick double-majored in Public Policy and Economics at Duke University.   He then went on to Teach for America, where he worked in a 5th grade class on Chicago’s South Side – “the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had.”  While in Chicago, Patrick obtained a Masters in Teaching at Dominican University. After TFA, Patrick was selected for the two-year Financial Leadership Development Program at Raytheon Company, doing rotations in Los Angeles, Jeddah, and Boston.

Upon graduation from HBS, Patrick will join the Chicago office of The Boston Consulting Group, where he spent last summer.

READING: In January this year, I traveled with 39 other HBS students to China on a 10-day Immersion Experience Program (IXP).  A group of us went to Japan after China. After visiting Kyoto, I decided to read Memoirs of a Geisha. Surprisingly, I am able to read a lot of books at HBS: I read almost one book per class in last semester’s “Moral Leader” course.

EATING: I have become an evangelist for the Paleo or Caveman diet. It’s an all-natural, back to basics way of eating that includes meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

PLANNING: Travel is always top of mind at HBS. A classmate from Nicaragua just took a group of us home with him for spring break. This is not unusual as HBS students from all over the world take classmates around to show off their countries. (Word to the wise: go to Nicaragua!) I also want to take advantage of the last long stretch of free time I will have this summer before starting work. I have booked trips to Spain and New Hampshire, and think I have a couple other big trips in me before getting to work.

DREAMING:  My ultimate goal is to run a company and to run for political office. I have always been interested in business and politics and have seen the successful precedent set by HBS grads like Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Romney and President Bush, to name a few.  I think the more influence one has, the more positive difference one can make in the world. At the same time, my Authentic Leadership Development course (ALD) reminded me of the significance of an “integrated life,” where one makes time for family, friends and community. While big career goals are great, there’s nothing I want more than a loving family and great friends.

ANYTHING ELSE: I have the most amazing roommates you can imagine. Jonah, Galen and I have truly become a family, and I’ll miss them terribly. We plan to get together for a reunion every year though; our first trip will be to New Zealand over the New Year.

09 Apr 2013

Round 3 Interviews

Here's the plan:

On Monday, April 22, probably at noon Boston time, every Round 3 applicant will get an email from us. You'll receive either an invitation to interview or a "Sorry, we can't offer you a place in the class" notification.

Interviews will be conducted on campus on May 2, 3 and 6. Those interviewing on campus will have an opportunity to do tours, have lunch, and meet with students. We will have limited spots available in Palo Alto on May 1 and 3. Candidates with real logistical challenges will be offered Skype interviews. 2+2 candidates should not jeopardize academic commitments - we will make accommodations.

04 Apr 2013

Round 3

We're rounding the corner toward the last deadline for the Class of 2015, so here are some details:

    • Deadline is Monday, April 8 at noon Boston time.
    • No, we're not going to cut off at precisely that time - we know it’s Round 3 and that there will be scrambling.
    • We cannot accept GMAT or GRE scores submitted after the deadline.
    • We will begin to review your application even if all your recommendations have not been submitted. It's your responsibility to make sure they get to us. We will not admit anyone without 3 recommendations (or 2 if you're applying to the 2+2 Program).

Not sure this counts as a "detail," but here goes: Of course we have spots available in the class. Percentage-wise, it may not be a big number to you, but we're a big school. In absolute terms, the number is significant.

On Tuesday, April 9, we'll post here about interview invitations, dates, and locations.

Looking forward to Monday!!

22 Mar 2013

Breaking the Silence

Yikes, what a neglected piece of cyber-real estate this page has been!

While I think we've done a good job of keeping Round 2 interviewees informed about "what’s next," etc., I realize that there hasn't been much for anyone else.


Here's what's going on:

Round 2 Notification Date
March 27. Noon (I hope).

Round 3 Application Deadline
April 8. Noon. Yes, we have spots available. We always do. Be aware that we don't have an Admit Welcome on campus for this round nor can we be sure that international admits will be able to get through the visa process in time for matriculation. There will not be as much on-campus housing available as in the earlier rounds. We won't be traveling to hub cities to interview so you will need to come to campus. 2+2 applicants are not competing for September 2013 spaces and we have factored that into our planning for admit spots.

Class of 2016 Applicants
Stay tuned for information about summer information sessions both on campus and worldwide. The application will go live at the end of May.

Answers to a couple of (really) frequently asked questions:

  • Yes, it's ok to apply to HBS if your undergraduate degree was a three year program.
  • No, we will not add material to your file after the application submission deadline.
  • All candidates need to submit either GRE or GMAT scores - no preference - but no exceptions.

14 Mar 2013

Real Students of HBS

Real Students of HBS.jpg 

Jyot, a second year student, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a dual degree in Industrial Engineering and Political Science/Government.  Upon graduation, he joined a professor in starting a company that provides operational consulting for bio-pharmaceutical firms.  Jyot left that role to join a family business in manufacturing before coming to HBS.  This summer, he spent time in private equity and working for Endeavor.  A very significant part of Jyot’s life was starting the Los Angeles chapter of a non-profit called New Leaders Council. NLC trains young professionals in civic leadership.

In September, Joyt will be joining Bain & Company in San Francisco and hopes to spend the summer learning Spanish abroad. 

READING: A few weeks ago, after a late night, three- hour conversation about life with a classmate, I found a box from Amazon in front of my door; The Alchemist was inside. I loved it and highlighted the hell out of it!

EATING: My section mates make fun of me for eating hardboiled eggs all the time. Other than that, I like the omelets in Spangler made by Filipe, who knows exactly what everyone wants. The rest of the day       I dive into Spangler’s huge salad bar.

PLANNING: My favorite planning is around small group dinners. A few trips are also in the works, but recently, I have been strategizing for my eventual return to California. Should I buy or rent? What routines should I keep from my days at HBS and what new routines should I establish to serve me at Bain?

DREAMING: I had a fantasy about who I was before I got here. HBS has given me time to build my basics: learn how to learn, figure out strengths and weaknesses, understand what it feels like when I'm really enjoying my work, but also figure out what in life really gets under my skin. These two years have really helped me shred the fantasy of what motivated me and who I thought I was. Now my dreams feel more in line with what I really want - a strong family, a daily routine that allows me to maintain my health, a job in which I am aligning people behind a difficult project that fulfills a real need I can connect with, a position in a non-private sector organization that focuses on improving an aspect of U.S. economic competitiveness (probably around the subject of technical education), and a network of business and political leaders whom I can work on initiatives with to lessen the suffering of others.

ANYTHING ELSE: I found the application process for business school arduous, lonely, and wonderful. It forced me to put into words how everything I had done previously fit together. It profoundly impacted my identity. If I hadn’t had the application process as the excuse to escape from social invitations and other distractions to really consider this, I would never have had that experience. I wish that for everyone applying.

29 Jan 2013

Round 2 Interview Invitations

Greetings from snowy Boston. Here's what is going to happen tomorrow.

At (hopefully) noon, Boston time, we will send out the first wave of invitations to interview in Round 2.

You'll get an email from HBS MBA Admissions, which will give detailed instructions on the sign-up process.

As stated before, we'll be interviewing on campus and in the following hub locations: London, Paris, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Palo Alto and NYC.

Heads up to 2+2 candidates: All interview invitations to this group will be sent in the second wave on February 6 (Note: I posted earlier that this would be February 7 – we've moved it up to February 6).

Another heads up to those on the waitlist from Round 1 who have not interviewed yet: You will be included in one of the two waves if being invited to interview this round – if you are not invited to interview, you will be "released" on February 6.

Remember, this is just the first of two invitation waves. In Round 1, we sent about 800 invitations in Wave 1 and about 100 in Wave 2.

PLEASE don't send any additional material or letters of support to the Admissions Board – or me or the Dean's Office or anyone else. We will only consider material sent at the time of application submission and that means 3 recommendations for everyone (or 2 if you are a 2+2 applicant), not more. We do everything we can to keep this process fair and equitable – we hope and expect that you will support this effort.

09 Jan 2013

Round 2 Interview Information

OK, here's the plan for Round 2 interviews:

We will send out interview invitations on two dates: Wednesday, January 30 and Thursday, February 7.

Interview locations for Round 2 are: On-campus in Boston, London, Paris, Shanghai, Mumbai, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Palo Alto and New York City.

Detailed instructions for the sign-up process will be included in the interview invitation.

Interviews will be conducted between February 11 and March 8.

On February 7, all candidates not being invited to interview will be notified of their release.

That's it...and I'm thinking about whether the word "release" is a good choice. Suggestions welcome.

07 Jan 2013

Round 2 Deadline Today...Last Minute Stuff

Good morning Round 2 applicants!

Three bullet points:

  • Deadline is at noon, EST. The servers will be busy. Don't panic. We don't shut down the system until everyone in the process of submitting has been successful.
  • We continue to accept recommendations for a day or so after the application submission deadline.
  • There is absolutely no correlation between the time an application is received and the issue of an interview invitation. Really.

That's about it. The next you'll see here is the timetable for interview scheduling.

04 Jan 2013

For Round 2 Applicants

Happy New Year and welcome to Round 2! Here's a hodge-podge of answers to frequently (I should say CONSTANTLY ☺) asked questions that may be helpful:

  1. This truly is the winner of Most Frequently Asked Questions:

    TOEFL/IELTS/Pearson Test of English

    • A TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson Test of English (PTE) is required if you did not attend an undergraduate institution where the sole language of instruction is English.
    • If you completed a graduate degree which was taught in English, it is recommended you submit one of these tests, but it is not required.
    • Scores from ALL of these tests are valid for two years. These tests must be dated January 1, 2011 or more recently to be valid.
    • HBS only accepts the Internet-based (IBT) version of the TOEFL.
    • HBS does not have a minimum test score to apply, however, the MBA Admissions Board discourages any candidate with a TOEFL score lower than 109 on the IBT, an IELTS score lower than 7.5, or a PTE score lower than 75 from applying.
  2. We cannot add material to your file which we receive after the submission deadline of January 7. That means test scores, too. You can't submit a GMAT score on January 7 and then hope/expect that we can add the score you receive when you re-take the test on January 24, for example. Why? Because your file could be in any number of places. We begin to read on January 8. We can't have some of the admissions board looking at one set of credentials while another is looking at something different.
  3. "I'm a college senior graduating on X date. Am I eligible for 2+2?" Here are the date guidelines for 2+2 eligibility: To be considered for admission to the 2+2 Program Class of 2017 (entering Fall 2015), you must be graduating from your college or university between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013.
  4. Already graduated from college/university? Then you're NOT eligible for 2+2 - we encourage you to apply using the regular application process.
  5. Application fee waivers? No, we don't do any. We have (very) generous need-based financial aid for admitted students. That's where we choose to put our resources.
  6. AWA. Yes, we know that you won't have this until you get an official score report. Just enter "0.0" on your application if your official score is not available before January 7.
  7. Transcripts. An unofficial or official transcript must be scanned and uploaded to your application. If the application does not accept your upload, make a black and white copy of your transcript first, and then try the upload again. Or, break the original into two or more documents before uploading it. Also, our online application works best when you use it in Internet Explorer.

Onward. I'll add more to this list if necessary.

20 Dec 2012

Holiday Break

Well, this is the last you'll hear from Dillon House in 2012. We're locking the doors and heading home for the holidays as of close of day on Friday, December 21. We're looking forward to a week (December 24 through January 1) when the entire University shuts down. For us that means no email (thank you, Santa). For you it means that you're welcome to come and wander around the beautiful and quiet campus - but no buildings will be open and, thus, no food court or campus store.

We'll be back bright and early on the morning of January 2 and getting ready for the Round 2 deadline on January 7. If you encounter any technical difficulties, the ApplyYourself support line will be open every day during our break, except December 25. Their phone number is 800-526-3313 – or 703-234-5910 if you live outside the United States. Detailed hours are below (all Eastern time):

    • December 24: 8am – 5pm
    • December 26 – 28: 8am – 8pm
    • December 29 – 30: 9am – 6pm
    • December 31 – January 1: 8am – 8pm

More posts about Round 2 details will appear as soon as we're back.

So, from all of us here in Dillon House, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to a wonderful 2013.

Peace on earth.


05 Dec 2012

Some Early Words for Round 2 Applicants

Can it really be December already? I'm pretty sure that the only people in HBS-ville who think time is moving slowly are Round 1 candidates waiting for December 12. Dillon House is in high gear. Lots of late nights. Application files everywhere.

But we are thinking about Round 2 applicants - really - and want you to know what is/is not happening around the winter holiday season.

Our general on-campus information sessions will be held Monday, Thursday and Friday at 4:00pm through December 20th, along with a 1:00pm information session on Friday, December 21st. Information sessions will resume after the winter break on Monday, January 7, 2013. Class visits and student-led tours during the spring semester will be available starting the first week of February; registration for class visits will begin in early January. Please visit our website for more details. A word of warning: There will only be one week of open visits to first year classes in February because we reserve spaces for Round 2 interviewees for most of the month. However, there will be many opportunities to visit a first year class throughout March and April. Once again, I will direct you to the next best thing - the Inside the Case Method video.

Dillon House will be closed - as is the entire HBS campus - from December 24 until January 2.

As Round 2 approaches, I'll post more frequently.

Back to work.

22 Oct 2012

Round 1 - What Can Happen at Noon (Boston time) on October 24


  • Invitation to interview
    • You already know about this - and detailed info will be in the email that invitees receive.
  • Release
    • I know this isn’t what you’re hoping for, but we do believe that finding out now is better than waiting.
  • Invitation to join the waitlist
    • We anticipate that approximately 100 Round 1 applicants will be asked to join the waitlist on October 24. This is essentially a "further consider" category and it means we'd like to re-review your candidacy after we see Round 2 applications. A meaningful number of this group will be invited to interview on the Round 2 timetable. If we do not invite you to interview, you will be notified of your release in mid-February. We know that a good number of you may get good news from other schools in December - at any point along the way we understand that you may choose to remove your name from our waitlist.
    • Last year, we interviewed 48 Round 1 candidates who were placed on this early waitlist before interview and admitted 24 of them.
15 Oct 2012

Round 1 interview invitations (a short reminder, not new information)...

...will go out around noon Boston time on October 17th and October 24th. Only those two dates. Nothing in between. No secret patterns as to which go out on the 17th vs. the 24th. Detailed instructions will be in the invitation email.

17 Sep 2012

Some general thoughts which you may or may not like

Of course we're thinking a lot about Round 1. And all of us have been on the road doing info sessions so I know that I have "panel-itis." I try (very hard) to do continual reality-checks about what I'm saying out there to both groups and individuals. My challenge is to explain this process as best I can - and, just as important, to dispel myths. But it's also to stay real and to not shy away from saying that the answer to most questions asked is "it depends" - because it's true. There is a lot of noise out there about what are the "right" answers, the "right" backgrounds, and "right" time. Strong opinions voiced with authority can be seductive - sort of along the lines of "often wrong but never in doubt." Most of the time I know better than give out prescriptive advice to candidates just to hear myself talk. Every so often - like today - I try to capture some of our bigger picture advice. So here you have it. As always, the intent is to be helpful.

  • Try to resist the urge to make "standing out" your primary goal in the admissions process. If you have made traditional choices all along (college, extra-curriculars, major field of study, jobs), own it. You'll look silly if you try to portray yourself as a rogue daredevil. There are plenty of people at HBS who come from traditional backgrounds.
  • Do your homework about the case method. It's our signature pedagogy and it is nothing like traditional academia. Watch Inside the Case Method (link below) on our website and ask yourself if you find this method of learning intriguing and exciting. If it's not for you, choose another school now vs. later.
  • When choosing recommenders, determine whether or not they can answer the question we pose: what piece of constructive advice have you given to the candidate? If they can't answer, they probably don't know you well enough to write a helpful recommendation.
  • Realize that we're serious when we say that our challenge is "selection" vs. "evaluation." Our promise to our faculty and to every student is to deliver the most diverse class - on multiple dimensions - as we possibly can. I've never heard an HBS student say: "I wish there were more students just like me in my section." Selection can look mysterious to the outside world because not all of the elements of diversity can be captured in metrics. Some, like leadership style, are subtle and communicated more obliquely.
  • Stay curious. It's so easy to stay "heads down" during the application process and become so introspective that you lose sight of the larger world. Keep reading. Keep listening. We're looking for people who can dig into a case about a company they have never heard of, in an industry they don't think they care about - and be 100% engaged.

Inside the Case Method:

14 Sep 2012

For Round One Applicants - Some Odds and Ends

I've just done a round-up of questions we are getting asked on the phone, via email and in person at events. Hope seeing this all in one place will be helpful:

  • GMAT/GRE scores - you must have a score in order to submit an application. Unofficial scores can be submitted on the application. The official score report can reach us later.
  • Recommenders - you need to input their names and contact info IN ADVANCE of the application deadline. That's the only way they will be able to access the recommender form.
  • Resume - one-page is still a good guideline. Don't think that because we are reducing the number of essays we are encouraging you to include really extensive detail on the resume.
  • Class visits - the online scheduler for first-year class visits will open on Monday. Here's the link. Again, we love to have visitors but that plays absolutely no part in how we evaluate applications.
  • Informational webinars - check for upcoming dates and times. Here's the registration link.
  • Financial aid - it's all need-based and is NOT awarded at the time of admission because we need more detail from you which is provided in a financial aid application AFTER you are admitted. You do not apply for scholarships or fellowships at the time you submit your admissions application.
  • Extra stuff - one word: don't. We simply cannot consider materials submitted beyond the specified online application requirements.
31 Aug 2012

More about the Class of 2014

Here's another look at the Class of 2014:

  • Most recent job was at a start-up: 14%
  • Have founded/co-founded a business: 20%
  • Have worked outside their home country for 3 months or longer: 57%
  • Worked for (or plan to work for) a family business: 9%
  • Are "first in family" to graduate from college: 13%

27 Aug 2012

Welcome to the Class of 2014

This morning is the official welcome to the new class. They are all here on campus - wearing suits (just a first-day thing) and looking happy. Here's some more info about them... we'll send out more over the next few weeks.

Class of 2012 Undergrad Degree Year
20 Aug 2012

An Early Overview of Round One

This is a meant to be a sort of sneak preview of how Round One works... as each of these steps gets closer to actually happening, we'll provide more detail:

September 24 - Application deadline. 12 noon. There's no official "early bird special" or reason to submit earlier than the deadline, as in we're not reading applications now and our process isn't "rolling". However, the server will get backed up on the morning of the deadline and that will cause you stress. Although I hate to advertise this, we don't actually turn off the system exactly at noon - if you're in the process of submitting around that time, we will include you in that round.

October 17 and 24 - interview invitations will go out via email. This invitation will give you details about how to use the online interview scheduler which will go live the next day. We already know the planned locations for Round One: London, Paris, Dubai, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Palo Alto, New York City and - always — on campus here in Boston. What we can't promise is that there will be enough spots in hub cities for everyone to be accommodated - we make travel plans early and make our best guess as to what capacity will be needed in each location. For those of you choosing to come to Boston for your interview, there will actually be some formal programming on the interview days to help you get to know the school better.

On October 24, all candidates who are not moving forward to the interview stage will be released, which means that this is where the process ends for them and they can move on to other plans. Also on that date, some candidates will be invited to join the waitlist and may be invited to interview in Round 2. Everyone in that position will be directed to our Waitlist Manager who will provide more detail.

Last week in October through mid- November - interviews will be conducted.

December 12 - Round One decisions will go out at noon, Boston time to all interviewed candidates. Decisions may be yes, no or an invitation to join the waitlist. We use the waitlist quite aggressively in Round One since we can't see Round Two applications until January. As stated above, our Waitlist Manager will be the contact point and will provide more detailed information.

13 Aug 2012

Who Should Write Your Recommendations?

Every so often something happens in an information session that causes a giant light bulb to go on in my head. As I'm sure you realize, we do tend to get asked the same questions over and over and I know I can be guilty of jumping too quickly to "my answer" and not listening as closely as I might to the question. This summer, something finally clicked about this issue of recommenders, particularly "The Third One."

Our instructions have been clear, but possibly only to us. We ask for three recommendations and we've pushed out guidance that we'd like two to come from professional sources. Thus, we've often been asked the question, "so who should write my third recommendation?" We've said all the normal and sensible things, like "ask someone who knows you well enough to answer the questions we pose to recommenders." That's true. Really, truly, true. But I think we have unintentionally signaled that this mysterious "Third Recommender" should come from a place in your life which is not the workplace. So the questions we were being asked were really trying to puzzle out if we wanted them from a professor, from community service, from trusted family friends. Who knew?

So, in the hope that this will add clarity, let me re-phrase our guidance: we are fine if ALL the recommendations come from the workplace. Even from the same firm. We are not trying to add the additional hurdle of needing to hear a voice from every phase of your past and present life. If it's not possible to get ANY recommendation from your current workplace, you may wish to explain this situation briefly in the Additional Information section of the application. This is NOT an unusual occurrence - we don't expect every boss in the world to be excited about losing top talent to business school. As is always the case, use your best judgment about this.

It's true, we are not a School which asks for a recommendation from a peer. However, if there is an important part of your candidacy which can only be validated by a peer (a start-up, for instance), that's a fine choice.

Meanwhile, the old standard wisdom is still true: if you're wondering about whether a choice is a good one, take another look at the questions we pose. If the person you are considering can answer the questions, you're on the right track.

That's all... if the Admissions team were asked for our three most substantial accomplishments this season (which we all know is So Last Year), clearing up this confusion might make the list.

Note: in the weeks ahead, I'll try to have a post here every Monday to address Round One issues and concerns.

Wishing you well...

06 Aug 2012

Class Visits

It's August, which means it's not too long before it's "back-to-school" time here at HBS. We hope that you are interested in seeing our classroom experience for yourself - it really is a distinctive learning model and we guarantee that you will leave with a point of view about whether it's a place where you can grow and thrive.

Registration for September/early October class visits is now open. Please note that these will all be SECOND YEAR CLASSES. First year classes will open to visitors in October - that's so faculty can let new students get comfortable with both the case method and each other before they welcome guests. Registration for first year class visits will open up toward the end of September.

As we've said before, we love to welcome visitors to class but a visit in no way influences our evaluation process.

Our fall schedule for information sessions will be Monday, Thursday and Friday at 4:15 pm beginning on September 7. No advance sign-ups for these are necessary - just come to Dillon House a few minutes beforehand.

Also, I really think our videos of case discussions in the first year classroom are helpful - click below to watch. 

20 Jul 2012

2+2 Summer Interview Invitations

​Greetings from Dillon House.

Here's the plan for 2+2 interview invitations. On July 25th, we'll send emails from admissions@hbs.edu to all 2+2 Summer Round applicants. These emails will notify you of either an interview invitation or a "release" which means we are not moving you forward in our process.

Those invited to interview will receive detailed instructions on next steps.

Here's a special note to those who are released, which will be repeated in the decision notification: 2+2 is a very small program - only about 100 participants. Getting turned down for this is by no means a definitive or final signal about your candidacy for HBS in the future. We hope to stay engaged with you as you enter the work world and consider an MBA in the future.

Wishing you all a good weekend.

18 Jul 2012

The GMAT and GRE

​We have been getting a lot of calls and e-mails about the GMAT and GRE, so I thought I would just make it crystal clear for everyone what we need from you on this component on the written application.

First of all, everyone needs to have taken the GMAT or the GRE (and I promise, we really don't care which one) to submit an application. You must take the whole test. For the GMAT, this means the Quantitative, Verbal, Written and Integrated Reasoning portions of the test. If you took the GMAT before June 5th, 2012, you do not need the Integrated Reasoning portion of the exam. For the GRE, this means the Quantitative, Verbal and Written portions of the test.

Secondly, every applicant must request that Pearson (for the GMAT) or ETS (for the GRE) send an official score report directly to HBS. Everyone must do this when you apply to HBS.

In the written portion of your application, there is a question asking for your scores. If you have not received your official score in the mail (because it takes time to get this), you may report your unofficial GMAT or GRE score. This is the score that comes up on the screen when you have finished taking the test and includes scores for the verbal and quantitative portions of the test. If you have received your official score from the test taking entity, you can fill those responses into the application, but we still need the official score to come directly from Pearson or ETS.

If you have taken the test multiple times, you may report your best score from a single date or test sitting. You may not combine your best verbal score and your best quant score.

If you are applying now, you need to have taken the test after January, 2008. If you took it before that date, you will need to retake the test.

I hope this helps.

29 Jun 2012

More About the Post Interview Reflection (NOT NOT NOT an essay!)

​Yes, we are getting lots of questions. And your questions have actually been helpful as we put the finishing touches on this exercise. Here's where we are now - and some thinking behind it.

  • This is the question that all interviewees will be asked: "You've just had your HBS interview. Tell us about it. How well did we get to know you?"
  • There will be no word limit.
  • We think the instruction memo will look something like this: "This is not an essay. Think of this as an email you might write after a meeting. We will be much more generous in our reaction to typos and grammatical errors than we will be with pre-packaged responses. Emails that give any indication that they were produced BEFORE you had the interview will raise a flag for us. We do not expect you to solicit or receive any outside assistance with this exercise."

Here's what we're thinking:

This is NOT another essay. We want your response to be much more like an email. Why? In the Real World, it is unlikely that you will be given months and months to craft essays of any sort. It just doesn't happen. In the Real World, it is almost a sure thing that you will be asked to write emails summarizing meetings and giving your opinion in a short time frame. Since HBS tries to be as "close to practice" as possible, this shift from essays to more real time writing feels appropriate.

I know this is hard to hear but this should NOT be a cause for anxiety. We want your genuine reaction to the interview experience. As is always the case in the Real World, this means there is no right answer to the question. There is no formula, no template. But, we can tell you what the WRONG approach is: to get lots of coaching and prepare the response in September for an interview in November. To have lots of people edit and tweak it. To avoid answering the question but instead jam in six more accomplishments or copy and paste an essay from another school. Please understand that we really do plan to be very generous and kind about typos and grammar. We're not looking for a polished response.

We'll continue to have our webinars which are about the application process in general. We welcome your questions and will do our absolute best to be as clear as possible as we get closer to interview season.

11 Jun 2012

Class of 2014 - Preliminary Profile

​Here's a sneak preview of the Class of 2014 - please note that this is PRELIMINARY. We anticipate that we will both lose a few people to other plans and be able to add a few from the waitlist.

We will post a final profile when classes begin in September.

04 Jun 2012

Summer at HBS

It's officially summer at HBS. We're wearing flip flops and enjoying the short lines in the Spangler Food Court.

Boston is a great summer destination and we encourage you to make a side trip to our campus. Here's a heads up on what to expect over the summer. Admissions Board members will host information sessions on Mondays and Fridays through the summer. Please consult the website for specifics-there is no advance registration required. We also have an iPod tour available for those of you who want to get more familiar with our campus.

We do not have a summer session, so there is no opportunity to sit in on a class at this time. Later this summer, we will let you know when class visits will resume in the fall.

Our admissions staff will be traveling the world this summer, so please keep your eye on our events page for more information and dates, or better yet, Connect with Us to receive e-mail notifications. We also have our Q&A webinars starting Friday at noon and continuing on Thursdays through the summer. Please sign up if you are interested in attending one of these sessions.

Happy summer!

22 May 2012

Class of 2015 (including 2+2): here's the application!

Here we go.

We are thinking of the Class of 2015 application process as three stages:

1) Introduce Yourself

This is the written application. These are the components:

  • All the demographic data gathering you expect!
  • Resume
  • Transcripts of academic work
  • GMAT/GRE test scores
  • 2 essay questions
  • 3 recommendations

2) Tell Us More

This is the interview process. Interviews are:

  • By invitation only after review of written application
  • On our campus or in TBD hub city locations, or in some cases, Skype
  • 30 minutes
  • Conducted by members of our Admissions Board

3) Have the Last Word

This is new. AFTER the interview, candidates are asked to do a written reflection on the interview experience which will be submitted via the online application system. This is a chance for you to have the "last word," so to speak.

We'll be hosting weekly Q+A webinar sessions beginning on June 1 at 12:00 noon, Boston time. Subsequent webinar sessions will be held through the summer on Thursdays at 1:00pm, Boston time. To sign up, please visit our Events page.

We will hold on-campus admissions information sessions throughout the summer every Monday and Friday at 1:00 pm, Boston time. No advance registration required. For details, please see our Visit HBS page.

Our process is the product of an admissions team that is always in design/development mode. All throughout the year we meet and dream up ways that will make it easier for you to feel "understood" and undertake assessment steps that map to what we do here in the classroom and what you will do in your careers. We're always trying to tweak and improve, and this is what we've come up with for the Class of 2015. Welcome to the starting gate.

16 May 2012

Round 3 Notification

Decisions will come at noon (Boston time) on Wednesday, May 17. You'll get an email from MBA Admissions that lets you know your decision is ready. At that point, log in to your application and your decision letter will be there.

Waitlisters can expect to hear an update early next week about how we are going to move forward and when.

We're on schedule to launch the application for the Class of 2015 late next week. I'll do a detailed post here when we do.

Thanks to all of you who've been reading this all season, from all of us in Dillon.

05 Apr 2012

The Real Students of HBS

Laura Merritt is first year student at HBS, and is also a joint degree candidate at Harvard Kennedy School. Laura hails from Dallas, TX and studied policy with a focus on healthcare at the University of Missouri. Following graduation, she worked in the US Department of Health and Human Services in Washington and then went on to her first year at the Kennedy School. For her summer internship, she worked in the White House, Presidential Personnel Office. She is winding down her first year at HBS and this summer, has her first foray into the business world. She will be interning in brand management at PepsiCo's Frito-Lay business unit in Dallas hopefully working with the "Performance with Purpose" initiative.

Laura Merritt

READING (Laughs) Wow! Mostly a lot of cases and I just finished Wuthering Heights. But, I started it over Thanksgiving.

EATING A lot of sushi from the sushi counter in Spangler. I also make a ton of soup and chili in the fall and live on it through the year! And, not a day goes by without chocolate.

PLANNING Right now, I am figuring out what to wear for the Newport Ball, figuring out my summer more and planning on a big adventure after school with my classmates and my sister....location is still TBD.

DREAMING Of a day when I can wake up without an alarm clock — which hopefully will happen this summer. I am also really excited about next year — it's taking all of my mind space and imagination.

ANYTHING ELSE I just want to share one story. My laptop got stolen in late September and I was hysterical. Besides losing my computer, I lost all my schoolwork and my entire recipe collection. This was at 5pm. At 8am the next day, my section presented me with a brand new MacBook Air and a thumb drive with all of their family recipes. That incident endeared this place and these people to me as my family who are there in good times and in bad.

05 Apr 2012

Round 3 Application Deadline

April 10 is "last call" for applications to the Class of 2014.

12:00 Noon Eastern Time is the official deadline, but the reality is that we'll keep the system open into the evening and we'll be understanding about late recommendations. As always, we begin reading applications the very next day (not before!) and will read your application if at least one recommendation has been received.

We'll be sending out interview invitations in two waves this round, April 17 and 24. Candidates not being invited to interview will be notified of their release on April 24. Interviews will be conducted only here on campus - no hub city interviews - and by Skype, if necessary. Dates will be May 4, 7, 10 and 11. Note: We hope and expect to see applications from college seniors for the 2+2 Program. We know that you are likely to be in exams during our interview dates. We will make accommodations on a case-by-case basis...so don't worry.

As always, I hope this is helpful.

26 Mar 2012

Round 2 Notification


Plan is to send emails out at noon on Thursday. Congratulatory calls will follow, but we don't do admissions notification via phone.

A few things:

  • HBS doesn't make any financial aid awards at the time of admission. So don't feel slighted that you don't see any $$ mentioned. We have (very) generous financial aid available to our students - both US and international citizens - but it's all need-based. One more thing about financial aid: it's not a "rolling" process - as in, we don't run out of need-based money. Round 3 admits have access to exactly the same resources as Round 1.
  • The waitlist. Yes, there will be waitlist invitations going out on Thursday. I know for sure we are going to use the waitlist - probably beginning in early May and trying to wrap it up by early June. My guess is we'll be able to make somewhere between 25 and 50 offers to waitlisters - some from Round 1 and some from Round 2 - in addition to the 50 or so we made earlier this month. At this point, this is a guess - Dana Scalisi will keep waitlisters updated.
  • Feedback for denied candidates post-interview. I carve out time to respond to calls from candidates who have been through the interview process. These calls are rarely dramatic - and I am resolved to not be prescriptive about the future. The vast majority are reassurance that it wasn't anything that is or went wrong...but simply the challenge of comprising a class rich in diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. Details about phone hours will be in the decision letter.

As always, I hope this is helpful. To all of you who are waiting, please know that we appreciate your enthusiasm and patience.

26 Mar 2012

The Real Students of HBS

Today, I am sitting down with second year student, William Drewery. Will is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. He went to Carnegie Mellon University and majored in Business and Finance. After graduating, he went to PricewaterhouseCoopers and was a consultant in their Washington and Federal division working with clients such as NASA, the FBI and the DOD. One project brought him over to Iraq working on a factory restart program with the Iraqi government.

The summer between his first and second year, Will worked in development with the IFC (the International Finance Corporation which is part of the World Bank). He also married his college sweetheart over the summer. Going forward, he is looking to continue a career in development but is also captivated by technology. He wants to focus on an area which will aid in job and business creation. Will is the past president of AASU (the African American Student Union) and is a member of the Africa Business Club.

Will Drewery

READING Outside of the Economist and my normal magazines, I have been reading Magic Johnson's book, 32 Ways to be a Champion in Business. It was actually recommended to me by my HBS interviewer when I interviewed in Dubai. Johnson has always been a role model as an NBA player, but since his diagnosis, he has leveraged his star power to invest in inner city area.

EATING I love all kinds of ethnic foods, especially Korean. I love kalbi, kimchi and bologi. My favorite spot is Myong Dong 1st Ave in Allston. While I was working in Baghdad, I had to evacuate for a week and went to visit Korea, and the atmosphere at Myong Dong reminds me of that trip.

PLANNING I am currently interviewing for a role in California and if I get this offer, my wife and I are going to drive across the country. I have been a big international traveler and have spent time on both coasts, but have not visited the US as much. My wife and I are working on our bucket list for the middle of the country.

WEARING I am wearing a t-shirt, jeans and my Harvard sports jacket. People always think I am on some kind of a team with this jacket!

DREAMING I want to have a fascinating, high powered career where I get to make a difference in the lives of the people I am working for through job creation and development. My friends and family in Pittsburgh always have ideas for businesses that they want me to look at and help them think through. I really just want to be able to go back and help out.

Will also has a word of advice for all the perspective students — "I applied to b-school prior to leaving for my project in Iraq and I didn't get in anywhere. I took the time to focus on my new work experience and on my GMAT and here I am!"

14 Mar 2012

The Real Students of HBS

Luis is a first year student who was born and raised in Mexico City. An industrial engineer who studied at Universidad Iberoamericana, Luis started working part time during college for UBS Investment Bank. After that he went to work in private equity for Advent International where he did 2 years in Mexico followed by a year in Brazil. He will be spending the summer at a private equity firm in New York. For his FIELD 2 project, he worked with the Intercontinental Hotel in Chongqing, China.

Luis Cervantes

READING I enjoy reading all kinds of biographies. I just completed Steve Job's bio. I also like to read about current events and recently read Game Change.

EATING I like trying new things and Boston has been a great place for that. Spangler is a great option and a section mate who is from Tokyo has recommended 3 or 4 great Japanese places. I also like eating my wife Priscilla's home cooking. We have been hosting weekly dinners featuring Mexican food with some of my section in our apartment in SFP 2.

PLANNING The last few weeks, I have been consumed by planning the private equity conference. We had over 800 attendees and 100 speakers. I am also an admission ambassador for my section, so I was involved with planning the Admitted Students welcome. I am headed to Colorado for spring break to go skiing with my wife and a couple of friends. Next I am going to focus on planning the logistics for my summer internship as well as next year's activities for the Venture Capital and Private Equity Club where I will be the Co-President.

WEARING HBS is a very casual place so I am in jeans, a shirt and a sweater. The winter hasn't come yet and hopefully won't. My big coat hasn't come out yet!

DREAMING I am dreaming of building a great family. I would love to look back and know that I made a significant contribution. I would love to be able to solve some of Mexico's social problems through entrepreneurship or private equity.

28 Feb 2012

The Real Students of HBS

Whitney Gretz is from Deer Park, a suburb of Chicago. She headed to Northwestern for undergraduate and majored in Economics and Sociology. From there, she went to McKinsey's Chicago office where she spent three years prior to business school working on healthcare operations. She plans to return after graduation.

Whitney Gretz

READING I am reading In Style Magazine — the latest edition. I just finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo....a little late on that trend!

EATING I just learned how to make quiche. I have also been making tres leches cake. I used to travel a lot for work, so this is the first time I have had the time to cook. I hosted a cupcake party for friends from HBS for Valentine's Day.

PLANNING I just finished planning some of the elements of the Women's Student Association conference that was this past weekend. I am the co-VP of Alumni and we had a special breakfast and panel lead by Professor Robin Ely. I also helped to coordinate alumni dinners on Saturday night — we set up dinners for current HBS female students with alumnae living in the area. It was a big weekend — tiring, but fun. Next weekend, I am planning a three day trip to Iceland with 10 friends from Section E. We are going snowmobiling, horseback riding and will see the northern lights.

WEARING I just got back from Shad, so I am wearing workout clothing: Target workout top and Zella workout pants. At Shad I just went on the treadmill, but I love Caroline's spin class. She is famous on campus.

DREAMING I love HBS, but I am excited to be back in Chicago with my friends and family, especially my two little nephews!

17 Feb 2012

The Real Students of HBS

And we are back with another installment of the "Real Students of HBS." Today I caught up with Justina Wang, a second year student who originally hails from Ohio, moved to Hong Kong when she was 14, and found her way back to the states to attend Wellesley College. After school she did two years at UBS, followed by two years in private equity at Thomas H. Lee Partners. Last summer, she worked in the corporate strategy group at Cole Haan.

Justina Wang

READING I read anything off the Top 10 New York Times Bestseller list. During this past January break, I read The Night Circus, Cutting for Stone and The Tiger's Wife.

EATING My favorite cuisine is a toss-up between Italian and Chinese food. During my time in Boston, I have loved trying out all of the restaurants. My favorite spot is Toro in the South End, but the 2 hour wait is sometimes a little too much. My favorite Italian spot is Amelia's Trattoria near Kendall Square in Cambridge.

PLANNING Right now I am planning my spring break — a trip with 6 friends to Costa Rica. None of us have been to Costa Rica before and we picked it because we want both action and leisure. For half of the trip, we are going to do things like zip-lining through the rainforest and white water rafting, and for the other half we are going to chill on the beach and relax.

WEARING I am wearing Cole Haan boots (which I got this summer), jeans and a J. Crew sweater and vest.

DREAMING I have always wanted to be well rounded. I want to be in a very successful professional career but also have a fulfilling and supportive family life. I am like a lot of HBS women — I want it all!

01 Feb 2012

Round 2 Interview Invitations - A Little More Information

Well, I dealt with the aftermath of the transparency about interview invitation numbers in Round 1 today. Someone called and asked directly why we couldn't send out all the invitations on one day. Good question. Here's the answer:

We could..but it would be February 13, not January 31. Maybe that would be better...a later date, but just one date. The way we've structured it now - 3 waves - is to accommodate the reality of a (human) Admissions Board trying to give thoughtful attention to a lot of applications. And each application needs to be reviewed twice. So we have to have a little bit of flex in terms of the notification dates. The senior team in Dillon does (a lot of) other things besides reading applications. Board member X may be pulled into an IT crisis. Board member Y needs to pull together the budget for the next fiscal year. I went to NYC last week to do an admit event for Round 1 admits. All these things can throw off an application-reading timetable, so we build in those extra two weeks (two waves) to make sure we've got bandwidth to make careful decisions. We're not doing this by machine. It's just us.

As always, hope this helps.

13 Jan 2012

Round 2 Interviews

I realized that I had promised some news about this on January 15 and didn't want you to have to wait over the long weekend to hear this (Note: We are closed on Monday, January 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Day).

Here's the story:

Round 2 interviews will be conducted between February 15 and March 9. We will be in London, Paris, Shanghai, Mumbai, Dubai, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and New York in addition to the HBS campus. Skype interviews may also be an option for candidates located outside the United States who are unable to travel. Full details will be available in the interview invitations.

This is our plan for timing:

We will send out email invitations on the following 3 Tuesdays - January 31, February 7, and February 14. On February 14, all candidates not invited to interview will be notified of their "release."

Now, please pay attention - this is a new level of transparency that I hope is helpful, but I need you to understand that I am talking about what happened in Round 1 vs. telling you exactly what will happen in Round 2 (which we obviously DON'T KNOW now).

The pattern of interview invitation volume in Round 1 was:

  • Week 1 (first wave of invitations): 750 invitations sent
  • Week 2 (second wave): 80 invitations sent
  • Week 3 (third/final wave): 25 invitations sent

Round 2 won't be identical, but I think it will be directionally similar. Please hear me when I say that the timing of the interview invitation is NOT a signal of the strength of a candidate. The only thing that it maps to is the ability of our Admissions Board to move through their (large) reading allocations.

I hope this is clear and helpful - if it's not, call me at 617-496-6835 and tell me so.

06 Jan 2012

Round 2 - Application Deadline Coming Up on January 10

Just a couple of bullet points:

  • The deadline will be NOON, Boston time.
    • Truth is, we're not going to actually turn the system off at 12:01pm, so please don't panic if the servers are jammed and you're having trouble submitting. Obviously, you'll feel less stressed if you don't wait until the last minute, but I'm a realist.
  • You really do need a test score at the time of submission in order to be considered in this round.
    • You can't leave it blank or enter 000s...one thing we just can't do is add score reports once we set the review process in motion. We're printing applications on January 10 and sending applications out to the Board for review right away.
    • This includes submitting a new (improved?) test score mid-round. Can't do it.
  • We cut recommenders a little bit of slack.
    • We'll continue to accept recommendations for about a day or so after the deadline. Your application will have started through the review process whether or not all 3 recs have been received. It's your responsibility to make sure all of your recommendations are in - and you do that through the AY system, not by calling our office.

Expect to hear about Round 2 interview dates, locations, and notification plans around January 15.

04 Jan 2012

2012: Starting Off On the Right Foot

Happy 2012.

As always, I have lots of New Year's resolutions and a couple of them have to do with this column. I think I'm going to refer to this endeavor as a "column" vs. a "blog." Maybe that's old-fashioned but "blog" seems to imply a level of frequency that just isn't going to happen. Which leads me to my point:

I'm only going to talk about admissions issues here. I could spend all day every day curating content about what goes on at HBS - both in and outside the classroom. It's wonderful. It's amazing. But what I want to do here is to give you as clear and clean a window into the application process and what happens here inside Dillon House (the home of the Admissions Board). I'll tell you about deadlines, procedures for how we communicate on deadline and notification days, talk about the timetable for interview invitations and try to capture and respond to the frequently-asked-questions coming in over email and by phone at any given moment in the cycle.

Please explore every nook and cranny of www.hbs.edu to learn about the School. There's lots to show and tell and I hope that you find this place as captivating as I do. But don't be worried or surprised if days or even weeks go by without anything in this column. As I say (over and over again - with apologies for being repetitive), my hope is to be helpful as you go through the application process and experience the natural curiosity about how we do things. This "curiosity" will sometimes be replaced by "anxiety" as you wait for decisions. We understand. We, the flight crew, will do everything we can to keep you informed of what's going on as we fly the plane.

So, that said, I'll do a Round 2 application deadline update on Friday.

12 Dec 2011

Round 1 Notification

It's a week away...so I thought some details might be in order.

This is our plan: On Monday, December 19 - hopefully at noon Boston time - all Round 1 interviewees will receive an email saying their decision is available online. We don't make any phone calls ahead of time...none. And that's a promise. Whatever the news is for you, we want to make sure you at least have control over the timing.

In addition to admit and deny notifcations, we will also be inviting about 120 or so candidates who have been interviewed to join our waitlist. All waitlisters will receive additional information from Dana Scalisi, who manages this process.

For candidates who are denied admission after an interview, there will also be information about call-in hours in January if anyone would like to have a conversation with me. I wouldn't call these "feedback" calls since they aren't very detailed...but sometimes it can be reassuring to hear that there were not specific weaknesses in an application, but rather just the reality of a highly selective process with the goal of maximizing the mix of voices and perspectives in the classroom.

For those of you in waiting mode, I send you all good wishes for distraction.

01 Nov 2011

Shifting Gears

Just a note to say that I need to take a little break from our Real Students of HBS weekly feature. Time to go underground and start prepping for interviews. But I promise to be thinking about ways to give you an up-close and personal look at HBS. Maybe I'll make some unexpected visits to Spangler at lunchtime and listen in on student conversations and report out.​

28 Oct 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Jose, a first year (RC) student, was born in Brazil to Argentine parents and moved to Argentina at the age of six. He spent the following 12 years in Argentina until he moved to the US to attend Wharton/University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Finance and Entrepreneurship. After graduating, Jose worked in investment banking in New York and within his first twelve months he was relocated to Mexico City where he spent a full year before joining a private equity firm, also in Mexico. During his four years in the real world, Jose has worked in an array of industries, ranging from more traditional sectors such as infrastructure, financial institutions and retail to airlines and even funeral homes. Jose spent the summer prior to HBS traveling around Latin America and Europe.


READING I recently started re-reading one of my favorite Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels. The story is about an old man that finds love at the end of his life in very peculiar circumstances. The story evolves in such a way that the reader becomes comfortable with a situation that is shocking at first. Full of cynicism and humor, the novel ends in a totally unexpected way and leaves us feeling that the world is not always as cruel as it seems.

EATING To be honest, since coming to HBS I have been eating a ridiculous amount of cereal and hot dogs at my apartment. There are so many things going on every day, coupled with class and case preparation, that most days I end up eating something quick so I can make time for everything else (social events, presentations, sports, etc). Most days I have lunch at Spangler, which is pretty good and has great variety. We even have our own sushi bar which I love! Every now and then, when I start getting home sick, I go to Gaucho, an Argentine steak house for an asado paired with a good malbec wine.

PLANNING Right now I'm planning my winter break trip to Argentina and I'm trying to figure out how to best connect it with my FIELD trip to Istanbul (mid-January) and the Private Equity Trek to Brazil towards the end of January. It will be a great winter break but with a lot of time spent on planes. Two days ago I finally booked my Thanksgiving trip to Puerto Rico with a large group of my classmates and we are starting to plan a 3-day trip to Iceland in February.

WEARING I would say that my typical outfit is jeans with a polo and all-stars. Nothing too fancy, unless I'm running out of clean clothes and I start tapping into my countless reserves of work shirts!

DREAMING After my two years at HBS I want to go back into Private Equity with a focus in Latin America. I thoroughly enjoyed my PE experience and I believe that Latin America is an exciting region to be in right now and one full of opportunities. I would like to work in Brazil post-graduation, so if things go well I'll be moving back after 23 years! In the medium to long term, I hope to return to Argentina and go into agribusiness. It is a sector to which I have been exposed to since a young age and even with no real professional experience I still find fascinating.

24 Oct 2011

Round 1 Interview Invitations

OK...this is the week we start sending interview invitations. Here's the plan:

We're going to send out invitations on the next 3 Wednesdays - October 26, November 2 and November 9. NOT on any day in between. Many will go out on October 26, some will go out on November 2 and 9. On November 9, everyone who applied in Round 1 will hear something - either an invitation to interview, an invitation to join the waitlist with the possibility of an interview in Round 2, or a "release."

We will be managing the availability of interview slots so that candidates invited on November 2 and 9 have location options. While our availability in hub cities is limited, we always have capacity in Boston and via Skype. There is no advantage to one location/type of interview over another.

I hope you understand that we really cannot give precise numbers of interview invitations going out on specific dates - we just don't know. I also hope that the above schedule alleviates the day-to-day anxiety - believe me, we are trying to be as helpful as we can during this process. If you would like to hear me read this message out loud to you, you're welcome to call me at 617-496-6835. Seriously, we're deeply appreciative that you want to come to HBS and know that waiting is difficult and the anxiety can be high.

21 Oct 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Stefon is a second-year (EC) student who came to HBS after time at Monitor Clipper, a Boston PE firm and, before that, the Consumer Products and Retail group at Morgan Stanley. This past summer he was in the Washington, DC office of McKinsey. He did his undergrad work at the Wharton/University of Pennsylvania. Stefon describes himself as a military brat who grew up all over the US and Japan.

Stefon Burns

READING A play called A Man for All Seasons for "The Moral Leader", an unconventional course that I'm taking this term. In this pseudo-seminar, we read a single literary work (typically a book) every week as fodder for discussions exploring the issues inherent in defining morality and leadership. We've read Antigone in the Theban Plays by Sophocles, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, and Blessed Assurance in White People, by Alan Gurganus. The class discussions are like the Case Method 2.0 because they require more personal perspective than the typical HBS case where one would step into the shoes of a protagonist. I'm really looking forward to reading Machiavelli's The Prince and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's This Child Will Be Great by in the weeks to come.

WEARING An eclectic mix of urban and preppy style. Today, it's a pair of black and white houndstooth sneakers, straight leg jeans, red chambray button up, and black motorcycle styled rain jacket. I'm really interested in fashion and retailing, so I shop. A lot. It's academic investigation/ professional research/ investment in my knowledge of the industry (or at least that's what I tell myself). Anyways, I try to mix up my style. Some days I'm super conservative with the basic two button navy suit, white shirt, and monochromatic geometric patterned tie. Other days, I'm likely to try something that pushes the envelope a bit more.

EATING Chicken and rice soup, which was leftover from a dinner I made last night. To connect with my family's traditions and to get to know my classmates, I've been hosting dinner parties at my apartment in One Western Avenue, one of the apartment style residential complexes on campus. I like to try recipes and kitchen gadgets, so my guests are also guinea pigs. Most recently, I've been experimenting with comfort foods like red wine-marinated roast, apple pie made from scratch, and the "Ashley" salad, which I replicated after enjoying one at Ellie's Cafe during a weekend trip to New Hampshire. That said, I probably get the most requests for my New York-style lemon cheesecake.

PLANNING Two awesome trips. HBS is an incredible place to be, and, with so much to do on and around campus, you can lose touch with the "outside world." To stay in touch, I'm putting together a trip for my family. Finding the right combination of flights, hotel, and excursions for a cool but wallet-friendly trip has taken a lot of my "free" time, but the recuperative time with my family will be worth it. I am also preparing to go to China on an IXP (Immersion Experience Program) in the first two weeks of January. I'll be traveling with 25 classmates and a professor to gain some insight into how business is being done in the country's complex economic and cultural environment. To maximize the value of this around the world flight, I'm also going to spend New Year's Eve with a few other classmates in Singapore.

DREAMING Of bringing all of myself to work. I'm taking Authentic Leadership Development (ALD), a really popular course, and I've grown in ways that I didn't expect. For me, this course is a critical part of the HBS "transformational experience." In class and in small group meetings, we discuss the real life issues (e.g. gender, trust, community, race, self-confidence, sexuality, support, money, and status) that have shaped how we've developed up to this point in our careers; then, we use the experiences of case protagonists to explore how the aforementioned issues have impact leaders in the past. The learning's are quite powerful. My small group, the ultimate complement to the class discussion, has pushed, prodded, and pulled me. By talking about aspects of my life that I would never otherwise mention, I've been able to see myself in a different light. I recently met with the professor of the course, and, for a little under an hour, we discussed how I could digest some aspects of my life. With this new sense of things, I've been contemplating how I am going to approach my life after business school with better sense of how I can be my best self.

13 Oct 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Elina, a second year at HBS, was born in Odessa, Ukraine when it was still part of the former USSR. In 1989, Elina and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. Elina attended college at Harvard, where she majored in Chemistry & Physics. Upon realizing she was more interested in the chemistry of companies than that of atoms, Elina decided to pursue a career in business. After college, Elina went to work at McKinsey, a management consulting firm, in New York. However, instead of staying in Manhattan, Elina spent most of those two years flying everywhere from Geneva, Switzerland to Calgary, Canada to Raleigh, North Carolina. After McKinsey, Elina moved out West to work for Hellman & Friedman, a private equity firm, in San Francisco. However, after two years spent in 70 degree weather, Elina decided she missed being cold and decided to come back to Boston to enroll in HBS. This past summer Elina worked for Maverick Capital, a hedge fund, in New York.


READING I just finished reading Geoff Canada's Fist Stick Knife Gun; it's a harrowing account of violence in the inner city and a reminder how important it is to provide opportunities for all children. I'm also part way through Too Big To Fail; I've been meaning to read it for a while, and I'm glad I finally picked it up - Sorkin is a great story teller. Despite having several unread books left on my bookshelf, I just ordered Moneyball (after watching the movie, I just couldn't resist). And, being a bookaholic, while placing the order I had to pick up a few other books (Boomerang, Extraordinary Popular Delusions, and Sarah's Key).

HEARING I just met with my Energy & Geopolitics team at the Grille to discuss our paper on the potential for the US to become a natural gas exporter. We're going to look at how the costs of creating and shipping liquid natural gas from the US compare with gas prices abroad. After the meeting, I ran into another friend and we chatted about our investment ideas and how crazy the news on the European debt crisis has been. Here's hoping that French Toast is only served at the Grille and not in a Wall Street Journal headline.

EATING I just went to grab dinner in the Square to catch up with a section friend. Second year is great in that you get to run around and do what you're interested in, but I try very hard to schedule time to catch up with friends I no longer see in class every day. After dinner, we headed to the "Alphabet Soup" party, where everyone has to dress up as something that starts with the letter of their section. I am in EC Section A (the best section) so our options were limited to dressing up as an apple or an astronaut; we ultimately chose to go as a guy in the section named Andy.

PLANNING I love all the opportunities I have to travel at HBS (especially as several of the trips I've been on have been arranged by natives of the country). However, I'm really behind in planning my trips. We have several long weekends coming up as well as a long break in January, another week for spring break, and a couple weeks between the end of classes and graduation. I know I will not have this time again for several years so I'm planning to make the most of it! This year I want to travel to South America, Southeast Asia, China, India, and Australia...not to mention some quick trips to warmer climates during the winter! Now I'm just trying to figure out when it makes sense to go where.

DREAMING I really enjoy investing so I'm dreaming of finding an investment firm with great people to work with and learn from. Other than that, I'm dreaming of settling into a city — I've moved every two years for the past 6 years so I'm excited to settle into a new home and get involved with the community. Education has been such a huge part of my life that I'm hoping to be able to get involved with some non-profits and bring some of the opportunities I've had to other kids.

07 Oct 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Maxeme is a second year student at HBS and pursuing a joint degree with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received a degree in political science from New College of Florida where the weather never went below 50 degrees. During and after college, Max worked at MTV networks, eventually working on five MTV VMAs, before becoming a high school teacher in Miami as a Teach For America corps member. She then worked in Mayor Bloomberg's bullpen before deciding to apply to the joint degree program at HBS. She spent the past summer in a Danaher engine brake factory learning lean manufacturing.MaxemeTuchman

READING A fellow Teach For America alum gave me a copy of "A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League" when I interned at DC Public Schools two summers ago. I started reading the book last semester (I'm not a slow reader, just more of a read four books at a time type of girl) and picked it back up this semester since it keeps me grounded at a place like HBS, reminding me daily of why I'm here and about the populations I want to serve. Reading cases leads you to believe that the right answer is always to maximize profits but it's important to remember that, as Roger Porter has found, we need to work on creating shared value.

EATING I've been eating everything in sight. The Yom Kippur fast is coming up on Saturday and I want to be sure that I'm "stocked up" before I go without food for a day. On a more daily diet thread, I survive around here on a diet of coffee and red bull. You don't get a lot of time to sleep here!

PLANNING For the past couple of weekends I've been on my EC section retreat, the Latino Student Organization retreat and the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership retreat (I'm a joint degree with HKS and splitting my last year here between both schools). With all of this I've been relishing a weekend here in Boston and in true HBS form, I've been telling everyone that I'm staying in town to rest and relax, but my weekend is already booked catching up with friends, writing papers, and doing errands like renewing my passport (I've got a trip to Nigeria for J-Term coming up and I have no pages left in my passport- another residual of being an HBS student).

WEARING Well, as a Caribbean girl from Miami, the recent shift in weather (it's in the 40s!!) has me wearing about five layers of clothing. I'm currently in pants, boots, a tank top, shirt, cardigan, coat and scarf. I also ignore everyone that gives me funny looks for being so bundled. A couple of us on campus are from warm weather climates and we suffer together hiding out in the tunnels until May.

DREAMING I'm dreaming about "what I want to be when I grow up" but struggling with the reality that I need a "bridge job", one that will allow me to set myself up for my dream job. So, do I choose a job that checks off some boxes and helps me build an amazing skill set or do I go and do what I love? A lot of us are struggling with it right now. It doesn't help that Steve Jobs is telling me which way to go from the grave: "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do, if you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."

FOLLOWING I have a fascination with travelling to countries where I have to face the realities of the world I live in, whether they be realities that are beautiful or downright shocking. I also like following the news coming out of those countries to try and make sense of what's going on there currently and what the future may hold for the people that live there. I've recently been following the news from Saudi Arabia and North Korea, where the upcoming right to vote for women and the food shortage induced malnutrition of children respectively has me connected to the world outside of the HBS bubble.

04 Oct 2011

Round 1 Interviews

I know that the feeling of triumph from submitting an application can be short-lived - and gives way to Phase 2, the "Anxiety of Waiting about an Interview." Please be assured that we are in full-scale reading mode as of this morning - all hands are on deck. Let me walk you through Round 1:

  • October 3: Deadline for receiving applications has just passed.
  • October 26 - November 9: Interview invitations will be issued via email. Please read this part carefully - We don't have some complicated and/or malevolent algorithm that determines which interview invitations go out first or last or even how many go out on any given day. If you'd like to suggest one, give me a call.
  • November 9: All candidates not invited to interview will receive one of two communications - "We are unable to offer you a place in the Class of 2014" or an invitation to join our waitlist.
  • November 7 - approximately November 29: Interview weeks, both on and off campus. Off campus locations in Round 1 include New York City, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Dubai, Sao Paulo, and Shanghai.
  • December 19: Decision notification (admit, deny, or waitlist) for all interviewed candidates.

Now, I need to repeat language I used last year because I can't think of a better way to say it. While no one applies hoping for a "deny" decision, we have heard you say that the worst case is extended uncertainty. We think that getting news out on November 9 is helpful so that denied candidates can re-direct energy toward Round 2 applications to other schools. Yes, we have the resources to ensure a thorough review of all applications before rendering any decisions. All applications are reviewed at least twice. Our Admissions Board is fully staffed and able to make this work.

All those invited to join our waitlist are candidates whom we would like to "further consider." Our plan is for waitlisted candidates to receive further consideration in Round 2. Our intent is for all to receive a final decision by the time we make Round 2 notifications in late March. We completely understand if such a candidate might elect to withdraw his/her application.

I promise that all letters will clearly communicate a candidate's status.

Most of all, we thank all Round 1 applicants for all the hard work and high aspirations that go into these applications. We are humbled and committed to doing our very best to give all candidates full and careful consideration.

03 Oct 2011

Round 1 Deadline - Some Details

  • ​We will continue to accept recommendations for 48 hours after the deadline. But please note that you are responsible for ensuring your application is complete. All applications will be reviewed as submitted.
  • Looking at your application before submitting - yes, sometimes it looks strange. Submit it anyway. We'll contact you if any part has not transmitted properly.
  • You may experience difficulties working on your application using Firefox 6 or 7; we recommend using Internet Explorer.
30 Sep 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Viet grew up in a peaceful and picturesque village in central Vietnam (near Hoi An). He attended high school in Singapore, and studied economics and industrial engineering at Stanford. Before heading to HBS, Viet worked at Morgan Stanley in mergers & acquisitions (Los Angeles) and asset allocation (New York). Viet spent the past two summers in Vietnam working with local investment firms and business owners. Since 2005, Viet has served on the boards of two non-profits: VietAbroader and Southeast Asian Service Leadership Network.


READING I am re-reading "Cánh đ'ô'ng bất tận" (boundless rice field), an outstanding short story collection about the struggles of nomadic people living on boats in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. I try to vary my reading, mixing fiction and non-fiction in English with some Vietnamese literature.

EATING Seven fellow Stanford alumni had dinner at Basho, a modern Japanese brasserie in Fenway. Duck teriyaki, yellowtail sushi, and striped bass were excellent! The second-years shared perspectives and advice with those who have just enjoyed their first month of the HBS experience.

DISCOVERING I recently realized that I have an interest in real estate! The industry didn't excite me until this past summer when I learned about Ecopark, a green urban development project in Vietnam. Ecopark is a 20-minute drive from the crowded and inefficiently designed city center of Hanoi. Having no prior knowledge in real estate, this year I am excited to take "Real Property", "Sustainable Cities: Urbanization, Infrastructure, and Finance", and ""Real Estate Development, Design, and Construction". I'm currently assisting Ecopark's developer to engage prospective investors and partners with expertise in operating hospitals, schools, and commercial complexes.

DREAMING I'm dreaming of pursuing a career that allows me to create valuable impact by utilizing my experience and network in the US, Singapore, and Vietnam. I hope to eventually run successful businesses in Vietnam and create jobs for both the educated and underprivileged.

WEARING t-shirt, jeans, and a pair of flip flops. It started raining today after weeks of warm weather, so I may need to get my fall clothes ready!

PLANNING This weekend, I'll spend a day in New York before hopping on the Bolt bus to return to Boston, just in time to watch the UCLA-Stanford football game with a HBS friend from UCLA! An avid Cardinal fan, I already bought my flight and game ticket for the marquee matchup Oregon-Stanford in mid-November. I have also started planning trips to Singapore, Vietnam, and Brazil in December/January.

27 Sep 2011

Class Visits

I know that many of you are trying to arrange visits to see HBS classes this fall. We wish we could open every single classroom every day to prospective candidates, but that just isn't possible. As I've said before, faculty like to let the first year students get comfortable with both the case method and each other before they welcome guests. There are also days on which first year students are doing small group projects in FIELD which would not be able to accommodate visitors.

We will open up the class visit sign-ups by the end of this week. We only open a two week period. Why? Because we need to minimize the possibility that someone will sign-up for a session way in advance, not be able to actually come, and therefore we'll have no-shows and empty seats.

I know this system isn't perfect. Many of you are traveling great distances in order to see us and we take that investment seriously. We hold information sessions (led by Admissions Board members) and campus tours (led by students) on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays during the fall semester. No advance sign-up is necessary for these - just come to Dillon House at 3pm for student-led tours and 4:15pm for the Admissions Board information sessions. Also, I really think our videos of first year classes are helpful. Whenever you are visiting our HBS campus, please check our Visit HBS page first to receive the most up-to-date listing of campus programming offered each day.

23 Sep 2011

The Real Students of HBS

Amanda is a second-year student at HBS who hails from Atlanta. She came North to attend Wellesley College — and still enjoys the strong and supportive sisterhood which includes a sizable number of HBS students and alums. Throughout college she was a competitive swimmer while majoring in economics and Chinese studies. Between Wellesley and HBS she researched on a Fulbright Fellowship in China and worked at Morgan Stanley in Asia. She spent the summer at McKinsey in Dubai.

Amanda Cotterman

HEARING Today was office hours with my GEM (Globalization and Emerging Markets) professor. We started discussing an idea I had on sovereign wealth funds in island nations and the conversation completely took off. After forty minutes we had brainstormed several business ideas for China, completely in a different direction from where we had started. The inspirations from classes, classmates and even professors here is amazing — you never know where it will take you.

EATING Famished after a run along the river, I bumped into a friend on my way to Spangler to get dinner. I was really hoping for the made-to-order risotto but they had curry instead, still delicious. We sat outside and compared our summer experiences, I had the benefit of working this past summer at his past employer so it was good to hear his thoughts on returning. The conversation went on for another hour over potential entrepreneurial options to start post business school linking Europe to China. It is so much fun having the chance to throw around ideas with people who are just as excited about a topic as you. Realistically, most won't materialize but each brainstorming session gets you a little closer to an actionable idea.

WEARING I opted for black shorts and an orange shirt today. For some reason it's still hot mid-September, but I'm not complaining!

DREAMING I've been dreaming too much, the opportunities are endless out of HBS. I still believe that dream job is out there so I'm going full speed ahead on researching different companies and functions. I'd love to keep traveling. Any jobs out there that will let me move to a new country every three months?!

READING I am addicted to my Kindle now. The newest download is On China, by Henry Kissinger. Even though I was a Chinese Studies major, it's good to keep my knowledge up on China, especially since this book has some new insight on China's foreign policy and America's role with China.

WONDERING Spring Break is so far away but I'm already trying to organize a trip to the Galapagos. I'm wondering who wants to go and what activities they would want to do if I put the trip together. I guess it's time to start surveying my classmates! A survey is a common email you'll get here with so many people starting their own businesses and using the student body for research. Where else will you get 1,800 people to bounce ideas off of?

PLANNING Even though it's a long weekend I'm staying in town for my undergrad's alumnae swim meet. I'm looking forward to heading out to Wellesley to swim and catch up with friends. There is a cycling event Sunday where the city shuts down the main roads for cyclists. I convinced a few section mates to join this year and we're going for the 50 mile course.

19 Sep 2011

Part II or Things That Really Do Matter, So Please Pay Attention

Having approached this subject somewhat backwards by running through some application items NOT to stress about, it feels like it's only fair to point out some things that I hope you are extra careful about.

Time: The most frustrating - actually, maddening - applications are those in which we have to try to figure out where you were and what you were doing for periods of time after college. We'd much rather see "September 2008 - January 2009: Sat under a tree" (or, more likely, "looked for a job") than have to guess by going back and forth between your application and your resume and trying to map it all out. So, spell it out for us - please account for all time. We don't need a day-by-day diary, but a good rule of thumb is accounting for any gap longer than two months.

GMAT self-reporting: Please make sure you are getting those subscores right. We know you always get the overall score right but please pay attention to inputting the correct subscores.

Re-applicants: You should NOT assume we are referring to your old application. Even though you need to "check the box" that you are a re-applicant, that status is not visible to the Admissions Board unless and until you are invited to interview. At that point, your original application is coupled with your new one for the interviewer to review.

Sending in more than 3 recommendations: We're not kidding. If we wanted to see more than 3 we'd ask for them. Imagine if everyone thought that their applications would be strengthened by adding additional letters of recommendation. I'll describe it to you: chaos.

16 Sep 2011

The Real Students of HBS

As promised, here's the first installment of what I hope will be a weekly feature—a look at what our students, both first- and second-year, are actually doing, thinking, dreaming, etc. (And here's a shout-out to the NY Times for this format—I can't think of a way to improve upon it).

First up is Michael Belkin. Michael is a Silicon Valley native who came East for college at Cornell. After college he worked in strategic planning for a real estate investment firm and then switched gears to IT R&D infrastructure for an Israeli high-tech startup in the entertainment space. This summer he was in NYC working on his own startup. Michael lives in an on-campus apartment. This fall he is taking courses in technology, entrepreneurship, and strategic marketing.

Michael Belkin

DOING I was cold called today in class, you always have to be on your feet here. After class I went home and worked on my startup (see DREAMING below). Then it was gym, dinner and more work on the company (I submitted a new build to Apple!). I just got back from a joint mixer with the LGBT groups across Harvard University. It was a really impressive turnout. I still have to read and prep my cases before bed, which I'm looking forward to. There's never a dull moment.

READING In addition to cases, I've been reading At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson before bed to disengage. He's such an incredible author—I'm entertained and informed by pretty much anything he writes. I'm also really into 13 Things That Don't Make Sense by Michael Brooks, an amazing book about modern scientific conondrums like dark matter, cold fusion, and the placebo effect.

WATCHING I cross-registered for Intro Computer Science at Harvard College. It's a notoriously demanding but rewarding course with a cult-like following. The professor has all the lectures recorded and streamed online, and though there's a dedicated room at HBS to view the feed with a TF present, I generally end up watching them at home on my laptop (I can pause/rewind that way). So any "Hulu" time I would have is generally consumed by that, but it's a fascinating course. Anyone who's interested can follow the course online at www.cs50.net.

FOLLOWING The proliferation of different mobile micropayment platforms. I'm moving in that direction with my startup and there have been a ton of developments recently. I think we'll be using smartphones instead of wallets sooner than you might think.

WEARING A polo shirt and jeans, like every other day (only the professors wear suits).

EATING I have to say, the salmon at the Grille in Spangler is ludicrously good. For $8.75 I got a drink, two sides (sweet potatoes and asparagus) and a cut of fish that was honestly better than the $25 salmon entrée I had in Harvard Square last night.

DREAMING I've been working on my startup (DISTINC.TT) since the summer before HBS. Last summer I got a fellowship from the Rock Center to work full time on the company. It was an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience. I know that after HBS I'm going to work on something entrepreneurial. I'm just wired that way.

HEARING I went to dinner last night with five sectionmates and our strategy professor from the RC year. One of the conversation topics was about the increased performance and sustainability of family businesses over traditional corporations. Management incentives, work ethic and social capital are completely different between the two and a shockingly higher percentage of family-run businesses are successful. I didn't know that. It's fascinating stuff—I see a case or book in the making.

PLANNING A good friend of mine is in town from NYC. He's interested in my startup so we're going to spend most of the weekend making a strategic roadmap for the next eight months. That, plus the gym, dinner/drinks on Saturday, and of course, case prep for Monday morning.

15 Sep 2011

Admissions Folklore

Maybe one good use of this space might be to hold some admissions tales up to the light and give you the straight scoop.

Here's one: "Apply early because you have a better chance of getting more financial aid."

It doesn't work that way. All of our financial aid is need-based (as opposed to merit-based) and is awarded AFTER admission. Your financial aid package is determined after processing your financial aid application, which we do only for admitted candidates. What is important to realize is that the very last person admitted is eligible for exactly the same aid as the very first person. Our alumni are very generous - and look back on their HBS experience as being pivotal in their professional and personal lives. Year after year they say that it is important to make the HBS experience accessible to strong leaders regardless of their economic circumstances. This year we awarded $24.4 million in need based HBS Fellowships; the average fellowship is $29,000 per year.

09 Sep 2011

Introducing the Class of 2013

They're here!

Class of 2013 Profile

06 Sep 2011

Things You Might Stress About That Really Aren't That Important (To Us, At Least)

I know it sounds counter-intuitive to say that some things on our application are just not that mission critical, but it's true. It's not that we waste your time (and ours) by asking questions we don't want to know the answers to, but rather that we can figure out what we need just because we've done this for about a million years (cumulative time spent reading applications by our board). Here are a couple of things that fall into this category:

GPA: Yes, we ask you to calculate it year by year but we are looking at your transcripts, not just the GPA. And the people reading your application really do know about a LOT of different grading systems.

The hierarchy of your recommenders in your firm: Please. We just don't have the time (or interest) to spend figuring out who's more important than whom. We like recommenders who take the time to answer the questions we ask... and who use more verbs to tell us about what they've seen you do vs. adjectives to describe you in abstract ways.

What time you submit the application: Every season we overhear rumors about applicants trying to figure out when they will be invited to interview based on when they submitted their applications. We smile. I think we run a very tight ship but that kind of system is way beyond us. We don't read any applications until the deadline has passed so it's definitely not a first-come, first-served sort of process.

Maybe my next post will be "Things We Really Do Care About So Pay Attention." As always, hope this is helpful and sending you good wishes for application writing.

18 Aug 2011

End of Summer Odds and Ends

This is such a strange season at HBS. Everything in the natural world says it's still summer, including thunderstorms, gardens that really (really, really) need to be weeded, the Red Sox, etc... but the excitement of fall and school start-up is in the air too. Our Pre-MBA International Program is coming to a close tomorrow - this is a great program for admits to the MBA Program who are non-native English speakers. It's a way for them to acculturate to our classroom and get all the details of "life-in-a-new-country" set before classes really begin. I walked by the (huge) new Innovation Lab this morning - we've already had a hard-hat tour that left us all buzzing about how cool this new space will be. As I write this there are 2+2 interviewees downstairs in the reception area. Seeing people in suits here in August can be momentarily jarring - I bet a lot are ripping their ties off as they leave the building.

I know you don't read this to hear me muse about the weather so I guess I should think of something "bloggy" to tell you about the upcoming application season. I am paranoid about being repetitive but some things are worth repeating. So here are some old, some new...

Uploaded transcripts: new. We are requiring that all transcripts be uploaded this year. No more templates for you to fill in your grades. This makes verification after admission easier for us and safer for you. Yes, you can scan and upload.

Recommendations: old. This is just reassurance that we do not require or demand recs from your current supervisor. If it's possible, we strongly advise it. If it's not, just drop a brief explanation in the "additional information" section of the application. Although we don't ask for a peer rec, I acknowledge they can be very important if you are trying to tell us about a venture that you've started either in college or beyond. I've also gotten a couple of questions from folks who work for family businesses. You'll need to make your best call on this - it's rare that your mom or dad can be objective (although I've certainly seen a few VERY frank ones!) so you'll need to explore other options. We like the family business perspective in the classroom so please don't let this detail deter you.

Events: old and new. We've covered a lot of ground already but we're still out there doing information sessions with student/alumni panels, time for Q&A about admissions, etc. We have a couple of evening information sessions in Boston, Los Angeles, and several international cities still to come so please check out the Events section of the website.

Visiting Classes: old and new. I know it's hard to get a spot. Even though we've added second year classes, they do fill up fast. I wish it were easier. If you find yourself closed out of a class, it still may be worthwhile visiting. We'll have information sessions led by the Admissions Board, tours led by students and lots of places you can wander and strike up conversations with students. And really good food.

Something New on this So-Called Blog: I'm thinking that if I announce this here I will be obligated to actually DO IT, so here goes. I'm planning on doing a weekly interview with a current student, maybe alternating between first and second years. The kind of interview that's direct and meaningful, not platitudinous or institutional. So many applicants want to know WHAT IT'S REALLY LIKE to be an HBS student. So I'm going to be interviewing one person each week on Thursday at 10pm and asking about their day... and what's ahead between now and bedtime. Maybe about weekend plans. If all goes well, I'll be posting these on Fridays starting in mid-September. There. I've said it.

05 Aug 2011

Class Visits

​You may or may not be surprised to learn that there are only 60 days until October 3, our Round 1 deadline for the Class of 2014. We're definitely on "countdown" in Dillon House.

We know that many prospective candidates would like to be able to see an HBS class to assess whether they would like to apply. We agree. The case method is our signature pedagogy and it is definitely a different experience than a traditional academic classroom.

We have always focused our class visit program on the first-year classroom. The downside of this is that our faculty like to let the new students settle in a bit before welcoming visitors. That doesn't dovetail very nicely with our October 3 application deadline.

To address this challenge, we have decided to open up a small number of second-year classes to visitors in September. As you probably know, our entire second-year is an elective curriculum (vs. the "required" curriculum in the first year) so students are not in 90-person sections as they are in the first year. I think visitors will find this a great opportunity to see the case method in action - and get a glimpse of our second-year students.

First-year class visits will resume on October 3.

Detailed instructions on how to arrange a class visit will be posted on our website next week. We will also include the fall schedule for information sessions and campus tours.

22 Jul 2011

2+2 Summer Round Notification

Good morning from Boston!

Today, sometime around noon ET, we will be getting news out to all the Summer Round 2+2 applicants. Some will be invited to interview - and will receive detailed instructions about this process - some will be invited to join a waitlist - again, with an explanation of how this process works - and some will be released. I hope that those in this last group will read our letter carefully and understand that they will not be in any way at a disadvantage if they apply again after they graduate and are working full-time.

We saw a strong applicant pool this summer and gave careful consideration to all candidates. College seniors applying during the upcoming application rounds will receive the same careful attention and we commit to making offers throughout the season - the 2+2 Class of 2016 cohort is not "full" or "closed".

07 Jul 2011

2+2 Summer Round Update

Yesterday was our deadline for the Summer Round 2+2 applications. Not sure how many times I should be mentioning this but WE'VE CHANGED THE 2+2 PROGRAM THIS YEAR TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO APPLY THROUGHOUT YOUR SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE. Sorry for the shouting... I just want to be mindful that this transition year will require lots (and lots) of reminders and explaining.

So, this is a message for those who submitted 2+2 applications yesterday. We will be sending out interview invitations on July 22. At that time we will also be releasing any candidates not being interviewed from consideration. All interviews will take place here on campus between August 17-23. Net result is that all Summer Round applicants will be getting some news on July 22.

Now that there are multiple application rounds for 2+2 candidates, we are no longer going to publish stats of applicants/admits from the summer application period. We'll wait until the end of the season to show a 2+2 Class of 2016 Profile. This is in keeping with how we manage the MBA Program stats and profiles.

21 Jun 2011

More About the Class of 2013

Here's a look at "year of college graduation."

Class of 2013 statistics

14 Jun 2011

Some BOLD PRINT Information...

I've been spending some time over the past few weeks answering our main phone line and responding to the questions that come in to our general admissions mailbox. I know that many of you who read my updates here fall into the "connoisseur" category of b-school shoppers, therefore this post may be way too basic for you so please move on. These are the questions that truly are "frequently asked" and deserve BOLD PRINT:

  1. Our MBA is 2 years, full-time in Boston. No part-time or online offerings.
  2. We don't offer an Executive MBA (EMBA).
  3. You must take the GMAT or GRE before you submit an application - no exceptions.
  4. We don't accept any transfer credit for work done in other MBA programs.
  5. We DO have a loan program for international students that does not require a US co-signer.
  6. You are welcome to visit campus in the summer and we hold information sessions on Mondays and Fridays at 1 pm - BUT we do not have classes in session and we cannot arrange individual meetings with members of the Admissions Board.

So, if these questions are still "frequently asked," I'll know more about who is reading this!


01 Jun 2011

Class of 2013 - Preliminary Profile

Here's a look at the Class of 2013 - this is still "preliminary" because we anticipate losing a few more people to other plans and possibly adding a few from the waitlist.

25 May 2011

Not about HBS admissions for a change...

I know you've come to expect this "not-really-a-blog" to provide candid admissions updates, previews, etc. Not today. I'm going to try to sneak in something I think is both cool and important from our alumni bulletin. It's probably a well-known fact - even approaching "joke" level - that I always ask interviewees what they are currently reading. One year the "right" answer seemed to be Anna Karenina and I got into a few interesting discussions about minor characters with candidates who tried to trip me up. And yes, one candidate did actually get admitted after a 29-minute defense of Twilight. Anyway, this is an article about what our faculty plan to read for pleasure over the summer. I hope you enjoy it - and if it inspires any of you to read more, then it will all be for the good. (And I'm going off to find Nancy Koehn to chat about Dorothea...).

06 May 2011

HBS - Your Vacation Destination!

Seriously, Harvard University is a big tourist attraction and HBS is especially beautiful in the summer. The one thing you won't be able to see is students - we have no summer session and virtually all of our students are off-campus doing interesting things in all corners of the globe. That means that the lines in our Spangler Food Court (open to the public) are shorter and parking is easier. Our campus bookstore is open - maybe you'd like a T-shirt! Members of the Admissions Board will host information sessions on Mondays and Fridays during the summer. Consult the website to make sure of specific dates, times, and locations. No advance registration is necessary. We also have self-guided iPod tours of campus.

Please keep in mind that we cannot schedule meetings with Admissions Board members or faculty.

We welcome you to come and take a peek. We'll all be here getting ready to look for the Class of 2014!

And, speaking of 2014, we will be launching the application next week. This application is for both the Class of 2014 and those eligible for our 2+2 Program (i.e., those getting undergrad degrees between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012). See the application information page on our website for more details.

04 May 2011

Round 3 Notification Tomorrow!

We'll be getting decisions to Round 3 candidates tomorrow. If all goes as planned, candidates will get an email saying that their "decision is available" around noon Boston time. A handful of waitlist invitations will be issued, as well.

Current waitlisters have already received some news from Eileen earlier this week and will continue to be updated on our process regularly. We will definitely be making some offers to waitlisters over the next couple of months, but the timing is not definite. I do know that it's our plan to finalize the class by the end of June.

Look for a message here on Friday about summer activities on campus and some news about the application for the Class of 2014.

And, as usual, I hope this is helpful.

21 Apr 2011

Where's My Application?

I see that some of you are wondering why you can't access your Round 3 application via ApplyYourself right now.

No, this doesn't signify ANYTHING - really - other than that we are currently getting ready to go live with the Class of 2014 application and need to take down the Class of 2013 one so we can fiddle freely. No one's application has been lost or misplaced or anything remotely like that. We're hoping to get the Class of 2014 application up in mid-May - but are paying careful attention to everyone in Round 3.

Hope this helps,

04 Apr 2011

Round Three Interviews

Here we go.... We will begin to send out email invitations to interview on Friday, April 8. Detailed instructions will be included in the email. As I'm sure I don't have to tell you, this is a comparatively "short" round, i.e. not much time between submission and notification dates. For this reason, we are not going to do the "early release" process we do in Rounds 1 and 2. We'll send interview invitations out up until the notification date of May 5. Round 3 interviews will be conducted here on campus, on the West Coast, and via Skype for selected candidates. There may be a handful of Round 3 applicants asked to join the waitlist on May 5 - both with and without an interview.

That's all for now.

28 Mar 2011

Round Two Decisions - Notification Day Tomorrow!

Greetings from Dillon House. Today is the day we check, double-check, and triple-check our lists to make sure all Round Two applicants will get a decision tomorrow. The plan is to send an email out - hopefully at noon our time - to let you know that your decision is available online. We also want to send a clear message that we will not be calling people to give them news of decisions - we'll call all admits later in the day to say congratulations. While we could do otherwise, we choose this way because I hate to think about the additional anxiety of waiting for the phone to ring. This way you're in control of the time and place you choose to get the news. So, hope this is helpful and looking forward to tomorrow!​

28 Feb 2011

Round Three - Should You or Shouldn't You?

As the Class of 2013 application season rounds the corner toward the finish line, you may be asking yourself whether it's worth your time and money to submit an application. Is it too much of a long shot?

You may be surprised to learn that we ask ourselves the same question every year. Should there even be a round 3? Why can't we just wrap the class up in two rounds? Answer: even though we could - we always conclude that we like Round 3 enough to keep it as an option. Although we have admitted about 90% of the class by this time, we always - ALWAYS - see enough interesting Round 3 applicants to want to do it again. I know you wish I could define "interesting" with pinpoint accuracy but I can't. Sometimes it's work experience, sometimes it's an undergraduate school we wish we had more students from, sometimes it's a compelling recommendation and sometimes it's just "something". I will say that it's always that we have absolutely no doubts about a candidate's leadership talent, character or academic capabilities - the same hurdle we have for the earlier rounds.

A group that is especially welcome in round 3 is college senior applicants. The positive outcome for this group is always "deferred admission" - a spot in a future class. Hence, making decisions about these applicants is not driven by seats available in September, 2011.

Maybe it would be helpful to turn the tables and give some advice on when it's NOT a good idea to apply in Round 3. So...

DON'T apply to HBS in Round 3 if:

  • You are an international candidate and have serious concerns about the likelihood of getting a visa in a timely manner.
    (We've seen this happen and it may cause you serious stress and uncertainty about whether you will be able to get here in time for term start-up.)
  • You are expecting an Admit Welcome Weekend to enable you to meet future classmates.
    (We don't have one.)
  • You really want to come in September, 2012 and are hoping to be granted a postponement.
    (Won't happen.)
  • You are counting on getting on-campus housing.
    (You'll have missed the lottery. On campus housing COULD work out for you, but you may need to find other options.)
  • You are using this as a "trial" application and are hoping for feedback on this application to increase your chances of success next year.
    (Can't do it.)

As always, trying to make this process as easy for you to understand as we can.

16 Feb 2011

Round Two Update

We're going to be communicating today - some time between 3 and 5pm Boston time - with all Round 2 candidates who haven't been invited to interview yet. There will be a few more interview invitations, some waitlist invitations, and a release for all others.

Once more, I hope this is helpful.

09 Feb 2011

Attention College Students

​And now for something NOT about Round 2 Interviews...

This is about a change in the mechanics of the 2+2 Program and isn't meant to be headline news. These are details of a "merge" of college senior applicants into the 2+2 Program application cycle. In other words, the mechanics of the 2+2 Program are changing to include ALL college seniors.

Here goes: beginning with the next application cycle—the 2+2 Class of 2016 Cohort—we're expanding the 2+2 Program umbrella to include all college senior applicants. What does this mean? It means that if you are expecting to graduate between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012, you can choose from one of four application rounds to apply to the 2+2 Program.

  • Early Round: July 2011 application deadline; September 2011 notification
  • Round 1: October 2011 application deadline; December 2011 notification
  • Round 2: January 2012 application deadline; March, 2012 notification
  • Round 3: March 2012 application deadline; May, 2012 notification

Rounds 1, 2 and 3 will be the same dates as the regular MBA Program application/notification dates; at this point they are TBD and will be announced later in the spring.

Are there any hidden messages about HBS strategy in this? No. It's a mechanical change to bring all college seniors under the same 2+2 umbrella which will enable us to have a cleaner outreach message to this group.

This should clarify our policy regarding college seniors without full-time post-college work experience. All will be considered for "deferred admission" - a place in a future class after two years of work experience. No college seniors without full-time post-college work experience will be admitted to HBS directly.

We are still looking for talented leaders with very strong academic credentials. We hope that roughly half of each cohort will be students coming from engineering and science backgrounds while the other half will represent a wide range of undergraduate studies. We anticipate that the 2+2 cohort size will stay in the 100-125 range, as it has historically been.

The 2+2 webpage is updated to reflect these changes.

07 Feb 2011

Another Note About Round 2 Interviews

We still have a significant number of interview invitations to send out - but we aren't sending any out today. Our plan is to send out some on Tuesday afternoon and more throughout the next week, up to February 16. Again, no hidden signals in the timing of when these go out. Really.​

26 Jan 2011

Round Two Interview Invitations

We will be sending interview invitations to Round 2 candidates beginning on February 4 and continuing through February 16. On February 16 we will be sending some invitations to join the waitlist with the possibility of an interview invitation later and denial letters to all other Round 2 candidates whom we do not plan to interview.

Detailed instructions about the sign-up process for interviews will be included in the email invitation.

There is no system - or hidden message - to the order in which interview invitations are issued, i.e. no connection whatsoever to the strength of your candidacy, time at which you submitted your application, geography, industry, etc.

Don't worry about whether the invitation will reach you - if we see that you haven't scheduled your interview, we will find you - haven't lost anyone yet!

Eileen Chang will continue to send periodic updates to candidates on the Round 1 waitlist.

Thank you for your patience - as I've said before, we know this can be an anxious period and we will do our very best to keep everyone up-to-date. We won't have any more specific information than this if you call on the phone. You're welcome to call me at 617-496-6835, but I will just be saying out loud what I've written here.

And, most of all, thank you for applying to HBS.

06 Jan 2011

Round Two Deadline

Happy New Year from Dillon House! We're back after a wonderful winter holiday break - with the added benefit of watching a major snowstorm from home vs. the office.

As the Round Two deadline approaches, here's a reminder: the deadline on January 11 is at NOON, EST. Sorry to shout, but that's NOON, not 5pm.

What happens after you submit your application? You'll get a confirmation that it has been received.

What if we don't have all your recommendations? We start reading applications if we have 2 recommendations. We'll contact you via email within a couple of weeks to let you know we need the 3rd. If we have only 1 or none, you will be moved into the next decision round.

When will interview invitations go out? We don't have an exact date, but probably in early February. Details will follow. I know you will get anxious about this, but try not to spend too much time worrying about how many will go out on what date and what percentage are still to come and all that. It's just not productive and it makes me worry about you. We're not being secretive - really - but we need some flexibility in how we move thousands of applications through an evaluation process.

Stay tuned...

21 Dec 2010

Winter Break at HBS

Greetings from a mostly snow-less Boston, unless you count last night's dusting that snarled everyone's commute because it's the first of the season. Our first year students just finished exams today, so the campus is jumping as everyone says good-bye and heads off until next year. Thursday at noon we will turn off the lights in Dillon House - HBS and the Admissions Office will be closed from noon on December 23 until Monday morning, January 3, 2011. We've left a long (long, long) message on our website and voicemail for those of you working on Round 2 applications. We've also added a note about class visits and information sessions after the break.

It's the time to think about New Year's Resolutions. I actually ask this question in interviews sometimes. One of my resolutions is to be a more frequent - and more interesting - blogger in 2011. Same thing I resolved last year.

Be happy and stay safe.

02 Nov 2010

Round One Decisions

It's November 2. Tomorrow afternoon we will be sending out three kinds of emails:

  1. A few more invitations to interview
  2. Roughly 100 offers to join the waitlist
  3. "Release" decision

You've probably noticed that I tend to keep these updates short and to-the-point. I could go on and on about various things - the strength of the applicant pool, how the challenge here is not about "evaluation" (again, because of the strength of the pool), but more about "selection." The challenge is not to rank order candidates, but to comprise a balanced class. I could talk about how I wish we could give customized feedback to denied candidates - but even if we had the resources to do this, most of the conversations would be, "You're fine, but so are many, many others." I could describe our evaluation process - and reiterate that each candidate not invited to interview gets at least two reviews.

But I'll stop - and end this update hoping that this "early release" experiment is seen as a positive step.

14 Oct 2010

Round One Interview Invitations

Just so you know, I always wonder whether my comments here alleviate or create anxiety. This update may sound quite stern and rather chilly. That's not how I mean it, but I want to be very (very) clear.

We will begin to send out interview invitations by email tomorrow, October 15. The invitation will provide detailed instructions about the sign-up process.

Please note: We will continue to send out invitations until November 3. Really. And not just a few - we plan to interview about 800 people in Round 1, and we will send out interview invitations on a rolling basis as applications are reviewed. We will continue to add slots in many locations as we send out more interviews, and there is ALWAYS the option to come to campus.

If you call and ask us if we can expedite the consideration of your application so that you can make travel plans, the answer will be "Sorry, no."

Another important note: Please don't send in additional materials or have others do so on your behalf. Even if we thought that was fair, we can't be adding things to files at this point.



27 Sep 2010

Countdown to Round One Deadline

What can I say that might be helpful to Round One applicants as they prepare to hit the "submit" button? Not sure how long this list can get without provoking "duh...of course" reactions, but:

  1. We're serious about the noon deadline. In order to start reviewing applications we need to have a very distinct "cutoff" to start the presses rolling. If you are late for Round One, you will become a Round Two applicant.
  2. The email response you receive after you submit will tell you clearly if you are in Round One or Round Two. If you call or email us with that question, we won't know the answer - we will send you right back to check your email.
  3. All Round One applicants are advised to read about the timing of decision notifications in the previous "From the Director" update (dated September 20, 2010).
  4. Please make sure your recommenders are aware of the October 1 noon deadline. We make every attempt to add late-arriving recommendations to your file, but we make no guarantees.
  5. GMAT scores are self-reported, and we do NOT need to have received your official score before the October 1 deadline - an unofficial score is fine. We verify scores for all accepted candidates later in the season.
  6. All standardized tests - GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, PTE - MUST be taken before you submit your application...NOT afterwards.
20 Sep 2010

To Round One Applicants

Every year we hear comments (OK, "complaints" would be more accurate) about the anxiety our invite-to-interview process causes. So, we're going to do it differently this year. Let me walk you through Round One:

  • October 1 - deadline for receiving online applications
  • October 15 - November 3 - interview invitations will be issued via email
  • November 3 - all candidates not invited to interview will receive either a decision indicating that "we are unable to offer you a place in the Class of 2013" or an invitation to join our waitlist
  • November 1 - 21 - interview weeks, both on and off campus
  • December 14 - decision notification (admit, deny, or waitlist) for all interviewed candidates

While no one applies hoping for a "deny" decision, we have heard you say that the worst case is the uncertainty which can extend from October through mid-December. So we're trying this to see if it helps. Yes, it means that we will be making decisions faster. Yes, we have the resources to ensure a thorough review of all written applications before rendering any decisions. All applications will be reviewed at least twice before any decision is made. Our Admissions Board is fully staffed and able to implement this new model. We hope this new approach will allow denied candidates to re-direct energy toward Round Two applications to other schools.

All those invited to join our waitlist are candidates whom we would like to "further consider." Our plan is for waitlisted candidates to receive further consideration in Round Two. We expect all to receive a final decision with the Round Two notification date in late March. We completely understand if such a candidate would elect to withdraw his/her application.

I promise that all letters will clearly communicate a candidate's status!

If this new system works well, we will replicate it in Round Two.

06 Aug 2010

Visiting HBS

​Lots of questions on the road from prospective applicants about visiting schools.

Answer: We always welcome visitors to campus. It's beautiful here and we have lots to show you. Do you need to make a pilgrimage in order to send a signal to the Admissions Office? Absolutely not. Visiting campus has absolutely no impact on how your application is reviewed. It may have a gigantic impact on how enthusiastic you are about US - that's where the value-added comes into play.

Are we going to ask you to sign-in to an information session? Yes. Do we use that list in the evaluation process? No. So why do we ask you to do it? To track whether these sessions have any impact on whether an attendee chooses to apply to HBS or not, i.e. standard market research. If we found out that no one who attended an info session chose to apply to HBS, you'd better believe that we would make some changes!

When may I visit classes? This is the tough question. For those applying in Round One, it's not possible to visit a class before the October 1 deadline. Why? Our first year students begin classes in early September. Our first priority is for them to get settled into the classroom. We have limited seats designated for visitors in each class - and we could fill them every day of the year. The faculty likes for the first few weeks of the first semester to be "students only." We rely on the students in sections to be hosts for our visitors - and they really aren't ready to do that right away. Class visits will begin in mid-October; information about the sign-up process will be posted on our website.

Applying to business school(s) is expensive and stressful. The last thing you need is to make it a scavenger hunt in which you need have "visited campus" checked off the list.

So...the message is: We welcome you to visit HBS - but don't think of this as a "command performance."

08 Jul 2010

More about the Class of 2012

Here's another look at the class entering this September...

HBS Class of 2012 by Undergraduate Degree Year

07 Jul 2010

Preliminary Profile of the Class of 2012

​Here's a peek at the Class of 2012.

This is still officially "preliminary" until registration in September.

Total MBA Enrollment 910
Applications 9,524
% Admitte 11%
Class Composition
Women 36%
US Ethnic Minorities 23%
International 34%
Countries represented 73
Undergraduate institutions represented 243
GMAT Score Range 510-790
Middle 50% GMAT Score Range 710-750
Average GMAT 724
North America 70%
—United States 66%
Asia/South Pacific 13%
Europe 12%
Central/South America 3%
Africa 1%
Oceania 1%
Undergraduate Majors
Business 23%
Engineering/Natural Sciences/Technical Disciplines 33%
Humanities/Social Sciences 43%
Other 1%
Pre-MBA Industry
Consulting 22%
Consumer Products 7%
Financial Services* 14%
Healthcare/Biotech 6%
High Tech/Communications 6%
Manufacturing 9%
Military 5%
Non-Profit 7%
Other Services 5%
Venture Capital/Private Equity 18%

  * Includes Investment Banking & Investment Management

29 Jun 2010

2+2 Interview Invitations

For all of you 2+2 applicants waiting patiently for the "next step" in the process, here's an update:

On July 19, we'll be extending interview invitations to about 200 applicants. Detailed instructions will be communicated at that time.

Just a reminder that interviews will take place here on campus from August 18-24. There are no options for other dates or places.

All candidates not invited to interview will learn of their "release" on July 19.

24 Jun 2010

For International Applicants

Just to make sure you know that I can speak in full sentences, I thought of something else that might be helpful as you begin to think about Round 1.

Students who didn't use English as their primary language of instruction as an undergraduate need to take an English language test. In order to be considered for entry in September 2011, your TOEFL, IELTS or PTE (Pearson Test of English, www.pearsonpte.com) scores must be dated January 1, 2009 or more recently. The Admissions Board will not accept or review applications without scores from one of these tests. There are no exceptions to this policy. None. Absolutely none.

If you have previously submitted your official scores to HBS, they are on file with our office. All you need to do is self-report these on your application and you're all set.

22 Jun 2010

The Class of 2013 application is now live...

Here we go! (How's that for a blog entry? I might as well just tweet.)

07 Jun 2010

A Few Things...

Greetings from Dillon House on a beautiful Monday afternoon. Here's a view from our front door:

Aldrich Hall

Here are a few things that may be of interest:

  • The application for the Class of 2013 is scheduled to go live during the week of June 21. We'll keep you posted as to the exact date.
  • The 2+2 application deadline is June 15. This is to remind everyone that while you do need to have taken the GMAT or GRE by then, we do not need to receive your official score report in order to begin reading your application.
  • Our Admissions outreach travel schedule is posted - specific dates will be added as they are scheduled.
  • A question we are often asked: How many offers have you made to waitlisted candidates so far this year? Answer: 53

Have a wonderful week!

17 May 2010

Class of 2013 - Launching the Application Season

​Below are the key dates for the upcoming application season:

Round 1
Application deadline - Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12:00 noon EST
Decision notification - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Round 2
Application deadline - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 12:00 noon EST
Decision notification - Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Round 3
Application deadline - TBD
Decision notification - TBD

We are "TBD" on Round 3 - final dates will be determined in early July as we assess how much of an overlap we need with the 2+2 application timeline.

The application for the Class of 2013 will go live the week of June 21. To view the essay and recommender questions now, please visit the Written Application page on our website.

12 May 2010

Round 3 and Beyond

Greetings to all and here's the plan for our Round 3 decision notification tomorrow, May 13.

We plan to release decisions at noon. You'll receive an email from HBS MBA Admissions indicating that your decision is available.

Those of you on the waitlist have received emails from Eileen Chang as to our plans for making more offers and closing up the class.

This year we received over 9500 applications for the Class of 2012. That's the second highest in our history (high point is 10,382 for the Class of 2004). This number doesn't include applications to the 2+2 program. We'll be releasing the class profile in mid-August.

With a sincere thank you to all of you who have been part of the applicant world this year, we move on to thinking about the Class of 2013. We expect to post application deadline dates and essay and recommendation questions next week.

And so it goes.

We'll be here all summer welcoming visitors to campus and traveling to do outreach events. Watch our Events page for more details.

09 Apr 2010

Round 3 Interviews

We'll be sending these out on Friday, April 16th via email. The email will come from MBA Admissions, and you'll be able to register for an interview slot beginning Monday, April 19th. Most interviews will take place from May 3-6th. We will be conducting round 3 interviews here on campus and in London and Palo Alto.​

01 Apr 2010

What to Expect on April 6

While I hesitate to post on April Fool's Day, next week is the Round 2 notification date. Here's how it works:

We expect to release all decisions around noon on April 6. You'll receive an email from HBS MBA Admissions saying that your decision is now available online.

There will be no phone calls with decision news beforehand. Absolutely none.

Decisions will include some invitations to join the waitlist. I am very confident that we will be making admissions offers in May to some Round 2 waitlisters. Eileen Chang of our office communicates regularly with the waitlisters, so I will not do that here.

If for some reason we are unable to release decisions at noon as planned, I will post an update here.

I know the waiting is hard...not much longer.

11 Mar 2010

College Senior Applicants: Round 3 is a Good Option

If you are a college senior who wants to go to HBS - but not right away - then applying in Round 3 could be a smart choice.


  1. The positive outcome is going to be "deferred admission" - a guaranteed spot in the class of 2014 with the stipulation that you work for two years before matriculation.
  2. No target or cap on the number of deferred admit spots we will offer. Last year 43 college seniors were offered deferred admission.
  3. No downside: If you aren't admitted, apply again in a couple of years - lots of denied college seniors are successful in the future.
  4. The application fee is only $100.
  5. GMAT/GRE scores are good for 5 years - why not take the test in college while you are still in test-taking mode?

01 Mar 2010

2+2 Essay Questions Posted Today

This is a special message to college students who have been waiting to see the essay questions for the upcoming 2+2 application season. Surprise: They are the same as last year's!! Before we get to being creative and tinkering with them, we decided to have three years of the same questions so we can do a little bit of longitudinal analysis about the responses. Please visit the 2+2 Program website so you can learn more details about the program and the application dates.​

12 Feb 2010

Round 2 Interview Update

As planned, today we are sending out roughly 800 interview invitations to round 2 applicants and some round 1 waitlisters. Invitations will arrive by email from HBS MBA Admissions and will be sent out before 5:00pm EST today. We will make sure every invited candidate is contacted so don't worry about missing our email.

More interview invitations will follow, up to decision notification on April 6. How many? I don't know for sure at this point - perhaps 50 or so. The majority of invitations will indeed be sent today. We continue to review - and re-review - applications and are also making some preliminary round 2 waitlist decisions. Candidates who do not receive interview invitations in round 2 will be considered for spots on the waitlist. I expect there will be approximately 100 round 2 candidates who will be invited to join the waitlist.

03 Feb 2010

Update to "Submission Status"

​In response to many helpful suggestions, we are changing what you see after you have submitted your application. Instead of just the message that the application has been submitted, you will see an additional note indicating that your application is "under review." Hopefully this will give more reassurance that we are indeed moving applications through the process - something we've been doing all along, but the messaging was confusing.

21 Jan 2010

Round 2 Interview Invitations

We plan to begin sending out interview invitations on Friday, February 12. The invitation will be an email from HBS MBA Admissions. Our office will be closed on Monday, February 15 for President's Day. On Tuesday, February 16, our online interview scheduler will go live. Detailed instructions will be in the invitation email.

We plan to interview around 800 candidates in Round 2, including some Round 1 candidates on the waitlist who have not yet been interviewed. Most, but not all, of these invitations will go out on February 12 so that all invitees have equal access to locations and dates. As always, we will continue to send some invitations up to and including April 6, the notification date for Round 2.

Please note that interviews are by invitation only. We do not accommodate requests for interviews from candidates who are visiting campus.

15 Jan 2010

Round 2 Interviews -- Where and When?

This is where we plan to interview in Round 2:

Sao Paolo
Palo Alto
San Francisco

Candidates are always able to schedule a campus interview. If you are coming to campus to interview, we have reserved space in our first year classrooms for interviewees to observe a class. We also offer a lunch program with current students.

The majority of interviews will take place during the weeks of March 1 - March 19.

There will also be a small number of interviews conducted by phone, in case you are unable to travel to any of the above locations.

I'll do a separate post next week about when and how we expect to release interview invitations.

14 Jan 2010

Round 2 FAQs: Recommendations

Another question, this time about recommendations:

Do I have to wait for my recommenders to finish before I can submit my application?

That's an easy one to answer: no.

We hope that all recommendations will be received by 5:00pm on January 19. Of course, that rarely happens. Our advice: don't wait until you get the notice that your recommendations have all been submitted before you hit the "submit" button for your application. We will start to read your application as long as two of your recommendations have been submitted. "Late" recommendations received within a day or two after the deadline will be added to your file.

13 Jan 2010

Round 2 FAQs: GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL scores

We receive many questions about the GMAT, GRE, and TOEFL... the one below is probably the most common.

Can I submit my application without an official GMAT or GRE score? What about the TOEFL?

The key word here is "official" -- you must have either a GMAT or a GRE score in order to submit your application, but your unofficial score (i.e., the score you receive the day you take the test) is perfectly acceptable. Please do have your official scores sent to HBS. We will verify scores of all admitted candidates later in the spring.

TOEFL scores are different. You can't wait until the last minute to take the TOEFL because you won't be getting a score on the test date. If you need to take the TOEFL and haven't yet done so, you will most likely need to wait until Round 3 to submit your application.

12 Jan 2010

Round 2 Deadline - When to Hit the Submit Button

Here's another FAQ:

Is there any advantage to being "early" in a given deadline period?

No, not really. We don't begin to read applications until after the application deadline. On the night of January 19, we will begin to print and distribute applications to the Admissions Board. Contrary to lots of speculation, there is absolutely no correlation between when an application is submitted and when, or if, a candidate is invited to interview. Applications are not reviewed in the order in which they are received.

That said, I wouldn't advise waiting until 4:59 pm to upload your application. We anticipate that server traffic will be high and you will be frustrated and anxious with the time it will take to have a successful submission.

Though HBS will be closed on Monday, January 18 in observance of the Martin Luther King holiday, our office will be open from 8:00am to 5:00pm (Eastern time) to answer your questions. All technical questions about the online application should be addressed to ApplyYourself. You can reach ApplyYourself by clicking on the online support button in your application, or by phone at 1-800-526-3313. ApplyYourself's support hours on January 18 are 8:00am to 8:00pm (Eastern time).

11 Jan 2010

Round 2 Application Deadline - FAQs

As we head toward January 19, I'll try to field some FAQs. None of these are new to us, but we're mindful that applicants are dealing with all this for the first time, so we'll risk being repetitive in an effort to be helpful.

Question: How rigid is the word-limit restriction? What happens if I go over?

This is the language we used last time about this; it's still true, and I can't think of a better way of saying it:

"Your essays do not get cut off if you go over the word limit. That being said, after reading many, many essays, we have a good feel for whether an essay is going over the limit. I think it's fair to say that we expect a candidate to be able to edit effectively, but don't stress over a few extra words.

We're getting a lot of similar questions from recommenders wondering if their remarks are being cut short. They aren't. We have suggested word limits for recommenders that amount to roughly a page of text; we do this to give those not familiar with writing recommendations a sense of an appropriate length of response. If your recommenders have more to say, that's fine. Their file upload doesn't get cut off after a single page or after a certain number of words."

23 Dec 2009

Season's Greetings!

We're turning out the lights tomorrow and heading home for the holidays. For the first time in recent memory, our admissions calendar allowed for a Round One decision notification before the HBS holiday break. We liked it. It made for a rather frantic Thanksgiving, but we're looking forward to not being in Dillon House all by ourselves like characters out of Dickens.

Round Two is also slightly modified this year: The deadline isn't until January 19 and that means we'll be back on the job in plenty of time to answer last minute application questions. In prior years, the deadline was right after the New Year... which probably caused a fair amount of frustration and anxiety when we weren't around to answer phones or email every day.

Here's a preview of what you can expect as we come up to the Round Two January 19 application deadline. We don't start reading applications until after the deadline - so there's no advantage to rushing to hit the "submit" button. That said, server traffic can be heavy on the day of the deadline, so it's smart not to wait until the final few hours. Everything always works out, but there can be some very anxious moments. It's probably a good idea to make sure your recommenders are very mindful of the deadline. Right after January 19, we'll be able to give you a pretty good idea of when interview invitations will be released and when the actual interview period will be.

If you're thinking of visiting HBS, you're welcome to come during the month of January, but the campus is very quiet until the third week. Students are on break...and many are on Immersion Experiences (IXPs) or student-led trips and treks. However, we will have information sessions - and the lines for lunch in Spangler will be considerably shorter! Class visits will resume in February - watch the website for sign-up details.

We hope that the holiday period gives you a chance to be both celebratory and reflective. Here in Dillon we're making our New Year's resolutions. I know one: It's important for us to carve out time to do the exercise of putting ourselves in your shoes. I always think we should be listening more and talking less. This can only lead to improvements in how you experience both the application process and Harvard Business School. Speaking for myself, I will try to be more diligent about timely updates about interview invitations and decision notification. I've been trying not to over-communicate and just repeat things that are on the website - but I resolve to be more sensitive to those high-anxiety periods.

Sending you all good wishes for a safe and happy holiday season and looking forward to 2010!

15 Dec 2009

Round 1 Notification Day

Decisions are now available online...the email notification is a bit delayed due to ApplyYourself issues. However, you can view your decision by logging in to your application.

11 Dec 2009

Round 1 Notification Day

Next Tuesday, December 15, is the day we release decisions to all first round applicants. Here's what you can expect:

Some time on Tuesday - most likely close to noon Boston time - you will receive an email from HBS MBA Admissions indicating that your decision is available. When you log into your account, your decision letter will be there.

Important note: No need to wait around by the phone or jump every time it rings - we don't make any phone calls in advance of the online notification. Really. Admits will start to receive congratulatory calls later in the day.

Applicants invited to join the waitlist on December 15 will receive a follow-up email later in the day on Tuesday from Eileen Chang, waitlist manager. The waitlist will be comprised of a mix of candidates who have been interviewed already and those who haven't.

For those candidates who are not admitted: I'm sorry, but we just can't offer personal feedback about your application. Even if we had the staff capacity to do this during the application season, it probably wouldn't be as helpful as you wish. The vast majority of applicants are certainly academically qualified to be here and would bring something interesting to the classroom. The challenge of selection is different from the process of evaluation - in our effort to bring together a diverse and textured class, we make many very tough calls.

We appreciate your patience...not too much longer to wait!

02 Dec 2009

Round 1 Update

Now that it's December, we're in countdown mode to the December 15 notification date, so here's what's happening:

I think there may be about a dozen more interview invitations going out before the 15th...this is just a matter of reviewing how the class is shaping up at this point and going back and re-reviewing before final decisions are made.

As I've said before, we are building a waitlist of round 1 candidates - both those who have been interviewed and those who haven't. A "waitlist" letter in round 1 is essentially a "further consideration" decision - we will try to resolve many of these cases after we review round 2 applications. Last year we ended up admitting 70 people from the waitlist.

The next update - probably early next week - will be about how decisions are released on December 15.

06 Nov 2009

Update on Round 1 Interviews

I know I promised an update about interviews. They are in full swing on campus and elsewhere. We are still sending out interview invitations - maybe 50 or so more may go out before December 15 - plus waitlist invitations to some of those who have not received an interview invitation. In terms of "where" these interviews might be held, we anticipate they would likely take place on campus in Boston during December or via telephone.

We also want to share with you the list we just compiled of the undergraduate schools represented in the last three classes at HBS.

22 Oct 2009

Round 1 Interviews


We continue to send out interview invitations to Round 1 applicants. As I said before, I don't know how many are still to go, but it is a significant number. The timing of when you receive an interview invitation is no reflection on the "strength" of your candidacy.

We do not send out interview invitations on Saturday and Sunday!

A note about the waitlist - remember, this year we are making Round 1 decisions before we see Round 2 applications. On December 15, I expect there will be a significant number - maybe 100 or so - of invitations to join the waitlist to candidates who have NOT been interviewed. As we review Round 2 applications, we may be inviting some of these candidates to interview in the Round 2 interview timeline.

I'll do another update next week.

09 Oct 2009

Round 1 Update

Greetings. We're already deep into round 1 applications. As the leaves begin to turn colors (shameless plug for our spectacular foliage in New England) our board members burrow into their offices or study carrels in the library and we're drinking lots of coffee in Spangler in order to keep us on schedule.

We expect to begin sending out interview invitations on October 16. This year we may not be trying to send as many out on one day as we did last year... maybe more like a not-scientifically-measured stream until December 15. We really (really, really, really) don't know how many will go out on any given day. If you call and ask, we will say exactly that.

Interviews will take place during the month of November in Boston and in other hub cities. Detailed instructions to candidates about how to sign up for interviews will be included in their email invitation from us.

Don't worry about whether our email will get lost and we'll give away your interview spot. We don't do that. We'll find you. We've been doing this for a long time and we haven't lost anyone yet!

I will post updates whenever I think it would be helpful and others in our office will keep you current through Twitter and Facebook.

And I'm hoping that I can devote one post each week to answering your questions.

30 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Why do business schools ask so many essay questions?
  2. Good question! And remember, as always, I can only speak for HBS. I haven't seen any studies that correlate essay writing to the ability to effectively lead complex organizations. I think that the emphasis on essays is somewhat of a vestigial remnant of a time when we didn't conduct interviews. All we had to get to know candidates was what they provided in a written application - and we wanted to get to know them well.

    They are still a very valuable part of the application, but they are only one component. The fact that we only have four essays - and you have a choice about two of them - is a definite change from the days when there were EIGHT required essays!

  3. Why is the career vision question optional? It's required for most schools.
  4. I think it's a great question that may be extremely helpful for you to ask yourself before you embark on an expensive (in many ways) MBA Program. When it comes to being valuable in our selection process, we find that the vast majority of our students may have a general idea of what they might want to do post HBS, but are very open and curious to explore many different career paths. As a School, we make a big investment in encouraging that exploration and helping students through a rigorous self-assessment process. We try to avoid sending a signal in the application process that we think that process should be completed pre-business school. I think that having this time for exploration is a major advantage of a two year MBA program.

29 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. What happens if I'm over the word count limit in my essays? Does my work get cut off? What about my recommenders?
  2. Your essays do not get cut off if you go over the word limit... that being said, after reading many, many essays, we have a good feel for whether an essay is going over the limit. I think it's fair to say that we expect a candidate to be able to edit effectively - but don't stress over a few extra words.

    We're getting a lot of similar questions from recommenders wondering if their remarks are cut short - they aren't. We have suggested word limits for recommenders that amount to roughly a page of text; we do this to give those not familiar with writing recommendations a sense of the response we're looking for. If your recommenders have more to say, that's fine - their file upload doesn't get cut off after a single page or after a certain number of words.

  3. Could you please explain the choice to waive or not to waive one's access to the recommendations? Is this of interest to the Admissions Board?
  4. It plays no part in our evaluation of your application - it's something for you and your recommenders to decide.

28 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Can I submit my application before my recommenders submit their recommendations, or should I wait for them to finish?
  2. We've answered this question in an earlier blog posting, but it's worth repeating since we still get a lot of questions on this. There's no need to wait - hit the "submit" button when you have completed all of your application components. If any of your recommenders haven't finished, remind them that they also need to submit by 5pm on the deadline day, but don't wait! If they submit right at 5pm, and you wait to get confirmation from them that they're done, you'll end up getting bumped to the next admissions round. Your application and your recommendations are submitted to separate databases and matched later on in the process - the recommendations will "catch up" to your application, even after you submit.

  3. I'm a reapplicant. Do you compare my previous application to my current one, or is the process entirely separate?
  4. We reserve the right to review a reapplicant's previous application, but we don't always do so, which is why we generally suggest that reapplicants focus on new information — we really do like to give you a chance to start fresh! That being said, the stage in the process where we would be most likely to pull and review a previous application would be in the interview — so if you are a reapplicant who is interviewed, it's possible that your interviewer will have seen your previous application. Also, it's worth noting that if a reapplicant is invited to interview with us again, we try hard to make sure that s/he has a different interviewer than they did the first time around, so that each side gets a fresh perspective.

25 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Are you reading applications now?
  2. No. We don't begin until the night of October 1. That's when we print all applications and begin review. So our process is not "rolling" in a classic sense. That said, I would advise NOT waiting until the final moments before the deadline to submit because the server will probably be backed up and you will be very anxious.

  3. When can I visit a class?
  4. The online scheduler for class visits is available now. Class visits begin on Monday, October 19. Whether you have visited a class or not has no bearing on our consideration of your candidacy. However, here's (yet another) plug for our video filmed in the first year classroom.

24 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Must applications for the MPP/MBA Program, or other joint degree programs, be submitted separately?
  2. Yes. In order to participate in a Harvard joint program, you must be admitted to each school independently. HBS offers five joint degrees with four Harvard schools.

  3. May I scan an unofficial transcript into the application?
  4. Yes. After admission, we require the official transcript to be sent to us.

23 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Do you expect applicants who are working in consulting to include actual client names in their resumes and essays?
  2. No - even though applications are confidential and not reviewed outside the Admissions Board, please don't do anything that violates confidentiality policies of your organization. Use general language such as: "For a client in the energy industry, etc. etc. etc."

  3. I know that you need GMAT/GRE results in order to submit an application and that AWA/Analytical Writing scores can be added later...but what about the TOEFL or IELTS?
  4. If you are required to take the IBT TOEFL or IELTS, you must have results to report or else we will consider your application incomplete until scores are reported. If you do not submit an IBT TOEFL or IELTS score by the Round One deadline of October 1, your application will not be considered until the next round.

22 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. Do you accept the GMAT or GRE total score in the application without the AWA or Analytical Writing score?
  2. You must have a GMAT or GRE score in order to submit an application. If you haven't yet received your AWA or Analytical Writing score, that's fine. We will add it to your file when it arrives.

  3. Is it OK to write about accomplishments that are not recent?
  4. Every year, many successful candidates write about things that happened quite a while ago. It's probably not a good idea to have everything you write about be from your childhood - we would wonder if you were moving forward or fixed in the past. As always, we encourage you to use your best judgment and remember that this is an application to business school.

21 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

  1. What should I enter on the application for GPA if my university doesn't use a 4.0 grading system?
  2. Don't enter anything. Don't convert your grades to a 4.0 system. We review all transcripts and are familiar with a wide variety of grading systems.

  3. Are essays read in consecutive order?
  4. Not always. Each Board member may have his/her own way of approaching the written application. Speaking for myself, I often skip around with no particular pattern. If I start with an essay that seems to be building on a theme in another essay, I just go back and catch up. Not a problem. I can reassure you that all essays are reviewed!

18 Sep 2009

Answers to Your Questions

As the Round One deadline gets closer and closer, I want to be as helpful as possible here. Instead of me posting and answering imaginary questions, how about if you submit yours and I respond to two each day from now until October 1?

Submit your questions via email to admissions@hbs.edu and put "Questions for the director" in the subject line. At this point, I think questions should be about the application and application process vs. Big Picture "Why the case method?" or "How many students pursue careers in healthcare?". I also can't address the "What are my chances?" questions.

In addition to answering questions, I will always provide updates from our office as they become relevant.

03 Sep 2009

2+2 Class of 2014

Happy to introduce the newest 2+2 admits... here's the profile:

Total Applicants 844
Admits 115
% Admitted 14%
Female 39%
International 27%
Countries Represented 17
Testing Information
Complete Range of GMAT Scores 510-790
Average GMAT 727
Range of GRE Q 690-800
Range of GRE V 560-800
Average GRE Q 767
Average GRE V 679
Average GPA 3.75
Educational Background
Engineering & Natural Sciences 50%
Humanities & Social Sciences 44%
Business Administration 6%
Undergraduate Institutions Represented 51

What the stats don't show is how much fun we had meeting these folks. They all have leadership talent and they bring an infectious level of curiosity, initiative and energy. We are proud to welcome them to the HBS family.

24 Aug 2009


I stand by our general advice on recommendations: the most important thing is to choose people who know you well enough to answer the questions we are asking. Many recommendations are well-written and enthusiastic in their praise but essentially full of adjectives and short on actual examples of how your wonderful qualities play out in real life. What we are hoping for are brief recounts of specific situations and how you performed.

We ask for three — and we are fine with several different combinations. It's fine to have all three recommendations come from your current firm/organization. It's fine to have one from a former employer. It's also fine to have one come from someone who has supervised or observed you in a non-work situation — community service or campus leadership, for example. Note that we are not looking for a peer recommendation — we find it most helpful if there is some developmental distance between you and the recommender. The exception to this might be when you have worked on an entrepreneurial venture or project and the only person able to help us understand your involvement is a partner or colleague.

Please realize that we are considering these recommendations in the context of your entire application — we are not creating a detailed map of the titles and resumes of your recommenders and setting up an elaborate hierarchy.

Please don't ask current HBS students to write to us on your behalf outside of the formal recommendation process. Candidates are not advantaged in the application process by either professional or personal associations with our students.

If you are worried about how we will interpret your choice or recommenders, simply write a (brief) explanation in the "additional information" section of the application.

Especially in these unusual times, please don't jeopardize your employment in order to secure a recommendation from a current employer. While we might wish that all bosses were enthusiastic and encouraging about business school for their emerging leaders, this is not a universal sentiment. Make your best judgment call about whom to ask, make sure they understand what we're asking, explain your choices to us if you think you should... and that's it!

20 Jul 2009

Some Early Bird questions coming in by phone and email

I've been picking up the general phone line today in order to hear what kinds of questions we are receiving...here's a few:

  1. Is there any advantage to submitting my Round 1 application now?
    Not really. We don't begin to read applications until the day after the deadline. However, it's always nerve-wracking for candidates who wait until the absolute last minute and then the server is backed up. ...so somewhere between very early and just-in-time is probably smart.

  2. I can't attend an HBS information session. What am I missing?
    Here's what happens at information sessions outside of Boston (please view our Event Calendar for dates and locations):

    An Admissions Board member presents an overview with general information about HBS and some detail about the MBA Program and the admissions process. We have a new video which captures some student perspectives and shows off our campus. We then present a panel of relatively recent alumni from the local area who share their reflections on their experience at HBS. We close with a question-and-answer session.

    And here's an on-campus session (please see our Visit HBS page for more information):

    An Admissions Board member conducts an informal session in an HBS classroom. A typical session will have anywhere from 10 to 30 attendees. There is plenty of time for questions. Although there are no MBA classes in session during the summer, the Spangler Student Center is open for breakfast and lunch. We offer an iPod tour of the campus which is fun and takes about 30 minutes.

    In addition to afternoon sessions, this fall we will be hosting on-campus information sessions on the following evenings:
    September 3, 9, 17 and 23
    These will be similar in format to our on-campus afternoon sessions.

  3. When will class visits begin?
    Early October...although the exact date hasn't been set yet. In September we will post the date and there will be a link to an on-line scheduler. Lunches with students and campus tours will get underway then, too.
01 Jul 2009

The Class of 2011

The class profile is now posted on our website. Please note that this is PRELIMINARY as of today, July 1. Any changes will be reflected in the FINAL profile, which we will post when classes begin in September.

29 Jun 2009

Application for the Class of 2012 and some other things...

Apologies for being such an infrequent blogger or "updater" or whatever I am trying to do here. I offer only three excuses. The first is that most of our efforts these days have been directed towards nailing down the entering class and figuring out who's coming, who's not, etc. I really do hope to be able to post a profile in the next couple of weeks. The second is that we're already in "outreach" mode for the Class of 2012. I was in Shanghai in mid-June hosting a reception for prospective candidates and connecting with the new admits who will be joining us this September. The third is that last week we welcomed the first cohort of 2+2 admits to their summer program on campus and I wanted to spend every possible moment getting to know them individually and watching them interact in the HBS classroom sessions. Enough excuses.

When are we going to launch the application for the Class of 2012? Answer: July 10. The actual application will go live on that day but the essay questions are posted on our website already.

Look for another message soon about our outreach calendar, telling you what you can expect at an HBS event and what to do if you are unable to attend one.

20 May 2009

The Class of 2012...

Here we go... the essay questions and application calendar for next year's season are up on the website.

Please note that the Round One application deadline is October 1 — a bit earlier than last year — and notification is in mid-December. We've also pushed the Round Two application deadline back to January 19 while keeping the notification date in early April. Both of these moves are attempts to shorten the wait time for candidates... we really do understand how hard it is to wait.

More about outreach events and summer activities on campus later.

19 May 2009

News For International Applicants...

Beginning with the Class of 2012, HBS will accept only the Internet Based Test (IBT) version of the TOEFL or the IELTS as tests of English as a foreign language. The TOEFL or IELTS is required of applicants who did not use English as the language of instruction in their undergraduate education. In our discussion-based, case method classroom, we have found that speaking ability (along with strong listening, reading and writing skills) is critical to success. Therefore, we need to see speaking scores in order to evaluate applicants appropriately; both the IELTS and the TOEFL IBT have speaking components. The IBT version of the TOEFL is available in all testing centers. ​

18 May 2009


Beginning with the class of 2012, HBS will accept both GMAT and GRE results. We think that both tests will provide adequate metrics of what a standardized test can tell us about a candidate. It will take a while for us to do a complete update of every reference to these tests on our website — in the meantime, please accept this as official notification of this change.​

13 May 2009

Spring and Summer Updates

Apologies for the long time between updates, but the past couple months are the time of year where we are spending all our time speaking with admits, reviewing and discussing round 3 candidates and the waitlisters, and talking (a lot) about next year's application and our outreach travel plans. Here's what you can expect in the next few weeks:

  • Today, Wednesday, May 13 - round 3 notification. Mostly likely around noon. Decisions may include a few offers to join the waitlist.
  • May 13-20 - some admits from the waitlist, some releases from the waitlist, and some invitations to remain on the waitlist for another month or so.
  • Week of May 18 - essay questions and application deadline dates for the Class of 2012 application will be posted on the MBA website and also here on the "notes from the Director" page. Also, some information about what goes on at HBS when the students are gone in the summer (i.e., the campus information session schedule).
  • Mid June - tentative travel schedule for MBA Information Sessions.
  • Early August - a profile of the Class of 2011.

I'm sure there will be other updates, but these are the ones I am thinking of right now.

Applications for the 2+2 Program are due on July 1, 2009 and invitations to interview will be sent around July 15. Updates will be posted both here and on the website.

15 Apr 2009

Some good news for international students...

Harvard University today announced a new loan program for international students. Here's a link to the press release.

Harvard University Secures New Source of Funding for International Graduate and Professional Students

09 Apr 2009

A Few Miscellaneous Updates

...in no particular order:

  • Our Round 1 deadline for the next application season will be earlier in October, BEFORE fall class visits are open. We encourage those of you who are thinking of applying in Round 1 to consider a class visit this spring - class visits are available until May 8. Visiting an HBS class has absolutely no impact on the application process - we just want everyone to know that you are welcome.
  • We will be making more offers from the waitlist this year, and we hope to make the majority of these decisions as soon as we can - definitely before the end of May.
  • International students will have access to loans without needing a U.S. co-signer. We will release details/terms on specific programs as they are finalized.

03 Apr 2009

Round 3 Interview Invitations

I'll make this short and sweet - today we sent out about 100 interview invitations to Round 3 candidates. There will be some more, but I don't know when, to whom, or exactly how many.​

24 Mar 2009

Something for Everyone!

This is the time of year when we have all three rounds in play, so here is some news for everyone:

Round One Waitlist - We will be extending offers of admission to about 40 round one waitlisters shortly after April 2. We will continue to maintain a waitlist and Eileen Chang will send out an update in early April.

Round Two Notification - April 2 is the notification date. All decisions will be released online - you will receive an email instructing you to check your status. We won't be making any congratulatory phone calls in advance of April 2!

Round Three Interview Invitations - Many, but not all, will go out on April 3. ​

11 Mar 2009

Round 3 Application Deadline

Big day here at Dillon House. Lots of speculation about what the final number of applications will be to the Class of 2011. Some of what I say here will be repetitive, but the questions keep coming:

  • After you hit the "submit" button, your application status will not change. You will never see "under review" or anything like that.
  • You must have a GMAT score to report - your unofficial score is fine - before you can submit the application.
  • Since it's the final round, we'll continue to accept recommendations online until Monday, March 16.
  • Written applications must be submitted online today, March 11. We'll keep the system open beyond 5pm to accommodate the heavy activity in the system that always occurs right around our deadline. If you find that you're having trouble submitting, keep trying!

As soon as we wrap up Round 3 tomorrow, we'll be getting out some information here about the application for the Class of 2012!!

04 Mar 2009

Round 3

The March 11 deadline is coming up soon and we've been getting inquiries from candidates trying hard to get applications ready for submission in this final round. In trying to balance fairness with flexibility, here's where we come out:

  • No extensions on the GMAT - you need to be able to submit your score in order to submit the application. We don't need to receive the official score report by March 11. If you re-take the GMAT after the March 11 deadline, we cannot consider the new score.
  • Written applications - must be submitted online by March 11 - maybe not 5pm Boston time on the dot, but certainly on that date.
  • Recommendations - a little more flexibility here. We'll accept online recommendations through Monday, March 16.

I know I've said this before, but here I go again: we understand and appreciate the uncertainty in the world right now. We are trying to be responsive while making sure we have time to carefully consider all applications and get decisions out on time.

13 Feb 2009

Class of 2009 Employment Update

You don't need me to tell you that these are unusual times. As you are thinking about your future, it may be interesting to hear news about how our Class of 2009 is faring in the job search process.

We've heard from 88% of the Class of 2009 - there are always students in the class who are going on to other degrees, returning to sponsoring companies, etc. As of today, 77% of those seeking employment have received offers. I don't have any more details to offer at this point, but we are proud of both our students and our Career Services team who have helped many of our students discover and pursue their dreams and find new opportunities in the midst of great uncertainty in the market. It is still months from graduation and companies and organizations continue to be a big presence on campus - spring will be lively here at HBS. We will provide updates as the season progresses.

12 Feb 2009

More About Round 2

Here's a question I've been asked a few (hundred) times in the past few days:

Why doesn't HBS send out denials at the same time we issue interview invitations?

We don't send out final decisions until the notification date because we need to see the results of the interview process before we extend offers to join the waitlist. After we've finished interviewing, we want to make sure we are still considering enough candidates from certain profiles - which include nationality, gender, industry background, leadership styles...and other dimensions - to compose the overall portfolio of next year's class. This is why it is important for us to keep EVERY round 2 applicant under consideration until notification day. I know this process isn't perfect, but I am absolutely certain that it's thoughtful and thorough.

09 Feb 2009

Hello to Round Two Applicants

Today we are sending emails to about 750 applicants inviting them to interview. Detailed information will be included in the email. I think there will be between 50 and 100 additional invitations sent between now and April 2. These will be sent out as files are reviewed - not on a designated day or days.

As I've said before, I know that the business school application experience is anxiety-producing. We are trying hard to minimize anxiety and stress while preserving a time-intensive selection process in which the applications you invested so much in are carefully reviewed by multiple members of the Admissions Board.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

26 Jan 2009

Round 2 Interview Invitations


Here's the plan:

On February 9 we will send out invitations to interview. The invitation will come in an email from HBS MBA Admissions and will contain detailed instuctions about how to sign up for interviews both on campus and in hub cities. Please be assured that if we see you haven't signed up for an intervew by the end of the week, we will contact you by phone...thus there's no reason to be anxious about lost emails, etc.

Shortly afterward, I'll update you here as to how many invitations have been issued and how many we expect will go out between February 10 and the April 2 notification date.

16 Jan 2009

If you...

If you're looking for a nice distraction from waiting for business school decisions, CNBC is re-airing "The Money Chase" on Sunday, January 18th at 9:00pm EST. "The Money Chase" is a documentary about HBS which provides a good way to learn more about current students and also hear some reflections from alumni.


15 Jan 2009

Round 1 Decision Day

Next Wednesday, January 21, is the day we release decisions to all first round applicants. Here's what you can expect:

Some time on Wednesday - most likely before noon - you will receive an email from HBS MBA Admissions indicating that your decision is available. You then log in to your account and there it is.

We don't make phone calls in advance of this. Really. None. Admits will start to receive congratulatory calls later in the day, but notification is always online. So if you're waiting to hear from Harvard, no need to jump when the phone rings or worry when it doesn't.

Applicants invited to join the waitlist on January 21 will receive a follow-up email later in the day on Wednesday from Eileen Chang, waitlist manager. The waitlist will be comprised of a mix of candidates who have been interviewed already and those who haven't.

For those candidates who are not admitted, we are unable to offer personal feedback about your application. Even if we had the staff capacity to do this during the application season, it probably wouldn't be as helpful as you wish. The vast majority of applicants are certainly academically qualified to be here and would bring something interesting to the classroom. The challenge of selection is different from the process of evaluation - in our effort to bring together a diverse and textured class, we make many very tough calls.

I know how difficult it is to wait... but it's not too much longer.


12 Jan 2009

News about 2+2 Program

I'm happy to announce that the essay questions for this year's 2+2 applicants are up on the website.

This year we will be accepting results from both the GMAT and GRE for 2+2 applicants. More detailed information about this will be on the website soon.

If you're a current college underclassman, please explore the 2+2 Program and consider whether it may be a good idea for you. All of us who read applications and interviewed candidates last summer believe that this was an eye-opening experience for us - the energy and talent had us all truly impressed. Last year's admits will be gathering here on campus in late June . . . we'll be doing some interviews and podcasts that I think you'll find interesting.

Back to the Round 2 applications . . . .


06 Jan 2009

Round Two Deadline

Today is the application deadline for Round Two. It will hardly be a news flash to tell you that it's probably the busiest day of the year in Dillon House.

There may be heavy server traffic - especially late in the afternoon - so please don't panic if it takes a while to submit your application. Be patient...or, better yet, be early! The deadline is at 5pm, but I predict that we will not have a strict cut-off - we will do everything reasonably possible to make sure your application is considered in Round Two.

We'll all be answering the phones - and I know it's reassuring to hear a human voice - but please realize that we have no way of checking on the details of your individual application. And remember, your online status WILL NOT CHANGE to "under review" or "received" after you hit the submit button.

And, most important, congratulations to all of you who completed the application. We hope that the process of self-reflection has been valuable...and memorable.

30 Dec 2008

Approaching the Round Two Deadline

As promised, here are some answers to questions that we've been hearing over the past few days.

Shouldn't my status change to "under review" or something similar when I submit my application?
No...it will remain as "submitted" until notification day, April 2.

What if I am taking the GMAT in the next few days? Will you get my scores in time?
You need to report a GMAT score when you submit the application. You don't need to worry about whether the official report from GMAC will reach us by January 6.

What if I am taking the TOEFL in the next few days?
Too late. You need to have taken the TOEFL and have an official score to report before you can submit the application. Once again, here's who is required to take the TOEFL: Candidates whose undergraduate university instruction was NOT in English.

Do I need to wait until my recommendations have been sent before I submit my application?
No. The requirement for submitting is that you input the names/information about your recommenders. Recommendations can be submitted any time up until the January 6 deadline at 5pm EST. There is no need to wait until then to submit the application.

Hope this is helpful...as we continue to field questions, we'll update this page accordingly.

22 Dec 2008

Update on Round One

Greetings from snowy Boston...

Just a few things before the office officially closes for the holiday break from December 24 through January 4.

This week - and up until the notification day on January 21 - we are reviewing candidates post-interview and also building the Round One waitlist. I expect that around 100 Round One candidates not yet invited to interview will be asked to join the waitlist on notification day. As we get a closer look at Round Two candidates, we will be inviting some of the waitlisters to interview in the Round Two cycle. Thus, you could say that a Round One waitlist decision is essentially a "further consideration" message. Everyone asked to join the waitlist will receive detailed information about the process and will have a contact person in Dillon House. We have every intention of admitting some candidates from the waitlist.

For those of you working on Round Two applications, expect a message here early next week.

Wishing you all happy, safe and peaceful holidays.

11 Nov 2008

Round One Interview Invitations

Today we sent out about 750 invitations to interview. I think we will ultimately send around 850 by the notification date, January 21.

I can't predict when this additional 100 invitations will go out nor to whom. It is possible that candidates invited in the next few weeks will not have extensive options to interview in hub cities; we will make every effort to work with them to schedule an interview which is convenient.

The Admissions Board continues to review written applications and discuss cases until the January notification date.

I also anticipate that around 100 Round One candidates who have not been interviewed will be invited to accept a place on the wait list in January. As their cases are further considered, they may be invited to interview.

We are trying to be as transparent as possible about this anxiety-producing process. I hope I am clear in my continued message that this is a "selection" process designed to bring a talented and diverse mix of students into the classroom. There are no hard and fast rules and there are many more qualified candidates than we have capacity to admit.

05 Nov 2008

Not about Admissions exactly, but . . .

It's a really nice day here and I wanted to share something. I was just walking across campus and a first year student waved me over and said: "just got out of class where the case was about leadership at GE and Jack Welch was in the skydeck. Definitely an HBS moment." ​

30 Oct 2008

News about International Student Loans

There's been great uncertainty out there about international student loans so we are extremely pleased to be able to make this announcement:

International students at HBS will continue to have access to need-based loans without needing to find a US co-signer.

While at this time we do not have further details about specific loan programs with private lenders, we are able to make this important - and reassuring - statement about continued accessibility.

All students - both international and US citizens - will continue to be eligible for Harvard Business School fellowships - the money you don't pay back. This year HBS will award $22 million in need-based fellowships; the average MBA fellowship is $25k per year.

28 Oct 2008

More About Recommendations

I'm sure you've noticed by now that I use this platform almost exclusively to talk about admissions issues. Every so often I will direct you to new programs and activities here at HBS but I also assume that you are already fully comfortable with exploring hbs.edu and, hopefully, harvard.edu to learn about the "other side of the river." Just want you to know that you can expect to hear about the wonderful world of HBS Admissions here and hope you're getting answers to questions about the MBA Program and life on campus elsewhere.

I often hear questions come in on the phone and I'm always listening for those that seem to be accompanied by confusion or anxiety. Here's one:

"What if my recommender can't meet the application deadline? Will my application be held over into the next decision round?"

Here's what we do:

If an application has two submitted recommendations, we send it out for review by the Admissions Board in the round in which the application arrived. If the third recommendation comes in, we make every attempt to add it to the file. Since the file can be in any number of places and we can't stop the reading flow, we can't promise that the recommendation will be added before review is complete.

Applications with only one submitted recommendation are held up for the next round.

We'll post this again closer to the Round 2 deadline.

17 Oct 2008

Round One Interviews

Here are some quick but not very eloquent notes to Round One applicants:

Now that the round one application deadline has passed, we anticipate your questions about interview invitations. Our plan is to begin inviting candidates to interview on November 12. All the interview invitations will not be extended in a single day. A significant majority of invitations will be issued by the week of November 17. In past years, invitations have been extended up to and including the date of notification; we expect this practice to continue.

The timing of the interview decision is determined by when a particular application is reviewed in our process; there is no relationship between timing and "strength" of application. Interview invitations are not released in alphabetical order, by geographic location, or according to the date it was received. Interview invitations are sent via email and contain complete instructions for logistics. Please remember - we are unable to consider any additional materials received after the application deadline.

Just trying to get the facts out there... in the meantime, hope you all are exploring our website. Check out the section on entrepreneurship - lots of new material there for you.

02 Oct 2008

Round 1 Deadline

Today is the Round One Deadline Day so here are two last-minute pieces of information:

  • You don't need to wait for your recommenders before you submit your application. Hit the "submit" button when you have completed all of your components. If any of your recommenders haven't finished, remind them that they also need to submit by 5pm, but don't wait! If they submit right at 5pm, and you wait to get confirmation from them that they're done, you'll end up in Round 2. The recommendations will "catch up" to your application, even after you submit.
  • The acknowledgment you receive online when you submit the application is all you need to feel confident that we have received your application. While it may be tempting to pick up the phone and ask a human being to check, we simply cannot do this.
Tomorrow I'll describe what "the day after" is like in our office!

01 Oct 2008

Class of 2010 Graduation Years

Here's a breakdown of when the Class of 2010 graduated from college/university by class year. Remember, all directly admitted college seniors have the option to postpone matriculation in order to gain work experience.

Class of 2010 Graduation Years

01 Oct 2008

Outreach Events

I'm writing this from London and this is my last stop on this week's outreach trip to Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris and London. Meanwhile, my colleagues are in Asia and various parts of the United States and gearing up for two separate trips back to Europe next week. For those of you unable to attend an HBS presentation, here's what happens.

In the US, we do a case about 4 fictional, prospective HBS applicants named Alex, Carol, Elmas and Raphael that we've talked about here before. This is really going well and audiences are reporting that it's a very interesting and entertaining way to learn about the case method and the HBS admissions process.

We haven't used the case internationally — we were not sure the issues in the case were ones most important to our international applicants. Now that this pilot has worked so well, I think you can count on an international version next year.

When we're in other countries, we do a powerpoint presentation called "Think About It" which gives some standard information about HBS and then focuses on what we believe are our differentiators from other MBA Programs.

Embedded in the presentation is the video about the case method. Even when audience members have already seen it online, it's been fun to show it in a group setting — it elicits though-provoking questions and comments about the case method and the faculty.

The heart of our roadshow presentations are panels of local alumni. They share a little bit of their background and then we quickly open up for questions and answers from the audience. I field the questions about the admissions process and the alums talk about their student experience, the career search and life as a Harvard MBA.

At the end of the evening, we can usually address the concerns of individuals although there's never as much time to do this as we'd like. One very important note is that we do not keep track of individuals whom we meet — our outreach is in no way a "pre-interview" process. We do truly appreciate and understand both the anxieties of wanting to make sure you understand our process and the Big Picture questions you have about whether an MBA makes sense for you. We'll continue to try to find vehicles to be as connected and helpful to you as we can.

24 Sep 2008

Short Answers to New Questions

Given the current climate of uncertainty in the financial services community, we are getting some new questions:

Q: Is HBS going to increase the size of next year's entering class in response to a potential increase in number of applications?
A: No. The Class of 2011 will be roughly 900.

Q: If there is an increase in the number of applicants from financial services, will the number of admits from this group be greater than in prior years?
A: Not necessarily. Our goal is to compose a class which represents many different kinds of diversity, of which professional experience is only one element. We don't have fixed industry or geographical targets so the year-to-year class profile may change.

Q: Are candidates who are not currently employed at a disadvantage?
A: No. We realize that these are unusual times and that many strong contributors may find themselves in this situation.

Q: Can I apply in Round One (October 15 deadline) and submit my GMAT score later?
A: No. It is impossible to submit the application without an actual GMAT score.

Q: Do I have a better chance of being admitted if I submit my application in Round One?
A: Not if you are compromising the quality of your application in order to rush to meet the October 15 deadline. It takes a significant amount of time to complete the written application, not to mention allowing your recommenders enough time to be thoughtful and thorough in their assessment.

As usual, I hope this is helpful.

16 Sep 2008

Looking Ahead to Round 1

Greetings from Dillon House — or, more accurately, The Road. This is a travel month for us and we have met many of you at presentations. Your enthusiasm about Harvard is much appreciated and it's important for us to hear what's on your minds. We'll try to capture the most frequently asked questions and post responses here. For example, a while ago I wrote a blog entry on Recommendations — it may be helpful to review it and I'll be repeating it here at a later date.

Judging from the volume of phone calls and email we are getting, many prospective applicants are eager to visit campus before the October 15 Round One deadline. This is great and we hope that our online scheduler gives candidates flexibility in planning a class visit. We begin to send visitors to class during the week of October 6 — thus we anticipate that we will not be able to honor all requests to see a class before the round 1 deadline. Although we think it's wonderful to be able to see the case method in action, please be reassured that if this isn't possible, you are in no way disadvantaged in the application process. The Admissions Board does not keep track of who has or has not seen a class.

There are other ways to get to know us. Starting on October 6, we will offer information sessions, campus tours, and lunch with student hosts most days. Unlike class visits, these do not need to be scheduled in advance — just come to Dillon House and we will direct you. For a complete list of prospective student offerings, check out our campus activities calendar.

This is a reminder that it is not possible to schedule individual meetings with members of the Admissions Board. Instead, we invite you to come to one of our daily information sessions which are conducted by members of the board. Each session leaves time for questions.

The only interviews we conduct are done at the invitation of the Admissions Board as all Round One applications are read and reviewed. We anticipate that Round One interview invitations will begin to be extended in mid-November and the majority of interviews will be conducted in December. We will update this information periodically.


29 Jul 2008

Will visiting help my chances of admission?

If you're thinking about applying to Harvard Business School this year, you may be wondering — and worrying — about whether you "should" be making a pilgrimage to campus this summer.

Well, we're always up for company and we think we're a nice place to spend a sunny afternoon. Our campus is stunning — that's the only way to describe it and I'm not trying to boast. When your only exposure to schools is via websites, they can seem more physically similar than they really are. Most people are surprised at how extensive our campus is — more like a residential college than they expected. More buildings. More little nooks and crannies for students to gather. More green space. More bunnies and squirrels. And then there's Harvard Square right across the bridge and Boston — the best city in the US — only a short subway ride away. Outdoor cafes and concerts, great shopping, a vast variety of restaurants... lots to do — and a great summer getaway.

What we don't have in the summer is the heart of who we are and what we do: students and faculty in classrooms. You can walk around the campus on an iPod tour and attend an information session with members of the admissions board, but it will be pretty quiet. If you stay for lunch, you will probably not have to stand in line for sushi.

We always encourage candidates to explore our distinctive learning model — the case method — and experience the energy in our classroom. Class visits begin in October and can be arranged through the Admissions Office website. Current students are available to lunch with prospective applicants and they give tours in the afternoon. Information sessions led by board members are held throughout the year. If a real-time visit isn't practical, I strongly urge you to watch the video, Inside the Case Method. I think it offers a great peek inside a real case method discussion and lets you hear how our faculty thinks about this very special kind of teaching and learning.

Whether you visit or not will have absolutely no impact on how your application is considered. Applying to business school(s) is expensive enough — the application fees, GMAT fee, cost to travel to an interview, etc. We have no desire to add to the expense. If you do visit, we ask for your name only to track trends over time and make sure we are adequately staffed to entertain our guests.

So, consider yourself invited , but know that this is a cordial welcome, not a summons to a command performance!


14 Jul 2008

Early Career Candidates

Well, so much for frequent blogging during the "down season". When I wrote that, I obviously forgot that this was going to be a new kind of summer: it's the season of the 2+2 Program!

We've been reading applications and spending a lot of time thinking and discussing both individual files and building a summer program for this group for next year. The applications are simply great - everything we hoped for and plenty of them.

This is probably an opportune time to address another frequently asked question: "Is Harvard Business School looking for a younger class?"

Here's how the incoming class looks: we have 912 people expected to matriculate in September. 371 of these are what we call "within three years of college graduation" which means that they have graduated in 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005. We keep track this way, not by age. About a dozen are coming right from undergraduate school - and another dozen were admitted directly from college but elected to delay matriculation in order to get some - or additional - full-time work experience. Many of the directly admitted college seniors have worked full-time already - all have had significant roles on campus or entrepreneurial experience. All directly admitted seniors are welcome to postpone their date of matriculation.

Back to the class profile and the original question. Do the numbers and I think you'll find that 541 members of the class of 2010 have been out of college for more than 3 years. That's more than the total enrollment in many business schools.

Are these numbers "quotas" or "targets"? No. We'll still do our evaluation and selection the old-fashioned way: one folder at a time. Lots of attention to the written application and mandatory interviews by invitation only. We ask the same questions about every candidate we consider: Is this person a leader? Does he/she give evidence of ability to engage enthusiastically in serious intellectual and analytical work? Will this person invest as much in the educational experience of others as in his/her own?

So the answer would be that we think you can come to Harvard Business School and thrive earlier in your career than you might have heard via the grapevine. That doesn't mean that those with more experience should be discouraged: apply when it's optimal for you. When you can look at the questions we pose and feel eager to respond, that's a good indication of readiness.

Back to the 2+2 files... enjoy summer and watch our website for our information session dates and locations. As always, I hope this is helpful.

26 Jun 2008

Class of 2011 Application Now Live

The Application for Class of 2011 goes live today...

That's really all I need to say but here's a quick note:

Please keep in mind that while it's wonderful to finally hit that "submit" button, we only begin to review applications after the October 15 Round One deadline. The Admissions Board has no knowledge of whether you submitted your application today or in October. To put it another way, we consider applications in three distinct decision rounds; within rounds, it is not a "rolling" admissions process.

17 Jun 2008

Who Should Write My Recommendations?

Hands down, this is the most commonly asked question during our outreach presentations both at home and on the road... so I'd like to tackle it here to reach the broadest possible audience.

Something will be lost without the visuals - in person, I do a combination of a wince and a sympathetic shrug because the answer is: "gee, I don't know - but I understand how anxious this issue makes you and I will try to help". Let me back into the question and tell you how we review the recommendations. All written applications are read by the Admissions Board. All the materials you submit are compiled into folders and circulated to Board members for their comments. Your three recommendations, of course, are included.

The first thing I do when I read a recommendation is to ascertain how the recommender knows the candidate. Have they worked closely? When? In what context? Then I move to the actual responses to the questions we pose. Has the recommender taken the time and care to answer the actual questions? The Board puts a great deal of thought into these questions and we value a direct response. This is different from asking for a standard format "letter of reference" which, in most cases, would be 100% praise.

We don't expect the ratings grid to be all at the extreme positive end of the scale. It's hard to imagine the value of a Harvard education for someone who is "perfect". We prefer our candidates to be "normal" with opportunities for growth and development.

We are very pleased with the wording of the question: "what constructive feedback have you given the applicant?" We are finding this yields responses that are more productive than language around "weaknesses" or "areas for improvement" which can be manipulated to look like strengths, i.e. "Sally simply doesn't know how to stop working at 100%". Actually, that would be a real weakness, but you can imagine that it is meant to have a positive spin.

When it comes to "who should I select as my recommender?", there is no right answer or prescription. Candidates simply must use common sense and trust that we on the Admissions Board are reasonable and understanding. There are many successful candidates who are unable to provide recommenders from current supervisors. Also there are many candidates who are new to companies or roles and the current supervisor would not be able to be very helpful. We get it. Make your best judgment call and stop worrying. If we are struggling with understanding why a strong candidate made a curious choice of recommenders, we'll ask you - either we'll pick up the phone or we'll ask you during the interview. It is also not uncommon for us to pick up the phone and call a recommender for clarification. A simple test might be that if a recommender doesn't know you well enough to answer the questions we pose, he/she is not a good choice.

College seniors: don't be hesitant to ask for recommendations from college professors with whom you have worked closely. We do not expect you to have the same relationships in the professional world as those who are applying from the work force.

Now that I've tried to reassure you that choosing recommenders shouldn't be stressful, here are a couple of categories that I'd have to call "not a good idea". I have rarely seen a helpful recommendation from a fifth grade piano teacher. Likewise, family members simply cannot be viewed as objective enough for this task. We are very eager to see candidates from family businesses, but you should find recommenders who can substantiate your role and contributions who are not your relatives. This year we will be, for the first time, openly discouraging of informal input from current HBS students which are submitted outside of the three required recommendations. Of course we value their opinions and are deeply appreciative of their efforts to find wonderful new admits to the MBA Program. However, it is not comfortable to send any signal that those who are not fortunate enough to count HBS students as friends or former colleagues are in any way disadvantaged in the admissions process.

As usual, I hope this level of candor is helpful.

12 May 2008

New Essay Questions

Well, I suppose this is the official launch of the Class of 2011 application season! The new essay questions are now posted along with the application calendar. Our application will be available online in mid-June.

Watch the website for news of our outreach events. I'll be in NYC on May 27 and more events will be added as they are scheduled. Expect most of these to be in August and September. College visits will be in late September, October and November.

You are welcome to visit campus this summer. Members of the Admissions Board will be hosting information sessions. Class visits will resume in early October. I encourage you all to view the video, Inside the Case Method on the website. I think it gives a very clear picture of what happens in the MBA classroom and offers both student and faculty perspectives.

I hope to be a more active blogger now that the Class of 2010 is set. I am going to be re-writing the FAQ section of our website and will surely find some that I'd like to add more context and color to via the blog. Wishing you a wonderful summer...

22 Apr 2008

About the Class of 2011...

I know, I know... we haven't even wrapped up the Class of 2010. There's still the Round 3 notification on May 14 and we have a wait list to manage. On that subject, the response deadline for Round 2 admits is May 8; this is a critical date since we then have a better idea of where we stand in wrapping up the class entering in September. Please don't take this too literally — we won't have perfect clarity on May 9 — but I want to share with you how the timeline works.

So, about the Class of 2011. We hope to have our new essay questions posted by mid-May and we'll certainly alert you through the blog about the actual date. We are also planning on doing an outreach event in NYC in May to start the season. Again, stay tuned for actual date and venue.

For those of you hoping to visit HBS classes — our last day of class visits this year is May 9. We will hold information sessions throughout the summer but class visits in the Fall of 2008 don't begin until early October. Detailed information about visiting campus is available on our website.

Here's some more advice. As you explore websites, chatrooms, books and information sessions held by MBA consulting services, be mindful of claims of "inside information" from former members of admissions boards. I've been on the HBS Board for a (very!) long time and I can't begin to tell you how much has changed . Applicants are certainly smart to explore the admissions processes at different schools but, speaking for HBS, be careful about very specific advice that may not reflect current practices. This includes application advice from our own loyal and well-meaning alumni/ae!


09 Apr 2008

Round 3 Interview Invitations

To all of our Round 3 applicants, we know it seems like quite a while since you hit the "submit" button.

We plan to send out most of the Round 3 interview invitations during business hours today, April 9. There may be a few additional invitations going out until the May 14 notification date - not sure of the exact number, but probably around a dozen. Some Round 3 candidates who are not invited to interview now may be offered a place on the wait list on notification day, May 14.

As always, we hope this is helpful.

24 Mar 2008

Round 2 Notification

​Apologies for not being a more active blogger. This is our biggest application round and everyone in Dillon is overwhelmed with the challenge of reading, interviewing, and getting decisions all set to go.

Here's what will happen on Wednesday (notification day). We will release decisions some time during business hours. I hope it will be in the morning (EST) but we need to make sure all the operational pieces are set. Applicants will receive an email directing them to their ApplyYourself account.

We don't make phone calls prior to this release of decisions so there's no need to wait by the phone. Admissions Board members will make congratulatory calls (and emails if phone is impossible) following the online notification. Admitted candidates will have immediate access to the Prematriculation Website which will have detailed information about Admitted Students' Weekend, financial aid, housing, etc.

Hope this is helpful.

And we do know how hard it is to wait!

27 Feb 2008

Round 3

Should I apply in Round 3?

This is the most frequently asked question these days.Of course we're not able to give a prescriptive response but let me try to be helpful.

There are always spaces available for Round 3 applicants. There are clearly not as many as in the early rounds but every year we see some great candidates and we make sure that we can make offers.

International candidates may apply but should be especially mindful of the visa application process. If admitted, international candidates should plan on accepting our offer very quickly in order to ensure that the visa process can get underway.

Round 3 applicants should not plan on the availability of on-campus housing, either the apartments or the dormitories. While there may be space available, Round 3 notification is later than the housing lottery.

As is the case for all candidates,Round 3 applicants must be able to include their GMAT and, if applicable, TOEFL scores in order to submit a completed application.

Financial aid is available to all admitted candidates regardless of timing of admission. The very last candidate to be admitted has access to the same amount of funding as the very first admit.

19 Feb 2008

Round 2 Update

We are about 4 weeks from Round Two notification date on March 26. Members of the Admissions Board are getting ready to travel to Europe, Asia, and the West Coast to conduct interviews.

While interview invitations will continue to be issued up until notification date, it is fair to say that the vast majority have been sent. I hope that this measure of transparency is helpful.

Some Round Two applicants — both those who have been interviewed and those who haven't — will be invited to join the wait list on March 26.

Round One applicants on the wait list will continue to receive periodic updates from the Admissions Office.

18 Jan 2008

Info on Round 2 Interviews

Round 2 Interviews:

Round 1 decisions have been released, and though it's hard to believe, it's almost time for us to begin interviewing for Round 2. We expect to send out our first interview invitations on Friday, January 25th. While we will continue to invite applicants to interview until the Round 2 deadline, the majority of invitations will be out by mid-February.

Note: Just for the record we did indeed send more than one interview invitation out on Round 1 notification date, January 16!

Our first day of interviews is Tuesday, February 5, and we expect the bulk of our interviews will be completed by mid-March.

In Round 2, members of the MBA Admissions Board will be visiting Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, and the Bay Area (both San Francisco and Palo Alto) to conduct interviews. Internationally, we will be visiting London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, mainland China (either Beijing or Shanghai), and Hong Kong. It may be helpful to take a moment to think about where you might like to interview should you be invited! Phone and alumni interviews are also available to applicants living abroad in areas that we don't have the opportunity to visit.

07 Jan 2008

January 16 - Round 1 Notification

I know that there are multiple audiences out there: Round One candidates waiting for decisions, Round Two candidates waiting to hear about interview invitations and The Rest of the World who is curious about HBS admissions! We'll try to keep up .. .

Message to All Round One Candidates:

How do we notify candidates of admissions decisions? Everybody will find out in the same way at the same time — on line on January 16. We try to do this around noon . . . but we're sure it will be some time during business hours.

Phone calls? No one will be notified via a phone call from the Admissions Office — either before or on January 16. That's a promise. If anyone gets a call like this, I'd like to hear about it!!

Admitted candidates will begin to receive congratulatory phone calls from several HBS sources beginning in the afternoon or evening of January 16.

We are unable to provide individual feedback for candidates who are denied admission. There are basically two reasons for this — one is that we don't have the staff resources to devote to this and the second is that we're not sure that this would really be helpful to a candidate. The majority of applicants to HBS are certainly "qualified" — but the nature of a selection process is to assess a candidate relative to the rest of the pool on a variety of dimensions. Trying to capture this in a conversation about an individual application can be misleading. We do consider ourselves to be a "re-applicant friendly" process — all applications in a given season are read without regard to the disposition of a case in prior years.

12 Dec 2007

Holiday Update

So, what are we doing now?

Reading and discussing all the interview reports and trying to make final decisions.

We are just about finished with sending out Round One interview invitations. There may be a handful still to come — up until the last minute we are sorting and sifting and looking again and again.

A group of candidates — maybe fifty or so — will be invited to join the wait list without yet having been interviewed. They may or may not be invited to interview, depending on how things develop in Rounds Two and Three. We'll do a separate blog on wait list mechanics later.

The MBA Admissions Office will be closed from Friday, December 21 at 5 pm until Wednesday, January 2 at 9 am.

You may be anxious about your recommenders having questions — we'll have auto reply messages on both voice and email directing them to ApplyYourself if they have questions. You and your recommenders can email AY tech support directly through the "Tech Support" button at the top of every page once logged into an application or recommendation. ApplyYourself will be staffed throughout the holiday period with the exception of December 25 and January 1.

We thank all Round One applicants for their patience and understanding as we move toward the January 16 notification — we pledge to you our careful consideration of the applications you have worked so hard to submit. To everyone working hard on applications for Round Two, we are glad you have chosen to apply to Harvard Business School.

Peace on Earth.

29 Nov 2007

Update from Dee

Greetings from Dillon House.

Just checking in to let you know that we are continuing to review Round One applications. As we have said, we will send out interview invitations until January 16. Candidates will be invited without regard to when hub interviews are scheduled; if an invitee has difficulty finding a convenient location we will work out logistics with that individual. If we extend an invitation and do not receive a response from you within a few days, we will contact you by phone.

I know it's getting closer to the notification deadline so I need to remind you that we simply cannot accept any additional materials or updates — other than new contact information. This includes supplemental letters of recommendation.

For those of you thinking of visiting HBS in December, we'll be holding information sessions Monday through Friday at 3:00 pm from December 11 - 20. Final exams begin in early December so the Class Visit Program, Student Lunch Program and Campus Tours will end on December 7th and resume again on January 22.

Looking ahead to Round Two, here's a reminder to candidates required to take the TOEFL or IELTS — you should plan to take it in December so that scores are available by the January 3 application deadline.

07 Nov 2007

More on Interview Invitations

It looks as if we are roughly halfway through the invitation process. We will continue to issue invitations up to and including the notification date, which is January 16, 2008.

Why do the interview invitations slow down from this point on?

In the beginning of each round, all of our resources are deployed to reading applications. Once we begin the actual interviewing (interviews began on November 5) we cannot read at the same pace — hence the slowing down of the invitation rate.

To be clear, there is no order or pattern to which applications are read first.

We hope that bulletins like this are helpful and we sincerely appreciate your patience in this process.

01 Nov 2007


Here are few questions that you have asked:

1. Can my interview invitation be lost in the mail?

Of course we can't absolutely guarantee that you'll receive our email. If we don't hear from you after a few days we will call the contact phone number you provided in your application. We won't cancel your invitation if you don't get our email!

2. If I've had an interview, when do I learn of my admission decision?

Nearly all decisions are released on the notification date. In some cases, your interview may take place very close to the notification date, and in those situations, there may be a short delay in getting your decision. If you are in doubt about your decision date ask your interviewer.

3. What happens if I go over the word limits?

We're not counting words but after lots of experience reading applications, we have a good feel for whether an essay is going over the limit. I think it's fair to say that we expect a candidate to be able to edit effectively.

4. Is every application given a thorough reading, regardless of GMAT, grades, undergrad. school, etc?

This one's easy: yes.

5. Can I submit a GMAT score of "000" if I haven't taken the test yet?

No... our system only accepts entries within the GMAT scoring range. You must have GMAT results in order to submit.

22 Oct 2007

Interview Invitations

As promised, here's the latest news about our invitation-to-interview process — today we sent out our first batch of invitations. There is not a regular schedule for sending these out — several days may go by before we send another group. It's also worth repeating that there is no plan or pattern to the sequence of invitations. We continue to review applications and send out invitations in random order.

We will let you know when we are roughly at the halfway mark of the invitation process.

We do appreciate your patience and remind you that we have no further information to offer about the timeline or individual cases.

19 Oct 2007

Update from Dee

In the last entry, I listed the cities we plan to visit for Round 1 interviews. Here are a couple of changes:

  • In India we are going to Bangalore and Mumbai.
  • In the US, we will not be going to Dallas or Austin, just Houston.

More about the interview process:

We anticipate conducting about 850 interviews in Round 1; we have the flexibility to increase that number based on our assessment of written applications. Historically, between 50-60% of interviewees have been admitted. In addition, there will be some offers to accept a place on the wait list. Most, but not all, of the wait list offers will go to candidates who have already been interviewed.

And, in the miscellaneous category:

Please continue to raise questions and issues you'd like me to address via this blog but I need to remind you that I can't respond to individuals. Even if I had the bandwidth, the functionality doesn't allow it. Questions of a general nature can always be posed via our Ask Questions page. Next week I'll put together about five questions and offer some responses.

10 Oct 2007

Interview Invitations

Before I dive into the tactical issues here, let me re-cap how the interview fits into our overall selection process. Every candidate who is ultimately offered admission to HBS is required to have an interview — the vast majority of these will be conducted by members of the Admissions Board in person. We conduct interviews on campus and will also be traveling to London, Paris, Mumbai, Delhi, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and possibly Austin and Seattle this year in Round One. In addition to our Admissions Board, a small group of alumni conduct admissions interviews in key cities to expand our reach. In situations where a face-to-face interview is impossible to schedule, the Admissions Board conducts phone interviews.

We will be interviewing from November 5 up until notification day, January 16 (and beyond if we need to).

I think we will begin sending interview invitations during the week of October 22. These are sent via email and contain complete directions and information about the process. In order to minimize inconvenience and cost and maximize choice of location, interviewees will be using an online self-scheduler.

There is absolutely no discernible pattern to how/when interview invitations are issued. I promise you that it has nothing to do with citizenship, residence, employment, first letter of your last name or anything else. It is a result of where your application folder happens to land at any particular moment. There is also no special time of day at which invitations go out but most will be during Boston's business hours.

I will let you know via this blog when we begin and periodically throughout the round. There will not be a point before the notification date at which we announce we're finished because we won't be: to repeat, there will always be a number of interview invitations issued up to and including January 16.

I hope that this gesture toward transparency is helpful. Believe me, we all understand the anxiety of a selection process but the waiting is just something to endure. Please understand that we cannot be checking on individual cases and that if you call, Sally will say the same thing that I've written here.

03 Oct 2007

The Day After the Deadline

Well, I promised a blog entry today but I don't have much to say. Thank goodness we don't have any news of mechanical failures, power outages or anything else. The deadline came and went without any problems and, as I write this, printers are drowning out all conversation in Dillon House today. They will keep running until everyone becomes a bright pink folder and is sent out to the Admissions Board for review.

I will give you a rough outline of how the invite-to-interview process will work sometime next week.

24 Sep 2007


A while ago I promised a few short blog entries addressing tactical issues in the weeks leading up to our Round One deadline on October 2.

Well, instead here's a VERY LONG entry -- just trying to be helpful and this one takes some detail to explain. Sorry for the length -- I promise the next one will be shorter!

We've been getting many questions recently regarding transcripts. These questions generally fall into two categories: understanding official transcript requirements, and how to upload scanned transcripts.

Official Transcripts

Don't worry about official transcripts at all yet. In fact, you never need to send us official transcripts, and if you send them to us now, we guarantee that we won't keep them. We only need official transcripts after you are admitted, and only directly from your school (never from you). After admission, we will give you a form to submit to your school and the school will send us the documentation we need. For evaluation, we trust that the electronic transcripts you submit through the application are accurate, though we will verify them if you are admitted to the program.

Uploading Scanned Transcripts

We're hearing from folks that scanned transcripts are often ending up larger than the maximum file size that the application can accept. The most reliable and fail-safe way to get around this is to fill out and upload the Self-Reported Transcript Form instead. It may take a bit more time than scanning, but if you can't get a scanned file that's small enough, then you'll have to fill out the form anyway to submit your application.

If your scanned transcript is too large, there are a few things that could be adding unnecessary electronic "baggage" to your file. Scanning at too high of a resolution (dpi, or dots per inch) than is necessary for legibility is the most frequent culprit. Try scanning at the lowest dpi that your scanner allows (usually 72 dpi) at 100%. Then view your file, making sure that you're viewing it at 100% as well, to see if you can read it. It doesn't need to be crystal clear, just legible. If you can't read it, try the next setting up until you have an image that can be read.

The next potentially troublesome step is getting the file into a file type that the application accepts. Moving the image from program to program can often add unwanted data, so the sooner you can get your transcript into a file type that the application accepts, the better. The only image file that the application system allows is .pdf. If possible, capture the image as a .pdf file directly from your scanner in the first place, or have your scanner software convert the captured image to .pdf. If your scanner won't create .pdf files for you, then you'll need to embed the image file in a document file (the detailed instructions for this are in the application in the Self-Reported Transcript section) and upload that, but the file size will often increase quite a bit when you do this, so you may not be able to upload the file.

If you've scanned at the lowest resolution that is legible, and you've saved the file as efficiently as possible (straight to .pdf from the scanner, or following the embedding instructions in the application) and your file is still too large to upload, you'll need to fill out the Self-Reported Transcript Form to submit your transcript to us.

13 Sep 2007

New HBS 2+2 Program

I hope you have all seen the article in today's Wall Street Journal announcing the HBS 2+2 Program. We hope you will explore the special website.

One thing the WSJ article doesn't make crystal clear is that this is NOT a program limited to Harvard College undergrads. We'll be out there encouraging applications from a large group of schools, primarily those who are not seen as "feeders" to HBS. We see this as a NEW message to a NEW audience with a NEW timeline.

Another important point to call out is that is NOT a program designed for liberal arts majors exclusively. We will be out visiting lots of engineering and science schools and are eager to speak with college students who see themselves as "young Thomas Edisons" — they love to tinker and build things and should explore the business/science synergy.

More on this later . . . .

13 Sep 2007

Word Limits for Recommendations

​I'd like to introduce Pam Ralston, our Assistant Director of Admissions and operations guru. Pam takes on the challenge of how to get your applications submitted smoothly online and then move them through our evaluation process. Here's her response to two frequently asked questions:

"Do my recommenders have to adhere to the word limit?"

We ask you to provide three recommendations as part of our application process. Over time, we've read a lot of recommendations written on behalf of candidates. We've found that the best recommendations — in other words, the ones that have the most impact on us — tend to be succinct and specific. Because of this experience, we've shortened our recommendation form this year to three questions from five, and we've suggested a word limit (approximately 250 words) for each of these questions.

"Will your technology automatically cut off my recommender's response once he or she reaches the word limit?"

No. And we certainly understand if your recommender needs to go slightly beyond the suggested limit to make his or her case for your application. But, we strongly encourage you and your recommender to use good judgment — the word limits are there, after all, for a reason — to keep their comments as straightforward and concise as possible. We're confident that our suggested word limits will allow your recommenders to present you in the best light possible.

11 Sep 2007

Round One Deadline is October 2

A big apology from me for saying that the Round One deadline is October 3 in my previous posting regarding the TOEFL (it has been corrected now in that posting).

Let me say it loud and clear: the Round One deadline is Tuesday, October 2, at 5 pm EST.


10 Sep 2007


Hello from Boston.

Between now and the Round One deadline on October 2, I'd like to get as many short and sweet entries out as possible to try to be helpful with all the tactical concerns you have as you prepare your applications. So, don't expect any "deep thoughts" for a while...

Quick note to those of you who need to take the TOEFL. We are hearing from ETS that it takes 15 business days to have the online TOEFL scored. This needs to be factored into your application planning.

If you are required to take the TOEFL your application will not be reviewed by the Admissions Board until a score is submitted. So, even if you think you are meeting the Round One deadline, without a TOEFL score by the application deadline, you will be "incomplete" and will not be considered until after the score arrives. This means that if your score arrives after October 2, you will be in Round Two, not in Round One.

Just for review — who is required to take the TOEFL? Candidates who have not received a degree from a university where English is the language of instruction.

If your undergraduate university degree is not in English but your graduate degree is in English, you are strongly encouraged to submit a TOEFL score.

29 Aug 2007

On the Road in the West Coast

Greetings from San Francisco! This week I am hosting our outreach events both here and in Silicon Valley. Our San Francisco session was a big one — we divided the group in two and Hilary Somorjai, an HBS alum and member of the Admissions Board, and I each did a session. We taught — and I use that term loosely — the Roadshow Case. The discussion was lively. During the session, someone pointed out something about one of the protagonists that I hadn't noticed — and completely changed how I think about things. Something similar happened in NYC. This will inform how I do the case the next time and is a perfect illustration of how the case method is organic vs. static.

I like to use this blog to answer questions that aren't on the website. Please know that I can't respond to your questions individually but will try to address as many as I can in this format.

"Is there an advantage to applying early in a given decision round?"

Only from the standpoint of peace of mind knowing that you're not getting crunched with heavy server traffic in the hours before an application deadline. We wait until the deadline has passed to print applications and there's no way the Admissions Board knows whether you were the first or the last person to apply in that round.

More next week from Boston — we'll be welcoming the class of 2009 on September 4!


14 Aug 2007

New Roadshow

We're back from NYC and still talking about our roadshow that features the case method. Our hope was to give the audience a sense of what the case method feels like beyond just hearing us talk about it. Alison McCarty, Eileen Chang and I each did a session and here's our major learning: it's a lot easier to give a PowerPoint presentation! We have renewed admiration and respect for the HBS faculty who do this every day with consummate skill and grace. We found it lots of fun and look forward to improving our delivery over time. It's hard to fathom that the faculty can do this AND actually remember each student's contribution — we didn't even try to remember names!

The case that we used was written to present four very different prospective applicants to HBS and spark a discussion of how each might approach the decision to apply to business school. I am getting to feel very well-acquainted with Alex-Carol-Elmas and Rafael (the protagonists in the case) — audience members have pointed out nuances and aspects of their background and perspectives that I didn't notice.

We'll be doing this in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, etc . . . hope you will be able to be there! For more information on our upcoming events click here.

08 Aug 2007

NYC Events

Greetings from NYC...

We are overwhelmed with the response to our three outreach events in NYC — all three are now closed because we have reached the seating capacity of the venues.

I am so sorry that many of you will be disappointed by being unable to attend. We're considering adding another NYC event but we wouldn't be able to schedule it until October at the earliest. So, in the meantime, I suggest that you watch the video on our website that highlights the case method. This shows real footage of an HBS case method discussion and takes you behind the scenes as well. Of course you are always welcome to come to visit campus — and, yes, I do recognize the Catch-22 of not being able to visit classes before the Round 1 deadline in early October. We need to give the first year students time to settle into the classroom routine before we send visitors to classes.

More to come from NYC...


01 Aug 2007

Update from Dee

Mid-summer greetings to all. I'm writing this from the road — we're actually on our first swing of fall presentations. The blog seems to be generating a fair number of questions — both tactical and more Big Picture — so I thought it might be helpful to simply select a question or two and provide a response each time I write.

In my last entry, I spoke about leadership styles as an element of diversity in the classroom and beyond. This provoked an interesting question from a reader:

"What happens to silent leaders? How many people get to talk in an 80 minute class?"

You heard me salute the "quiet" leader — the counterpart to the Teddy Roosevelt "I'm going over the hill and everybody had better be behind me" model. I see "quiet" as being in a very healthy point on the continuum, but "silent" is too far in the other direction. There's no room in a case method classroom for a bystander — someone who is there to "take vs. give." Given that the HBS classroom is meant to be a dress rehearsal for Real Life, I'm also having trouble conjuring up an effective "silent" leader. I think it's fine — and this does explode some stereotypes about who should and should not come to HBS — to be "shy" in the sense that you are never going to be the loudest voice in the room or the person who feels most comfortable being out there front and center. But in order to succeed at HBS you need to be brave enough to put yourself out there in a discussion. Believe me, it's no one's "comfort zone" but it's an incredible opportunity to practice what you'll need to do as a leader in your career: listen to others, develop a point of view and then articulate it.

There's a huge variation in how many students get to talk from class to class. Sometimes you're giving a comprehensive "opening" or "closing" of a case and sometimes you're making quick, short comments in response to a classmate's point.

"How can I tell you about all my extracurricular activities if there's only space for three?"

Use this space for the three that you consider most significant. Note: there's nothing magic about the number three. . . . we need to make an arbitrary decision about the online application set-up. Some successful candidates will have one. If there are others that you want to mention, use the "additional information" section or include it in your resume.

More next week.


10 Jul 2007


Last week we kicked off our Class of 2010 travel season with something new for us: an evening information session in Washington DC with three panelists: Toby Stock, Dean of Admissions at Harvard Law School, Alexandra Martinez, Director of Admissions at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and me. Usually we either do stand-alone HBS events or participate with other business schools on panels at various events. The catalyst for the all-Harvard session was the announcement of two new joint programs, the MBA/MPP and the MBA/MPA-ID.

We wanted to see if we could all get the acronyms right (after saying them over and over again!) and also to explain the different elements of the programs, including shared curriculum, timing, funding and summer internships. We had a full house of about 150 and the question-and-answer session was still going strong after an hour and a half. In addition to the new programs between HBS and KSG, we also talked about the existing programs, the JD/MBA and the JD/MPP.

You can find details about all the joint programs we offer —including the MD/MBA —on our website. We're experiencing an increase of interest in joint programs in general —both from prospective candidates and also among the leaders of the different Harvard graduate schools. Why? In a global economy, the opportunities for synergy across traditional boundaries are growing. Leaders of tomorrow will need to be "multi-lingual" —they will need to speak both the traditional language of business but also add the context of the public and not-for-profit sectors. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are attracted to being able to speak from deep knowledge of the law and how it impacts operating and strategic decisions. As the challenges of healthcare and issues of public health increase, the need for physician/leaders is expected to grow.

What I noted about our Washington panel was that each Harvard school articulated the same critical quality in a successful candidate: leadership. Sometimes it feels like MBA programs have appropriated leadership as "ours" and it was a good jolt for me to realize that this just isn't the case. Both Toby and Alexandra were compelling in how leadership is essential for success in their programs too. This gave me the opportunity to refine or play with the word "leadership" a bit further.

Any of you who have heard me speak know that I worry that "leadership" can be misunderstood. Sometimes the very word conjures up a powerful figure who charges over the hill yelling "follow me!!" - someone both larger-than-life and louder-than-life! This panel gave me another opportunity to talk about leadership styles being another measure of diversity in the HBS classroom.

We are serious about finding out how individuals lead and what happens when leaders listen to each other. Imagine a case with a protagonist grappling with a challenging management team or board of directors. What if he finds him/herself suddenly in the top position at a firm with a culture that rewards a leadership approach very different from his/her natural style? We want to bring together entrepreneurial leaders, those that gravitate to positional authority in complex organizations, thought leaders and hands-on leaders who thrive with small teams. Some of the most dramatic moments in a case discussion come when a student proposes a course of action that he/she finds eminently logical and obvious —and someone else in the room finds it completely wild —even preposterous! This kind of diversity of perspectives is what makes a case method discussion so exciting and unpredictable.

Before I close, let me try to answer a couple of the questions that have been submitted. I need to remind everyone that "here are my stats, what are my chances?" type of questions are not what I have in mind! That's not the way we look at applications and I could surely do more harm than good were I to try to reduce our process to "stats". I hope you all understand that this is not a way of saying that everyone should apply to HBS —a strong academic record really matters as does a track record of leadership. I just can't speculate on how a person's stats translate into a complete application.

Here are two questions I've received recently through the Talk2Dee function:

"What are the most important criteria in assessing international applications?"

We're looking for the same qualities in both international and domestic candidates. We think we have a good grasp of international educational systems and the opportunity sets for university graduates across a spectrum of countries. We understand the different nuances in both the concept of "leadership" and the role that extra-curricular activities play in university and community life. We don't know everything (!!) so it's up to you to present clear and complete responses to our application questions.

"What is the difference between applying in round one and round two?"

Not much. We'll make roughly the same number of admissions offers in each round. While we have a smaller number of applications in round one, I will generalize and say that they historically tend to be a very organized and eager group who want to know where they stand as soon as possible. Round two offers the opportunity to polish the application again over the winter holiday break. Sometimes candidates will wait until round two in order to report on a recent promotion —that's understandable. Our advice is to submit your application when you have had a chance to devote serious and sustained effort to making it the best case for admission.

That's all for now. Maybe next time I'll talk about the case method video that's up on the website...
anyone have any questions or comments about it?


07 Jun 2007


I'm writing this on graduation day for the Class of 2007. As you might imagine, this is a very big day here on campus—legions of staff involved in organizing the ceremonies, lunch under tents, kids, parents, grandparents. The weather is absolutely perfect—a welcome contrast to last year. Graduates of all the Harvard schools march into Harvard Yard in the morning for the traditional ceremony and speech—Bill Gates is this year's speaker—and then go to ceremonies at their individual schools where diplomas are actually awarded.

Dean Light spoke at the afternoon ceremony here—my favorite part is when he asks the graduates to turn around and acknowledge all the people in the crowd who have provided love and support along the way.

So, as the campus quiets down after today, we officially move into summer mode. We don't have to dress up to come to work. The lines at the Spangler food court are dramatically shorter. Boston is a "school" city and so even the traffic is noticeably lighter and our commutes are much easier. Everyone I meet in my Real Life always asks, "so, things must be slowing down now, right? End of the season. What do you do now, anyway?" I've been in the HBS Admissions office for a long time and I think this concept of an "off season" really was the case in years past, but certainly not circa 2007.

I like to make the analogy of getting ready for a long sea voyage. The voyage is, of course, the application season. When we're out at sea, we are focused on staying afloat, keeping the ship on course, etc. etc. Now is the time that we re-design the boat, select the crew, and make sure the vessel is seaworthy. Note: I have never actually been on a sea voyage, but I am very quick to make analogies. I like this one.

On tomorrow's calendar I see seven meetings—a few with alumni, one interview with a potential new Board member, a good-bye to a first year student off to Singapore for the summer and another round of looking at the design work for next year's print publications. Later this week we are off to the annual GMAC (Graduate Management Admissions Council) conference in Philadelphia—a great time for us to connect with our peers and learn about what's going on in the world of business school admissions.

I'm sure you know that another word for "graduation" is "commencement" and that's what this feels like in MBA Admissions. Today marks the official beginning of the 2007—08 application season. I'll be writing here in the weeks to come about what that entails, sharing our travel plans—both where we're going and what we'll be saying. I'll be commenting on our application questions and tell you how we come up with them.

But before we move on to the next season, I'll give you a brief recap of where we stand with getting the Class of 2009 lined up for Aldrich Hall in September. I think we are just about wrapped up. We ended up making about 25 offers to candidates on the waitlist. Some of these offers were made just before Round 2 decisions went out at the end of March and some just before Round 3 decisions went out in May. Over the past couple of weeks we've been able to extend a handful of additional offers. We really don't like to keep people in limbo past June so I think we'll be sitting tight from here on, with only a very small group of waitlisted candidates who have agreed to stay on hold until the end of July.

I'd like this blog to be a way for me to learn about what's on your mind— while I can't answer every question submitted, I'd like to try tackling a few every week. Just click on the Talk2Dee link, submit your questions and comments and I'll select a few to respond to each week. I promise to take on the tough ones, not ones that you can easily find answers to on our website. Let's see how it goes . . .

More from me in a week or so . . . Dee


Class Visits

We're more than halfway into August and it's time to acknowledge that summer is almost over.  For us here at HBS, it means gearing up for returning students.  We love the excitement and energy.....the longer lines in the food court, not so much.

Many of you may be interested in seeing a class before the Round One deadline, September 16.  We really wish this were easier, but the reality is that the faculty doesn't open first year classes to visitors until October.  It's for a good reason: the case method is new for everyone and we want the students to settle into section life before visitors arrive.

We hope that applicants do want to see the case method in action.  We certainly talk about it enough on the road and in our materials and website.  It's our signature pedagogy and it's not at all like traditional sit-still-and-listen-to-a-lecture classrooms.
We do make a limited number of spots in second-year (elective classes) available to visitors and registration for these will be going live this week.  For details about sign-ups, go to the Visit section of our website. 
And, for the zillionth time, I want to send you to view the Inside the Case Method, a video which shows real footage in a first-year classroom plus the valuable perspective of the faculty.
Information sessions and tours are generally held on Monday and Friday afternoons.  Check our Events page to plan your visit.  Also, once students get back, even if you can't see a class, the energy on campus is a sight to behold.  Our students are very approachable and just hanging around Spangler, our student center, can give you a good sense of who we are.


Class Visits

We're more than halfway into August and it's time to acknowledge that summer is almost over.  For us here at HBS, it means gearing up for returning students.  We love the excitement and energy.....the longer lines in the food court, not so much.
Many of you may be interested in seeing a class before the Round One deadline, September 16.  We really wish this were easier, but the reality is that the faculty doesn't open first year classes to visitors until October.  It's for a good reason: the case method is new for everyone and we want the students to settle into section life before visitors arrive.
We hope that applicants do want to see the case method in action.  We certainly talk about it enough on the road and in our materials and website.  It's our signature pedagogy and it's not at all like traditional sit-still-and-listen-to-a-lecture classrooms.
We do make a limited number of spots in second-year (elective classes) available to visitors and registration for these will be going live this week.  For details about sign-ups, go to the Visit section of our website. 
And, for the zillionth time, I want to send you to view the Inside the Case Method, a video which shows real footage in a first-year classroom plus the valuable perspective of the faculty.
Information sessions and tours are generally held on Monday and Friday afternoons.  Check our Events page to plan your visit.  Also, once students get back, even if you can't see a class, the energy on campus is a sight to behold.  Our students are very approachable and just hanging around Spangler, our student center, can give you a good sense of who we are.



We’re about three weeks away from our Round One deadline so here’s some information about where we’ll be interviewing.
We’ll be sending interview invitations out in mid-October  -  exact dates for each location will be announced later.
On campus (weekdays)
Palo Alto
Sao Paulo
Note:  in Round 2 we will be in all the above cities except Sao Paulo and Santiago.
We will offer Skype interviews to candidates for whom travel is not possible.
More details after September 16.