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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.
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.
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 . . . .
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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:
As always, I hope this is helpful.
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.
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.
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.
Which now leads me to say something about Round 3 and 2+2 candidates:
Remember, we’ll be watching email - general questions to email@example.com and tech support questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll be in the office on Saturday from 10am-2pm ET and Sunday from 3-7pm ET.
Over and out.
We’re on this. And we’ll do our very best to minimize your stress and calm your nerves. Deep breath.
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
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.
‘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 email@example.com
If you need technical support for the online
application, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be responding to email
only during the break. Response time may be longer than during normal
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
GMAT/GRE TEST SCORES MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED AFTER
JAN 6. If you do so, you will be moved to Round 3.
PLEASE READ THE TOEFL/IELTS/PTE SECTION ON THE
WRITTEN APPLICATION PAGE OF OUR WEBSITE.
WE DON’T OFFER APPLICATION FEE WAIVERS OF ANY
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
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:
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.
I think there's some confusion out there about these categories so here's an attempt at getting inside our "glossary of terms":
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Onward. Good luck.
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:
More info next week!
As you complete the application, you will come upon this question:
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
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.
Here's another look at the Class of 2015 - the long (264 to be exact) list of schools where they received undergrad degrees.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The Class of 2016 application is now live!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sign up for a webinar designed to tell you about the MBA Program and the application process.
Catch an info session in a city near you.
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!
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:
Finally, the 2013-2014 application will be going live the week of May 27th...stay tuned.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
We're rounding the corner toward the last deadline for the Class of 2015, so here are some details:
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!!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good morning Round 2 applicants!
Three bullet points:
That's about it. The next you'll see here is the timetable for interview scheduling.
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:
Onward. I'll add more to this list if necessary.
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):
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.
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.
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.
Inside the Case Method:
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:
Here's another look at 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
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.
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...
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.
Greetings from Dillon House.
Here's the plan for 2+2 interview invitations. On July 25th, we'll
send emails from email@example.com 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.
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
I hope this helps.
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.
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
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
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.
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
We will post a final profile when classes begin in September.
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
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
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:
2) Tell Us More
This is the interview process. Interviews are:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
As always, I hope this is helpful. To all of you who are waiting, please know that we appreciate your enthusiasm and patience.
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.
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!"
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,
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.
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.
READING I am reading In Style Magazine — the latest edition.
I just finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo....a little late on
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
DREAMING I love HBS, but I am excited to be back in Chicago with my friends and family, especially my two little nephews!
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.
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
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.
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
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:
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.
Just a couple of bullet points:
Expect to hear about Round 2 interview dates, locations, and notification plans around January 15.
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.
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
For those of you in waiting mode, I send you all good wishes for distraction.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Maybe one good use of this space might be to hold some admissions tales up to the light and give you the straight scoop.
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
Class of 2013 Profile
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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".
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
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.
Here's a look at "year of college graduation."
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:
So, if these questions are still "frequently asked," I'll know more about who is reading this!
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.
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...).
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
to make sure of specific dates, times, and locations. No advance
registration is necessary. We also have self-guided iPod tours of
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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:
As always, trying to make this process as easy for you to understand as we can.
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.
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
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
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
The 2+2 webpage is updated to reflect these changes.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
It's November 2. Tomorrow afternoon we will be sending out three kinds of emails:
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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:
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
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.
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
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."
Here's another look at the class entering this September...
Here's a peek at the Class of 2012.
This is still officially "preliminary" until registration in September.
* Includes Investment Banking & Investment Management
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.
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.
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.
Here we go! (How's that for a blog entry? I might as well just tweet.)
Greetings from Dillon House on a beautiful Monday afternoon. Here's a view from our front door:
Here are a few things that may be of interest:
Have a wonderful week!
Below are the key dates for the upcoming application season:
Application deadline - Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12:00 noon EST
Decision notification - Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Application deadline - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 12:00 noon EST
Decision notification - Tuesday, March 29, 2011
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
This is where we plan to interview in Round 2:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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."
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!
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.
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!
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
The next update - probably early next week - will be about how decisions are released on December 15.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
It plays no part in our evaluation of your application - it's something for you and your recommenders to decide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes. After admission, we require the official transcript to be sent to us.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Happy to introduce the newest 2+2 admits... here's the profile:
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.
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
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!
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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
...in no particular order:
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.
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
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.
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:
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!!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 . . . .
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
Today is the Round One Deadline Day so here are two last-minute pieces of information:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
As usual, I hope this level of candor is helpful.
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
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
Wishing you a wonderful summer...
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!
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.
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
We are unable to provide individual feedback for candidates who are
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In the last entry, I listed the cities we plan to visit for Round 1 interviews. Here are a couple of changes:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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 . . . .
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
"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.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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...
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
More next week.
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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