To apply to Harvard Business School, we ask you to assemble and prepare a variety of materials that will help us assess your qualifications. Remember, all materials must be submitted to HBS online by the application deadlines. The following serves as a preview of what you need to prepare.

Application Components

The application for admission consists of the following:

Transcripts

  • Candidates must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from an accredited institution (unless applying through the 2+2 program — please see information for college seniors). Degrees from international universities offering three-year baccalaureate degrees are valid equivalents.
  • We require uploaded transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions that you have attended (full- or part-time).
  • You may upload an "unofficial" or student copy of your transcript; however, we will request an official copy for verification purposes should you be admitted to HBS.

When the Admissions Board looks at your transcripts, we are looking at the whole picture — not just your GPA. We take into account where you went to school, the courses that you took and your performance. We understand the structures of different grading systems worldwide. There is no minimum GPA to apply, although our students usually have strong undergraduate records. Undergraduate academics are just one factor the Admissions Board uses to evaluate a candidate.

GMAT/GRE

  • The GMAT or GRE is required in order to submit an application.
  • When submitting your application, you may report the unofficial GMAT or GRE score given on the day of the test, or your official score if you have received it. Every applicant must request that Pearson (for the GMAT) or ETS (for the GRE) send an official score report directly to HBS.
  • We require you to complete the AWA portion of the exam; however, you do not need the results in order to submit your application.
  • If you take the GMAT after June 5, 2012, we also require you to complete the Integrated Reasoning portion of the GMAT.
  • Please be advised that in order to apply for admission in Fall 2015, scores must be dated as follows:
If you are applying in… Your GMAT or GRE test date must fall on or between
Round 1 September 9, 2009 and September 9, 2014
Round 2 January 5, 2010 and January 5, 2015
Round 3 April 6, 2010 and April 7, 2015

There is no minimum GMAT or GRE to apply and we do not have a bias toward one test or the other. If you look at our class profile, you can see that we have a wide range of GMAT scores in the current first year class. If you do test multiple times, you may report your best score, and we will only look at the scores from the single test sitting you report in your application.

TOEFL/IELTS/Pearson Test of English

  • A TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson Test of English (PTE) is required if you did not attend an undergraduate institution where the sole language of instruction is English.
  • If you completed a graduate degree which was taught in English, it is recommended you submit one of these tests, but it is not required.
  • Scores from ALL of these tests are valid for two years. These tests must be dated January 1, 2013 or more recently to be valid.
  • HBS only accepts the Internet-based (IBT) version of the TOEFL.

HBS does not have a minimum test score to apply, however, the MBA Admissions Board discourages any candidate with a TOEFL score lower than 109 on the IBT, an IELTS score lower than 7.5, or a PTE score lower than 75 from applying.

Essays

There is one question for the Class of 2017:

  • You’re applying to Harvard Business School.  We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you.    What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?

There is no word limit for this question.  We think you know what guidance we're going to give here. Don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don't know your world can understand.

Joint program applicants for the Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard Law School, and Harvard Kennedy School must provide an additional essay:
 
  • How do you expect the joint degree experience to benefit you on both a professional and a personal level? (400 words)

Recommendations

  • You will need to have two recommendations submitted online by the application deadlines.
  • Recommenders will be asked to fill out a personal qualities and skills grid and answer our two additional questions (see below).
  • It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all recommendations are submitted online by the deadline date for the round in which the applicant is applying.

Ideally one recommendation should come from a current or recent supervisor, but we know that is not always possible. Use your best judgment on who you decide to ask - there is no set formula for who should be your recommenders. Look at the questions we are asking recommenders to complete. Find people who know you well enough to answer them! This should take priority over level of seniority or HBS alumni status.

Recommender Questions

Recommendations must be completed online. The recommendation form includes the following questions, along with other types of 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)

Additional Materials

  • Current resume
  • Signed Acceptance of HBS Admissions Policies
  • Nonrefundable application fee (credit card only) of $250 (USD)* - this fee cannot be waived

*Applicants to our 2+2 Program have an application fee of $100.