As I wind down my two years at HBS, it’s hard to believe that this journey started for me almost seven years ago—when I first heard about the 2+2 Program in the fall of my junior year at MIT. I hardly even understood the concept of business school, but some seniors in my sorority recommended that I look into it because they knew how interested I was in business. Although I studied mechanical engineering, I was also getting a second degree in management science, and I knew that my future career would be more business-oriented than engineering-oriented.
After doing some poking around online, I decided that this 2+2 Program was worth a shot. Worst case scenario I wouldn’t get in and could try again later, best case scenario I would have the amazing option to go to Harvard for business school. I spent the month of January studying the GRE (I chose the GRE over the GMAT in case I wanted the test score to apply to grad school for engineering), took the test at the end of January, gathered recommendation letters in the spring, and submitted my application. I swung by the HBS campus for my thirty minute interview, and soon after I was notified of my acceptance.
Looking back now, I am so grateful that my friends told me about the program. Fast forward a few years to when I’m in the working world, and my friends who are trying to balance business school applications with anywhere between 40 to 70 hour work weeks are getting so slammed. I got to apply when test-taking was second nature, I still remembered trigonometry because I was using it almost every day for problem sets, and I had more time to reflect on my essays.
Ultimately, I decided to be a 3+2 instead of a 2+2 because opportunities came up at work that I couldn’t turn down. I knew that a year in my new role would give me more perspective and skills that would pay off when I went to business school, and I was having such a blast at work that I didn't feel I quite needed the break of school yet. After three years of work, I was ready and couldn’t wait to move back to Boston and matriculate.
Between starting my RC year (required curriculum, first year) and where I am now, wrapping up my EC year (elective curriculum, second year), the time has flown by. I didn’t do much research into what HBS would be like before coming to school so I barely had any expectations, but I can confidently say that it was 100% the right choice to come here and invest two of my most productive years.
Although it is completely different from any other educational experience I have had and can take some getting used to (sitting in class for 80 minutes at a time was a struggle during my first few weeks!), I’m leaving school with so much more than I came with: a more mature and developed world view, a better sense of myself and my goals, a close-knit section that I plan on staying connected with for the rest of my life, and some of the best friendships I have ever had.
Throughout this entire experience, the fact that I came to HBS through the 2+2 Program has never been on anybody’s radar (except for the admissions team – which is how I get to write blog posts like this). Even now as my EC year is coming to an end, some friends are still discovering through casual conversation that I was a 2+2 admit. I myself am even pleasantly surprised to realize who was a 2+2 admit when I meet them during 2+2 recruiting events. Other than these chance interactions and the opportunities to help the admissions team, being a 2+2 isn’t something that is ever top of mind these days.
Once you’re at HBS, you create your own path and start building amazing experiences that focus on the present and looking into the future. How you got here isn’t too important – it’s what you choose to do with your time here that makes all the difference.