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The HBS Difference
Harvard Business School
Application - General
What is the timeline for applying?
How will my application be evaluated?
Each application received is reviewed in depth by the Admissions Board. When selecting students we put an emphasis on leadership potential, strong academic ability, and personal qualities and characteristics.
Find out more
In which part of the application may I enter additional information, including special circumstances?
Please enter important information that you want the Board to know in the Additional Information section of the application.
How do I add new information if I have already submitted my application?
Once the application has been submitted, the Admissions Board is unable to accept application updates other than contact updates. If invited to interview, applicants may inform the Board of updates at that time.
Does the reputation/history of my undergraduate institution or company affect my chances of being accepted?
Our goal is to admit a class that offers a variety of perspectives. Therefore, we carefully consider individuals from a wide spectrum of academic and work experiences.
When I print the application in PDF format, parts of the application appear truncated, unclear and/or do not appear at all. Are these parts seen by the Admissions Board?
The Admissions Office receives the entire application in appropriate format and all fields are viewed clearly by the Board. The document that the applicant can view is an unformatted version of the final document.
Applications - Work Experience
What is the desired length of work experience you wish to see in candidates?
The HBS MBA Program is designed for students who have full-time work experience before matriculation. College seniors are encouraged to apply in the expectation that they will be offered "deferred admission", i.e. an offer of admission to a future class conditional upon acquiring full-time work experience, as a positive outcome. It is important for candidates to assess their own readiness when deciding to apply: there is no universal "right" time.
What constitutes work experience?
Work experience includes opportunities in which students have been able to develop their professional and leadership skills.
Are there specific types of work experience that will make me a more attractive candidate?
Rather than focus on specific categories of work experiences, applicants should focus on their roles, responsibilities, and what they have learned from the types of work experiences that they have been involved in. The Admissions Board will look at the nature of the applicant's work experience when evaluating the applicants' ability to handle the academic rigor of our MBA program.
Applications - Recommendations
Who should recommendations come from?
The Admissions Board suggests that one recommendation should come from a current or recent supervisor, if possible. Recommenders should be individuals who know the candidate well and who can attest to the candidate's leadership ability.
What is the process for recommenders?
Candidates enter recommenders' names and email addresses into their online application. Recommenders then receive an email with a link to their recommendation. The recommendations are submitted separately from the candidates' application and will automatically be included in the application upon submission. Applicants should not wait for recommenders to submit their recommendations before submitting their applications.
Is the recommendation deadline the same as the application deadline?
Applicants should submit their applications as soon as they feel ready. Recommendations are submitted separately by the recommenders. Please bear in mind that 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.
Applications - Interview
When should I expect an invitation for an interview?
Interview invitations are extended on a rolling basis. The timing of your interview does not imply anything about the status of your application nor does it impact your candidacy. Invitations to interview are a positive indicator no matter when you receive them.
What should I expect for my interview?
Your interview will last approximately 30 minutes and will be conducted by a member of the MBA Admissions Board. Interviews may take place in-person or via Skype.
How can I best prepare?
The purpose of the interview is to better understand you as an MBA candidate for our program. We encourage candidates to relax and be ready to talk about themselves.
Applications - Post Interview Reflection
How can I learn more about the Post Interview Reflection?
Details for the Post Interview Reflection will be emailed to candidates who participate in the interview process. Candidates must submit their essay via our online application. Essays must be submitted within 24 hours of interview completion.
Applications - Application Follow-up
Who should I contact if I have a question regarding my application status?
Any questions you have should be submitted to us via our online form at the top of this FAQ page.
When and how can I expect to hear back from HBS?
Notification dates are set according to each round. View
Will HBS provide feedback for students who have been rejected?
Due to the large number of applications we receive each year, we cannot accommodate requests for personalized feedback on your application. We receive 7,000 to 10,000 applications for approximately 900 places in the class, and therefore have to deny admission to many exceptional individuals. Also, please understand that the decision of the Admissions Board is final, and we cannot advise you on whether or not you should reapply in the future.
How long can I defer my acceptance?
Candidates should submit applications only for the year they plan to enter the MBA program. Postponements and deferrals are granted rarely and are considered on a case-by-case basis.
What is the application fee?
The application fee for the 2+2 Program application is $100.
Am I eligible to apply to the 2+2 Program?
To be considered for admission to the 2+2 Program class entering in Fall 2018, you must graduate from your bachelor’s or master’s program between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. For more information on applying to the 2+2 Program, please see the
I am in the process of getting a master’s degree. Am I eligible for the 2+2 program?
Yes. Candidates in the process of completing a master’s degree are eligible for the 2+2 program, as long as you did not take a full time job in between your undergraduate and master’s degree programs.
Are international students eligible to apply to the 2+2 Program?
Yes. Domestic and international students alike are welcome to apply.
Is an interview required for admission to the 2+2 Program? If so, what should I expect from the interview process?
Yes. Interviews are conducted by invitation only and at the discretion of the MBA Admissions Board. If you are invited to interview, you must participate in order to complete the application process. We do not admit anyone to HBS without an interview; however, we do not interview all applicants.
How many seats are available in the 2+2 program?
We expect the 2+2 cohort size to be in the 100-125 range. 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. For more information about the size and composition of past 2+2 Program cohorts, please see the
2+2 Class Profile
Which standardized tests does the 2+2 Program accept?
The 2+2 Program accepts either the GMAT or the GRE as part of the application process. We do not have a preference for either test.
When is the latest I can take the GMAT or GRE?
The GMAT or GRE is required by each round deadline. Unofficial scores are acceptable at the time of application, but every applicant must request to have their official score submitted to HBS. You do not need to have the results of the AWA section of the GMAT or GRE in order to apply; however, we do expect you to complete this portion of the exam and we will require an AWA score for anyone admitted to the program.
My undergraduate concentration is in a business-related field, and I have had a lot of business exposure. Is 2+2 the right program for me?
When the 2+2 Program was originally created it primarily targeted students who were not already on a business track (i.e. students studying the liberal arts, sciences, engineering, etc.). However, we are now encouraging students from all undergraduate majors to apply; that includes those with concentrations and experiences in business-related fields.
Can I apply to the 2+2 Program if I am interested in pursuing a joint degree (MBA/MPP or MPA-ID, MBA/JD, MBA/MD, MBA/DMD, etc.)?
Applicants to the 2+2 Program who are considering a joint degree should contact our partner schools (Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine) for more information about the degrees offered. To be eligible for a joint degree program, you must be admitted separately to both Harvard schools. We cannot counsel applicants about the suitability of a particular joint degree program or how it may impact your future career goals. If you are admitted to the 2+2 Program and wish to pursue a joint degree program, we will work with you to determine how your plans can meet the 2+2 work experience expectations. More details will be offered after you are admitted.
For more information about the joint degree programs offered by HBS, go to the
Joint Degree Programs
section on the HBS website.
How many letters of recommendation are required?
We require two letters of recommendation as part of the 2+2 Program application process.
Who should my recommendations come from?
Recommenders should be individuals who know you well and who can relate specific and relevant details about your abilities and performance. We believe that supervisors from an internship or part-time work experience, professors, advisors, and mentors can all serve as equally good recommenders. The Admissions Board discourages recommendations from peers.
If I apply to the 2+2 Program and I'm not admitted, will it negatively affect my chances of acceptance to Harvard Business School in the future?
No. If you have applied to the 2+2 Program, you will be at neither an advantage nor disadvantage in comparison to other applicants.
If admitted, am I expected to pay a tuition deposit?
Yes. Admitted students pay a non-refundable tuition deposit of $1000 to hold their place in the class.
Will the 2+2 program guarantee me a job after graduation?
No. You are responsible for securing employment for at least two years after graduating from your undergraduate institution. You are expected to leverage the career services offered at your undergraduate institution as a primary resource.
Is there a list of approved or recommended companies to work for during the required pre-MBA work experience?
No. Admitted 2+2 students have the flexibility to explore career options in a multitude of industries including traditional companies to start-ups as long as their positions help develop their professional and leadership skills. Historically, the variety of full-time positions admitted 2+2 students pursue have been similar to the diversity of industries and function areas that are represented in the MBA program.
My bachelor's degree program did not follow a traditional four year timeline (i.e. it was shorter or longer), am I still eligible to apply to HBS through the 2+2 process?
Yes. You can apply to HBS through the 2+2 program as long as you are in your final year of undergraduate study. There are no minimum or maximum requirements for the length of time spent working toward your bachelor's degree.
Will HBS sponsor a work permit or visa in the United States during the two years of pre-MBA work experience?
No. HBS is unable to sponsor a work permit or visa during this time. You are welcome to pursue job opportunities in any country.
If admitted, am I limited to two years of deferral?
Probably not. In many cases, we are able to allow 2+2 students to take an additional year of deferral to pursue an HBS-approved professional opportunity. Approvals are offered on a case-by-case basis.
When I come to HBS, will I (and the other 2+2 admitted students) be part of a separate program?
No. Once 2+2 students begin their MBA experience on-campus, they will be integrated into the HBS community with all other students in the MBA Program.
GMAT and GRE Tests
What is the latest date test scores will be accepted?
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. These are the only scores that the Admissions Board acknowledges. Your official score report may arrive from Pearson (for the GMAT) or ETS (for the GRE) after the deadline dates, and this score will be used for verification purposes. GMAT and GRE scores are valid for five years. Please be advised that in order to apply for admission in Fall 2015, you must have taken the test in the timeframes on the table below.
If you are applying in…
Your GMAT or GRE test date must fall on or between
September 9, 2010 and September 9, 2015
January 6, 2011 and January 6, 2016
April 4, 2011 and April 4, 2016
Please note that the HBS code for the GMAT is HRLX892. The HBS code for the GRE is 4064. For more information on the GMAT, please visit
. For more information about the GRE, please visit
. If you have applied to HBS in the past and decide to reapply, report your scores on your application. However, you will NOT need to have the testing services resend your official scores to us if the ones we have are still valid.
Is there a minimum GMAT or GRE score required to apply?
No. We accept applicants with a wide range of test scores.
What is the range of GMAT scores for accepted students?
The Admissions Board hopes that all applicants will recognize the following: the full range of GMAT scores is very broad, that there is no "minimum" score requirement, and that the GMAT is just one piece of data among the many used to evaluate an application.
Can I list only my best GMAT or GRE score?
Yes. We consider only the score from a single test sitting that you present in your application.
Do I need to complete the AWA section of the GMAT or GRE?
Yes. You do not need to have the results of the AWA section of the GMAT or GRE in order to submit your application; however, we do require you to complete this portion of the exam and we will require an AWA score for anyone applying to the program.
Do I need to complete the Integrated Reasoning Component of the GMAT?
Yes. Anyone who takes the GMAT on or after June 5, 2012 will be required to take the Integrated Reasoning portion of the GMAT exam
English Language Tests (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE)
Who is required to take an English Language test?
If you only have a degree (or degrees) from a university where English was NOT the sole language of instruction, you must take an English Language test (either the TOEFL iBT, IELTS or PTE).
What if I have lived and worked in an English speaking country for many years?
Again, if you only have a degree (or degrees) from a university where English was NOT the sole language of instruction, you must take an English Language test (either the TOEFL iBT, IELTS or PTE).
What if part of my bachelor's degree was part in English and part not in English?
In this case, you are still required to take an English Language test.
What if my undergraduate degree was not in English, but I received a graduate degree (Master's or PhD degree) from a university program where English was the sole language of instruction?
Though it is not required as part of your initial written application, we strongly recommend you take an English language test even if you have a graduate degree from a university program where the sole language was English.
What is the latest date English test scores will be accepted?
TOEFL, IELTS, and Pearson Test of English (PTE) scores are valid for two years. These tests must be dated January 1, 2014 or more recently to be valid. Please note that HBS only accepts the Internet-based (IBT) version of the TOEFL.
Is there a minimum TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test score HBS will consider?
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.
How can I submit my transcript?
Transcripts must be scanned and uploaded to the application. Please do not mail a hard copy of your transcript. 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.
Is there a minimum GPA requirement to apply?
No. Although our students often have competitive undergraduate GPAs, there are many other equally important components of the application. GPA is just one factor the Admissions Board uses to evaluate a candidate.
What is the average GPA of accepted students?
Because we recognize that different schools use various grading criteria, it is difficult to determine an average GPA for the class. GPA is only one of many factors that the Admissions Board uses in evaluating an applicant.
Financing your MBA
Financial Aid: What is the estimated cost for one year at HBS?
While living expenses vary from student to student, the Financial Aid and Fellowship Board uses the standard student budget in determining financial aid awards. This budget assumes a moderate student lifestyle. While the standard budget does not include the cost of a personal computer required for the MBA Program, you may finance your computer purchase with a loan. Please refer to the
Financial Aid: What are some options for financing my HBS education?
HBS is committed to making the MBA Program accessible to students with a demonstrated financial need. Although students are encouraged to draw on personal resources wherever possible to minimize debt, approximately two thirds of Harvard Business School students receive some form of
, which is composed of a combination of fellowships and loans. Nearly 50% of the class receives an average $30,000 per year in need-based HBS Fellowships.
HBS Learning Model
Case Method: What makes the HBS case method successful?
The case method prepares students for the challenges of leadership in the real world. Through the demanding, engaging, and proactive learning environment, it develops the knowledge, skills, and confidence to face the variety of difficult decisions that students will undoubtedly face throughout their careers. To learn more, you can watch
Inside the HBS Case Method
, read about the
HBS Case Method in Action
or schedule a
Sections: How is the curriculum structured?
Students spend their first two terms completing the Required Curriculum with a "section" of 90 students to which they are assigned. This group of students takes all their first-year classes together and becomes an intellectual and social circle. During the second year, students choose up to five courses per semester from a list of
to build their elective curriculum of choice.
Academic Environment: Is it possible to cross register with other universities?
Yes. HBS students are able to cross register at Sloan School of Business at MIT, Fletcher school of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and any of the other Harvard University graduate programs. During your second year you are able to cross-register for up to two courses toward your MBA degree or may choose to cross-register for an extra course for enrichment only such as a language class.
Program Offerings: Does HBS offer a part-time or executive MBA program?
HBS has one MBA program, and it is offered only on a full-time basis. If you wish to pursue a part-time or executive-level program, you might be interested in exploring the
Program for Leadership Development
What are the extracurricular activities available?
Harvard Business School is home to over 70 industry, regional, sports, and other student interest clubs. The Student Association offers over 200 leadership positions through which students can serve as liaisons between the MBA student body and the faculty and administration. Additionally, students have access to over 300 speaker events, 26 conferences, multiple career treks, and various
(including International Week, Newport Ball, Holidazzle, Section Olympics, the Dean's Fall Community Party, Restaurant Associates Movie Nights, and the HBS Show) scheduled throughout the school year.
What percentage of students lives on campus?
Over 80% of HBS students live in
HBS dorms or Harvard affiliated housing
. These residence halls range from dorm rooms to three-bedroom apartments. Because of the very high demand for residence halls, on-campus housing is assigned through a lottery.
What are my transportation options?
The HBS campus is accessible via either
car or public transportation
. It is not necessary to own a car while living in the Cambridge/Boston area because of the convenient subway and bus systems.
What social opportunities do Harvard Square and Cambridge/Boston offer?
Harvard Square and the neighboring Cambridge and Boston areas offer ample opportunities for students to take part in
social and entertainment activities
Events and Networking Opportunities
How can I sign up for a campus tour?
There is no need to sign up for a campus tour. You can find the tour schedule on our
How can I sign up for a classroom visit and is there a limit to how many I can attend?
To schedule a class visit please refer to the
on of our website at least one to two weeks prior to your expected arrival date. To attend, be sure to bring your class visit e-mail confirmation. Due to the high volume of class visit requests, you may only schedule one class visit.
What events are held for accepted students?
We hold Admitted Student Welcome events on campus in February and April. We also will host regional events in many cities throughout the world.
As a student, will I have the opportunity to network with alumni through organized events?
Absolutely. HBS has many networking events and networking tools available to it students. For example, many student clubs organize treks to economic hot spots throughout the world, giving students unparalleled opportunities to network and learn about internship and job possibilities. Also, student clubs hold career-related events for specific areas of interest. Finally, students have the opportunity to network with the more than 40,000 HBS alumni have made themselves available to current students to help them explore career opportunities. To learn more about our networking offerings visit
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