20 Mar 2020

Reaffirming our commitment to international students

We learned yesterday that the U.S. State Department is “suspending routine visa services in most countries worldwide,” according to this press release. Knowing that this news would be unsettling, especially for our international applicants and admitted students, I am writing today.

The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. In order to fulfill that mission, HBS has a deep commitment to engaging globally, including by admitting students from all over the world into our MBA program. For example, in the MBA Class of 2021, 37% of our students are international students who bring tremendous experience from which all students can learn. In a post three years ago, I wrote about how I benefitted personally from diverse perspectives as an HBS student.

Today I want to reaffirm that HBS MBA Admissions will continue to admit the most talented international and domestic applicants, irrespective of citizenship, as we strive to build a class of leaders who will make a difference in the world.

We hope that the global situation around COVID-19 improves and that the suspension of visa services passes quickly. The Harvard International Office and we in MBA Admissions and Financial Aid will do all that we can to support students through the visa process. Any international admitted student who is unable to start the program due to a visa issue despite their best efforts will be deferred to next year’s MBA class.

Each year, we are humbled to receive applications from many more talented individuals than we have room to admit in the HBS MBA program. The hardest part of our job is turning away many who we know will go on to lives of purpose and impact. While we could keep these applicants on hold, we normally keep a relatively small waitlist for two reasons 1) we understand the anxiety involved with more waiting and 2) in a typical year, we have a pretty good idea about how many spots in the class will open up over the summer. This is not a typical year. In the spirit of transparency, I am sharing that we plan to invite many talented and qualified applicants to stay with us on a larger waitlist.

Our hearts go out to all of you affected, directly or indirectly, by the spread of COVID-19.

18 Mar 2020

2+2 Application Date Changes

Over the past few days, we have heard from many college seniors planning to apply to Harvard Business School through our 2+2 deferred admissions process. The spread of COVID-19 has upended your last year in college: teaching has gone virtual and many of you have moved and had to say goodbye on short notice. We are sincerely sorry about the disruptions to your senior year. 

In addition, we have learned that many of your recommenders are overwhelmed and academic testing centers have closed in many places around the world. In short, we understand that getting your application over the finish line is difficult with everything going on.

Given these extraordinary circumstances, we have decided to move back the dates for our 2+2 deferred admissions round this year to allow you increased flexibility. Instead of April 2, 2020, the 2+2 new application deadline is June 1, 2020 at noon Eastern time. We will release our decisions on July 28, 2020 at noon Eastern time. We hope that these extra two months are helpful to you and allow you to focus on your senior year. 

This was not a decision that we made lightly—we understand that the change will be a disappointment for some who were hoping to have their final decision earlier in the summer. We apologize to those of you for whom this change is an inconvenience. 

Please note that while the situation is still fluid and may change, we do not anticipate shifting the application deadline again. Please submit all your application materials by June 1, 2020 at noon Eastern. We look forward to getting to know you then. 

Thanks for your ongoing understanding. Our very best wishes to you in this tumultuous time. 

11 Mar 2020

COVID-19 admissions update

The situation around COVID-19 has continued to evolve globally.  In an effort to help slow the spread of the virus globally and protect the broader community, Harvard University has released a set of guidelines for students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus. Today, I want to share how we are implementing these guidelines for MBA admissions (this is a long post). 

First, our admissions criteria and process remain unchanged. With our mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world, we are looking for students who exhibit a habit of leadership, analytical aptitude and appetite, and engaged community citizenship. In short, we want to get to know you and the difference you want to make in the world.

Round 2

For those of you who applied and interviewed with us for Round 2, we plan to release our decisions on 31 March 2020 at noon Eastern time as planned.

Part of the university’s guidance includes prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people through 30 April 2020. As a result, we will not hold a traditional Admitted Student Welcome (ASW) on campus for Round 2 admitted students. We are working hard on virtual alternatives for you to learn more about the HBS experience and have all of your questions answered before you need to make a decision on our offer. We will have more information about the virtual ASW offerings by 31 March 2020 when we share our offers of admission.

2+2 round

This round for college seniors applying for deferred admission will proceed as planned. The application deadline is 2 April 2020 and we plan to release final decisions on 3 June 2020. As always, please submit your application online. We will continue to offer Skype interviews as needed, and all interviews will be conducted by a member of the MBA Admissions Board.

Editor's note (3/20/20): The deadline for college seniors applying for deferred admission changed to 1 June 2020. We plan to release final decisions on 28 July 2020. Learn more.

Peek Weekend and SVMP

As of now, we are still planning to hold our Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP) and our Peek Weekend program for college students in June 2020. These programs bring you to campus to stay in HBS residence halls, participate in MBA case studies, and learn more about Harvard Business School. The deadline to apply to either of these programs is 21 April 2020. You can learn more about these programs here.

Campus visits

Starting on 16 March 2020, and given the guidance prohibiting gatherings, we will stop holding our campus tours, information sessions, and in person class visits. We apologize to those who had already made plans to come visit us over the next few months. We love to showcase our campus and especially the case method learning model, so we have a few options for you to do that virtually. Please conduct a virtual campus tour here, check out the case method here, and learn about student life at HBS here.

Global information sessions

This is the time of year when we fan out across the country and the world to meet with prospective students like you in your home cities. The university has restricted travel to help avoid spreading the virus, so we are working diligently to come up with virtual gatherings and ways to connect with you digitally. We plan to tailor these opportunities by geography, industry, and other affinity groups so that you can learn more about what HBS offers for someone with your background and interests. We will be adding these options to our events page in the coming weeks.

Please know that given the fluid nature of COVID-19 situation, with new information coming out daily, the above plans may be extended further into the summer or may change altogether. Please check back here for any updates to these admissions plans. We will also communicate updates to those directly impacted.

We understand that this disruption to our normal slate of admissions activities may be disappointing to some of you. Truth be told, we are sad too. We love the rhythm of traveling out into the world to bring HBS to you, getting to know you through your application and interview, and then celebrating an offer of admission with you during ASW. We hope you understand our desire, and the university’s guidelines, to put your health and safety first. As a global community, we are all trying to manage through a very challenging situation. Thank you for your interest in Harvard Business School and for your patience with us. 

03 Feb 2020

Big day tomorrow

Reminder that tomorrow (February 4) at 12:00 noon ET, we will send out our Round 2 interview invitations, as well as the early release decisions. Thank you for your patience! You can find your decision on your Application Status page. We are grateful to all of you who have applied to HBS.


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