27 Apr 2020

Update on Fall 2020 - And What It Means for those Applying to HBS Next Year

Earlier today, Harvard University announced that it plans to open in the fall. The format of the start is still to be determined—the semester may begin virtually, in person, or as a hybrid—with the clear goal to be in person as soon as it is safe to do so. In any scenario, at HBS we are committed to providing an outstanding experience and have engaged teams of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to develop an extraordinary fall semester inside and outside the classroom.

We believe there are compelling reasons to enroll this fall.  We also realize that the world has changed significantly since our incoming students (the Class of 2022) applied, and understand that the timing may no longer be workable for some. In an effort to be as supportive as possible in this uncertain and trying time, we have extended an opportunity for members of the HBS Class of 2022 to request a 1-2 year deferral of their enrollment.

Depending on how many choose to defer, we will be admitting from our waitlist to balance the Class of 2022. Our learning model depends on bringing together exceptional leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. We are steadfast in our commitment to that model, so to sustain it, if we need to enroll a smaller class in August than our typical 930, we may do so. As I mentioned in my 20 March post, we are humbled to have a waitlist with very strong candidates.

We have received questions about whether we will reconsider denied applicants from past rounds or add another round of admission for the Class of 2022. We do not plan to take these steps.

What does this mean for those of you planning to apply to start in the fall of 2021 or fall of 2022? We understand that you may have questions about the number of seats available in these upcoming classes—please know we are working hard to balance doing right by those we have admitted this year and preserving opportunity for you to enroll in the future.

First, we will keep an eye on the number who choose to defer and spread their entry into the MBA program across the next two years.

Second, over the coming months, we will consider with our faculty and with Harvard University the overall class size that HBS may be able to accommodate for the Classes of 2023 and 2024.

Third, our commitment to a robust need-based scholarship program will not change. With the strong support of alumni paying it forward, in recent years HBS has increased need-based scholarships and expanded the overall financial aid portfolio. Despite the financial uncertainty in the world, HBS will continue to support current and future students (both domestic and international). HBS is an investment that pays dividends over a lifetime, and we are as committed as ever to making HBS affordable for all.

The pandemic is teaching us that the world needs leaders who know how to innovate, pivot, listen, manage complex supply chains, support teams, implement change, make decisions with imperfect information, and lead others. I am inspired by how HBS students and alumni are contributing in communities around the globe. I invite you to consider how HBS can help you make a difference in the world and hope that you will choose to apply.