Applicants to HBS must have the following:

A 4-year undergraduate degree or its equivalent
GMAT or GRE test results

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test taken in the timeframes on the chart below. The GMAT or GRE is a prerequisite for admission.

If you are applying in… Your GMAT or GRE test date must fall on or between
Round 1 September 8, 2016 and September 7, 2021
Round 2 January 4, 2017 and January 5, 2022
2+2 Round* April 30, 2016 and April 28, 2021

TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test results if you attended a non-English undergraduate program
Results from the Internet-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE), from a test taken January 1, 2020 or later, is required for international applicants who attended a non-English-speaking undergraduate university. For the 2020-2021 application, HBS will accept the at-home or online versions of the TOEFL iBT and the TOEFL iTP Plus (in China in partnership with Vericant), IELTS and the IELTS Indicator, and Pearson Test of English (PTE).

  1. Written Application

    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.

  2. Transcript(s)

    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.

  3. When submitting your application, you may report the unofficial GMAT or GRE score given on the day of the test for tests taken at GMAT or GRE testing centers, 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.
  4. We require you to complete the AWA portion of the exam; however, you do not need the results in order to submit your application.
  5. We accept online versions of the GMAT or GRE. Please plan accordingly as scores from online tests may take time to be received.
  6. Be advised that in order to apply for admission, scores must be dated as follows:
  7. If you are applying in… Your GMAT or GRE test date must fall on or between
    Round 1 September 8, 2016 and September 7, 2021
    Round 2 January 4, 2017 and January 5, 2022
    2+2 Round April 30, 2016 and April 28, 2021

    There is no minimum GMAT or GRE to apply and we do not have a preference toward one test or the other. If you look at our class profile, you can see that we have a 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.

    Please note that the HBS code for the GMAT is HRLX892 and the HBS code for the GRE is 4064.

    TOEFL/IELTS/Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Scores from ALL of these tests are valid for two years. These tests must be dated January 1, 2020 or more recently to be valid.
  11. HBS only accepts the Internet-based (IBT) version of the TOEFL.
  12. 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.

    Please note that the HBS code for the TOEFL is 3444.


    There is one question for the Class of 2024 application:

    As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

    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 (2)

    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.

    Use your best judgment on who you decide to ask - there is no set formula for who should be your recommenders. We know it is not always possible to have a direct supervisor write your recommendation – we would not want you to jeopardize your current position for the application process. Look at the questions we are asking recommenders to complete. Find people who know you well enough to answer them. This can be a former supervisor, a colleague, someone you collaborate on an activity outside of work. How well a person knows you 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)


    A current business resume uploaded through our online application system.

    This can be your standard business resume or CV. You do not need to have it in any special format. You can use whatever you would use to conduct a job search.

    Acceptance of Policies
    Signed Acceptance of HBS Admissions Policies
  13. There is a nonrefundable application fee (credit card only) of $250 (USD)* to offset the cost of reviewing applications. All active duty military applicants and past SVMP participants do not have to pay the application fee. We also invite you to apply for a need-based application fee waiver if the fee presents a financial burden.
  14. *Applicants to our 2+2 Program have a reduced application fee of $100.

    Application Deadlines

    Application Guide
  15. Interview

    After your written application has been submitted and reviewed, you may be invited to interview.

  16. Post-Interview Reflection

    Within 24 hours of the interview, candidates are required to submit a written reflection through our online application system. Detailed instructions will be provided to those applicants who are invited to the interview process.

MBA Application Tips Video Series

Every HBS MBA student has been where you are right now. In this video series, we hope to help you learn how to break down your application into small, actionable steps so that you can submit a successful application that is true to you and your journey.

Application Tips
Resume Tips
Essay Tips
Extracurricular Activities and Awards Tips
Employment History Tips
Post-MBA Goals Tips
Test Scores Tips
Recommenders Tips