HBS MBA Program MBA News and Announcements en-us http://www.hbs.edu/mba/ <![CDATA[Essay - App Tips Summer Series]]> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 05:00:00 EST

Let me start by reminding you of the prompt:

“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?”

The first thing you should know about the essay is that we consider all the elements of the application to get to know you and never look at just one piece by itself. The essay isn’t more or less important than other elements of the application. If you’ve been stressed about the essay, hopefully this releases a little anxiety.

Two of the most important words in the prompt are: “what more?”  The most helpful essays build on the rest of the written application or share new information. It’s hard to say “what more” you’d like us to know if you haven’t already filled out the rest of the application (or at least thought about what you’d like to say). The essay should help you bring all the aspects of your application together.

We’ve had the same prompt for a few years now, and we like the freedom it gives you. Students who are currently at HBS have taken many (many!) different approaches to this essay and were successful in the application process. There are too many approaches to list, and if I started giving a few examples, you may feel like you had to take one of those approaches. You don’t.

Instead let me share some approaches that are NOT particularly helpful to your application:

  • Essays that are basically a paragraph version of your resume: This is surprisingly common: I went to college X then decided to take job Y and that led me to job Z, and now I’m applying to HBS. There’s nothing “wrong” with this essay per se; it just doesn’t add much to your application because we already know all of that from the other elements of your application. Of course you can build on things that are raised in other parts of the application—just make sure it’s additive.
  • Essays that are too long: I wish I could give you a general rule that essays over X words are too long, but sometimes you need more space to bring things together. And that’s the reason there’s no word limit. Use your best judgment, and try to be clear and concise in your writing. What do we need to know to understand you that hasn’t been addressed elsewhere? (And what don’t we need to know?)
  • Essays that aren’t about you: I know this sounds obvious. I like the advice I heard an HBS alum give recently: After you’ve written your essay, ask yourself, “Could this essay also describe someone else?” If so, it probably isn’t personal enough to add to your overall application, and you likely need to do some more introspection. For example, we occasionally receive essays that talk at great length about HBS or an element of the program like the case method, but only share a tiny bit about the person themselves. That’s a missed opportunity to bring us into your world, your decisions, your motivations or your formative experiences.

Final thought: I know from personal experience it’s tempting to write, rewrite and rewrite again. Be careful in all that polishing that you don’t “shine away” your personality. And, remember, the essay is just one element that we consider in the context of the overall application. Good luck!

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul20325 http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul20325
<![CDATA[Employment History - App Tips Summer Series]]> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 22:00:00 EST
I am starting with the Employment section because I think there’s a temptation to just “go through the motions” in this part of the app—maybe because it feels similar to your resume? If you do that, you’re missing an opportunity to bring us into your world. In addition to dates and titles for your most recent three jobs, we give you five open text boxes: 

-Your Role and Responsibilities
-Company/Organization Description
-Reason for Leaving [for a new role]
-Key Accomplishments
-Most Significant Challenge

You only have 250 characters for each box, but you would be surprised how much you can express in that space.

In your own words (rather than the description in your HR job posting) what is your job? In describing Your Role and Responsibilities, what has stood out as critical to you as well as to your company?

In describing your Company/Organization, keep in mind that while we are familiar with many companies around the world, we may not know much about your division or your team. If you work at a startup or your family business, giving us details beyond what is available online is also very helpful.

As for your Reason for Leaving, this can be simple and straightforward and hopefully gives you a chance to reflect on the “why” of a key transition in your work life.

In the Key Accomplishments box, think back on your time at this company—what achievement has been most meaningful to you? Try to be as specific and as honest as possible. The same goes for your Most Significant Challenge.  

The employment history section ought to be one of the more self-reflective parts of the application as you step back and take stock of your journey so far. Don’t be afraid to show a little personality in your responses! This employment section really helps us get to know you and is often a good jumping off point for the interview stage of the process.

Hopefully this is helpful to you. If you haven’t started your application yet, I encourage you to start one now. I’ll share some thoughts about the essay next week!
http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul13324 http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul13324
<![CDATA[Application Tips Summer Series]]> Mon, 9 Jul 2018 18:00:00 EST

When July hits, I know from personal experience, that applying starts to feel “real” when you are planning to apply to HBS in Round 1. In addition to events and webinars, I thought a simple “Application Tips” series might be helpful to you. Hopefully, you agree!

Each week, I’ll write a few paragraphs about one element of the written application—e.g. suggestions on how to approach it, where people may get hung up, misconceptions, etc. My goal is to demystify the written application and give you some simple, practical suggestions for putting together your story. I’ll start with a post later this week about the “Employment History” section of the application. Here’s a tentative plan:

1: Employment History 
2: Essay 
3: Recommendations 
4: Standardized Tests / Transcripts 
5: Awards / Extracurriculars 
6: Resume

Before continuing with the series, let me share with you my only hesitation: that you will try to follow my suggestions too closely. The written app is for you to introduce yourself—we designed a lot of “space” in the app for you to tell your story. If you’re following a rote/cookie-cutter approach we won’t be able to get to know you. So, promise you won’t do that?

We will also be posting the tips on our Instagram page. So feel free to follow us @hbsadmissions.

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul09323 http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jul09323
<![CDATA[The Class of 2021 Application is Now Open!]]> Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:00:00 EST

I know that many of you have been waiting to get started on your application, so I am thrilled to announce that the application for the Class of 2021 is now live.  

The application deadlines are as follows:

  • Round 1  September 5, 2018
  • Round 2  January 4, 2019
  • 2+2  April 9, 2019

People sometimes ask us if we take the summers off in admissions. Wouldn’t that be nice? The truth is that we are busy reaching out to encourage people all over the world to consider HBS in the future. We do this through programs like Peek, SVMP, or the many events we host with HBS Alumni. And we love this part of our jobs. Here’s just a sample of the 50+ events (and counting!) we currently have planned for the next few months:

June 30 - HBS Information Session in Tokyo

July 11 - HBS Social Enterprise Information Session in Northern California

July 23 - HBS Information Session in Shenzhen

July 31 - Harvard Graduate School Information Session in Washington D.C.

For a complete list of information sessions, visit our events page. We hope to see you soon and good luck on your applications!

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jun13322 http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#Jun13322