In keeping with the trend of more and more MBA candidates submitting their applications in the first and second rounds (September and January), Harvard Business School (HBS) recently announced that it will be eliminating its third and final application round. However, the third round will remain in place for its 2+2 program for college seniors seeking deferred admission.
Estimates are that less than 5% of Harvard’s incoming MBA classes apply in R3. Students who are rejected by HBS usually accept offers from other top MBA programs.
Harvard’s decision will definitely have an impact on other programs that leave spots open for those students not accepted to Harvard during R1 and R2. Additionally, candidates will not have to wait until the spring to be notified of their waitlist status. This will allow applicants to give earlier notice to these other programs.
HBS Admissions Director Views Change as Positive for Incoming Students
Chad Losee, HBS’s managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, sees this decision as a positive one for incoming students. “Getting a decision earlier will give admitted students better access to on-campus housing, more cohort options for HBX CORe, and more time for visa processing,” he says. He also states that the decision was made to give the Class of 2021 a head start on the R1 and R2 deadlines, announcing that these deadlines will be September 5, 2018 and January 4, 2019. The application for R1 will open in early June 2018. Harvard is striving to make the admissions process as smooth as they can for incoming students.
According to Losee, when students interview on campus, a whole day of events is planned with students and faculty to give candidates a real feeling of attending HBS. But when applicants would come for R3 interviews, they wouldn’t get a complete picture of HBS since students and faculty were already well into the swing of final exams.
HBS acknowledges that timing has traditionally been a problem for students admitted in Round 3. They recognize that is takes a lot of time to finish up a job and move to a new city and feel that the extra time will be helpful in these and other areas.
MBA Admissions Consultants Share Their Perspective
Accepted’s MBA admissions consultants see the Harvard Business School application deadline change as a positive one, given the few non-2+2 students who were actually accepted during the third round. Accepted Senior Consultant Jennifer Bloom notes “Frankly, I appreciate the honesty. It’s nasty to make people think they have a real chance when there are so few (or no) spots left.”
Accepted consultant Karin Ash adds, “It also once again reveals how the elite schools are spoiled with an abundance of over-the-top applications.”
Linda Abraham, Accepted founder and CEO, believes “This change may actually slightly increase applications round 3 for other schools. “People rejected to HBS (and elsewhere) will apply to other programs round 3.”
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