Last week, Dee Leopold, Harvard Business School’s Admissions Director, made three important announcements regarding the HBS MBA application for the class entering in August 2015.
First, the optional essay question, or as Leopold refers to it, “the (optional) ‘essay’ question.” The question for the 2015 application will be:
“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, academic transcripts, extracurricular activities, awards, post-MBA career intentions, test scores, and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”
She then advices applicants: “Use your judgment as to how much to tell us. We don’t have a ‘right answer’ or ’correct length’ in mind. We review all the elements of your written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage.”
As mentioned, this is the same question as last year. The plan was that every year Harvard would come up with a new optional question, but apparently, the adcom liked it so much, they backed out of the original plan and decided to keep the question.
Second, in her blog post (which you can see in full here), Leopold also provides a sneak peek at the recommender questions, which are as follows:
• 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)
And finally, about the deadlines:
• Round 1 deadline: September 9, 2014. This is approximately one week earlier than last year’s deadline and probably the earliest ever for Harvard’s round 1 due date.
• Interviews (invite only): Mid-October through November
• Notifications: Around December 10, 2014, also earlier than in previous years. The earlier response means that you will have more time to prepare round 2 applications, if you aren’t accepted. (It also means that the admissions committee will have more time to enjoy the holiday season.)
Not sure how to tackle the HBS application? Don’t worry – as soon as the entire application is released (in mid-June), we’ll walk you through it with an updated tips post. In the meantime, here’s some advice based on last year’s HBS application: Harvard Business School 2014 MBA Essay Questions & Tips.
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