Amidst the angst, chaos, and exhaustion of the last rounds of 2020 MBA admissions disrupted and in many cases extended by the COVID-19 pandemic, a sign of new life, a ray of light… Normalcy never glowed so appealingly: Harvard Business School has announced its 2021 MBA application deadlines.
Harvard Business School 2020-2021 application deadlines
Round Application Deadline Decisions Released
1 September 8, 2020 December 10, 2020
2 January 5, 2021 March 30, 2021
While the online application will not open until mid-June, the essay question will remain the same as last year. [Click here to read our HBS application essay tips!]
Again, HBS is the first to set sights on the next application cycle. It will shortly be followed by many top MBA programs. And with only 2 rounds last year, the HBS adcom was slightly less mired in the COVID crisis (dealing with accepted applicants’ upended lives but not also managing and recalibrating active rounds) than most MBA programs.
This turn to the next application cycle – to the future – is significant. In HBS’s webpage announcement of these plans, there is recognition of the pandemic. While no specific actions or changes are cited in response to the pandemic, the adcom affirms that its holistic approach to application review will now include consideration of how the pandemic affects applicants. In other words, COVID-19 is now among myriad factors the adcom sees as potentially affecting applicants – it is part of the current gestalt.
HBS and other top MBA adcoms have slogged through the upheaval of this spring’s dramatic global virus eruption. Each MBA program has adapted and adjusted in its own way, from extended deadlines and test requirement waivers to increased deferral requests, going virtual, and recruiting changes. Most of the top MBA programs offer courses about leading in uncertainty and change – they couldn’t have been more challenged to walk the talk! It’s a changed world now, a new normal. Although the COVID dust hasn’t quite settled, HBS has gathered its resources to look and plan ahead. Other programs are doing likewise.
What does that mean for you, who are applying in the new application cycle? In practical terms, it means each program will be adapting in its own way, both in admissions processes and academic approaches. Many adcoms, like HBS, will be using the same essay questions as last cycle – so you can review them and start thinking about essay ideas and strategies. It also means you should review each program’s website carefully to understand how the program is adapting to COVID-19 – there will likely be changes in attendance requirements, new online options, etc. Clarifying how these fit with your needs can be part of your presentation.
By moving forward – making concrete plans for a new admissions cycle, a new academic year, and a new reality – HBS turns a corner on some dark times. It’s a welcome example.
Are you applying to HBS or another top MBA program? Do you have questions about whether now is the best time to apply to and attend business school? Work one-on-one with an MBA admissions consultant to assure that your application strategy is on track to help you meet your educational and career goals.Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!