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Harvard announces bold changes to its MBA admissions process

May 22 2012 By The MBA Exchange
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Harvard Business School has just announced a number of major changes to its MBA admission practices impacting both regular and 2+2 applicants.

These moves include:

1) Two essays instead of the previous four:
• Tell us something you’ve done well. (400 words)
• Tell us something you wish you had done better. (400 words)

2) A third “reflections” essay to be submitted within 24 hours after the admissions interview. The topic is what the applicant wished he or she had said during the interview session — but didn’t. The “written reflection of the interview experience” will be submitted via Harvard’s online application system.

3) Earlier application deadline (September 24) and decision date (December 12) for Round 1 applicants.

These are bold, exciting and potentially beneficial changes for serious applicants to Harvard Business School:

• Fewer essays mean that every thought and word will count even more in positioning the candidacy and making that critical first impression. Those individuals who know themselves and can integrate their past, present and future best will thrive.

• The focus of these essay questions is similar to Stanford’s well-known question, “What matters most to you and why?” HBS is now allowing applicants to paint a more complete picture of themselves. Rather than just drawing from the resume, these new essays will showcase the individual’s self-awareness without any constraints.

• The 24-hour turnaround for the third essay may add some stress, but it is also an unprecedented opportunity to address what is most important to the admissions board. A well-crafted essay can help close the deal for an astute applicant.

This new approach to the admissions process at HBS will make the support of an admissions consultant more challenging — and more valuable. Understanding and strengthening the applicant’s underlying candidacy – academic, personal and professional – is the first step. Strengths have to be showcased, and vulnerabilities have to be mitigated, well before essay writing starts.

And, since HBS will have less essay content to help them determine who will be interviewed, the other elements of the application will have to work harder than ever. Your resume, recommendations and application must be planned and executed more thoughtfully and thoroughly. And, most importantly, the breadth and depth of the interview prep process is critical.

The MBA Exchange welcomes these changes at Harvard and is ready to help serious applicants get started immediately. Our holistic approach to developing, positioning and presenting the candidacy is ideal for those facing these changes. Our rigorous interview prep process — including 25 pre-recorded/simulated admissions interviews online at our exclusive web video facility — will help applicants face the HBS interview with high confidence. And our 24-hour-or-faster response policy means that clients can keep pace with the requirements of this new HBS process with maximum quality and minimum stress.

So, if you’re planning to apply to HBS for Round 1, the time to get started is now. And the resource to engage is The MBA Exchange. How to begin? Contact us for a free, expert evaluation of your Harvard MBA candidacy.