What is the Harvard 2+2: The Program and You

HBS 2+2 grad with mortar board

Young superstars have some unique opportunities available to them. The Harvard 2+2 program, also sometimes written “Harvard 2 2,” is definitely one of them!

Harvard Business School wants you, especially if you’re an early-show talent that’s already brimming with professional promise as you’re finishing college. And, let’s be real, you want the connection with hyper-prestigious HBS.

Lots of MBA applicants don’t even start thinking about b-school until several years after earning an undergraduate degree, after the point when they’ve got an established presence in the workforce. But you might be operating on a different timeline. And, if you’re ready to apply to b-school now, you have options ready and waiting, including the Harvard 2+2 program.

If you’re a college student or current master’s program wunderkind wondering, “What is the Harvard 2+2? Isn’t that math kind of basic for business school?” – let the MBA admissions experts at The MBA Exchange hook you up with the info you need about this opportunity, and how to get into Harvard 2+2.

What is the Harvard 2+2 program?

The Harvard 2+2 program offers graduating college seniors a chance to apply for deferred enrollment at HBS. What does that mean? It means that, if accepted, you have a place reserved for you at HBS that you can claim within four years.

You might not go to Harvard for some time yet, taking time to explore your professional options. The program name outlines a common practice of taking two years to gain professional experience, then spending two years earning your MBA.

How to get into Harvard 2+2

If that sounds like a sweet deal, you’re right – and that makes competition to get into the 2+2 program at Harvard pretty fierce. For the class of 2023, a reported 1,403 candidates applied to the program, with a Harvard MBA 2+2 acceptance rate of just 9%.

You’re going to need to nail this application process. At The MBA Exchange, we’ve compiled years’ worth of information and experience for your benefit. What’s your Harvard 2+2 timeline?

Application process checklist

It’s time to start applying to the HBS 2+2 program in your final year of study at your current degree program, whether that’s an undergraduate degree or a master’s program.

HBS reports that accepted applicants to Harvard 2+2 come with an average GPA of 3.79. If you have a low GPA, this might not be the right opportunity for you.

Have you taken the GMAT? The range of accepted GMAT scores for this program is 590-790, 730 median. If you can’t score a good GMAT on practice tests or initial attempts, you might need GMAT prep support before you’re ready to apply. Harvard 2+2 applicants often sit the GMAT in the winter. It’s essential to ensure that your scores will be ready for reporting by application deadlines.

As you complete your application, you’ll need official transcripts and score reports, essays and a Harvard 2+2 recommendation letter. You’ll fill out a form with places for you to report SAT or ACT scores. Your high school GPA matters, in addition to your post-secondary record. International applicants will need a TOEFL score. There’s also the Harvard interview component to ace.

Application deadlines for this program come in late spring, typically the first of June, in theory right around the time you’ll be graduating. You’re going to have to focus on your applications while completing your current studies, a potentially challenging juggle to manage effectively.

Program requirements

Harvard 2+2 has different program requirements than a traditional MBA due to the early career position of most applicants. Instead of showing 1-2 years of professional experience, Harvard 2+2 applicants need to satisfy other requirements.

While it’s not expected for Harvard 2+2 applicants to have past professional experience, beyond some internships, deadlines are timed so that your post-graduation job prospects are part of the package seen by adcoms. You’ll also need to supply a list of other colleges you’re applying to. Adcoms are reviewing you, your past record and your future plans when considering your program application.

Is Harvard 2+2 a good option for me?

Adcoms are looking for something special when it comes to Harvard 2+2 admits. The program is designed to target students from different backgrounds to your typical MBA candidate, with exceptional qualities of leadership and personal promise.

What is the Harvard 2+2 admit like? HBS 2+2 seats are more likely to go to candidates with STEM, pre-law and humanities backgrounds, unlike the more traditional econ or business degree path taken by other admits.

What is the Harvard 2+2 cultural balance, typically speaking? This program deliberately seeks students from diverse backgrounds. Harvard reports 25% of the class being international.

Admits may also be individuals with unusual personal stories to tell. Harvard gives extra weight to applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds, or who are the first members of their family to graduate from college or university.

Are you ready to apply to Harvard 2+2?

Candidates may spend as long as two years preparing to apply to this highly competitive program. Statistically speaking, it’s even harder to get admitted to Harvard 2+2 than it is to get into HBS the traditional way. Program acceptance is reserved for the standouts, the top performers, the best and the most driven individuals with the ranking and prospects to show it.

But, consider. What is the Harvard 2+2 program worth to your goals, dreams and future? If you’re accepted to Harvard 2+2, your spot in a Harvard incoming class is locked in, a reality that you can count on rather than an intangible pipe dream. What couldn’t you do if you had an HBS MBA degree in the bank, just waiting for you to begin?

Graduating from a top-ranking b-school like Harvard can absolutely transform your life. Gaining admission to Harvard 2+2 is no easy feat. But, you don’t have to go it alone. Consult with The MBA Exchange, and you can benefit from our decades of experience with the MBA admissions scene, including specific deferred admission programs like HBS 2+2.

Contact us today and start with an evaluation of your candidacy now.