HBS 2+2 Program – A Comprehensive Guide

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The majority of business school students make the decision to pursue an MBA, 4 to 5 years into their professional careers. They completed college, worked for a few years, and then concluded that after gaining experience, an MBA would help them get ahead in their careers. 

HBS 2+2 Program

This makes sense since applicants at business schools are expected to have worked in their chosen field for at least a few years before enrolling. But there are a few exceptions to this rule. These high-achieving individuals decide to pursue an MBA while they are in the final year of their undergraduate studies. Therefore, business schools have created deferred MBA programs for these candidates. One of these deferred MBA programs is the HBS 2+2 program.

In this article, we’ll talk about the features of the HBS 2+2 program, who should apply to HBS 2+2, and what is the HBS 2+2 eligibility and admissions process.

What is HBS 2+2 program?

HBS 2+2 program is a mechanism for current students, either in college or a full-time master’s degree program, to apply to Harvard Business School on a deferred basis. Once you complete your program, you can apply to the HBS 2+2 program. Once selected, you will have a chance to get 2 years of work experience. After completing 2 years of work experience, you join the full-time MBA class of the Harvard Business School.

HBS 2+2 Eligibility

According to Harvard Business School, If you are in your final year of study, you are eligible to apply in the current application cycle (the deadline is April 27, 2023). You must graduate from your program between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023.

Here is the program-wise eligibility for HBS 2+2:

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Undergraduates in their final year of study are eligible to apply.

Joint Bachelor / Master’s Degree Programs

Candidates in joint Bachelor/Master’s Degree programs are eligible to apply.

Master’s Degree Programs

Candidates from master’s degree programs who have not held a full-time work position (other than internships or co-ops) are eligible to apply. To be eligible for the 2+2 Program, candidates need to have gone directly from undergraduate to graduate school.

Ph.D. Programs, Law School & Medical School

Students enrolled in Ph.D. programs, law school, or medical school are not eligible for the 2+2 Program; instead, these students should apply through the regular admissions process.

Are any profiles preferred for HBS 2+2?

According to HBS, Students from any academic background who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.

Some preference will be given to high-potential applicants whose paths to graduate business school aren’t as well-known, such as those in any of the following fields:

  • Planning to work for a company that runs businesses (tech, manufacturing, consumer goods, retail, industrials, etc.)
  • From a low socio-economic background (first generation in college, lower-income family background, less family exposure to graduate school)
  • Taking on a technically demanding job
  • Pursuing entrepreneurship

This is also portrayed in the class profile of the HBS 2+2 program. Let’s take a look at the latest class profile of the HBS 2+2 program.

HBS 2+2 Class Profile

  • Total applicants in 2021 – 1436
  • Enrolled – 124
  • International students – 25%

Undergraduate Major

Undergraduate Major (HBS 2+2)Percent
Engineering29%
Math/Physical Sciences28%
Business/Commerce17%
Economics14%
Social Science8%
Arts/Humanities4%

The profile data for the Harvard 2+2 class reflect this objective. Harvard indicates that 57% of the Class of 2023 have backgrounds in STEM and 12% have backgrounds in the humanities. This is a substantial departure from the conventional economics or business study background.

According to the HBS 2+2 admissions figures, 25% of the student body is foreign, representing 17 nations. International applicants are required to take an English proficiency exam if they have attended an institution where English was not the major language of instruction. Although there is no minimum score required for consideration, HBS discourages students with scores below 109 from applying.

In addition to attracting international students, the HBS 2+2 program is represented by 61 undergraduate institutions, according to the profile of the class of 2023. This is not a program designed exclusively for Harvard undergraduates; rather, it is intended to attract elite talent in a variety of fields from around the world.

How to apply to the HBS 2+2 program?

To apply for the HBS 2+2 class of 2027 (incoming 2025) you must follow the same process as for its full-time MBA program.

  1. Log on to the application page of the Harvard Business School.
  2. Sign up and create an account.
  3. Start a new application and select the application type as 2023 2+2 and click on ‘create application’
  4. Fill up the application. You’ll need to fill up the information on
    • Previous application experience and student conduct
    • Personal bio
    • Family
    • Resume
    • Internships, co-ops, or part-time positions
    • Pre-MBA career intentions
    • Transcript(s)
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Awards
    • Essay (As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?)
    • GMAT/GRE score and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE
    • Two recommendation letters
    • Military experience, if any
  5. Review your application and submit it.

What is the application deadline for the HBS 2+2 program?

The deadline for the HBS 2+2 class of 2027 is April 27, 2023. There is only one application round for the 2+2 program and applications are not reviewed on a rolling basis. It means that the applications will be evaluated only after the deadline.

What is the application fee for the HBS 2+2 program?

The application fee is US $100 for the 2+2 program. All active-duty military applicants don’t have to pay this fee. You can also request a need-based fee waiver.

Is getting into HBS 2+2 difficult?

Harvard doesn’t hide the fact that this is a competitive program to get into and that they want the best and brightest people to apply. The good news for students who don’t have a background in economics or business is that they won’t have to compete with as many other people. The bad news is that HBS is looking for people who stand out: those who are graduating at the top of their class with great grades, impressive leadership experience, and bright job prospects in whatever field they are going into.

For the class of 2023, 1,436 people applied to the 2+2 program at HBS, but only 8.6% were accepted. Even for business schools with a lot of competition, that’s a very low acceptance rate: the normal HBS acceptance rate is 12%.

HBS 2+2 said that the GMAT scores of those who got in ranged from 590 to 790, with a median score of 730. Also, the average grade point average was 3.79.

Don’t forget, though, that it’s not all about these numbers. Even though that’s a good place to start if you’re wondering if you measure up, keep in mind that an application is more than just the numbers. If you can show that you have challenged yourself as a student and tell a great story in your essay about why you want to get a graduate business degree, you can make up for a big gap in stats.

How to get into the HBS 2+2 program?

If you want to get into the HBS 2+2 program, the admissions committee will want to see proof of your academic potential. You have to rely on your academic accomplishments to prove your worth because you lack relevant professional experience. These factors will also improve your odds of acceptance into HBS’s 2+2 programs.

  • GPA of 3.7 and above
  • GMAT score of at least 740
  • Off-campus or on-campus leadership roles
  • Significant impact through leadership positions you held
  • Strong letters of recommendation
  • Compelling essay
  • Essay and recommendation letters are the most important components of your 2+2 application. Here are a few tips to write a compelling essay

HBS 2+2 essay tips

The topic is the same as before. However, this year Harvard admissions committee has added a 900-word limit to the essay which in previous years was without any word limit.

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

Here are a few HBS MBA essay tips and expert analysis from Admit Expert to help you write a compelling essay.

Get in touch with us to get more personalized help.

Do Other Business Schools have Similar Programs?

While the Harvard 2+2 program is extremely prestigious, HBS is not the only business school out there to offer a program like this. Here are some other top-notch choices:

  • The Stanford GSB Deferred Admission program permits graduating seniors to apply and then defer for 1-3 years as they gain professional experience.
  • Wharton’s MBA Advance Access lets recent grads apply for a guaranteed slot after working in a relevant field for two to four years.
  • The Yale Silver Scholars program permits exceptional and ambitious college students to enter Yale SOM’s MBA program directly, without spending time in the workforce first.
  • Chicago Booth Scholars Program Seniors from any undergraduate institution can apply for delayed enrollment in graduate school in 2–4 years.

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