How to get into Harvard Business School

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Getting into Harvard Business School is a dream for many aspiring students and professionals, but it is a highly competitive process. Harvard Business School is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, and it is one of the highest-ranking MBA programs out of the M7 business schools. The school’s alumni include some of the most influential leaders in the corporate world, and it is undeniable that the resources, network, and prestige that a Harvard MBA program offers will have a tremendous impact on your chances of achieving your career goals.

how to get into harvard business school

In this article, we will explore the steps that prospective applicants can take to increase their chances of gaining admission to Harvard Business School. These steps include conducting research, achieving a high GPA, scoring high on the GMAT or GRE, writing a strong application essay, creating a stellar resume, allocating adequate time to the application form, and preparing for the interview.

How to get into Harvard Business School

Step 1 – Do your research

The first step to increase your chances of gaining admission to Harvard Business School is to conduct thorough research. It is essential to understand what the admissions committee at Harvard Business School expects to see in its candidates and what factors HBS takes into account while creating a diverse set of classes.

You should start with the HBS website and research the class, clubs, and committees to understand where you stand and where you fit in. Here is a detailed class profile of the latest MBA cohort of Harvard Business School.

Next, reach out to a few HBS alumni on LinkedIn and ask about their admission experiences. Remember, they are people with busy schedules. Therefore, talk to them at least six months before the application deadline.

You can also attend MBA admissions events hosted by the HBS admissions committee. These events are a great opportunity to ask the right questions about the admissions process.

It is also helpful to dig for information on detailed background information on students admitted to Harvard Business School. For example, Poets and Quants published an article that talks about nine applicants who secured admission to HBS’s class of 2024. This will give you an idea of the kind of accomplishments and diversity HBS is looking for.

Step 2 – Achieve a high GPA

HBS looks for applicants who have excelled academically, so you should aim to have a high GPA preferably from an institution of repute. This is evident from the average GPA of 3.7 for the class of 2024.

Not only does your GPA matter, but also the kind of courses you take matter, the difficulty level of the courses matter, and how you do in the courses matter. In case you have Ds and Fs, you should explain the reasons behind them.

In case you have a low GPA and you are a working professional (nothing you can do now to work on your GPA), you can certainly explain to the HBS admissions committee the reasons behind your low GPA and compensate it with other components of your application. One of those components is GMAT or GRE. Let’s talk about these standardized tests.

Step 3 – Score high on the GMAT or GRE

Scoring high on the GMAT or GRE is important if someone is looking to get into Harvard Business School for several reasons. First, HBS is a highly competitive school with a rigorous academic program, and the admissions committee wants to see evidence that applicants have the intellectual ability to thrive in this environment. The GMAT or GRE provides a standardized measure of this ability.

Second, the GMAT or GRE score is one of the most objective criteria that the admissions committee uses to evaluate applicants. While other factors such as work experience and extracurricular activities are important, they can be more subjective and difficult to compare across different applicants. A high GMAT or GRE score is a clear indication of an applicant’s academic potential and can help set them apart from other candidates.

Finally, a high GMAT or GRE score is often a requirement for admission to top-tier MBA programs such as HBS. While there is no minimum score required for admission to HBS, the average GMAT score for admitted students is typically in the mid-to-high 700s and mid-160s for the GRE. For the class of 2024, the median GMAT score is 730, and the median GRE score Quant and Verbal scores are 163 each. Scoring above these scores on these exams will increase your chances of being accepted.

Applicants with scores below this range may struggle to compete with other candidates and may need to demonstrate exceptional strengths in other areas to offset a lower score.

Step 4 – Write a strong application essay, create a stellar resume, and allocate adequate time to the application form

Your application essay is your opportunity to tell the admissions committee about yourself, your goals, and why you want to attend HBS.

Demonstrate leadership experience in the essay. HBS values leadership experience, so it’s important to have a track record of leadership roles in your academic, professional, or personal life.

Also, show your fit with the HBS community. HBS is looking for applicants who will contribute to the overall community and culture of the school. Therefore, make time and effort to craft a well-written, thoughtful essay.

The essay prompt for the 2023 admissions “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?” is an open-ended question that requires a maximum of 900 words. The essay should highlight the three characteristics that HBS is looking for – habit for leadership, Analytical Aptitude and Appetite, and Engaged Community Citizenship. It should also provide evidence of your leadership experiences and your ability to shape the world. To create a stellar resume, you should highlight your leadership and community initiatives. The application form is often overlooked but it is an important part of the application that provides admissions officers with important details about your employment, post-MBA goals, activities, and awards. Therefore, it is important to allocate sufficient time for this section as well.

For tips on creating a strong application, you can refer to videos by Sarah Lucas, Director, Evaluation, MBA admissions. It is crucial to make time and effort to craft a well-written, thoughtful essay and a stellar resume that showcases your unique qualifications and achievements.

Step 5 – Obtain strong letters of recommendation

Harvard Business School requires two letters of recommendation from individuals who have worked closely with you. It’s important to choose individuals who can provide a well-rounded view of your abilities and achievements.

The best letters of recommendation come from people who have worked closely with you and know you well. They should be able to speak to your accomplishments, leadership potential, and personal qualities. Ideally, one of your recommenders should be a current or former supervisor.

Make sure to give your recommenders ample time to write a thoughtful letter and provide them with the necessary information, such as your resume and personal statement. It’s also a good idea to send them a reminder a few weeks before the deadline.

Step 6 – Participate in extracurricular activities and community service

Harvard Business School values applicants with a track record of contributing to their community and making a positive impact. Therefore, it’s important to participate in extracurricular activities and community service.

This can include volunteering at a local charity, serving on a non-profit board, or participating in a sports team or club. It’s important to choose activities that are meaningful to you and align with your interests and values.

HBS is also interested in applicants who have demonstrated leadership in their extracurricular activities. Therefore, it’s important to take on leadership roles and show your ability to motivate and inspire others.

Step 7 – Prepare for the interview

After submitting your application, you may be invited to interview with a member of the HBS admissions committee. The interview is an important part of the admissions process and allows the committee to get to know you better.

It’s important to prepare for the interview by researching the school, practicing your answers to common questions, and thinking about how you can contribute to the HBS community. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your goals and how an MBA from HBS will help you achieve them.

The interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the program. It’s important to come prepared with thoughtful questions demonstrating your interest in the school.

Is Harvard Business School your dream school?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Expert tips on getting into Harvard Business School

Become a qualifying candidate

To be considered for admission, you must meet HBS’s basic eligibility criteria, including having an undergraduate degree, strong academic credentials, and demonstrating leadership potential. Therefore, you need to ensure that you meet all of the minimum requirements to be considered for admission.

Ace your GMAT/GRE

The GMAT/GRE is a critical component of the HBS admissions process. It measures your analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills. A high GMAT/GRE score can help increase your chances of getting accepted, so it’s important to prepare and perform well on this test.

Build your work experience

HBS places a lot of emphasis on work experience. Ideally, you should have at least five years of professional experience before applying. This experience should include leadership roles and demonstrate a clear progression of responsibility and achievement in your field.

Build the right profile

To stand out from the thousands of other applicants, it’s important to build the right profile. This means researching HBS and its culture, networking with alumni and current students, and showing that you understand and embody the values that HBS looks for in its candidates.

Write a great application

Your application is your chance to showcase your unique qualities and achievements. You’ll need to craft compelling essays that communicate your personal and professional experiences, goals, and values. You should also have a well-developed resume and demonstrate a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve by attending HBS.

Have a well-developed set of career goals

HBS is looking for candidates with a clear sense of direction and purpose. You should be able to articulate your career goals in a way that shows you have a well-thought-out plan for your future. This will demonstrate to the admissions committee that you are serious about your career and that you have the potential to achieve great things.

Reach out to your references

HBS requires two letters of recommendation, so it’s important to cultivate professional relationships and give your references plenty of time to write their letters. Choose recommenders who can speak to your leadership potential, work ethic, and character.

Practice for your interview

The interview is a critical component of the HBS admissions process. It’s your chance to demonstrate your communication skills, personality, and fit with the HBS culture. Practice answering common interview questions and be prepared to talk about your experiences and goals in a way that is engaging and memorable.

Start early

The HBS admissions process can take several months, so it’s important to start early. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the GMAT, build your work experience, research HBS, and craft a compelling application. By starting early, you’ll be able to present the strongest possible candidacy.

Final Thoughts

Getting into Harvard Business School is a competitive process, but with the right preparation and mindset, it’s possible to stand out from the crowd. By doing your research, achieving a high GPA, scoring high on the GMAT or GRE, writing a strong application essay, obtaining strong letters of recommendation, participating in extracurricular activities and community service, and preparing for the interview, you can increase your chances of being accepted to one of the most prestigious business schools in the world.

Remember that the admissions committee is looking for a diverse group of highly qualified and exceptional applicants. Therefore, it’s important to showcase your unique strengths and experiences and demonstrate your potential to make a positive impact on the HBS community and the world. Good luck with your application.

Is Harvard Business School your dream school?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

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