New HBS Application: One Essay, Sept 16 Deadline

Yep, you've got until September 16. Just around the corner!

The new Harvard Business School application was just released, and I am sure it will generate much discussion here and elsewhere on the web. Not only because of the deadline, but because now they are asking for only one essay:

“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”

As Dee Leopold, head of HBS admissions says in her blog,
"That’s it. No word limit. Use your own judgment as to how much to tell us. We have neither a “right answer” nor a “correct length” in mind."

You can find more comments from the HBS admissions director here: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/Pages/from-the-admissions-director.aspx?showall=1#May30190

and some further analysis over at Poets & Quants: http://poetsandquants.com/2013/05/30/hbs-application-down-to-just-one-e…

Should be fun. What do you think?

 

This is really interesting. A few thoughts:

-I would think more weight will fall on the interview now?

-Would love to get your take on what's most appropriate to discuss, if anything. My first take would be to flesh out something on my resume that would reveal something about my dreams / goals / personality. For example, an extracurricular activity in college or post-college.

-Is the essay optional?

-Something else that's significant - only two recommendations required.

 
mango123:

-Is the essay optional?

YES! That's the scary part. Here's what the admissions director says in her blog post:

Maybe there will be admits this year who say we don’t need to know anything else beyond the credentials they have already submitted – for them, the application may be “essay-less”.

I'm trying to imagine the applicant who chooses to just send in grades, scores, and a recommendation from David Petraeus.

Betsy Massar Come see me at my Q&A thread http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions Ask away!
 
TheTwoHacker:

This is even harder than multiple restricted-topics combined.

Agreed! And harder than Stanford's classic "What is most important to you and why?". Wonder if the GSB is going to change their essays finally....

Betsy Massar Come see me at my Q&A thread http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions Ask away!
 
Betsy Massar:
TheTwoHacker:

This is even harder than multiple restricted-topics combined.

Agreed! And harder than Stanford's classic "What is most important to you and why?".
Wonder if the GSB is going to change their essays finally....

if you were to go back to when you applied for HBS, how would you approach this question?
WSO Content & Social Media. Follow us: Linkedin, IG, Facebook, Twitter.
 
Best Response

Translation: stop wasting time re-telling us something we can figure out from your records. Do something different. Be more than just a laundry list of standard-issue achievements.

I approve. Wholeheartedly.

Half my MBA classmates essentially were their records. During those lame "fun fact" introductions they'd say, "I've climbed three mountains over 14k feet," or "I was a regional golf champion in college," or "Last year I visited every continent including Antarctica."

Is that shit bland or what?

I'd dig down to find the person, only to find that the real person essentially stopped growing at roughly age 14, right about the time their status switched over from "puberty" to "working on future HBS application".

Now hopefully HBS will actually reward the behavior they're asking for rather than showing preference to the guy who writes about how the golf championship on his resume really taught him all the life skills he'll ever need.

 
AndyLouis:
bankerella:

or "Last year I visited every continent including Antarctica."
Is that shit bland or what?

damn i was just about to start my essay with this sentence.. oh well

Change it up. How's this:

"I went to school the day that Tupac died, no problem. But when Biggie went I couldn't leave my room for a week. It's not that I was in love with rap, but the question I couldn't get out of my head was..."

Or:

"You can see from my resume that I was pre-med in college, and like many other pre-med students, I ultimately chose not to go on to medical school. But I made this choice for a different reason than most others do. My father called three weeks before graduation and said..."

 

Wow this is really hard. No clue on where to start/how much to say/etc.

[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
 
SonnyZH:

Wow this is really hard. No clue on where to start/how much to say/etc.

Translation: "I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I don't know what it will take to check this box."

This is a perfectly rational feeling. But Leopold's point is that essays are not a check-the-box exercise. My advice is to stop trying to check the box.

 
bankerella:
SonnyZH:

Wow this is really hard. No clue on where to start/how much to say/etc.

Translation: "I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I don't know what it will take to check this box."

This is a perfectly rational feeling. But Leopold's point is that essays are not a check-the-box exercise. My advice is to stop trying to check the box.

Where in the fuck have you been?

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
bankerella:
SonnyZH:

Wow this is really hard. No clue on where to start/how much to say/etc.

Translation: "I'm uncomfortable with the fact that I don't know what it will take to check this box."

This is a perfectly rational feeling. But Leopold's point is that essays are not a check-the-box exercise. My advice is to stop trying to check the box.

I've missed you baby, glad you're back.

[quote]The HBS guys have MAD SWAGGER. They frequently wear their class jackets to boston bars, strutting and acting like they own the joint. They just ooze success, confidence, swagger, basically attributes of alpha males.[/quote]
 
Funniest
  1. Acquire Signed photograph of Chuck Norris
  2. Send Photo in lieu of an essay
  3. ???
  4. Profit
"I am not sure who this 'Anonymous' person is - one thing is for certain, they have been one hell of a prolific writer" - Anonymous
 

That's basically the same thing they did for the Harvard undergrad application.

My advice to you guys: Don't write about the first time you went fishing and almost caught a water moccasin by accident.

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln
 

Very interesting move by HBS. I applaud them for going outside the box on the essay and not imposing a hard word limit. I do wonder however whether this question will result in a different type of class at HBS, similar to what the powerpoint question did for Booth. HBS has probably the most formulaic admissions process amongst the top schools; they know what they're looking for, hence one reason why they give out interview invites so quickly. I would like to see HBS use this essay to take a serious look at those who did not follow the typical blue-chip path of most of its students and instead went down a rather non-linear path as well as older late-bloomers.

 

I think this boils down to the number one thing that all business school applicants have to do : make yourself stand out.

On WSO, and most other bschool sites, the common notion is that 'omg my gmat gpa isnt high enough, i didnt work at xyz job omgomgomg' and thats why you arent going to get in. No. The reason you arent going to get in is because youre a cookie cutter with a job, high GPA, and high GMAT and not much else (otherwise, financiers, the indian engineers from IIT would unseat us all, despite your philips andover ivy gs kkr background). GPA GMAT yes numbers important but I know plenty of people who have had sub 3.0 gpas and average (for top b schools) get into M7 programs and many with scholarship -- because you did other fucking awesome things other than reformat a pitchbook for 20 hours a day

It is almost akin to Booth's powerpoint although I would easily argue that Booth's allows a lot more creativity and 'showing' of your 'sexy' traits and I'm hoping this is where most people will -- and like Bankerella noted I hope it isnt where people regurgitate their own data from their resume (as Booth warns people to NOT do on the powerpoint)

 
shorttheworld:

I think this boils down to the number one thing that all business school applicants have to do : make yourself stand out.

On WSO, and most other bschool sites, the common notion is that 'omg my gmat gpa isnt high enough, i didnt work at xyz job omgomgomg' and thats why you arent going to get in. No. The reason you arent going to get in is because youre a cookie cutter with a job, high GPA, and high GMAT and not much else (otherwise, financiers, the indian engineers from IIT would unseat us all, despite your philips andover ivy gs kkr background). GPA GMAT yes numbers important but I know plenty of people who have had sub 3.0 gpas and average (for top b schools) get into M7 programs and many with scholarship -- because you did other fucking awesome things other than reformat a pitchbook for 20 hours a day

It is almost akin to Booth's powerpoint although I would easily argue that Booth's allows a lot more creativity and 'showing' of your 'sexy' traits and I'm hoping this is where most people will -- and like Bankerella noted I hope it isnt where people regurgitate their own data from their resume (as Booth warns people to NOT do on the powerpoint)

Short: I completely agree with you.

I'm chiming in a little late, but thought I'd share my perspective.

When we look at achievements/profiles, at least statistically, all MBA applicants are incredibly similar, at least relative to their industry peers (banker vs. banker, PE vs. PE, engineer vs. engineer).

What differentiates us is the actual human/relationship aspect that’s behind those achievements/failures/major life decisions. This will give the adcoms a sense of who you are as a person and what drives you. Sometimes your recommenders can help out with this (depends on how good your recc is), yet it’s always good to give your perspective and shed some light on your motivations, thought process, and way of tackling problems.

If you take into account the fact that the adcoms already have all your stats, then one should “attempt” to write about the actual human challenges/motivations/ failures behind those stats, and through that attempt to demonstrate your character as a “leader”. (That is what will set you apart from the crowd)

This year's application is by no means easy; it seems to be a much more challenging application than last year’s. Yet, if you think about it, one should be able to demonstrate who they are (aside from their stats) in just one essay.

 
suchislife:

What differentiates us is the actual human/relationship aspect that’s behind those achievements/failures/major life decisions. This will give the adcoms a sense of who you are as a person and what drives you. Sometimes your recommenders can help out with this (depends on how good your recc is), yet it’s always good to give your perspective and shed some light on your motivations, thought process, and way of tackling problems.

Nicely said by a real life WSO member of the HBS entering class of 2015.
Betsy Massar Come see me at my Q&A thread http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-w-betsy-massar-of-master-admissions Ask away!
 

Down to 1 question? That's a nightmare since it's kind of an open question to gives you chance to say everything, but you don't know what you really want to say. Bad news for me.

 

Love this new application. My two cents is that this follows a trend I've seen in the HBS application over the years, that they are asking less and less (dropping Why HBS, dropping the achievement and failure questions etc.). My thought is that they are "Accepting their ideology" in that they have always given great weight to the things that are obvious on your resume - your test score, your school, your grades, your position, your company (So Ivy league undegrad with 3.5+ with 700+ working for an industry leader, etc), basically what we would call pedigree. And it seems to me that this question is saying: "Okay dudes, we are open minded. We know who is HBS material. Now here is your chance to surprise us. Write six words, write a bible. Make us want to accept you."

 

Incidunt quidem aliquam voluptas qui et eaque. Facere aut odit ipsa quasi cum aut voluptate occaecati. Tenetur in commodi sed maxime voluptas. Esse ut ut aliquam magni minima. Quo qui amet ut quibusdam laboriosam in ut ea.

Doloremque architecto maiores non sit perspiciatis placeat voluptatem. Corporis dolores id natus qui perspiciatis.

Et voluptatem beatae et eius. Est et natus enim deleniti quidem enim voluptatem alias. Numquam ex quisquam praesentium sit officiis.

Odio maxime minus saepe perferendis enim libero. Eos ex libero aut quod. Placeat minima ut ducimus quo laudantium odio ut.

 

Voluptatem sapiente perspiciatis distinctio sed. Perferendis tenetur veniam alias eos accusantium sit laudantium eaque. Tenetur fuga repudiandae odit odio aspernatur at qui. Odio ab cum voluptas delectus delectus.

Aut illum cum qui. Temporibus sed accusamus officiis sit recusandae. Provident voluptas eos deserunt animi officia.

Velit corporis nobis deleniti. Consequatur natus quo rem pariatur maxime accusamus voluptatem. Aut corporis libero eum quibusdam modi nulla eveniet. Et sunt excepturi odio libero in iste blanditiis et.

Dolor consequatur quia omnis dolores. Illum dolorem est et eveniet. Dolor harum quia aspernatur repellat repellat consequatur ad. Non nam magnam aut eligendi.

Dayman?

Career Advancement Opportunities

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres No 98.9%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 25 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 04 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 18 99.4%
  • JPMorgan Chase 10 98.9%
  • Lazard Freres 05 98.3%
  • Morgan Stanley 07 97.7%
  • William Blair 04 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Goldman Sachs 17 98.3%
  • Moelis & Company 07 97.7%
  • JPMorgan Chase 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

May 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (21) $373
  • Associates (91) $259
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (68) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (205) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (147) $101
notes
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”

Leaderboard

1
redever's picture
redever
99.2
2
BankonBanking's picture
BankonBanking
99.0
3
Secyh62's picture
Secyh62
99.0
4
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
99.0
5
CompBanker's picture
CompBanker
98.9
6
GameTheory's picture
GameTheory
98.9
7
kanon's picture
kanon
98.9
8
dosk17's picture
dosk17
98.9
9
Linda Abraham's picture
Linda Abraham
98.8
10
numi's picture
numi
98.8
success
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”