Straight Out of College to HBS?

I am a Wharton Undergraduate Senior with a 3.7 and a 770 GMAT. I've got good leadership experience in college, and have had i banking and law firm summer internships before.

What's it gonna take to get me into HBS this year?

I've heard that they get 9000 apps, for about 1000 admit spots. I have also heard that only 150 college seniors apply, and that about 20 are taken.

I gotta figure my odds now are as good as they're going to get.

Will I need killer Recs?

Clearly I'd love to think my essays are good.

What message do I need to send?

How am I going to pull this off?

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Comments (28)

Nov 29, 2006 - 2:31pm

Regardless of whether you are able to get in or not, this is the worst decision you could possibly make. You will regret it your entire life.

Look, you have a great background, go work 2-5 years and then go to HBS.

If you go now, you will not get the money or the responsibility an MBA deserves. Not to mention, some places will not want to hire you at all, because you have too little experience for an MBA hire, and the MBA makes you too qualified for an undergrad hire.

I-banking is a great example, NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY will hire you as an Associate with zero work experience. Not a soul.

All that aside, you'd be surprised how much you learn about the way the world really works during a few years of real workd experience. The real world is not a simple, constructed little game like Academia. Being smart is not the only thing (though it helps) needed to succeed.

Do what you want, but working now is by far the best decision. You will get a lot more out of an MBA with some experience under your belt.

Having done an MBA, and knowing people like you who were super smart with no experience, I can tell you they did not fare well in the job hunt and, while maybe they were liked personally, their opinions were not realistic or taken seriously.

Nov 29, 2006 - 2:34pm

You have an undergrad biz degree, what is the point of going straight to HBS?

Nov 29, 2006 - 2:41pm

My logic is that I have the finance knowledge after college, so I should look at the management side.

I should note that one of the reasons I'm applying to HBS is the perks they offer college seniors:

1)Waive the 235 dollar app fee
2)Offer a 2 year deferral option
3)Provide feedback letters for rejected applicants

I have an offer at my summer bank (Think Top 2) which I plan on taking whether or not I am accepted or rejected (Thats where the 2 year deferral is so helpful).

The issue is not whether I should go immediately, but rather how I can improve my chances of getting in.

Side Note: Good friend of mine my year did the Wharton MBA submatriculation (Undergrad + MBA = 5 years), did summer analyst stint at BB, and then was asked back as a summer associate once he got the accpetance news. The kid is gonna be a 22 year old associate.

Pretty sick, no?

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Nov 29, 2006 - 2:45pm

kid, if you can become a 22 year old associate, than by all means do it. I don't know you, so I've got to hedge that it's not the case.

The 2 year deferral option is not a bad deal, so that might be worth looking into.

235 dollars is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

The only negative feedback I can imagine is not enough work experience.

Dec 1, 2006 - 10:55am

yeah I agree with Kimbo, those guys who go straight from undergrad, probably have 4.0 in dual Engineering/Finance, have started their own company, and are a world class violin players.

Disclaimer: The post above has been made by someone who is not currently employed in IBD, and has not had an interview yet...

Dec 6, 2006 - 7:15am

My friend thought about applying to HBS and deferring for two years, but realized that there's no point. If she could get in now, she could absolutely get in 3 years from now, with more experience, and more money in her bank account. If you've been working in a bank for 3 years, what's $235?

Dec 19, 2006 - 6:21am

If you can get into HBS straight outta undergrad, surely that puts you ahead in the world?

Being interested in markets and stuff, you must feel that time is your most valuable commodity, so If you can make it to Associate by skipping an analyst role or by skipping going to b-school and being offered an associate role then you're laughing.

That just seems like smart logic to me. Plus most of your comments on this forum regarding life as an analyst are negative, whereas a lot of people regard life as a post-grad as a bit of a laugh.

I'd say that the end definitely justifies the means. Even when you take into account the foregone earnings whilst at b-school.

Jan 8, 2007 - 4:57am

what does the guy have to lose by applying now? he already rocked the gmat, he's got a job offer which that he's gonna take (so the argument that he should definitely get some work experience b4 bschool is out), and there are a bunch of other perks as well (yeah yeah nobody seems to care about the app fee but i remember back in college, my poora$$ still thought it was a decent amount of money)...
basically the worst that can happen is the guy doesn't get in and applies like everyone else a few years down the line if he still decides to go to bschool (it's not like harvard is gonna blacklist him...he can still apply later)...on the flip side, if he does get in, he's set for bschool...who really wants to study for the gmat and deal w/ all the inevitable interviews and essays after working for a few years if you can avoid them?
and to the guys who don't think the guy will get in, i think this guy has as good a chance as any other senior...the following isn't the exact same situation and i'm not trying to say it is, but it's somewhat relevant...i went to uchicago undergrad and applied to a program they set up for seniors to apply to the i took the gmat senior year, did the app, had the interviews, and in the end i had a 2-3 year deferred acceptance to the gsb (and i'm def no allstar)...i'm not committed to going and i'm sure the harvard program isn't binding either, so you can still apply to other schools later on...who wouldn't want a chicago or harvard as a backup?

finally, i agree w/ everyone that stresses how important it is to get some work experience b4 heading to bschool, but in a few instances, it just might not be the best choice...i had a friend from school that went straight from undergrad to the chicago gsb...during undergrad, he founded a start-up w/ some friends and got some funding...his first year in bschool, he won an entrepreneurship competition sponsored by chicago...the next year he won forbes young entrepreneur of the year award and got 100k for winning...i suppose my point is, some ppl know exactly what they want to do w/ their careers, and in those cases sometimes they don't need a few years of work b4 bschool to figure it out...they would rather learn the theory first and put it into practice themselves rather than labor as some corporate cog for a few years and decipher the theory from seeing it in practice...

Jan 10, 2007 - 4:18pm

you've got the stats they are looking for, no doubt about it. I would give it a shot, chances are better that they would give you deferred admission (2 years) vs letting you in right away.

I worked with a guy this summer (in PE) who came straight to HBS from undergrad. Don't let these naysayers turn you away.

But to answer your question, most of the folks HBS has let in right out of school have had techie backgrounds (CS, EE, etc) or deep involvement in a family business or other meaningful business (which they started).

Previous posters do make a good point, W is solid, but its going to be difficult to convince HBS why this is the right time for you..Best of luck.

Jan 14, 2007 - 1:44pm

1) business school is a free option on a career change

2) without prior work/industry experience you'll be a poor associate - most associates with work/industry experience are bad, you'll be worse (no offense)

You're going to have kids who are 1-2 years younger than you coming to you and asking you about industry conventions and practical finance matters which you won't have the experience to answer.

A very smart person once reminded me, that the most detrimental thing people often do to their careers is try to accelerate it beyond abilities which ends up costing them big time...

Jan 15, 2007 - 4:01pm
1) business school is a free option on a career change

2) without prior work/industry experience you'll be a poor associate - most associates with work/industry experience are bad, you'll be worse (no offense)

You're going to have kids who are 1-2 years younger than you coming to you and asking you about industry conventions and practical finance matters which you won't have the experience to answer.

A very smart person once reminded me, that the most detrimental thing people often do to their careers is try to accelerate it beyond abilities which ends up costing them big time...

I agree with exGS. If you really want to be a banker, the worst disservice you could possibly do yourself is to go straight to business school from undergrad. You'll lack the experience to get the most out of an MBA, and you'll find it hard to convince many bankers that they should hire you as an associate.

Jan 15, 2007 - 4:29pm

If you get in then you should attend. I know people who got into HBS and MIT Sloan straight out of college and had the mindset that they should get more experience first, so they went to work and reapplied after a couple of years and got rejected by both schools (plus many more).

Jan 16, 2007 - 12:47am

Do it only if you plan on working for 2 years, otherwise, on the off-chance that you do get in (which is unlikely, not trying to discourage you, being honest), you might be tempted to go straight to it.

Having been in a MBA program with kids that have no work experience, I have seen how they get reamed in the job hunt, their poor relations with their class peers notwithstanding. As someone else said, a MBA is a card you only get to play once; time it wisely.

Metals & Mining I-Banker

Feb 6, 2007 - 6:00pm

So guys,

I really appreciate all the feedback I've gotten, and I'm happy to report that I been offered an interview at HBS in boston in a couple of weeks.

I should remind readers of this post that the entire time, if accepted, I've been planning on deferring for 2 years after working at my Top 2 BB bank in a solid industry coverage department.

So, the question now becomes this:

If my interviewer doesn't bring up my youth, should I? If my youth is being ignored, does that mean that my interviewer expects me to address it myself, or that its an angle that doesn't need to be considered.

Also, any general advice about b school interviews would be greatly appreciated. Questions that have caught you offgaurd, etc.

Let's hear it folks.

Feb 15, 2007 - 12:22pm

I think you should absolutely address your youth. Most likely he will bring it up, as the standard bschool question is "Why now?", which is just as relevant at 27 as at 22. And you better have a very good answer as to why now... Id say you have to sell him on how your "experience" in college equates to the 3-4 years experience that the average HBS student has already acquired, which will be a tough sell.

Mar 22, 2007 - 3:53pm

How did the interview go?

I'm actually considering the same thing, and HBS is one of the few if not only elite bschools that have a 2 year deferral option. I would definitely defer for 2 years before going to bschool.

I figure I would let them know I am deferring for two years while I am applying. Is there any way to let them know you are applying for deferral acceptance?

Mar 26, 2007 - 1:19am

One of the trends in B-schools is to go younger, as you're closer to the hard analytics and coursework (try being in the workplace, and see how much you forget). You're doing the right thing - the feedback that you'll get from the application process is worth the time in itself. Good luck!

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