What does a typical applicant at Harvard Business School look like?

mike50's picture
Rank: Senior Baboon | 188

I'm taking a look at the HBS admission statistics. Last year 8,900 people applied. 900 were accepted. I was wondering since 8,000 people were rejected, what kind of stats would I need to be competitive? In your opinion, is this competitive?

- 700 GMAT
- 3.6 GPA
- Undergraduate degree @ University of Michigan Economics
- summer internship @ Big 4
- Average extracurricular activities
- First generation college graduate

Harvard Applicant Profile

Here are some statistics pulled directly from the hbs.edu/mba/admissions/class-profile/Pages/default.aspx"> HBS Class Profile. We are going to focus on median numbers because it is allot easier to discount any outliers.

Average GPA of HBS admits

The average GPA of HBS admits is 3.7 when averaging from schools using the 4.0 grading scale.

Most Dominant Industries Pre MBA

Average GMAT Scores of HBS admits

  • Median GMAT Score
    • 730
  • Median Verbal Score
    • 42
  • Median Quantitative Score
    • 49

Key Takeaways

  • HBS is still very competitive. However even if you check all the boxes score wise, you can still get rejected.

from certified user @petergibbons

Rejected without an interview last year.

750+ GMAT
Honors graduate from Top LAC
Varsity Athlete and Club President
Would've come in after 2 years at MBB (I know it's young, but multiple classmates were accepted)
Alumni recommendation (but realistically, most MBB folks will have this)
Spent a lot of time on essays (hard to say whether they're objectively good)
...white dude.

That said, I know many people with similar backgrounds and stats who have gotten in after 2-3 years at MBB. Point is that nothing's a guarantee, but I know at least a few who "beat you" on most of the dimensions you listed and didn't get in

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Comments (33)

Feb 21, 2013

Work on your GMAT score and hopefully you are doing a great internship right now. Other than that have a great personal statement.

Feb 21, 2013

No. You need real work experience.

You probably need at least a 750 with that GPA.

Feb 22, 2013

Rejected without an interview last year.

750+ GMAT
Honors graduate from Top LAC
Varsity Athlete and Club President
Would've come in after 2 years at MBB (I know it's young, but multiple classmates were accepted)
Alumni recommendation (but realistically, most MBB folks will have this)
Spent a lot of time on essays (hard to say whether they're objectively good)
...white dude.

That said, I know many people with similar backgrounds and stats who have gotten in after 2-3 years at MBB. Point is that nothing's a guarantee, but I know at least a few who "beat you" on most of the dimensions you listed and didn't get in.

Feb 21, 2013

I applied round 2 at HBS this year and got an interview.

Top 5 undergrad, econ major, 3.78 gpa, 780 gmat
Ton of clubs in college
4 years of exotic derivatives trading at a BB in NYC
got a rec from a managing director who is a HBS alum
on the board of 2 major nonprofits
very solid essays (although essays aren't that important for HBS)

Feb 21, 2013
mbavsmfin:

I applied round 2 at HBS this year and got an interview.

Top 5 undergrad, econ major, 3.78 gpa, 780 gmat
Ton of clubs in college
4 years of exotic derivatives trading at a BB in NYC
got a rec from a managing director who is a HBS alum
on the board of 2 major nonprofits
very solid essays (although essays aren't that important for HBS)

Did you get in or you don't know yet?
And, why essays are not important for HBS?

Feb 22, 2013
WallStreetStandard:
mbavsmfin:

I applied round 2 at HBS this year and got an interview.

Top 5 undergrad, econ major, 3.78 gpa, 780 gmat
Ton of clubs in college
4 years of exotic derivatives trading at a BB in NYC
got a rec from a managing director who is a HBS alum
on the board of 2 major nonprofits
very solid essays (although essays aren't that important for HBS)

Did you get in or you don't know yet?
And, why essays are not important for HBS?

I just had my interview earlier this week.

HBS admissions is pretty straightforward actually. I think it's the least mysterious among the top programs; dean leopold knows what she wants, hence the greatly reduced essays and the relatively short amount of time before invites go out, especially given the high volume of applicants. You pretty much need to have a blue-chip resume or be exceptional in a non-conventional field (military special forces, startup, white house, treasury, nonprofit, fashion, etc.)

Feb 22, 2013

Pack your shit, you're going to Rutgers!

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Feb 22, 2013

Princeton doesn't even have a business school...

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Feb 22, 2013
OpsDude:

Princeton doesn't even have a business school...

They do have a "school of that caliber" though.

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Feb 22, 2013
OpsDude:

Princeton doesn't even have a business school...

We have the Bendheim Center for Finance. The admit rate here is about half that of HBS, the gmat scores are higher, and the admit profiles are arguably of the same caliber. A lot of the students debated between an M7 MBA and BCF.

Not sure who threw the MS. But I fixed it for you.

To have a good (not perfect) shot at HBS, one route in is to have a few years of front office experience at a bank- but B-schools don't like traders, have excellent extracurriculars, and have fantastic references.

HBS is never a slam dunk. Neither is Princeton MFin.

Feb 22, 2013

http://www.princeton.edu/bcf/graduate/recruiting/C...

You can click on the "CV" link for each candidate.

Feb 22, 2013

go on LinkedIn and search the HBS students, and you'll get a pretty good idea.

Feb 22, 2013

Well say what you want- I never applied to the M7 so I dont know how things would have gone. I am happy with the results out of here. The vast majority of us are heading for front office roles, about half of which are PM track roles in systematic strategies at hedge funds.

Feb 22, 2013

A resume that demonstrates your ability to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, smoke refer and "run a train" on naive Sl*ts. That will "get you in" for sure...

Feb 22, 2013

sorry... typo there..."reefer"

Feb 22, 2013

I meant for an MBA. I'm simply curious as to what I can do personally to mirror the resumes of those who have gained acceptances to schools like Harvard Business and Wharton. Any help, with this in mind, would be appreciated.

Feb 22, 2013
Hedged:

I meant for an MBA. I'm simply curious as to what I can do personally to mirror the resumes of those who have gained acceptances to schools like Harvard Business and Wharton. Any help, with this in mind, would be appreciated.

1.) Front office job at a top tier BB.
2.) Amazing recs.
3.) Extracurriculars. Try to find stuff other people aren't doing but most accomplished people would be really curious about at a dinner party.

Feb 22, 2013

I don't know why we're staying on the Princeton obsession- this discussion does seem to be doing a lot to help the program and I'm glad for that- but of the two Princeton ugrads-> Princeton MFins, one got hired as a "PM" at the Singapore Wealth Fund and the other got hired as an Associate at GSAM with no prior work experience.

After hang gliding last night, we were having beers around the campfire with some of the other pilots, including one of the country's best cross-country pilots- Dave Hopkins. Dave called a 50 mile cross-country flight (one that would take several hours and require a lot of skill) a "sled run" (a flight where you take off from the mountain and land 3-4 minutes later). This caused several jaws to drop. Someone else commented that he'd give up various body parts to get a 50 mile "sled run".

My view is that most of the jobs people are landing out of Princeton are 50 mile soaring flights- stat arb roles on small teams running large funds. If you're a Dave Hopkins of the business world- if you're a CEO or if you run a large fund, you're allowed to call the jobs getting landed out of Princeton MFin "back office". You're also allowed to call the jobs getting landed out of M7 MBA programs back-office too. But for those of us who left the front office to come to school here, these are some pretty awesome "back office" jobs we're landing IMHO.

Ellenville looks soarable again today and I have a few more friends coming up. If I can get enough lift I can get some practice in on wingovers and maybe a few other aerobatics.

In any case, if you're a PM with nine or ten figures AUM, congrats on your status and thank you for helping to keep the discussion going about Princeton. We're a small, selective program with only 40 students vs ~1000 at HBS, so if we get 10% of the attention that HBS gets, we're doing pretty darned well.

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Feb 22, 2013
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