I think your fears might be unfounded. The second fear - too business focused - taps into why HBS 2+2 was created, which was to draw talent from all walks of life. It's basically a routing tool to keep students from Yale or Harvard Law, the Kennedy School of Government, etc. Okay, that is a bit cynical. It is also designed to help really talented young leaders take a most direct and specific path toward achieving their potential. To that end, they have traditionally looked beyond business majors (given that business majors typically have the best infrastructure to take those steps on their own). However, they removed the restriction on business majors and seem to be embracing the idea that they want:
- Students who are exceptional
- And students who need 2+2
So it comes down to articulating those two ideas. The first is "here is why you do not want me going back out on the open market." You have to clear a high bar of why you are amazing. You do seem to have some great experiences so this is entirely possible. Just know that is the scorecard for this one.
The second is "here is why I specifically need 2+2." One of our clients basically said "If I can lock this in, I know I will get more out of the next two years because I won't spend that whole time worrying about getting into HBS." It was a bold approach, an honest approach, and it worked. He used his high achiever, type A personality to a different effect, which was: save me from myself. Not saying it would work every time, but it did in this instance. Either way though, you have to explain to them why you specifically would benefit greatly from this particular way of going to HBS, otherwise they can just say "ah, he'll come back around." Young talent always has their own bright futures to worry about when it comes to giving adcoms a reason to say no.
As for your other concern that you are too old, I wouldn't worry about that too much, for the same reason that someone who went on an LDS mission shouldn't worry about being too old for HBS regular admissions when they are 28. Your carbon dating is different. Your path towards "business" started later due to life experience and personal growth opportunities. I think you will look "appropriate" for 2+2 even though you are a few years older than most.
I hope this helps!
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