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Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017

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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 24 Aug 2014, 17:00
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I just wanted to add my 0.02 on resumes:

Do not overlook this piece of your application; in fact, I actually think it may be more important than most people give credit for (and the essay less so). More than half of my HBS interview was spent on two hobbies listed on the very bottom line of my resume. It blew me away how detail-oriented the admissions team was (and I wrote about that in my 24 hour follow-up). Every single line on your resume should be 100% solid; do NOT embellish and do NOT flippantly put things on there. HBS will read it and hold you to it. Know it inside and out like a job interview. And put serious pursuits on there (even hobbies) and be prepared to talk about them with real passion.

If your resume is longer than a page, I would assume you just reduced your chances. HBS applications are about the art of brevity. 1 page max, and don't cheat with itty-bitty margins. Just cut out the air!

Also, while I applied in Fall 2012 (am currently HBS Class of 2015), there were 2 required essay prompts - describe something you did well, and something you didn't do so well at. I think I wrote a much more introspective and better essay for the latter. I'd encourage anyone trying to think of what to write to honestly own up to a failure or weakness in the workplace (or in another context), and how you turned it around.

DO NOT OVERWRITE! Every prior essay was 400 words each. I would shoot for your personal essay to be this length or shorter.
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GMAT/GRE: How we think about your score [#permalink] New post 25 Aug 2014, 05:00
FROM HBS Admissions Blog: GMAT/GRE: How we think about your score
We promised that we’d be a bit more transparent about the GMAT/GRE issue. We’ve said for a while now that not only do we accept both tests, but we are agnostic about our preference. So here are some numbers. Please don’t over-crunch.

It’s important to note that candidates this year will NOT have an option to submit both tests. We need to officially verify scores and prefer to do it for only one test per candidate.

Total Matriculating Admits
Total Applicants during 2013-2014
GMAT
844
8288
GRE
81
1115
Both
10
140
Total
935
9543

  Those are the numbers, but the reasoning behind how we look at the scores is probably important for you to understand. We care less about the overall score than we do about the components. And we look at the subscores in the context of the candidate’s profile.

For example, an engineer with top grades who’s been doing highly quantitative work doesn’t need a high GMAT/GRE-Q to convince us he/she is capable of doing the quantitative work at HBS. But an English major whose transcript shows no quantitative coursework and has not done anything quantitative professionally or in post-college academics would be helped by a strong GMAT/GRE quant score. The corollary is true too: candidates who don’t have a background that demonstrates extensive practice in reading and writing may be helped by strong verbal subscores.

Another important reminder: every candidate needs to submit EITHER the GMAT or GRE at the time of application. We don’t accept LSATs, MCATs, SATs or the fact that you had exceptional undergraduate grades. On our application, you input the unofficial score - the official score report can reach us after the deadline.

Hope this is helpful . . . .

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This post has been originally posted on the Admissions Blog and re-posted here for convenience

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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2014, 10:41
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snowedinboston wrote:

DO NOT OVERWRITE! Every prior essay was 400 words each. I would shoot for your personal essay to be this length or shorter.


Hmmm I appreciate your thoughts. I have heard some people recommend keeping the essay to 800 words, but not 400. Mine is currently 867 words and I am basically ready to hit submit. You've made me question it!
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Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2014, 11:28
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gotti wrote:
snowedinboston wrote:

DO NOT OVERWRITE! Every prior essay was 400 words each. I would shoot for your personal essay to be this length or shorter.


Hmmm I appreciate your thoughts. I have heard some people recommend keeping the essay to 800 words, but not 400. Mine is currently 867 words and I am basically ready to hit submit. You've made me question it!


Don't over-think; just answer the question and move on. For some people, this will be well in excess of 800 words, but for many it will not. I think what snowedinboston /others point out is that most people add fluff when they write, and your content will be stronger without said fluff. (This is the same thing every English teacher has pointed out.)
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 26 Aug 2014, 12:07
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gotti wrote:
snowedinboston wrote:

DO NOT OVERWRITE! Every prior essay was 400 words each. I would shoot for your personal essay to be this length or shorter.


Hmmm I appreciate your thoughts. I have heard some people recommend keeping the essay to 800 words, but not 400. Mine is currently 867 words and I am basically ready to hit submit. You've made me question it!


Most of the essays in the Harbus Essay Book are about 800 words each, so I wouldn't worry about your essay length. What matters the most is the content, as TheNightmanCometh pointed out
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 06:56
Keen to get some thoughts on this..would the below count as an extracurricular activity:

I was on the Graduate Committee at my workplace for about 18 months. The role was voluntary and had no bearing on my performance reviews -infact my manager didn't even know something like this existed within the company!
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 07:01
ZoSoKM wrote:
Keen to get some thoughts on this..would the below count as an extracurricular activity:

I was on the Graduate Committee at my workplace for about 18 months. The role was voluntary and had no bearing on my performance reviews -infact my manager didn't even know something like this existed within the company!


I believe Harvard is mostly looking for community involvement or extra-curriculars during school. I would say yours is not technically either. You are limited to 3 activities, if you have 3 decent activities that don't include the Graduate Committee I would suggest that you do not include it. That said, if your choice is only including 2 activities, or adding the Committee, then by all means add it. It won't hurt.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2014, 23:34
gotti wrote:
ZoSoKM wrote:
Keen to get some thoughts on this..would the below count as an extracurricular activity:

I was on the Graduate Committee at my workplace for about 18 months. The role was voluntary and had no bearing on my performance reviews -infact my manager didn't even know something like this existed within the company!


I believe Harvard is mostly looking for community involvement or extra-curriculars during school. I would say yours is not technically either. You are limited to 3 activities, if you have 3 decent activities that don't include the Graduate Committee I would suggest that you do not include it. That said, if your choice is only including 2 activities, or adding the Committee, then by all means add it. It won't hurt.


I don't think that that is the case. I would even say that more recent extracurriculars are more desirable.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2014, 18:17
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ZoSoKM wrote:
Keen to get some thoughts on this..would the below count as an extracurricular activity:

I was on the Graduate Committee at my workplace for about 18 months. The role was voluntary and had no bearing on my performance reviews -infact my manager didn't even know something like this existed within the company!


There's a ton of things in life - and business school - that are voluntary and have no bearing on your evaluation but that make life a better place for you/your family/your company/your school/your community. So HBS will likely well of it! If anything, the fact that you did it entirely to help out and because you thought it's fun counts for more and is more representative of you than most ECs you could put.
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The Online Application: Details? [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2014, 09:00
FROM HBS Admissions Blog: The Online Application: Details?
I'm writing this post because I am the person here in Dillon who triages the general admissions mailbox. I don't claim to answer all the questions - and I don't manage the phones because I'm not as nice (or knowledgeable) as the people who do - but, as we approach the September 9 Round 1 deadline, we are fielding a lot of questions that indicate a level of anxiety about details. First, we're happy you're applying. Second, we know you want to get it right. But I hope this post can put some of this into perspective.

We're getting a lot of questions about exactly what to put on each line of the online application. Especially in the employment and education sections. Here's how we think about it:

We need the online application so we can capture a variety of fields to run some reports, look easily across the applicant pool, etc.

The reality is that we are reading your resume and transcripts carefully to understand what you've been doing.

Another reality is that everyone reading applications has done this for a long (long) time and gets it.

So, as long as what you enter on the online application captures the general facts correctly - the firm where you work, the dates, the website, the school that granted your degrees, the extracurricular activities you want us to know about, test scores and dates - all should be fine.

This is NOT meant to shift anxiety from one place to another. We are not hoping to have multi-page resumes with tons of detail. Just want you to know that if you don't know where to put something or how to communicate role changes within firms, the resume is the best place.

Maybe this is a way to summarize:

Although this is probably YOUR first experience with an HBS online application, it's not ours! We know how to figure things out. We will. If we can't, we'll let you know.

Again, hoping this is helpful.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 02:16
Thanks @gotti, @omegakappa, and @TheNightmanCometh for the advice. Much appreciated :).
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Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 15:44
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Hello Guys,

We recently got an opportunity to talk to a prominent GMATClub member and recent Harvard admit - DefyingGravity - and get her insights on Harvard. Here are the excerpts from the discussion.


DefyingGravity is currently a first-year MBA candidate at Harvard Business School. With a background in the education sector, she is passionate about leveraging strong business management practices to improve outcomes for students.



Who would be an ideal applicant to your program based on admissions, culture, and the program in general?

DefyingGravity:- The stereotypical HBS student is an ultra-competitive, alpha male from a finance or consulting background. As a somewhat reserved female with a social enterprise background, I can confidently tell you that the stereotype is completely false. HBS is a bit less touchy-feely than Stanford, but there is still an emphasis on developing “leaders who make a difference in the world.” (That’s the HBS motto, by the way). We even have required courses like Lead and FIELD, which emphasize emotional intelligence. Basically, the defining characteristic of the ideal HBS applicant is someone who has demonstrated leadership potential.



GPA, GMAT, Application Essays, Interview, Work Experience, and Extra Curricular. If you asked to arrange these parameters in the order of their importance at HBS – what would it be?

DefyingGravity:- I would rank these parameters in the following order (most to least important): Work Experience, Application Essay, GMAT, GPA, Extracurriculars


What advantage, if any, is there in applying in a specific round over another?

DefyingGravity:- I think the odds of admission in rounds 1 and 2 are roughly equal. Don’t sacrifice the quality of your application in order to apply in round 1. However, it’s emotionally/psychologically less stressful to have at least one admit sooner rather than later.



Are the on-campus and off-campus interviews treated equally or there is any preference to one over other?

DefyingGravity:- I interviewed on campus for HBS. However, I do not think that there is an admissions advantage in interviewing on or off. If you interview on-campus, a full day of activities is available to you. These activities are fun, but do not influence your odds of acceptance.



Do you recommend a school visit? Is it a must?

DefyingGravity:- Yes, definitely. Many people think visiting schools is overrated and an unneccesary expense. I am an advocate of researching as much as possible in order to present your best self in your application and interview. Visiting schools gives you additional fodder that can only strengthen your app.



Is there anything related to Financial Aid worth a mention?

DefyingGravity:- Financial aid at HBS is completely need-based. Many other schools offer merit-based aid (i.e. Tuck), or a combination of merit and need-based aid (i.e. Kellogg). HBS uses a strict formula to calculate how much money you’ll get. This is both good and bad. The positive aspect of this is that if you have a financial need, then you will definitely get money. The down side is that you will never get a full-ride. Of the schools at which I was accepted, my HBS fellowship offer fell roughly in the middle of my other offers.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2014, 17:29
in for R1 and getting anxious! Trying to finish up everything by weekends end.

Question: I know this is such a small detail, but for GPA reporting, if my school gives a 4.000 scale do I report the whole thing, or round to 4.0 scale since that is the frame of reference they give in the question stem? I know they will see it on my transcript anyways but figured it wouldn't hurt to ask...
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2014, 03:34
Submitted today and feeling relieved. Browsing on this forum, I am truly humbled by the competitiveness of the applicant pool! I feel I did my absolute best in the application, so it's been a great experience in any case. Good luck to all applicants!
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2014, 04:13
Decided at the very last moment, to not be intimidated by HBS anymore. :)
Joining in ..
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2014, 19:34
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masoy wrote:
gotti wrote:
snowedinboston wrote:

DO NOT OVERWRITE! Every prior essay was 400 words each. I would shoot for your personal essay to be this length or shorter.


Hmmm I appreciate your thoughts. I have heard some people recommend keeping the essay to 800 words, but not 400. Mine is currently 867 words and I am basically ready to hit submit. You've made me question it!


Most of the essays in the Harbus Essay Book are about 800 words each, so I wouldn't worry about your essay length. What matters the most is the content, as TheNightmanCometh pointed out


I'd try to stay under 1000 words if possible, but anything less than that is fine as long as you've made the points you want to make. 700, 800, 850, 900...
those are all fine.

400 would be pretty brief if you ask me.
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Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2014, 18:02
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For reference, my essay is 349 words.

A good friend now attending HBS wrote a sub-200 word essay.

If it clearly states your message to the ad com, don't worry about the length.
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Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2014, 08:24
Mine is currently 1,100 words, but I have to explain 2 important themes about my candidacy.

Dee Leopold says to answer the question and do not overthink, overcraft, or overwrite. In other words, "say what you need to say", and for every candidate it will be different.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2014, 13:39
In for Round 1 with a 1,100 word optional essay (used Stanford's length as a benchmark).

I hope the $250 application fee will prove a worthy investment for the future.
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Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017 [#permalink] New post 02 Sep 2014, 17:59
Anyone else notice that the additional information section instructions have changed slightly. I remember the earlier instructions were less formal with words similar to "Simply say hello or say something fun about yourself". Just thinking on whether I should be cautious on the information I provide now (if anything at all!)

Second question: Essay - to justify or leave the content left aligned? I honestly find no difference.
Re: Calling all HBS Applicants - (2015 Intake) Class of 2017   [#permalink] 02 Sep 2014, 17:59
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