So, anyone already started working on the app.??
Here's the analysis by clearadmit blog:
Perhaps in anticipation of another increase in application volume, Harvard has again reduced the number of essay questions that candidates must answer - from 5 last year to 4 this season, down from 6 or 7 essays a few seasons ago. Further, at just 1800 words total, Harvard’s has become one of the shorter b-school applications. This underscores the importance of choosing among essay options judiciously, and using the limited words in each essay as beneficially as possible. That said, let’s take a look at the questions for this year:
Essay 1: What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)
This essay question has been a hallmark of the HBS application for many years. Due to its top billing, this question could be the first element of your file that the adcom reads, making this response a great opportunity to present the reader with three strong stories that introduce the major themes of your candidacy. Each accomplishment can be presented as a stand-alone section here, so you needn’t be overly concerned about composing a seamless narrative.
HBS has traditionally been very impact-oriented in evaluating applicants’ credentials, so one way to determine which three accomplishments to describe in this essay is to think about the end results. Experiences in which you made a lasting and quantifiable impact can lend themselves to concise, factual narratives, and considering that each accomplishment must be described in approximately 200 words, this can be an important consideration. However, this isn’t to say that the process followed, skills gained, and lessons learned along the way aren’t important, too; these factors could be a great way to address the second half of the question: why you view these accomplishments as your most significant to date.
A final point is that it’s also important to select stories with an eye to balance. An applicant who describes two professional successes and one extra-curricular accomplishment, or perhaps one each from the professional, academic and activities realms, can show that he or she excels in any environment.
Essay 2: What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)
This question makes an appearance for a second consecutive year. The subject of failure or setback is a popular one for business school essays in general, and there are a few important elements to consider in addressing this and similar prompts. Firstly, professional maturity, self-reflection and insight are key qualities to communicate. Towards that end, successful essays will describe the mistake in straightforward, step-by-step detail, and will also own the misstep rather than making excuses.
Another important element to touch on is that you’ve experienced some growth or development since the initial mistake. While applicants should not ‘gloss over’ their mistakes, it is important to emphasize positive growth and the learning experience that can come from missing the mark. An effective essay will present this growth in terms of thoughts and feelings, while balancing comments about internal reflections with descriptions of more external actions and changes in behavior.
Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each):
Essay 3.1: What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?
While MBA applicants often draw upon their extracurricular experiences during college as topics for essays, it’s rare that they get a chance to talk about their more intellectual interests and achievements. This is your chance to go into some detail about why you chose your school and major, and tell the admissions committee about your academic interests and educational milestones. A great essay will underscore an applicant’s intelligence and work ethic, as well as incorporate some element of leadership (especially if the applicant had a significant impact on the department or school as a whole).
Essay 3.2: Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization.
This is the first of two new prompts for HBS this season, and opens a wide range of topics for discussion and skills and qualities that an applicant can highlight. While the “organization” component clearly lends itself to coverage of an extracurricular involvement or leadership at work or at school, the “community” side could just as easily apply to international experience or immersion in a new team or demographic - essentially focusing just on the positive conclusion of a “culture shock” or “outsider” essay. Harvard’s selection of this prompt suggests a strong interests in applicants who are proactive in making connections and building relationships, perhaps toward some specific cause or goal. The interpersonal elements of this experience will therefore be of just as much interest and your reasons and the results of this engagement. Though this essays lends itself nicely to a discussion of a long-term or ongoing involvement with the community or organization in question, centering the essay on a single meaningful anecdote will also be a viable strategy for showing your skills in action.
Essay 3.3: What area of the world are you most curious about and why?
This is another new question for this season, also with a broad reach. A literal interpretation of this question might focus on geographic region, but it also invites discussion of an area of knowledge or inquiry - anything one might explore or investigate.
This question could be an excellent choice for joint or concurrent degree applicants as a substitute for the “career vision” essay; an MBA/JD applicant might elect to discuss his or her deep interest in the intersection of business and law, for example. For the vast majority of applicants, though, there are a number of strategic considerations that go along with this prompt. Because the adcom hopes to get to know its applicants better through the essays, it’s natural for them to wonder what most interests them. It doesn’t seem extremely likely, though, that one would have a passion worth covering in this essay that wouldn’t be more constructively discussed in response to one of the school’s other prompts. Because it doesn’t make sense to write an essay about what one doesn’t know, the subject of this response should ideally be an area of curiosity that one has already explored to some extent. One might therefore find that an academic interest is more naturally covered in “undergraduate experience” option, that a professional or regional interest fits better with the “career vision” essay, and that a hobby or cause shared with others works best with the response about engaging a community or organization.
This essay does lend itself well to covering a solo activity or interest (making it a good platform for World War I buffs and amateur astrologers to discuss this aspect of their lives), but these are seldom crucial elements of one’s candidacy. We don’t mean to say that there’s no way for the average applicant to answer this question well, only that he or she should take a good look at this year’s other options before proceeding.
Essay 3.4: What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?
Always unique among b-schools, HBS not only frames its essay about the applicant’s professional future in terms of a broad vision rather than concrete goals, but also makes it optional.
Harvard’s adcom tries to identify future business leaders, so applicants presenting a directed vision will make a positive impression. Because this essay is about your career vision, you might summarize your past experiences in a very concise manner (i.e. just a few sentences) before moving on to a detailed discussion of your future plans and the reasons that these plans are meaningful to you. Whereas many schools request a clear description of the candidates immediate post-MBA program, this particular question lends itself to a long-term, big picture outlook. Of course, you might also touch on the ways in which HBS will help you achieve your vision. Think about how Harvard’s program (specific classes, classmates and clubs) would prepare you for your future.
While each of these topics require a careful approach, one of the more challenging aspects of the HBS application is assembling the right mix of anecdotes across essays so as to provide the committee with the most complete (and strategic) view of your candidacy. This is compounded by the fact that HBS allows for several choices in the final two essay topics. As such, we recommend that our readers be sure to take a step back and consider their essays holistically as they move through the process of topic selection and writing.
Would anyone like to share his/her analysis on these??
Eat like a Pig, Lift like a Demon & Sleep like Dead.............