Thanks guys!!! I remember back in the summer I was not even sure if I would apply to HBS, a few members on here convinced me to give it a shot and it really paid off. No matter how ridiculous it may seem, always apply to a stretch school, you never know what can happen.
Ok, below are some small suggestions on HBS' application that will hopefully be helpful for the R2 & R3'ers as well as next years applicants. If anyone has more specific questions, please let me know. I will try to address them as best I can. Essays
The most important thing here is to decide what you really want to convey to the adcom and what stories you will tell. For HBS I suggest that each example displays your leadership ability, and shows that you posses qualities that are critical to leading effectively. Everyone's definition of leadership varies so I suggest that you follow your own belief (personally I think decisiveness, vision, and confidence are critical to leadership). Then you will have to decide which stories line up with the essay questions, which I don't believe is too difficult with HBS' broad range of questions. If you can, take a novel approach to answering a question. I ended up completely changing my culture shock essay 10 days before submitting the application because I realized that culture shock can include much more than travels to other countries.
I suggest that you have your essays reviewed by multiple people, I had two sisters, a current HBS student, and a professional editing service review my essays. If you are a very technical person (Engineer or in IT) I suggest that you have non-technically oriented people review your essays. Always remember that it is your application though and you have the final say in what changes and what stays. While I am on the topic of editing, I have to plug Edit Avenue (http://www.editavenue.com
). I had all of my essays reviewed by Fin&Marketing and she was able to provide copy editing and advice on content without charging the ridiculous MBA admissions consultant fees.
I believe the most difficult part of the HBS' essays is meeting the ridiculously short word limits. I ended up removing many of the details from each story and had my editors confirm that the essays still made sense. The essays also lacked smooth transitions because those often take a lot of words. My essays were not pulitzer prize winning works, don't worry if writing is not your strong point, I believe it is one of my weaker points. As long as you can clearly show and not tell your story, your writing should be OK.Interview
First off, if you get an interview invitation, congrats! When I met my interviewer, I was a little intimidated because he seemed like the type of person that would thoroughly grill you and take pleasure in breaking you down. It turns out that it was actually a very enjoyable experience, and had to be the most comfortable interview I have ever had. I believe everyone is interviewed by an HBS adcom, and it is not
a blind interview. The adcom will know your profile very well, and have specific areas that they want to probe into. I prefer this approach because I did not find myself recycling my essay and resume material, it was obvious they already knew that well because it would be used as a spring board for their question.
The only piece of advice I can really offer for the interview is to know yourself!!! I know it sounds stupid, but they will start asking about things you barely even mention in the essays. I spent ~10mins of the interview talking about a topic that was not mentioned in my essays, but he knew my profile well enough to read between the lines. Keep your cool throughout the interview, and if needed, take a second to think things over or ask them to repeat the question. Some people just get too wound up and tense which then makes them panic and blow the interview. I listened to some Linkin Park & Jay-Z before the interview and it got me pumped up and in the right mood, being in the right mental state is half of the battle.
I walked out of the interview very satisfied with how things went. I knew that I put my best foot forward, and had no regrets.
Now it is time to get ready for a 1.5 week trip to Rio de Janeiro, the perfect present to myself
. Nothing better than the beach, caipirinhas, and beautiful brazilian women