Hi there,>> am almost certain I am not your typical HBS accepted applicant
I'd agree with you. You definitely aren't the typical candidate we are used to seeing on these forums.
Here are some queries to challenge you and get you to think a little more. It might help you when you start writing essays.>> I currently manage an online community which I've helped grow from 500 people to 80,000 people (in just one year) from all over the world for quite possibly the biggest global name in consumer electronics (I serve as the sole Community Manager for this brand)
That's a pretty impressive jump in numbers.
- How much of this do you think was attributable to your individual efforts?
- Would you be able to convince the HBS adcom that the brand (the strongest in its area as you've admitted) didn't play a huge role in drawing in the crowds? Would you be able to replicate the same success again in a different setting and with a different (less powerful) brand?
- How did this community help the organisation? Can you link the numbers to something that the company will find more tangible? Did this translate to revenues? A stronger brand?
Education:>> I know that my undergraduate GPA is not one of my stronger points nor is the mark that made it dip quite substantially.
It gets a little tricky here. You will have to demonstrate that the Achilles' heel from undergrad days doesn't come back to haunt you during the MBA studies. Can you take a few extra courses in related subjects to show that your undergrad performance in that subject was an aberration? GMAT is another tool that can help you partially overcome this issue.>> Extracurriculars
Pretty strong.>> I happen to be a single mother...Do you think that is worth mentioning on an application?
From a b-school application perspective, this in itself is neither a pro or a con. But if you explain how this status influenced your life choices and helped shape you as an individual, as a professional, then you could use this to your advantage.
GMAT/GRE: >> I am not a huge math person...With that being said, I'm terrified of the type of math that is existent on the GMAT's.
You don't have to be. B-schools get applications from architects, poets, doctors, psychic healers (pls don't ask for evidence, specially for that last one). Point I'm trying to make is, you don't have to be a maths wiz to crack the GMAT. But it does require practice.
If you haven't started the process yet, try out a few mock tests. See where you currently are on the bell curve. If you have a well-planned prep plan in place, your score will rise.
The best part about the GMAT is, you can take it as many times as you want. Most schools will take the highest score.
Not too sure about the GRE stuff. So I'm conveniently skipping that part.
Recommendations>> ...made connections with top-tier professionals from Fortune 500 corporations ...I am sure would provide great recommendations
Great. Another tick-mark on the list. But don't just go for people with the highest designations. Someone who can passionately and genuinely vouch for you, will be your best bet.
Interviews>> I'm extremely confident in my interviewing skills as I tend to obtain about 95% positions/opportunities after any interview opportunity
Another tick mark. However, be aware that B-school interviews aren't the same as job interviews. Learn about the structure, the kind of questions they ask etc. You basic interviewing skills will still come in handy, though.>> I am also a great essay writer and have no doubt that my essays would be compelling enough to grab their interest
Damn...this means admission consultants can't get any revenue from you. Couldn't you write this first?
Just kidding. I'd be happy to help with any further queries that you might have.
Intentionally taking up the next point in the end.>> ...applying to Harvard Business School and no others. Why? I feel that my current experience is enough for me to succeed in life but that if I'm going to take the time off to better myself professionally, why not go big or go home?
Fair enough. However, consider this. The decision to initiate the MBA application process is the toughest, as it is preceded by a whole lot of introspection (is it worth it, why now et al) and analysis (financial, RoI, career impact).
Once you've decided to take the plunge, the incremental effort of applying to additional schools isn't too bad. If you are going to do this only once, why put all your eggs in one basket? There are other 'big' schools as well that could get you there.
Having a choice isn't always bad, right?
Sameer Kamat | Founder - MBA Crystal Ball | Email: info at mbacrystalball dot com