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Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants

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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 04:38
PTK wrote:
end of August and not much of applicants' buzz here, I am wondering WHY?! ;)

I've noticed the same thing in other schools' threads, too. I wonder if applications are down across the board?
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 11:58
kingfalcon wrote:
PTK wrote:
end of August and not much of applicants' buzz here, I am wondering WHY?! ;)

I've noticed the same thing in other schools' threads, too. I wonder if applications are down across the board?


I doubt a fall off like this is the result of apps being down 10 pct or so, which may or may not be the case, and fr. other indicators DOES NOT appear to be the case, the reason prob. has more to do with new changes made to THIS forum and how messages are displayed and how easily you can access this section--I for one have a hard time navigating the new set-up, and even finding this thread. And I post here a lot. IF anyone else is having a harder time w. the new set up, post that, I am sure the moderators would be interested.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 12:06
hbsguru wrote:
kingfalcon wrote:
PTK wrote:
end of August and not much of applicants' buzz here, I am wondering WHY?! ;)

I've noticed the same thing in other schools' threads, too. I wonder if applications are down across the board?


I doubt a fall off like this is the result of apps being down 10 pct or so, which may or may not be the case, and fr. other indicators DOES NOT appear to be the case, the reason prob. has more to do with new changes made to THIS forum and how messages are displayed and how easily you can access this section--I for one have a hard time navigating the new set-up, and even finding this thread. And I post here a lot. IF anyone else is having a harder time w. the new set up, post that, I am sure the moderators would be interested.


I doubt it has much to do with changes to made to this forum. BW and BTG forums are both pretty dead. Check out the traffic count to all the mba/gmat related sites, they should be seeing a spike right about now, but all I see is low traffic counts. Ironically it seems the consultants are seeing a tick up from last season, I suspect is has more to do with more and more higher quality applicants using their services. Anyways I suspect we will see a drop-off across the board, but I believe it will be as a result of fewer lower quality applicants applying this year.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 16:35
Hmmmm, BW has been dead for a few years, sorta becoming Princeton Review, BTG decline wld be convincing, but note, I can still not find this thread by coming into this site thru the front door. So that seems impt to me. If I cannot, neither can others.
It seems arrangement of threads was way more clear in previous format of GC.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 17:30
PTK wrote:
end of August and not much of applicants' buzz here, I am wondering WHY?! ;)


I've been wondering about that, too! I am hoping that we'll see some more active discussions after Labor Day when the R1 application deadlines start rolling in. I'm not even applying to HBS but I was getting lonely in my quiet Yale/UCLA threads and thought I'd pop in to see what was going on here...
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 27 Aug 2012, 18:39
Question about the new HBS essay questions: before, applicants were given enough room to write multiple stories pulling from all the different facets of their life. But, with the new format, it seems like I basically am only able to tell 2 stories. Seems like a jip.

So, my question is whether people think it's better to write about 2 stories...Or, interpret the questions a little more broadly and write about two character traits (for example) that they can then use to tell multiple stories? What are people doing?

Thanks for the opinions!
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2012, 04:12
mmm111 wrote:
Question about the new HBS essay questions: before, applicants were given enough room to write multiple stories pulling from all the different facets of their life. But, with the new format, it seems like I basically am only able to tell 2 stories. Seems like a jip.

So, my question is whether people think it's better to write about 2 stories...Or, interpret the questions a little more broadly and write about two character traits (for example) that they can then use to tell multiple stories? What are people doing?

Thanks for the opinions!


I recommend the former: write two stories rather than two character traits. The question is phrased in the past / past perfect tense indicating that they want you to write about something that already happened, not something that is continuing to happen as would be more likely the case for a character trait.

With that being said, you should try to expound on the story / incident to draw key lessons...which you can THEN use as a bridge to discuss other stories. For example, "one thing I wish I had done better is XXX. from which I learned YYY. since then, I've worked hard to improve as evidenced by my doing ZZZ." You get the best of both worlds, so to speak, as you have room to write about multiple stories which adds dimensions to your application. Key to this is to cut out all the BS / filler sentences, distill the essay down to its core, and use the space efficiently.

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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2012, 05:02
HBSGrad wrote:
mmm111 wrote:
Question about the new HBS essay questions: before, applicants were given enough room to write multiple stories pulling from all the different facets of their life. But, with the new format, it seems like I basically am only able to tell 2 stories. Seems like a jip.

So, my question is whether people think it's better to write about 2 stories...Or, interpret the questions a little more broadly and write about two character traits (for example) that they can then use to tell multiple stories? What are people doing?

Thanks for the opinions!


I recommend the former: write two stories rather than two character traits. The question is phrased in the past / past perfect tense indicating that they want you to write about something that already happened, not something that is continuing to happen as would be more likely the case for a character trait.

With that being said, you should try to expound on the story / incident to draw key lessons...which you can THEN use as a bridge to discuss other stories. For example, "one thing I wish I had done better is XXX. from which I learned YYY. since then, I've worked hard to improve as evidenced by my doing ZZZ." You get the best of both worlds, so to speak, as you have room to write about multiple stories which adds dimensions to your application. Key to this is to cut out all the BS / filler sentences, distill the essay down to its core, and use the space efficiently.

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Can the second answer be focused on a more personal story - I don't mean health/divorce etc. (not demeaning these issues). But eg: something related to the impact I could have created via volunteering that got left midway. I get the fact that the ending should be on a positive note, which in this case would need to be an example of corrective action to lead to a more impacting volunteer work experience.

I get that both/either answer 1 and/or 2 can be personal examples, I am specifically asking for Answer 2 above as that will be my attempt.

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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2012, 18:50
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str1der wrote:

Can the second answer be focused on a more personal story - I don't mean health/divorce etc. (not demeaning these issues). But eg: something related to the impact I could have created via volunteering that got left midway. I get the fact that the ending should be on a positive note, which in this case would need to be an example of corrective action to lead to a more impacting volunteer work experience.

I get that both/either answer 1 and/or 2 can be personal examples, I am specifically asking for Answer 2 above as that will be my attempt.

cheers!


Either essay can focus on a personal story. I see no advantage to using one essay over the other to discuss a personal story. [Was that what you were asking? If I've misunderstood your question, please clarify.]

If you're asking whether the second PART of the SAME essay can focus on a personal story, I recommend sticking with the same theme as your first PART. Let me clarify. The structure that works well for the "Wish You Had Done Better" essay is: A) I wish I had done XXX better; B) I failed because I did AAA, BBB, CCC from which I learned DDD; C) Since then, I've been doing YYY at my new job (for example). If XXX takes place in a professional setting, so should YYY.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2012, 07:34
mmm111 wrote:
Question about the new HBS essay questions: before, applicants were given enough room to write multiple stories pulling from all the different facets of their life. But, with the new format, it seems like I basically am only able to tell 2 stories. Seems like a jip.

So, my question is whether people think it's better to write about 2 stories...Or, interpret the questions a little more broadly and write about two character traits (for example) that they can then use to tell multiple stories? What are people doing?

Thanks for the opinions!

Well, the new app does feel like lottery, forcing you to make a lot of strategic calls similar to the options presented in posts below. It is annoying to work with and can result in feeling that you have two stories which are not fully representative of your total package. I dont like the app (I have worked on it w. many,many current clients) and most applicants don't either, and like the poster above, feel they are being gamed and played with. This set of questions might have resulted from too many Shirley Temples at one of Dee -Dee's slumber parites for her staff. :wink: All that said, the final outcomes of this app vs. last years, assuming everyone this year was doing last years as a control group, in addition to doing the current app., and we got the results, would be marginal. HBS knows what it wants, and the total app --recs scores, resume, and short answers--is pretty dense.
I've just done a lot of 2+2 mock interviews and read many complete apps answering these new questions (all of which were good enuf to get HBS interviews!) , an exercise which confirmed my own sense of how this was going to play out --HBS is not a stickler for the instructions, altho, sure, dont write a poem, what they want to see in the essays are stories which add info or depth to what they already know about you, show some reflection, are not silly or offensive in tone, voice and (of course) language, and are likeable. You need to consider your app as a whole, the essays are window dressing or maybe window tinting, and can, in most casess, do more harm than good. Serviceable answers are enuf, a lot of the essays I read fr. kids who got interviewed this summer could have been way better, in terms of being more dense, more full of embedded examples of how and why they did things, and more refined lessons, but so what? After reading whole app. you knew pretty much why they got interviewed. HBS has a pretty good idea of what they are looking for, esp. 2+2, but also generally, and you will rarely change their mind with essays, except as noted, if you are silly or offensive or just slovenly. A lot of #2 Questions took the form, "I did this good thing, but if I had done 1 2 3, the good thing could have been better . . ." Cheesy but effective. Not many just talked about a failure, altho that could work too, just telling you what I have observed. Most #1 questions took on signature extra curric and said blah blah blah. Some talked about ways kids had been succesful at summer jobs, and guess what, the better the summer job, the better the essay seemed somehow, odd? NO, reality. "I was effective as a White House intern by sensing what was needed and also the special culture of a White House in campaign mode . . .so I did 1 and 2 and held back on 3, even tho it was a good idea, and I got help fr. Joe Biden ...." Dunno that is better than saying same thing about working in a bowling alley on the versge of going bankrupt, altho you might have actually done more in the bowling alley. To that degree, the essays are confirmatory.
OK, who cares, what you about you and your two essays? . . . . NAZIS!!!! Anything to do w. Nazis or victims of any kind is GOLD. My grandma was in a Nazi concentration camp and she never talked about it, MAN I SURE WISH I HAD BROUGHT HER IN FOR SHOW AND TELL IN FIFTH GRADE, because, yadda, yadda, yadda. This also works for Stalin, Mao, Khemer Rouge, or anyone lucky enuf to know, however remotely, any XYZ Survivor. NOT KIDDING --but even if you dont know such a person, try to link your story to anything connected w. victims. Cheesey? Yes! Effective, you bet.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 08:03
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Man, HBSguru, tell us how you really feel.

Maybe my thought process is why I wont get in to any b-school, but I believe you are going a little far writing about the benefit of knowing a Nazi victim (I apologize if I missed sarcasm). But how is that going to get me into business school? I feel despise for a system that rewards people for being "lucky enough" to know someone who has gone through pain and suffering. When does it just become about being in business, and not whose father is the senator of what, who worked in the white house?

Sandy, I have read many of your posts and respect you as a consultant, but sincerely disagree with your latest post here.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 09:09
Dbalks wrote:
Man, HBSguru, tell us how you really feel.

Maybe my thought process is why I wont get in to any b-school, but I believe you are going a little far writing about the benefit of knowing a Nazi victim (I apologize if I missed sarcasm). But how is that going to get me into business school? I feel despise for a system that rewards people for being "lucky enough" to know someone who has gone through pain and suffering. When does it just become about being in business, and not whose father is the senator of what, who worked in the white house?

Sandy, I have read many of your posts and respect you as a consultant, but sincerely disagree with your latest post here.


The point is HBS wants to see people who make an impact beyond just making money, helping those in need. You can portray A LOT of scenarios like this, but it means your average finance guy who has done nothing outside of the job will have a hard time.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 09:23
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I agree you need to show you are more than an average finance guy. My goal is to show that I am more than that and that I will make in impact beyond dollars and cents when I come out of an MBA program. But I'm not prepared to use a "victim" or sob story to get in. Just doesn't seem to be the point or even ethically sound.

And don't let me take this away from anyone who has grown up in a country in great poverty or war. If you have been through that, and it has framed who you are, you have real experiences. God Bless you and I hope you tel lyour story and how it shaped you and how it prepared you to make an impact in business when you are through school.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 09:28
Jeepers, don't blame the messenger, as poster below you notes.
I was just trying to help kids with nothing super powerful to say, like White House internship, perk up their stories by noting another thing which works is associating your actions w. victims, or those in need, etc, or anyone who has overcome obstacles, I mean, have you seen the GOP convention, all of a sudden, Ann Romney is a coal miner's grand-daughter!!!! And she played that card for a good reason. Ditto Santorum, who also comes fr. a mining family, evidently. It is something in our culture that responds to that, which is why pols lean into it. MY POINT was not to judge this, just to note it is out there and another way to be effective in this process. Being a victim or helping victims really is effective in this process -- whether it should be, is beyond my pay grade, just trying to help. Honest. If your grandmom was a Holocaust survivor, and you never really got a chance to share that experience with her, dunnno, pal, THAT IS AN ESSAY. (IT is a lot of other things too, and no disrespect to any real suvivor of anything, but this is busines school, not divinity school, we are talking about, and it is marketing oriented).

sid05 wrote:
Dbalks wrote:
Man, HBSguru, tell us how you really feel.

Maybe my thought process is why I wont get in to any b-school, but I believe you are going a little far writing about the benefit of knowing a Nazi victim (I apologize if I missed sarcasm). But how is that going to get me into business school? I feel despise for a system that rewards people for being "lucky enough" to know someone who has gone through pain and suffering. When does it just become about being in business, and not whose father is the senator of what, who worked in the white house?

Sandy, I have read many of your posts and respect you as a consultant, but sincerely disagree with your latest post here.


The point is HBS wants to see people who make an impact beyond just making money, helping those in need. You can portray A LOT of scenarios like this, but it means your average finance guy who has done nothing outside of the job will have a hard time.

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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 09:35
Didnt mean to shoot the messenger Sandy..

Just hate that this kind of thing is used by people to get in (unless it truly shaped your life). As a consultant, it is your job to get your clients in and you do what it takes and I respect that youre doing the job.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 13:05
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hi,
nice spirited discussion going on here so I thought I would throw in my question.

Does anything offset low GPA for HBS short of being personal aid to president Bush?? because wherever I read everybody says GPA is very important for HBS. Right but its a done thing. you cant get a undergrad GPA again. and to measure by something one person did when he/she wasn't even old enough to vote (or maybe buy liquor) after years of work seems a bit unfair doesn't it?? HBS being a school that it is I dont think it would let a leader go just because of some low GPA in some college some years ago.any views on that!!!!!!!
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 13:25
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arunpanda22 wrote:
hi,
nice spirited discussion going on here so I thought I would throw in my question.

Does anything offset low GPA for HBS short of being personal aid to president Bush?? because wherever I read everybody says GPA is very important for HBS. Right but its a done thing. you cant get a undergrad GPA again. and to measure by something one person did when he/she wasn't even old enough to vote (or maybe buy liquor) after years of work seems a bit unfair doesn't it?? HBS being a school that it is I dont think it would let a leader go just because of some low GPA in some college some years ago.any views on that!!!!!!!


WELL, the average HBS GPA is 3.67, so you can do the math, but for openers, that means that ~460 kids there have GPA's HIGHER THAN THAT.
of the 460 with LOWER scores, my guess is most bunch between 3.47 and 3.67, b.c. well, there just aint much room on other side of the see-saw.
Of the outlier low GPA's, my guess is most are minorities, special cases, HIGH GMATS, and sure some mad money bets. But real few.
BTW what do you mean by 'low' GPA? The best way to balance a low GPA is 1. high GMAT, 2. alternative transcript. E.g. take courses in person for credit at local U. Esp. stats, micro, finance, blah, blah.
The kind of 'leadership' you are referring to, that HBS would be "reluctant" to let go of b.c. of low GPA, dunno, that is really hard to come by, and amazingly often peeps with amazing leadership stories ALSO have high GPA's. The two are not contradictory.
OK< I'm always willing to learn, if anyone knows any sub 3.0 GPA person at HBS, let me know. Or even sub 3.2
(prob a couple of those ).
PS--just read your profile --7 yrs military w. active leadership etc. and 2.8 GPA. I'm impressed but your great military service is not going to kick in the door at HBS, how come, too many military guys with service close to that (on paper, and sometimes in fact) who have higher GPA. Sorry but adcom is not in the business of comparing leadership, bravery, responsibilities etc. of military applicants, they can, however, compare GPA. Great recs, and military recs vary a lot (I've read 100s) could make a diff, but some of that is luck, given that military rec writers have wide range of abilities to execute, altho some good ones can blow you away. Good luck, if you write back to tell me (after you get in) I was wrong about you, I'll be ecstatic.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 13:38
hbsguru wrote:
arunpanda22 wrote:
hi,
nice spirited discussion going on here so I thought I would throw in my question.

Does anything offset low GPA for HBS short of being personal aid to president Bush?? because wherever I read everybody says GPA is very important for HBS. Right but its a done thing. you cant get a undergrad GPA again. and to measure by something one person did when he/she wasn't even old enough to vote (or maybe buy liquor) after years of work seems a bit unfair doesn't it?? HBS being a school that it is I dont think it would let a leader go just because of some low GPA in some college some years ago.any views on that!!!!!!!


WELL, the average HBS GPA is 3.67, so you can do the math, but for openers, that means that ~460 kids there have GPA's HIGHER THAN THAT.
of the 460 with LOWER scores, my guess is most bunch between 3.47 and 3.67, b.c. well, there just aint much room on other side of the see-saw.
Of the outlier low GPA's, my guess is most are minorities, special cases, HIGH GMATS, and sure some mad money bets. But real few.
BTW what do you mean by 'low' GPA? The best way to balance a low GPA is 1. high GMAT, 2. alternative transcript. E.g. take courses in person for credit at local U. Esp. stats, micro, finance, blah, blah.


Hi,
thanks for dat full fledged detailed analysis. the question was tailored for every applicant who decides to apply not specifically me.

I am an international applicant from India whose school doesn't award ranking and whose scores are in second division. I have no idea whether I am an outlier.

Anyway, any views on courses by MBAMath.com?? some testimonials claim students wid low gpa were accepted after sending in a transcript. not HBS students of course. Actually that makes much more sense than an alternative transcript because they teach quant pertinent to what a prospective student is gonna learn in B-school. I am not questioning sensibility of HBS adcom but why make a guy do a course in pure microeconomis when you can make him do a course in subjects that are exactly going to be taught in class. Wouldn't such classes boost up the academic ability of the class?? Tuck ad Cornell seem to agree and a lot of schools buy subscription to MBAMath.com What do you think is HBS adcom's take on this??
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 17:01
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Anyway, any views on courses by MBAMath.com?? some testimonials claim students wid low gpa were accepted after sending in a transcript. not HBS students of course. Actually that makes much more sense than an alternative transcript because they teach quant pertinent to what a prospective student is gonna learn in B-school. I am not questioning sensibility of HBS adcom but why make a guy do a course in pure microeconomis when you can make him do a course in subjects that are exactly going to be taught in class. Wouldn't such classes boost up the academic ability of the class?? Tuck ad Cornell seem to agree and a lot of schools buy subscription to MBAMath.com What do you think is HBS adcom's take on this??


It depends on how tuff their grading is, to a large degree, schools are interested in GPA not so much as a way of finding out what you know, altho they care about some baseline quant background, but mostly to see how you do in a competitive and often boring classroom environment. Can you shut up, wave your hand on demand, and spit back the often arcane and useless jive being taught? On exams and at HBS, as comments in class. Those are excellent habits for success at business school, and for not upsetting the precious faculty, who like obedient and responsive audiences, in part because who wouldnt, and in part because they are often lazy or marginally competent themselves, so wagging doggie tails make everyone happy. The best proxy for if you will be one of those smart and prepared and un-boreable kids is GPA which you got in a competitive, real class environment. Whether you actually know MBA MATH is an afterthought. You seem like a sweet guy and a sincere one, I am not kidding about the above. College GPA is the best predictor of GPA in B school, adcoms want successful students -- they are less certain what makes a successful business person, leader, etc. That is why HBS GPA is so high, and ditto Stanford, which is even higher by a dime. Of course, high college GPA leads to great first jobs at elite IB and MC firms, so the kids w. high GPA's also often have elite jobs.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2012, 19:28
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The way you explain the psyche of the adcom is great. No wonder you are one of the revered consultants for H/S/W. Although this really seems fair from schools point of view it doesn't seem fair to the applicants. but again who said life was gonna be fair.
Anyway I just have one last question about GPA(sorry to have been rambling on and on about just one aspect). Lots of people advice to tell about why the grades were low as a reason. Since you have such in-depth knowledge of the psyche of adcom could you tell me how does this reason sound??--
I joined service academy just out of school. when I joined I signed a contract of service for 20 years. So I knew my whole career is going to be in military. So instead of concentrating on academic subjects I concentrated on service subjects and learning team games which would be much more beneficial in my service career. I couldn't envisage practical use of academic subjects like physics and chemistry. Although I had average grades in academics due to my strong service subjects I passed out in top 10% in the academy. Before joining service academy I had grades always above 80% and after academy I have done arguably toughest course in Army and passed all my promotion exams in one go in-spite of being deployed in counter-terrorist role. Hence i feel I will be able fare well in all academic classes.

Well it does sound reasonable from my perspective but could you enumerate how adcom would look at it??

Thanks for all the efforts in clarifying all my queries.
Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants   [#permalink] 30 Aug 2012, 19:28
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