Firstly, congrats on the great profile. Ivy League 3.5, killer GMAT, solid experience....this should all bode well for you in the process. As for timing, it's something to consider if you are concerned about demonstrating leadership, to wait for more progressively responsibility and a direct report or two, but frankly, your profile is so strong, I feel you would be an attractive candidate next year and HBS loves younger applicants. Remember, you don't have to be in charge to demonstrate leadership. Think on how you have impacted a group or organization, how you have shaken things up or improved a process. All these things demonstrate leadership. As for volunteer experience, my advice would be to pick something you are passionate about (let's say reading) and go find a way to get involved in that area now. This will show a history of involvement in an area and a specific application of the passion. For example, you could go volunteer in a program that reads to kids in local schools (these are easy to do and opportunities abound). You could also organize or participate in a book drive or RIF program (if that's still around). You get the idea. Build on what you already do for fun and leverage it into community involvement. As always please let us know if we can help you put things together. Even the best prepared candidates must make a compelling case for admission with their application--some say you are under more scrutiny with a killer pedigree, with adoms looking for a chink in the armour. We have specialists who graduated from all your target schools if you decide to go the consulting route. Good luck--you are off to a great start!
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