Harvard Business School may not be accepting any more full-time applications this cycle. However, the 2+2 application remains open. The 2024 Harvard Business School 2+2 MBA deadline is April 25, 2024. The program accepts applications from current college seniors and final year master’s students who enrolled in graduate studies straight from college.
This is the first time in recent history that the HBS 2+2 application has NOT used the open-ended essay required for full-time applications. Instead, Harvard Business School asks 2+2 applicants to answer three questions: in the first part, TWO out of three options that are in a more personal vein, and in the second part, a career-focused question. Together the answers, addressing personal story and professional aspirations, should paint a complete picture of you as a candidate.
2024 HBS 2+2 Program Application Essay Questions Are as Follows:
HBS 2+2 Essay Instructions: Part 1: Personal Essays (choose two—up to 300 words per prompt)
The HBS classroom and community thrive when we bring together people who can share a variety of perspectives. To get to know you better and how you will engage at HBS, please choose two of the three prompts below to tell us more about yourself:
With this introduction, HBS makes clear that it wants you to focus on your individuality and singular perspective. So, as you review the options below, Personal MBA Coach recommends that you choose the two that together give you the greatest opportunity to share your uniqueness: for example, something about your background and something about your academic accomplishments, or something about your intellectual accomplishments and about the communities that have shaped you. There is no wrong answer, but the different choices can maximize the singularity of your story differently. Each is only 300 words so you must be direct, concise and to the point.
1. How have your experiences shaped who you are, how you lead, and how you will contribute at HBS?
This option is the closest to the open-ended “personal story” essay that HBS is known for. As you answer this essay, think about what makes you different from your peers and uniquely able to contribute. You might consider your background, upbringing or extracurricular experiences here. If you need help thinking through your own personal story, check out this blog from Personal MBA Coach.
Given the 300-word limit, applicants will need to get to the point very quickly, focusing in on their uniqueness.
Personal MBA Coach recommends that the details provided are specific. Then, quickly transition into the ”so what?” telling HBS not just what these experiences were but how they have shaped your leadership approach. Finally, you want to detail specific contributions you will be able to make at HBS based on this experience.
2. What intellectual experiences have influenced your approach to learning and have led you to pursue an MBA?
This second prompt is a great choice for applicants whose strength lies in their educational or research experience or applicants who have had an internship that is particularly intellectual. Perhaps you have completed an interesting independent study on campus or researched an unusual topic. Keep in mind that particularly through the 2+2 program, HBS seeks candidates from STEM fields, who may be less likely to apply for an MBA later in their careers.
Use this essay to talk about the work you have done, showing readers how you have exhibited specific intellectual curiosity and persistence, if possible. Next you want to tell HBS how this experience has motivated you to pursue an MBA. While this is not a specific goals essay, if you choose this option there should be some connection between this experience and your goals.
3. What communities have you been engaged with that have defined how you invest in others?
With this third essay, HBS is following a recent trend of asking applicants to talk more about communities. This is a great option for applicants who have diverse or unique demographic backgrounds to talk about how they have given back in the past, and to hint at how they will give back in the future.
However, even if your community is not unique, you can use this essay to show how you have contributed to helping others. Applicants who have significant volunteer work may find this essay to be a great opportunity to highlight their efforts. While not specifically asked, noting how you will contribute on campus is also recommended here.
Part 2: Career Essay (up to 300 words)
How do the career plans you shared in the Career Plans section of the application fit into your current long-term career vision? What skills and/or professional experiences do you hope to obtain in the deferral period that will help build the foundation for your post-MBA career?
While HBS historically has not asked applicants to write extensively about their long-term goals, in this essay HBS is looking for applicants to discuss both their long-term goals and their plans for the deferral period. For more on Personal MBA Coach’s tips for writing a goal statement, check out this blog!
Once you have detailed your long-term goals, be specific about your plans for the deferral period. If you have already lined up a job, discuss what you will do in this role and, more importantly, how this experience will prepare you to succeed post-MBA. If you have not secured a position, talk about the role you are targeting. As you craft this essay, be sure to go beyond describing the job you hope to have and instead dive into the specific skills you hope to gain.
Are you ready to start your application?
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