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Calling all Harvard (HBS) Applicants Class of 2020 (2018 intake)

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Stacy Blackman Consulting Admissions Consultant
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New post 25 Aug 2017, 09:57
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I'll build on the advice below by saying that HBS makes it pretty clear they're wanting you to share what they wouldn't know about you otherwise. So a narrative comes into play because you should be telling them WHY you are you -- what makes you tick, why you've made the decisions you have in the past (career or otherwise), what defining moments were, etc. From this reason, content will vary dramatically from applicant to applicant.

Some people might want to explain their career goals if the reasons behind them aren't clear or can't be expounded on in the 500-character data form field. This usually only applies for people wanting todo something fairly different from what field they're in now.

HBS has never asked "Why HBS?", ever, so I would caution people to only include mentions of the program if it naturally fits and isn't forced. Otherwise you're just taking the focus off of your candidacy and why you'd add to the class. They know everyone wants to go there already. ; )

Let your voice and personality come through, be yourself, and tell them something they don't already know from the rest of your materials.

Good luck!

NateFromHBS wrote:
jz818 wrote:
Hi everyone! A little late to this thread, but I am also applying to HBS Rd 1. Stats below:

GMAT: 760 (49 Q, 44 V)
GPA: 3.7 HYP undergrad
Occupation: Finance (MBB i-banking for 2 years, 1 year on buy-side)

I've been struggling with the essay, and wavering between going the more formal "I am a leader, this is what I've done" path and writing a quirkier essay (think along the lines of, training for a marathon while working in banking, climbing Everest, type of essay). Just curious what people here have gravitated towards?


I struggled with this same question when I was in your position -- and I made the wrong decision. My essay was all retrospective about my own leadership including some high-adrenaline moments that were pretty strong. However when interview invitations came out, I saw that the adcom put me under "further consideration" :o and deferred any admissions decision to Round 2 :( .

It was then that I realized that what the HBS essay is aching for is a compelling personal narrative -- much like what political candidates offer when they run for office. One story that really illustrates why this approach is best is the Parable of the Three Stonecutters, which you can check out on the Ivy Admissions Group blog here: https://www.ivyadmissionsgroup.com/blog ... ions-essay. I'd check that out before going further on the essay.

I used that story to write waitlist letters to the Adcom that recast me from the Second Stone Cutter to the Third Stone Cutter and it worked! I was invited to interview Round 2 and admitted :-D . Bottom line: go for narrative over self.

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New post 26 Aug 2017, 04:19
Hello Everyone,

Great guidance, here. Just out of curiosity, can I ask my client to submit a recommendation for me?
He is very appreciative of me and I deal with him more than I deal with my own manager. I think he will give me a far better recommendation than anyone else would. :)
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 04:30
rekhabishop wrote:
Hello Everyone,

Great guidance, here. Just out of curiosity, can I ask my client to submit a recommendation for me?
He is very appreciative of me and I deal with him more than I deal with my own manager. I think he will give me a far better recommendation than anyone else would. :)



Hello rekhabishop - Absolutely you can ask your client to give a recommendation for you. If he can give more candid perspective on how you have played a critical role, that should be sufficient.
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 04:35
ydmuley wrote:
rekhabishop wrote:
Hello Everyone,

Great guidance, here. Just out of curiosity, can I ask my client to submit a recommendation for me?
He is very appreciative of me and I deal with him more than I deal with my own manager. I think he will give me a far better recommendation than anyone else would. :)



Hello rekhabishop - Absolutely you can ask your client to give a recommendation for you. If he can give more candid perspective on how you have played a critical role, that should be sufficient.


Thanks! Is there a way to find out the kind of questions Harvard would ask the recommender?
Also, what would my client fill as the relationship?
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 04:42
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rekhabishop wrote:
Thanks! Is there a way to find out the kind of questions Harvard would ask the recommender?
Also, what would my client fill as the relationship?


I have posted the list of questions over here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all- ... l#p1903758

But will add here those questions.

1. Are you an HBS graduate? (drop-down menu)

2. If yes, please list year of graduation (drop-down menu)

3. Please provide a brief description of your interaction with the applicant and, if applicable, their role in your organization. (250 characters)

4. Number of applicants you are recommending to the HBS MBA Program this year.

5. How do the applicant’s performance, potential, background, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (Recommended: 300 words)

6. Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (Recommended: 250 words)


He can mention that he is your client.

Thanks
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 06:04
SBCErikaOlson wrote:
That length is totally fine -- I urge my clients to stay under 1200 (ideally under 1100), so you're within that range. Good luck!

FuturePM91 wrote:
Second draft is done and edited...I think I may actually submit this weekend. :o But I do have a question...I have been looking at different suggested lengths for the HBS essay. An analysis posted here previously suggested a max of 600 but I have seen other consulting sites with a suggested max of 1250 (mbaMission) my essay is currently 1190...about a page and a half single spaced....so not sure if I should keep chipping away at it to get in down more or not? (my first draft was about 1400)


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New post 26 Aug 2017, 09:08
I aim to score these marks.

Researching or Writing Essays
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GMAT: 780, Q60, V60
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 10:15
aashishagarwal2 wrote:
I aim to score these marks.

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GMAT: 780, Q60, V60
GPA: 4
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Industry: Consulting


That is a good aim aashishagarwal2 - BTW - I have never seen Q60 and V60 for a 780 score! Unless you have seen such score for someone.

Also, is this post just an update on where you stand in your application process or are you looking for profile evaluation?
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New post 26 Aug 2017, 11:06
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New post 27 Aug 2017, 07:32
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I have 3+ years of work ex in a big 4.
I have a few questions:
Question 1. What does HBS Adcom expect from the roles and responsibilities?
Question 2. What should I fill in the company/ organization description? I mean, what is the Adcom's expectation?
As I am from a big 4, everything that I will write is already on Wikipedia.
Question 3. What should be the highlights in my essay to get me an admit at a low score?
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New post 27 Aug 2017, 08:24
good luck all the R1 applicants!
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New post 28 Aug 2017, 19:48
rekhabishop wrote:
I have 3+ years of work ex in a big 4.
I have a few questions:
Question 1. What does HBS Adcom expect from the roles and responsibilities?
Question 2. What should I fill in the company/ organization description? I mean, what is the Adcom's expectation?
As I am from a big 4, everything that I will write is already on Wikipedia.
Question 3. What should be the highlights in my essay to get me an admit at a low score?


Hi Anyone!!
Anything on the above? :)
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New post 29 Aug 2017, 10:38
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Let me take a shot at them rekhabishop

I have a few questions:

Question 1. What does HBS Adcom expect from the roles and responsibilities? - Whatever role you are into try to focus on the moments of leadership. Have has your presence impacted a certain project, etc. If you can quantify the impact in terms of $$ it will add more value.

Question 2. What should I fill in the company/ organization description? I mean, what is the Adcom's expectation?
As I am from a big 4, everything that I will write is already on Wikipedia.

- When you say big 4 I assume you are talking the league of Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft in Tech!. In that case, there is no point in wasting your words in describing your company. A brief description of your division/department would be enough (unless you wana highlight any other points later in the essay).

Question 3. What should be the highlights in my essay to get me an admit at a low score?

I would genuinely describe the reason for the low score, let's say you had some personal situation, etc. but do try to touch base even if the reason is you are weak in a certain section.

I am not sure if this answers your questions, but feel free to discuss further if need be.
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New post 29 Aug 2017, 12:33
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ydmuley wrote:
Let me take a shot at them rekhabishop

I have a few questions:

Question 1. What does HBS Adcom expect from the roles and responsibilities? - Whatever role you are into try to focus on the moments of leadership. Have has your presence impacted a certain project, etc. If you can quantify the impact in terms of $$ it will add more value.

Question 2. What should I fill in the company/ organization description? I mean, what is the Adcom's expectation?
As I am from a big 4, everything that I will write is already on Wikipedia.

- When you say big 4 I assume you are talking the league of Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft in Tech!. In that case, there is no point in wasting your words in describing your company. A brief description of your division/department would be enough (unless you wana highlight any other points later in the essay).

Question 3. What should be the highlights in my essay to get me an admit at a low score?

I would genuinely describe the reason for the low score, let's say you had some personal situation, etc. but do try to touch base even if the reason is you are weak in a certain section.

I am not sure if this answers your questions, but feel free to discuss further if need be.



So I took a bit of a different approach...for role and responsibilities I took this at face value and literally just stated a summary of my day to day job description and then in the Key Accomplishments section I listed the more measurable items of my specific impact and then for biggest challenge I took one of my key accomplishments and described it in more detail, because I have found my key accomplishments are generally some of my challenges too. I also made sure every bullet point reeked of leadership. My company descriptions are similar to what would be on wikipedia..I think this is really for those who apply and the adcom doesn't necessarily know their company.

For the low score, you can explain in the additional information section if you do have a legitimate explanation, if not then I wouldn't call attention to it and just use the essay to genuinely describe who you are as a person and a leader some of the essay analysis posted earlier in this thread may be helpful for that. There is no silver bullet for what to say to get you in with a low score but there is a huge pitfall and application killer in trying to tell the adcomm what you think they want to hear to offset that low score. Hope this helps.
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New post 30 Aug 2017, 02:45
FuturePM91 wrote:
ydmuley wrote:
Let me take a shot at them rekhabishop

I have a few questions:

Question 1. What does HBS Adcom expect from the roles and responsibilities? - Whatever role you are into try to focus on the moments of leadership. Have has your presence impacted a certain project, etc. If you can quantify the impact in terms of $$ it will add more value.

Question 2. What should I fill in the company/ organization description? I mean, what is the Adcom's expectation?
As I am from a big 4, everything that I will write is already on Wikipedia.

- When you say big 4 I assume you are talking the league of Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft in Tech!. In that case, there is no point in wasting your words in describing your company. A brief description of your division/department would be enough (unless you wana highlight any other points later in the essay).

Question 3. What should be the highlights in my essay to get me an admit at a low score?

I would genuinely describe the reason for the low score, let's say you had some personal situation, etc. but do try to touch base even if the reason is you are weak in a certain section.

I am not sure if this answers your questions, but feel free to discuss further if need be.



So I took a bit of a different approach...for role and responsibilities I took this at face value and literally just stated a summary of my day to day job description and then in the Key Accomplishments section I listed the more measurable items of my specific impact and then for biggest challenge I took one of my key accomplishments and described it in more detail, because I have found my key accomplishments are generally some of my challenges too. I also made sure every bullet point reeked of leadership. My company descriptions are similar to what would be on wikipedia..I think this is really for those who apply and the adcom doesn't necessarily know their company.

For the low score, you can explain in the additional information section if you do have a legitimate explanation, if not then I wouldn't call attention to it and just use the essay to genuinely describe who you are as a person and a leader some of the essay analysis posted earlier in this thread may be helpful for that. There is no silver bullet for what to say to get you in with a low score but there is a huge pitfall and application killer in trying to tell the adcomm what you think they want to hear to offset that low score. Hope this helps.



Thank you, FuturePM91 and ydmuley !
I know that there is no specific word-limit for the essay, but just out of curiosity, how many words should be good? Jus generally.
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New post 30 Aug 2017, 03:50
rekhabishop I have heard to keep it under 1200 words, however even if it is under that limit make sure you aren't saying something in 1200 words that could be said in 600 words. Make sure every sentence adds to your story.
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New post 30 Aug 2017, 08:42
Considering redoing my GMAT

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 10:22
FuturePM91 wrote:
rekhabishop I have heard to keep it under 1200 words, however even if it is under that limit make sure you aren't saying something in 1200 words that could be said in 600 words. Make sure every sentence adds to your story.



Well said FuturePM91 - 1200 words is decent.

But trust me if you have a compelling story it is going to be really challenging.
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"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 10:22
streetking wrote:
Considering redoing my GMAT

Researching or Writing Essays
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GMAT: 680, Q45, V38
GPA: 3
WE: 80 months
Industry: Accounting


All the best streetking - Do let us know how it goes.
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Best AWA Template: https://gmatclub.com/forum/how-to-get-6-0-awa-my-guide-64327.html#p470475

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 11:56
Just chiming in again here to say that there is no length to strive for in the sense that no one should be beefing up their essay simply to make it longer because they've heard other people have. I've had successful clients submit very, very succinct essays, as in 600 words.

I've also had clients whose stories blew me away and took more than 600 words to communicate, but they were all still able to come in around 1200 words.

Best of luck!


ydmuley wrote:
FuturePM91 wrote:
rekhabishop I have heard to keep it under 1200 words, however even if it is under that limit make sure you aren't saying something in 1200 words that could be said in 600 words. Make sure every sentence adds to your story.



Well said FuturePM91 - 1200 words is decent.

But trust me if you have a compelling story it is going to be really challenging.

_________________

I've been an admissions consultant with Stacy Blackman Consulting since 2008. I went to Harvard Business School for my MBA and Michigan Ross for my BBA. I have helped clients gain acceptance into all of the top programs and am a big believer in letting your voice and your personality shine through in your application materials. Best of luck!

Interested in a free 30-minute consultation with the Stacy Blackman Team? Sign up here: http://stacyblackman.com/contact

Erika Olson | Stacy Blackman Consulting Inc | http://www.StacyBlackman.com

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Re: Calling all Harvard (HBS) Applicants Class of 2020 (2018 intake) &nbs [#permalink] 30 Aug 2017, 11:56

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