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# Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants

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31 Aug 2012, 08:30
Hi Sandy, I went to an HBS info session and was told by one of the admissions staffers that R1 and R2 odds are very much the same. Is this true from your experience?
My plan was to apply for R1 but now realize I'm behind on the essays so I'm thinking I should aim for R2 instead. Thanks.
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31 Aug 2012, 14:20
HBS wants people with high GPAs because, despite the limitations of the GPA as a metric for intellectual aptitude / capacity, it is the best proxy we have at this point that allows comparison of intellectual aptitude / capacity between candidates of different schools in different countries.

Intellectual aptitude / capacity is what HBS is looking for at the end of the day. It's one of the 3 pillars (in my opinion) of what HBS looks for as a baseline for applicants (Leadership, Empathy (team work, volunteer, etc), Intellectual Aptitude). Why does HBS want people who have high aptitude - as exhibited by high GPA?

BECAUSE A CASE DISCUSSION AT HBS IS A DAMN!!!!! DIFFICULT THING!!!!! It is a 90 minute long intellectual debate (if directed well by profs) between people who are DAMN SMART!!!!! This is not the average conversation you have with a colleague at work - even if you're at Mck/B/B.

So, even though there are a number of false positives - people who have high GPAs but low intellectual capacity - who get into HBS, the AdCom would much rather be conservative and weed out a disproportionate number of false negatives than let in some false positives. And, BTW, those false positives are weeded out of HBS pretty quickly after the 1st semester and 1st year!

To make up for a low GPA, you have two choices: OVER COMPENSATE by writing about the other 2 pillars (Leadership and Empathy) and knocking those out of the park, or SHOW how you've had extraordinary experiences from which you can draw on to add to the case discussion instead of being handicapped by your intelligence / quick-thinking. If that's what you're trying to do, you need to come up with some damn good examples and your recommendations had better back you up. The lower your GPA, the exponentially more extraordinary your examples need to be.

*********

It's upsetting to hear things like:

"[HBS faculty] like obedient and responsive audiences...because [HBS faculty] are often lazy or marginally competent themselves."

HBS faculty (90% of them) are RIDICULOUSLY SMART AND PROFOUND. And, they want students who challenge each other AND the faculty. Students who contradict the professor are almost ALWAYS the Baker Scholars.

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31 Aug 2012, 14:23
cliu wrote:
Hi Sandy, I went to an HBS info session and was told by one of the admissions staffers that R1 and R2 odds are very much the same. Is this true from your experience?
My plan was to apply for R1 but now realize I'm behind on the essays so I'm thinking I should aim for R2 instead. Thanks.

Most IB kids like you, and also consulting kids, apply R1; readers get a bit tired of seeing IB apps round 2, but they are professional enuf to ignore that --soooooo, given not being ready for R1 vs. some vague and subtle ambience contra IB apps in R2, apply R2. IB kids do get in that round.
Don't have data on if odds go up, but prob not in any sig. way, if at all.
Admission staffers would give you reply as knee-jerk true or not, so not sure what that means. It is possible that admissions staffers would be honest enuf to say DO NOT if pzzble apply R3 (if in IB). My own feeling is that is correct. altho data hard to come by. IF they really like you, they will take you, in any round, but lots of kids get into HBS who are just solid and not 'really liked.' In those cases, rounds can make a diff. esp. R3.
BOTTOM LINE: if not ready, apply R2.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2012, 14:38
hbsguru wrote:
cliu wrote:
Hi Sandy, I went to an HBS info session and was told by one of the admissions staffers that R1 and R2 odds are very much the same. Is this true from your experience?
My plan was to apply for R1 but now realize I'm behind on the essays so I'm thinking I should aim for R2 instead. Thanks.

Most IB kids like you, and also consulting kids, apply R1; readers get a bit tired of seeing IB apps round 2, but they are professional enuf to ignore that --soooooo, given not being ready for R1 vs. some vague and subtle ambience contra IB apps in R2, apply R2. IB kids do get in that round.
Don't have data on if odds go up, but prob not in any sig. way, if at all.
Admission staffers would give you reply as knee-jerk true or not, so not sure what that means. It is possible that admissions staffers would be honest enuf to say DO NOT if pzzble apply R3 (if in IB). My own feeling is that is correct. altho data hard to come by. IF they really like you, they will take you, in any round, but lots of kids get into HBS who are just solid and not 'really liked.' In those cases, rounds can make a diff. esp. R3.
BOTTOM LINE: if not ready, apply R2.

Thanks for weighing in Sandy. I am actually not in banking but in more of a support role in trading at a bulge bracket.. does that make much of a difference?
I'm an Asian male 26 y/o with ivy undergrad and grad degrees in engineering and 2 years of w/e. I've been told given my profile I really should aim for the earliest round possible otherwise i'd just be jeopardizing my odds. Again it's definitely either round 1 or 2 because I know round 3 is going to be impossible. Thanks again Sandy.
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31 Aug 2012, 16:17
Quote:
Thanks for weighing in Sandy. I am actually not in banking but in more of a support role in trading at a bulge bracket.. does that make much of a difference?
I'm an Asian male 26 y/o with ivy undergrad and grad degrees in engineering and 2 years of w/e. I've been told given my profile I really should aim for the earliest round possible otherwise i'd just be jeopardizing my odds. Again it's definitely either round 1 or 2 because I know round 3 is going to be impossible. Thanks again Sandy.
What exactly do you do? If you are tech support for traders, and using your engineering degree to program computers, and basically you fall into IT, well maybe, if you are doing non IT work for a trading desk, phew, gotta be honest w. ya, not many kids with that job get into HBS, in any round; if GPA and GMAT are stellar, well, maybe, so good luck.
As to round, not going to make a real dif.
good luck.
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01 Sep 2012, 06:20
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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. . . . . Since you have such in-depth knowledge of the psyche of adcom could you tell me how does this reason sound??--

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

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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2012, 06:31
hbsguru wrote:
Quote:
The way you explain the psyche of the adcom is great. No wonder you are one of the revered consultants for H/S/W. . . . . Since you have such in-depth knowledge of the psyche of adcom could you tell me how does this reason sound??--

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

Hi HBSGuru
hoping to send some happy news your way at end of admission season
with due respects
Arun
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04 Sep 2012, 04:45
(
Quote:
by sriramtak)

Well, I have a kind of peculiar case here. I have a mind blowing undergrad GPA:4.82 out of 5. But a very (relatively)poor GPA 3.15 in a PG Diploma which took post post that. How will that look to the adcoms? I do have a 730 GMAT score and straight A's in 3 calculus courses and microeconomics will that compensate. Should I even mention it in the additional essay.
==========
My guess is they will credit the undergrad GPA more --you might mention that in grad school you focused on thesis and research and ug performance is best predictor of how you will do in mba program.
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Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants [#permalink]

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04 Sep 2012, 06:44
@HBSGuru

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04 Sep 2012, 13:32
here is the latest fr. my What are My Odds feature in Poets and Quants.
http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/24/as ... l-success/

Quote:
Ms. Intelligence
670 GMAT (will retake)
3.4 GPA
Undergraduate degree in economics from West Point, with a track in Civil Engineering (graduated in the top 30% of my class)
Work experience includes four years in the Army as an intelligence officer; currently managed a team of four, handling all intelligence analysis, security and anti-terrorism issues for a battalion of 500 soldiers; planned missions for the intelligence assets in almost all of western Iraq; led a military intelligence platoon of 26 soldiers for two years, including one in Iraq, was responsible for $12 million of equipment and training those 26 soldiers for deployment Extracurricular involvement as captain of the Alpine ski team, competed in Sandhurst military competition and was an active member of the model UN team; assist a military family in my spare time to cope with transitioning after a tragic incident; taught English in Cambodia for a month as a West Point cadet; climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity Goal: To get some solid business experience, eventually becoming my own boss 27-year-old female Odds of Success: Duke: 60+% North Carolina: 60+% Virginia: 60+% Sandy’s Analysis: You may be setting your sights too low, all of those schools– Duke, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Darden– should be solid for you given a female from West Point with a 3.4 and a 670 GMAT and a solid military and volunteer career, especially since you have been in Iraq, with major leadership (e.g. “leader of a military intelligence platoon of 26 soldiers for two years”) and material responsibilities (for “$12 million dollars worth of equipment”).

A female from West Point with Iraq experience and lots of extras could be HBS or Wharton if you could manage a 700 GMAT on next try and firm up goals. You currently say, “get some solid business experience, eventually become my own boss . . . .” That is a bit lame and unfocused. Try saying you want to go into consulting as a “gateway” to a career in either consulting or working for a tech company in some data related way, since that synchs up (on Planet Adcom if not in reality, but maybe that too) with your Army intel experience.

Just spin out something that is clear and involves working for well-known brands. Schools got tons of entrepreneurs, or wannabes, and saying you want to be “your own boss” is a bit out of date. That is what dead-enders said in the 1950s when working for The Man. Hip kids like you are supposed to say you want to create great products, services and jobs, but I would not go the “own boss” route in any case. Go with consulting. Top consulting firms would be very interested in a female West Point applicant and the rest of your story is real solid. Take a deep breath and start thinking Top 10 B-schools.
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05 Sep 2012, 06:38
Hi Sandy, I've been feeling very demotivated about by HSW apps lately, as I backread throughout the forums and most guys who get in are really super GPA's/GMAT's/IB/PE/VC type guys

DO HUMAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY GET IN HSW? Gah
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05 Sep 2012, 07:01
emmanuelle8 wrote:
Hi Sandy, I've been feeling very demotivated about by HSW apps lately, as I backread throughout the forums and most guys who get in are really super GPA's/GMAT's/IB/PE/VC type guys

DO HUMAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY GET IN HSW? Gah

most who get in have sorta 3.6 gpa and 720-ish gmats. They are not all IB/PE/VC types and in fact schools have
been shaving those cohorts back so as not to over-rely on finance types, as Columbia did, and then saw a real fall off in apps
when market conditions changed, for a great story about this, which also compares feeder industries to Col v. W (and also HBS a bit ) see this

Columbia MBA Apps Plunge 19%
in Poets and Quants
http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/29/co ... plunge-19/
PQ also has lists of feeder firms to top B schools and feeder colleges, which are worth looking at.

if you outline your stats and work history --I'll let you know if peeps like you get into H/S/W
--one impt issue is, has anyone fr. your current firm or similar position applied to hsw and what outcomes.
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05 Sep 2012, 08:58
Sandy, would a well-balanced 760 GMAT (44V 49Q) make up for a relatively low (3.4) GPA? Also adding to that an alt. transcript with As in Calculus and Stats, how would the mix be perceived?
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05 Sep 2012, 09:19
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kcw984 wrote:
Sandy, would a well-balanced 760 GMAT (44V 49Q) make up for a relatively low (3.4) GPA? Also adding to that an alt. transcript with As in Calculus and Stats, how would the mix be perceived?

well, it won't hurt. nor will alt transcript. but e.g. at HBS, in general, you'd do better w. 720 GMAT and 3.8
GPA--places like MIT go for big gmats and so does Columbia, so that is another factor, as is trend of your grades, whether your parents went to college, and how much else there is to like about you.
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05 Sep 2012, 10:01
[EDIT - Best of luck everyone!]

Last edited by OptimisticApplicant on 10 Oct 2012, 08:31, edited 1 time in total.
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05 Sep 2012, 19:17
OptimisticApplicant wrote:
Hi Sandy,

Two questions for you:

1) Is the following offer still valid: http://hbsguru.com/essayrater.html? I sent you a note on May 25th with the required info as well as a few follow-up emails. I'd love to hear your expert feedback before I hit submit on the 9/24.

2) My GPA is a 2.98 (Top 25 Liberal Arts school) with a substantial upward trend: 2.27 -> 2.39 -> 3.56 -> 3.76. Horrible performance during my first two years was due to poor time management skills while playing (division 3) varsity basketball. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 means "Not a big deal" and 10 means "Deal breaker", how detrimental is my undergrad performance in the eyes of HBS AdComs? Any different for MIT Sloan?

Thank you!
OptimisticApplicant

Undergrad performance is very important. A 2.98, no matter the trend, is a near deal-breaker. What was your major? What is your GMAT score? What kind of work experience do you have? How will you write about your low GPA? Just plain-old poor time management? Or do you have something more more meaningful, like you were doing something else with your time besides shooting hoops?

That's where the strategy comes in. You need to position all of your application materials (essay, recommendations) to address any concern that a low GPA may raise and to show that you have a substantial amount to contribute to the class through your professional and extracurricular experiences. Send me your materials, I'll have a look.

hbs.consultant@gmail.com
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05 Sep 2012, 21:46
hbsguru wrote:
emmanuelle8 wrote:
Hi Sandy, I've been feeling very demotivated about by HSW apps lately, as I backread throughout the forums and most guys who get in are really super GPA's/GMAT's/IB/PE/VC type guys

DO HUMAN PEOPLE ACTUALLY GET IN HSW? Gah

most who get in have sorta 3.6 gpa and 720-ish gmats. They are not all IB/PE/VC types and in fact schools have
been shaving those cohorts back so as not to over-rely on finance types, as Columbia did, and then saw a real fall off in apps
when market conditions changed, for a great story about this, which also compares feeder industries to Col v. W (and also HBS a bit ) see this

Columbia MBA Apps Plunge 19%
in Poets and Quants
http://poetsandquants.com/2012/08/29/co ... plunge-19/
PQ also has lists of feeder firms to top B schools and feeder colleges, which are worth looking at.

if you outline your stats and work history --I'll let you know if peeps like you get into H/S/W
--one impt issue is, has anyone fr. your current firm or similar position applied to hsw and what outcomes.

Hi Sandy, I have a 3.5 GPA in a double major (but declining! 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.1 3.3 but because majors are difficult and this is the normal trend, especially since 60% of my class was kicked out from course) and 760 GMAT. Female from MNC (chevron, shell, exxon) oil and gas, first from sales role and then finance role in refinery. Strong extra-C's in college and post-college. Goal to expand agriculture-related family biz..Southeast asian. (not chinese or indian).

What do you think?
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06 Sep 2012, 09:39
emmanuelle8 wrote:
"if you outline your stats and work history --I'll let you know if peeps like you get into H/S/W
--one impt issue is, has anyone fr. your current firm or similar position applied to hsw and what outcomes."
Hi Sandy, I have a 3.5 GPA in a double major (but declining! 3.9 3.9 3.5 3.1 3.3 but because majors are difficult and this is the normal trend, especially since 60% of my class was kicked out from course) and 760 GMAT. Female from MNC (chevron, shell, exxon) oil and gas, first from sales role and then finance role in refinery. Strong extra-C's in college and post-college. Goal to expand agriculture-related family biz..Southeast asian. (not chinese or indian).

What do you think?

I think you need to explain those declining GPA's --rest is real solid. 760 GMAT is real good and being female Big Oil is always a plus, even if in sales. more of a plus if in operations and you got oil platform experience. Expanding fam biz can work as a goal but it really helps if current biz is BIG already. E.g employs hundreds.
Depending on recs, and execution of app and your ability to explain those GPA declines and document it!!!! --well gals like you could get into H/S/W. One element will be leveraging extra currics and showing how work at Oil Major has prepared you to take impactful and transformative role w. family biz.
Note that on Dee Leopold's latest HBS blog, where she breaks out the entering class, one stat is "9%--have worked or plan to work in family business" -that is 82-83 people out of class of ~916.
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06 Sep 2012, 09:51
worth reading, analysis of New Stats posted by HBS, in Poets and Quants:
At HBS, Older MBAs Seem In Vogue
http://poetsandquants.com/2012/09/06/at ... -in-vogue/
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06 Sep 2012, 13:48
Hey Sandy, looking for your opinion on HBS's 2nd question... I want to talk about my experience working on a side project as a startup that failed. I still had/have a fulltime job that did not suffer as a result. My basic strategy is to talk about the lessons learned in my failed startup and how that helped me perform better in my real job.

My question to you is, would HBS believe me? I mean at this point, there is no real way for me to 'prove' my claims on the startup. Website has been taken down/etc.
Re: Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants   [#permalink] 06 Sep 2012, 13:48

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# Harvard 2013 (HBS) - Calling All Applicants

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