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# What Harvard Business School Is Looking For: Analytical Aptitude

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Joined: 20 Apr 2003
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03 Jun 2019, 06:20

This is the second post in our series, [urhttps://blog.accepted.com/tag/what-hbs-is-looking-for/]What HBS is Looking For[/url].

So, HBS wants “analytical aptitude and appetite.” Hardly a surprise. You might be tempted to simply skim that section of the website message without giving it much thought.

Maybe it’s not as obvious as it sounds. Let’s break it down.

Understanding the terms

So what does “analytical aptitude and appetite” mean?

Analytical
This word encompasses a range of things – quantitative methods, various tools and processes such as decision trees and FMEA, mental and intellectual objectivity, an exacting attitude. Parsing the relationship between a whole and its parts. Pursuing root causes.

Aptitude
Ability, innate and/or learned.

Appetite
This is the really interesting word, because it’s open to interpretation. We can read it as meaning to enjoy, to savor, to be open to, to relish, to hunger for, to have capacity for. Here are some of its practical implications and nuances (in question form):

• Do you use objective analysis in understanding past events, planning future actions and strategies, and making decisions?

• Do you respect results and outcomes determined by objective analysis even when they don’t jive with your preconceptions, ideologies, or preferences?

• Does your analytic mindset allow you to be comfortable with – even relish – ambiguity and uncertainty?

• Do you use language effectively as an analytic tool, e.g., when the team is facing a muddle, are you the one who can verbally separate the threads, clarify them, and guide the team to understand their relative weight and importance?

How to demonstrate analytical aptitude

As the HBS website indicates, for HBS, analytical aptitude is not a solitary feast (regardless of how hearty the analytic appetite). You’ve got to bring your analytical chops to the table, i.e., to classroom debates and case studies, projects, etc. Therefore, to use a music analogy, you must be able not only to read and play the analytic score, but also to improvise, on the spot and with other virtuosos.

The adcom will grasp your analytical aptitude from your transcript(s), test score(s), and resume. But if you feel these elements don’t adequately show this dimension, use other parts of the application (essay, short answers, additional info, recommendations) to amplify it.

How to show your analytical appetite

As for showing analytical appetite:

* Invite your recommenders to discuss this quality and to provide examples.
* In your essay, use a story or two that demonstrates analytical appetite.

And don’t worry – it won’t hurt to let other programs you apply to appreciate your analytical aptitude and appetite!

Work with an experienced admissions consultant who will guide you as you mine your experiences and then craft an application that demonstrates the analytical aptitude and appetite that HBS is seeking.

Cindy Tokumitsu has advised hundreds of successful applicants, helping them gain acceptance to top MBA and EMBA programs in her 20 years with Accepted. She would love to help you too. Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid: Eliminate the 5 Most Common Flaws in Your MBA Application, a free guide
What Does Harvard Business School Want?, a short video
Sample Essay from Admitted HBS Student: The Mechanical Engineer

Applying to a top b-school? The talented folks at Accepted have helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to their dream programs. Whether you are figuring out where to apply, writing your application essays, or prepping for your interviews, we are just a call (or click) away.

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What Harvard Business School Is Looking For: Analytical Aptitude   [#permalink] 03 Jun 2019, 06:20
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# What Harvard Business School Is Looking For: Analytical Aptitude

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