Six Things You Need To Know About The New Harvard MBA Application

Six Things You Need To Know About The New Harvard MBA Application

Yesterday, I served up a healthy dose of tough love to Harvard MBA applicants who were reportedly in a state of “panic and confusion” over the revisions announced to the Harvard MBA application. 

Today, I offer concrete ways you can shift your application strategy for the Harvard application. 

First, read carefully the HBS Admissions web page entitled: Who are we looking for?  Although the elements of the application process have shifted, the core objectives of Harvard MBA Admissions remain the same. Thus, I would argue, there is no need for panic, dear applicants. You’re simply being asked to communicate the same information in a different format. 

To recap (and in case you did not click the link above), the Admissions Committee of Harvard Business School seeks these essential characteristics in their MBA students: 

  • Diversity 
  • Habit of Leadership
  • Analytical Aptitude and Appetite
  • Engaged Community Citizen

Recommendations From the MBA Admissions Coach

Given what we know about Harvard’s new MBA application and the characteristics sought by HBS in their candidates, here are my “Six Things You Need To Know About the New Harvard Application.” 

1. Know your story.

Before you create a strategy to tell your story, you need to know your story. This sounds trite, I know. Your story is more than just the facts and figures. Your story includes your strengths, your core traits that make you a good leader now and will make you a great leader in the future. Your story also includes your goals. Why are you pursuing an MBA and how will you make those goals a reality? 

2. Know that all MBA applications are business communications.

Effective and succinct communication is what business values. Keep all of the components of you application on target with your story, yet still compact and cohesive. 

3. Know that you should submit an essay.

No question. The application essay is the glue that binds together the other elements of the file. It’s the narrative of your story. Furthermore, HBS already established they seek candidates who demonstrate diversity, habit of leadership, analytical aptitude, and engaged community citizenship. You can’t tell that story with only your application, resume, test scores, transcripts and recommendations. 

4. Know that your resume and recommenders assume a more significant supporting role in telling your story. 

More than a list of dates and positions, your MBA resume must be crafted to reflect your story in the context of what HBS seeks in candidates. Reconnect now with your recommenders to remind them of your story and strengths. Tell them directly about your strategy for your HBS application, and ask for their help in supporting your strategy. 

5. Know your timeline.

The HBS Round One deadline of September 16, 2013, will come around quickly. Don’t underestimate the time you’ll need to develop, edit, and re-edit your application components. You must start now. The clock is ticking. 

6. Know that help is available.

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