HBS

MBA Snapshot: Harvard Business School

MBA Snapshot:  Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School is clearly one of the best known business schools in the world.  With more than 900 students in each year’s graduating class, it’s also one of the largest, not to mention one of the oldest (founded in 1908).  Here’s the top three reasons why HBS is so renowned…

The MBA Round 2 Advantage

The MBA Round 2 Advantage

It's the time of year where I start having the "Round 2 conversation" a lot with individual clients. Basically, the idea is that Round 2 might be offering a slight advantage, based on theories of market inefficiencies and so forth.  For years, the prevailing belief is that Round 1 is the best round to apply to business school. While there is no hard-core evidence to suggest otherwise, some common sense may point to a different result.

Harvard and Kellogg: a tale of two business schools?

Harvard and Kellogg: a tale of two business schools?

Very rarely do we get caught up in trying to spot trends in terms of which schools are "hot" at any given moment.

This is mainly because narratives tend to overreact in the moment, only to fade over time ("Wharton is going off the rails" - 2013 .. "Stanford is mired in sexual harassment scandal!" - 2015), but also because so much of trying to spot these trends is about reacting to anecdotal evidence from a small sample size.  Put another way: you are just hearing your clients buzz about schools and express their opinions.  Is that enough to go all-in on?  No, definitely not.  But can you sometimes spot an interesting new trend or pattern?  I think yes, sometimes you can. 

A Tip for Writing Harvard Business School Essays - "don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite"

A Tip for Writing Harvard Business School Essays - "don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite"

I wanted to get ahead of something - a problem I see with my clients to Harvard Business School (and Stanford GSB.) HBS calls it out as "overthinking, overcrafting and overwriting." I call it "overselling" yourself when writing.

Advice on How to Handle the HBS Waitlist

Advice on How to Handle the HBS Waitlist

Going quick and nothing fancy here, just looking to get the word out on "HBS Waitlist Day" as it will likely become known in the future.  

I stunning number of candidates appear to have been WL'd today, just based on what I'm seeing stream across my inbox.  The biggest group looking for answers are candidates I've never heard of, who are seeking answers and asking what to do.  This is when I know I have to go to the blog.  Let's work through this.  

Responding to your HBS decision (2016)

Responding to your HBS decision (2016)

This Wednesday (October 12) is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines.  Nevermind that the Duke Fuqua or Dartmouth Tuck deadlines are right around the corner - no, it's all about the final HBS Round 1 notification deadline.  Interview or ding?  Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well.  Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here.  We'll group it result-by-result.

Most Common Mistakes on Round 1 MBA Essays

Most Common Mistakes on Round 1 MBA Essays

I just saw a whole lot of MBA essays over the past few months and now that Round 1 is (mostly) finished, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to jot down the most common mistake I saw for each of the most common essays I worked on with clients.  Round 2 clients can get a leg up by simply avoiding these traps.  

Tackling the “other” questions inside the business school application

Tackling the “other” questions inside the business school application

With the release of the 2016 HBS application, it is clear that shortening the number of essays is a trend that is here to stay for now. With only one essay on the HBS application again this year, it is becoming more important than ever to not only communicate effectively and concisely, but also to leverage the balance of the application (and of course the interview) to stand out from the crowd.

Applying Round 1? This Year's MBA Deadlines Are Earlier Than You Think.

Applying Round 1? This Year's MBA Deadlines Are Earlier Than You Think.

Normally, once the fireworks go off on the 4th of July, that's our signal to start digging into the apps in earnest, as "October" Round 1 deadlines are a few months away.  However, in recent years, the deadlines keep getting earlier and earlier.  I know I had to really reset my own calendar given these changes, so I figured I'd do a public service and list them out here, calling special attention to the front-loaded nature of the deadlines. 

3 Key Thoughts on the HBS Essay

3 Key Thoughts on the HBS Essay

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Despite HBS featuring the most publicized changing of the guard in admissions that I can remember, they are basically keeping their "open-ended" question style intact.  In fact, more than keeping it intact, they have reverted to the more straight forward version they used in 2013 and 2014, rather than the more clever (but probably ultimately less effective) "introduction" prompt from last year.  

And because they are staying in this lane, it means that my three thoughts need to stay in the same lane they have been in for years - because understanding the psychology behind this essay goes a long way to explaining how you might solve it.  

You Really Should Watch This Harvard Business School Video - Inside the HBS Case Method

You Really Should Watch This Harvard Business School Video - Inside the HBS Case Method

No matter the year - if you're applying to HBS, you really should watch the video the HBS admissions committee once referenced in their essay instructions way back in 2015. Why? Because the Case Method is often referenced as HBS's primary differentiator. 

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably) from Business School

Why You Just Got Dinged (Probably) from Business School

Other than "bad luck" or "well, this school is one of the hardest in the world to get into" or "you never should have applied to this school," these are the three most common reasons that people get dinged.  Put differently, they are the three reasons you could have avoided:

Reactions to HBS Admissions Decisions

Reactions to HBS Admissions Decisions

Time for a quick blog post in the wake of HBS sending out its three waves of decisions (October 6, 8, and 14).  You can read the whole thing or you can just read this line, probably: don't take this stuff personally, understand there are a ton of great schools out there, and keep moving forward.  Need more?  Okay, let's break it down, with three Golden Rules for receiving a decision of this magnitude. 

Everything You Want to Know About the HBS Case Method Learning Environment - Video Marathon Post

Everything You Want to Know About the HBS Case Method Learning Environment - Video Marathon Post

As a follow up to my earlier post today (regarding the video HBS references in their essay prompt), I wanted to unleash a marathon of HBS Case Method videos that I found during my research. So grab some popcorn and sit back - this is sure to beat the Game of Thrones marathon you had planned for tonight (but not really.) Ha.

Quick Thoughts on the HBS Essay

Quick Thoughts on the HBS Essay

Unlike Columbia and Stanford, HBS did not make any changes to its essay from last year.  As explained by Dee Leopold in her blog, they were quite simply happy with the content that this prompted generated.  Those handful of people who have spoken to me on consult calls this year know that I predicted HBS would keep this essay and that it would be for this reason - I had a feeling this experiment worked well.  This is because I watched the MASSIVE (all caps are necessary here) gulf between good and bad use of this space, among candidates.

Don't Apply Round 3 ... Until You Read This Post!

Don't Apply Round 3 ... Until You Read This Post!

The common myth surrounding Round 3 of the MBA application process is that you can't, or shouldn't, apply late in the admission cycle.  "The class is pretty much full" is one refrain.  "You have to be a truly unique applicant" is another.  "Only European programs admit people that late" is yet another. As with anything, there are bits of truth in these sound bites ... but only bits.

Responding to Your HBS Admissions Decision

Today is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines.  Nevermind that the Kellogg Round 1 deadline is tomorrow or that some people found out today that they were admitted to MIT - no, it's all about the HBS Round 1 notification deadline.  Interview or ding?  Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well.  Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here.  We'll group it result-by-result. 

Ambiguity Equals Opportunity: The Story of the New HBS Application

Ambiguity Equals Opportunity: The Story of the New HBS Application

Today we are going to talk about the new HBS application and what it means for applicants.  We've already gone on record with our thoughts on how something like "this" (a school eliminating required essays) might impact our work as consultants, so this post is going to break down what this means for applicants.  First, we are going to provide some context, to properly frame expectations. 

Analysis of HBS’ Big Essay Changes for 2012/2013

Analysis of HBS’ Big Essay Changes for 2012/2013

Harvard's new essays questions and application process (timing) represent the continuation of a theme at HBS – namely, the program's desire to matriculate an even greater diversity of student.  Previously, we have seen this through HBS' introduction of the 2+2 program, as well as the acceptance of the GRE.  The 2+2 program is designed to seek out the best and the brightest from the youngest of potential applicants – undergraduates.  The GRE is an exam whose test taking pool is approximately 50% female.  If you look at Harvard's numbers over the past few years, you can see that demographics are trending younger and more female.  This is something that most applicants to HBS already knew.