How to get into Harvard Business School

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How to get into Harvard Business School

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How to get into Harvard Business School


Many MBA applicants ask us, ‘How hard it is to get a chance in Harvard Business School


  • What are my chances of getting into Harvard?
  • What does Harvard look for?
  • When are there tons of excellent schools in the world?
  • Why do so many applicants single out Harvard Business School?


The simple answer is – because it is Harvard, Harvard does not depend on MBA rankings for credibility.


The other way around. Any business school ranking that doesn’t feature Harvard among the top loses its credibility.


Among the most popular stories on our website is an MBA Crystal Ball consultant who Got into Harvard Business School and rejected it.


If you’re curious to know why then dive in deep. However, his story does not get into the nuances of what it takes to get into Harvard Business School.


Before dive in deep, lets us have some remarkable pre-application questions.


How difficult getting admission into HBS?

The short answer is – very hard.

Here’s why ?


Though technically, Harvard University wasn’t the first to set up a business school.


Its century-long existence gave it a huge first-mover advantage.


Over the years, many universities followed suit.


Harvard ensured that it stayed in the driver’s seat when it came to innovation and setting the bar for management.


With an endowment among the biggest in the education sector, it can tap into resources that few other universities can.


The HBS brand is super-strong in the education space and the industry– in almost all fields of specialization.


That covers the entire spectrum of post MBA opportunities.


This means that the alumni network (one of the key takeaways of an MBA) is entrenched in the higher echelons of power in all business fields. ( and non-business streams like politics as well ).


This attracts the best and the brightest MBA applicants worldwide, hoping to bag a seat at their dream school.


Yes, it’s moderately laborious to get inside Harvard Business School.


This is probably why many applicants want to know the answer to the next question.


How many chances to get into Harvard Business School?

Unlike the earlier question, this one can be answered with statistics published by Harvard. The selectivity rate for the Harvard MBA is 11 %.


The statistics may vary from year to year. Still, if you look at the trend, it has become tougher to get into HBS over the years.


That should give you a general idea about your chances of getting into Harvard Business School.


But, as with all statistics, be aware of what these numbers don’t tell you.


If you blindly assume that your chances of getting into HBS are 11 %, that would be incorrect.


There are many other factors at play that are not captured by these statistics.


It is the self-filtering that happens in the applicant pool even before the application is submitted.


As a hypothetical example, there may be 1000 aspirants out there who want to get into Harvard. But only 100 may apply.


How to get into Harvard Business School


Others may think they can wait for a year or two to strengthen their profile.


Out of the 100 that apply, 11 will get an offer. It’s a simplistic example to prove a point.


Despite the selectivity numbers, your chances of entering Harvard are not 11 %.


They may be better or worse – depending on your overall profile and, more importantly – your potential, as perceived by the Harvard MBA Admissions team.


Alright, with the basic queries addressed, we’re ready to move on to the main one.


How to get into the Harvard Business School?

If you are applying this year, some of these suggestions (like influencing the undergrad GPA or industry & role) won’t be relevant.


Pick. What you think is helpful and create your own—Harvard application.


Step 1. Understand what makes Harvard what it is?

This is a crucial step to understanding ‘fit’ with HBS.


Harvard Admission Officers will sniff Out pseudo-fans, who have nothing more to justify the choice, apart from Harvard being a top name.


With some of the other business schools.


If your other profile parameters are favorable, you might get away with minor tweaks on your MBA application.


Spend time trying to get a handle on the ‘average Harvard student’ statistics.


Even better. Suppose you can search for students from your country who have attended Harvard.


When you hear back from the Harvard admissions team, if you aren’t coming close to them, there may be a message for you – to re-focus your energies on other schools and not be devastated.


(Tip LinkedIn is a good source).


Try to visualize yourself as a Harvard student and what you’d be expected to go through In those two grueling years.


The case study method. Read more about how Harvard Business School uses. Also, be aware of the grading practices at HBS.


It’s a bell-curve rating, where you’ll be pitched against your peers.


Class participation could influence half those grades.


So if you are an introvert, depending on how you can adapt to the environment, either you’ll come out majorly transformed or wholly crushed.


After you’ve done the data collation, research, and visualization, ask yourself – “Is it a pretty picture or scary.”


Step 2. Ensure you have stellar academic statistics.

The world believes Harvard is a machine that Churns out business leaders who are also highly technical.


While HBS probably enjoys hearing that the truth is an MBA degree cannot do what an undergrad or bachelor’s degree can.


(i. e., improve the technical skills of its students).

How to get into Harvard Business School


So Harvard relies on a filter system that squeezes out the best technical brains in the applicant pool and trains them on business.


If you notice, a large number of Harvard students have a technical or engineering undergrad background.


From an Indian angle, many have an engineering degree (and being an IIT graduate doesn’t hurt).


And then adding some icing to the cake – think about all the Leadership positions you held on campus. And then put a cherry on top of it – like a high GPA or gold medal.


Don’t be fooled by stories of low GMAT scorers getting into Harvard.

That generally does not happen with applicants from highly represented countries like India and China.


  • Harvard’s median GMAT score is 730. 
  • The range of GMAT scores is 580 – 790.


Step 3. With its vast batch size.

Hbs relies on Indians, Chinese, and other high-scoring demographic pools with high scores to offset their decision to take in low-scorers.


Hbs knows the value of how brands work. One in four students at Harvard has been a consultant at top management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain BCG.


Get into the right industry and role before applying and being a branding success story.


What, if it’s too late for that? Well, you still have those three seats (out of 4) to compete for.


But the primary rationale: doesn’t change.


Take any other field and find out the market leaders known for their stringent employee selection process.


Google, in technology Goldman Sachs in investment banking Carlyle. In private equity are some excellent examples.


In specific industries, the milestones are pretty fixed.


For example, if you join a consulting firm as an analyst immediately after your engineering degree (lucky you ), you’d be expected to move out for an MBA after a few years.


For other industries, where this is not the norm, show your role progression and increase the Quantum and complexity of the responsibilities.


You’ve handled. Show the admissions officer at Harvard that this is not your first trial by fire.


Step 4. Present yourself as a Leader

Remember the earlier point about HBS not being able to churn out technical WizKids.


There’s not much they can do about creating leaders magically in 2 years, either.


So they extend the filtering to include those who are already leaders.


If that’s, so why would someone technically savvy and a born leader try so hard to get into Harvard?


Because the doors that can open for them after graduation can be more extensive, grander, and more lucrative.


Who wouldn’t want that? Show them that you not only have the achievements of a leader, but you can communicate as a leader, too.


Step 5. Apply in your mid-twenties

From the previous point on leaders having a better shot at Harvard. Use your essays and interview to do this.


But from the statistics on the Harvard MBA admissions page, it looks like that’s not true.


HBS students are younger than the students at the other Top 10 MBA programs. The sweet spot for applying is when you have around three years of experience after graduating.


The more experience you have, the lesser your chances of getting in.


There may be exceptions to the rule, like MBA applicants from the army/military or a decisive master or doctoral degree that skewed your experience-to-age ratio.


If you think, “All, this is fine, but it can’t be a universal formula to get into Harvard,.” Then you are right.


These tips are purely based on the typical profiles that you see at Harvard.


Do a comprehensive analysis of Indian / Chinese / African / American students who’ve attended Harvard Business School.


Try to analyze what it was about.


You’ll find many who don’t have a top degree from an IVY league, university, IIT, or any well-known college across the world who aren’t from consulting and who Don’t have a high GMAT score.


Those profiles may have given them a seat at HBS.


After all, has been said and done, keep in mind that Harvard is not the only good business school for you.


When it comes to ‘value,’ there are many other schools that are much better than Harvard.


In a few years, you may realize you were chasing it only because of the brand MBA.


If you need a little help with your Harvard MBA application or any other elite MBA program, drop us an email.


We know your mentor might be the top consultant from MBA Crystal Ball, who rejected Harvard.

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This Video provides the process and all details about this matter. Actually we can not read more blog and article so i think to see the video is the best options to know more.

How to get into Harvard Business School



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