Category Archives: MBA Admissions Advisors

HBS Round One Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: December 10, 2016)

On Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Harvard Business School will be sending round-one notifications to applicants who went through the interview process this fall.

50% to 60% of interviewed applicants should receive an offer from HBS.

HBS Classroom

HBS Classroom

Harvard Business School’s admissions rate has been pretty steady in recent years, and we do not expect major changes at this stage following the appointment of Chad Losee as HBS Admissions Director. When emails go out at noon, Boston time, on Wednesday, more than half of first-round interviewees should receive a positive answer. These lucky applicants will have more than eight months to get ready for their HBS journey, and their main challenges going forward will be to stay focused at work, and plan their attendance at the Admitted Student Weekend in Boston.
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How to Prepare for the Wharton Team Based Discussion

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: November 13, 2016)

On November 2nd, Wharton will release invitations to its Group Interviews (“Team Based Discussions” or “The Wharton TBD”). If you haven’t done so already, please review our dedicated post for preparation tips for your team based discussion.
As in previous rounds, MBA Admissions Advisors will be holding several mock group interviews to help applicants prepare. Continue reading

The MIT Sloan Fellows, Stanford MSx, and LBS Sloan Masters: one-year alternatives to regular MBA programs

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: October 19, 2016)

* October 2016 update*
LBS, MIT, and Stanford are organising several information sessions about the Sloan Programmes this fall. Directors from each school will provide an overview of their programme and alumni will share their experiences.

The Sloan Programs, exciting MBA alternatives for experienced leaders

Over the last few applications cycles, we have received an ever increasing number of inquiries regarding three 1-year MBA programs aimed at senior managers:

  1. The MIT Sloan Fellows program (probably the most popular amongst our clients)
  2. The Stanford MSx program
  3. The London Business School Sloan Masters program

In this post, we will review what makes these programs particularly attractive to some of the most experienced MBA applicants. We will also highlight the key facts that candidates should consider before starting the application process. Continue reading

Must-Read Advice Before Submitting Your MBA Application

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: September 4, 2016)

Just a few weeks (or even days) before the first round application deadlines for most top MBA programs, including Harvard Business School, MIT, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, LBS, and Wharton, we thought that MBA applicants could use a checklist for items to review before hitting the “Submit” button.

View of Harvard University and the Charles River

View of Harvard University and the Charles River

1. Thoughts About Harvard’s Essay

In the past, Dee Leopold, former director of admissions at HBS, tried to offer comforting words to its MBA applicants. She insisted that the essay should not be considered a hit or miss exercise. It is really just meant to add color to your application package. More recently, HBS’ new dean of admissions, Chad Losee, wrote the following: “(…) As in years past, we will read (and re-read) and consider the application in its entirety —application, resume, essay, recommendations, transcripts, interview, post-interview reflection, GMAT or GRE scores, etc. Said another way, no one thing will get you admitted or “released” from our admissions process.” Therefore, do not feel that you have to cover any particular topic in this optional essay. You set the rules here, depending on what you believe will allow the admissions committee to better understand what makes you unique. Interestingly, this year’s essay prompt is similar to the one HBS used just a couple of years ago: “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?”. In 2014, Kyle Watkins had provided advice about  a very similar HBS essay. We also wrote about the overall HBS application process in several posts. Make sure to check them out.

2. Completing The Application Form

Most business schools have a lengthy online application form. You should allocate at least 3 hours to go through it and fill it out properly. You will be asked about past job titles, exact employment dates, and compensation data. You will have to describe your employer, explain why you left the company, detail your key accomplishments and most significant challenges. You already should have some of this on your resume, but in a different format. Although Harvard’s admissions team is telling you not to obsess, you’ll notice that it’s easy to spend 20 to 30 minutes writing a meaningful job description in the space allotted to your answer. And then you will go through the same excruciating process for your extra curricular activities, awards and recognition, and academic experience. Some candidates tend to describe the online form as a collection of mini-essays, and approach the form’s questions as such. Don’t fall into that trap. Do your best, but be ready to settle for good enough, unless you are willing to spend 10 hours filling that form.

In any case, do not panic if the options from a specific drop down menu do not match perfectly your personal situation, and do not sweat over the limited space allocated to describe your work experiences. Filling this form properly is important, but keep in mind that the admissions committee will largely rely on your resume to assess your pre-MBA experience.

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Introduce yourself: the new HBS application essay

By Andreanne Leduc (last updated: August 28, 2015)
The Baker Library

The Baker Library at HBS

HBS changed its essay question this year and made it no longer optional.

At MBA Admissions Advisors, we thought that it would be useful to provide our readers with fresh recommendations to tackle Harvard’s new question. We also tried to summarize what the web is saying about it.

Here is the new Harvard Business School’s essay prompt:

“It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your ‘section’. This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting. Introduce yourself.”

Answering the Introduce Yourself question:

You should consider these five pieces of advice when tackling the HBS essay: Continue reading

The Round 3 MBA Application

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: January 27, 2014)

I was admitted to Harvard Business School as a round 3 candidate, and although it made things quite difficult, I’m glad I didn’t postpone my application another year (I was already in my thirties when I applied to Harvard).

Like Harvard, most leading MBA programs in the U.S. still maintain a third admission round (R3) and frequently reiterate that they keep a few spots for truly outstanding applicants. While odds of admissions may be lower in R3, a decent 5% to 10% of any incoming class at Harvard Business School is assumed to originate from the third round. Round 3 should therefore be considered a suitable option for very strong candidates (with a good GPA and 700+ GMAT).

How to increase your chances of success in Round 3?

We recently held conversations with successful round 3 applicants from the HBS class of 2013. Based on their feedback and my own experience, we have compiled a list of 5 things you should know in order to maximize your odds of success as a round 3 applicant.
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