Tag Archives: HBS

Launched: HBX Live, the HBS Virtual Classroom

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: August 26, 2015)

HBS just announced the launch of HBX Live, its new virtual classroom. While not immediately relevant to Full Time MBA applicants, this is truly an exciting piece of news from HBS. Indeed, HBX Live promises to open the HBS classroom and the school’s famous case method to way more participants than was previously possible.

According to Harvard Business School:

HBX Live is a virtual classroom designed to reproduce the intimacy and synchronous interaction of Harvard Business School’s famed case study method in a digital environment. Participants from around the globe can log in concurrently and join real-time, case-based sessions with HBS faculty who teach from the HBX Live studio

Having watched the below video, we were truly impressed by this virtual classroom. Not only does it emulate the actual HBS classroom experience we benefitted from as students, but some of the added features presented here are actually enhancing it (e.g. the ability to evaluate peers’ comments and benefitting from direct feedback on the value of your own contributions). Watching Yougme Moon conduct this virtual class truly reminded us of the actual classes we attended with her just a couple of years ago (on a side note, her book his definitely a must-read).

Watch it for yourself and feel free to let us know what you think in the comment section below.

HBS Student Stories

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 24, 2015)

As Harvard Business School is about to release a new batch of admissions offers, we thought that prospective applicants would enjoy watching this video. It was released by Harvard in Q4 2013 on youtube, but it still provides a pretty accurate of what HBS is about. Kyle and I even recognized some of our classmates… Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with us after watching it; we would love to hear from you ! Good luck to everyone expecting an email from the school this round.

 

My HBS Interview Experience

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: September 12, 2014)

What It’s Like to Interview at HBS

My invitation to interview at HBS came on the first day that the admissions committee began emailing candidates. It was a relief, to be sure, but it also was undoubtedly a bit nerve racking. Three days later, I received a follow up email, this one with a link to an online portal where I would actually schedule my interview. I chose an afternoon spot on a Monday on campus in Boston. It allowed me to fly up from Washington D.C. during the weekend, ensuring I would be settled in and wouldn’t face any logistical snags come interview day.

The morning of the interview I kept completely free. I wanted to make sure I was well rested and unrushed. At noon I attended a luncheon hosted by the HBS admissions committee for applicants interviewing that day. We had sandwiches and made small talk in the back room of the Grille, a staple of the HBS dining circuit. There were a few of us there, and we each took turns asking relatively low-risk questions of the admissions staffer that had joined us.

After an hour or so, lunch wrapped up, leaving me about 90 minutes before I was scheduled to be at Dillon House, the admissions building at HBS. I walked across the Charles River and had a cup of coffee, rehearsing my answers to the most basic interview questions (strengths, weaknesses, why an MBA, why HBS). By that time I was wishing I had scheduled my interview for a little earlier. Time seemed to be passing pretty slowly.

I started heading over to Dillon House about 2pm, arriving 10 minutes before my scheduled interview. When you walk in the door, there is a short hallway with a big glass window on your left, so I could see the receptionist through the glass pane well before I could actually say hi to her. I greeted her warmly, and she told me to take a seat while I waited for my interview to begin. I did, playing with one of those mini Zen gardens you find in offices sometimes to keep my mind from wandering.

Sure enough, at 2:30pm on the dot, an admissions officer walked out to greet me. She walked with me about 30 feet to a small office in the back of Dillon House, and along the way we made small talk about my trip in to Boston that weekend.

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How long should your HBS essay be?

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: September 5, 2014)

The HBS round-one application deadline is less than a week away, leaving a lot of candidates scrambling to make the finishing touches on their essays. Inevitably, applicants also seem to be left wondering whether their HBS essay is the “right length” or what the “ideal word count” is for their essay. Without a suggested word limit from HBS to guide you, it’s a reasonable question to ask.

Ultimately, you have to let the content dictate how long your essay will be, but over the past year we’ve been able to collect enough data at MBA Admissions Advisors to make some reasonable guesses as to how long successful HBS essays typically are. The below histogram represents just that — an educated guess based on a limited sample — and while I cannot guarantee it is perfectly accurate, I hope it serves as a rough guide and useful datapoint as you consider the length of your essay.

But it’s worth stressing again that content is king and should ultimately dictate your essay’s length. If you’re looking for advice on the content of your HBS essay, you can check out our detailed post here or reach out to us through our free consultation service; we’re happy to chat about your essay ideas, essay length, or your profile more generally.

The above represents our best guess — based on a reasonable but limited sample — of how long successful HBS essays are typically.

 

HBS Recommendations Advice (Class of 2017)

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: August 5, 2014)

Based on Excerpts from a Real HBS Recommendation Sample

 

This year’s MBA applicants face fewer required essays and shorter word counts than any recent class of candidates. But applicants haven’t been the only ones facing the squeeze over the past few years. Recommenders, too, have found themselves with less and less space to make an impact: over the past two years, HBS not only reduced the number of recommenders a candidate was allowed to have, it also cut the word count allotted to those recommenders by half.

 

What does this mean for this year’s HBS applicants? First and foremost, applicants need to pick the right recommenders to advocate on their behalf. Second, applicants need to make sure they are adequately preparing those recommenders to write great recommendations.

 

In this blog post, I’ll illustrate the keys to getting great HBS recommendations by revealing a few snippets of a real recommendation from my own HBS application.

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HBS Essay Tips (Class of 2017)

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: September 5, 2014)

Harvard Business School Essay Tips for the 2014-2015 Admissions Cycle

Harvard Business School made headlines last year when it said that writing an essay would be optional for applicants. Only 10 of the 9,543 candidates that applied actually took the liberty of skipping the essay, and only one of those 10 was accepted (which is actually in line with HBS’s overall 12% admit rate).

Candidates who are vying to be a member of HBS’s Class of 2017 will face the same question in this year’s application:

“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?”

So, with just over two months to go until the Round One deadline for HBS, let’s consider some of the most common strategies that didn’t work for applicants last year and consider the best way for this year’s applicants to approach this unapologetically open-ended essay prompt.

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