HBS Application Down to One Essay (Class of 2016)

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: December 17, 2013)

Dee Leopold – the admissions director at HBS – announced this week that Harvard Business School will only require one essay from applicants to its MBA class of 2016, down from 2 last year, and 4 just 2 years ago.

Here is this year’s question:
“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?”

Applicants who feel that their application is strong enough will even be able to skip the essay, although this is probably a risky thing to do.

Mrs. Leopold also revealed that only two letters of recommendation will have to be submitted this year (vs. 3 in previous years).

These changes should allow applicants to focus on aspects of their profile and experience that they want to emphasize, while making it easier to apply (finding 3 recommenders was sometimes a challenge for less experienced applicants). However, cutting the number of essays may turn out to create new challenges for HBS hopefuls. Our co-founder Kyle Watkins will soon be writing about possible strategies to successfully answer this question.

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