The HBS post-interview reflection is certainly one of the more unique application elements among MBA programs. Since HBS has decided to continue requiring the post-interview reflection from candidates 24 hours after their interview, it’s worth spending some time now considering how to approach this piece of the admissions process.
First, it’s worth noting that the post-interview reflection won’t make or break the application for many candidates. It gives HBS one more data point, but overall it is only a small piece of the equation. Your resume, essays, GMAT, GPA, recommendations, and interview (not to mention the school’s effort to admit a diverse and balanced class) will play a role in whether you are admitted. Unlike the hiring process at a job where the interview is often make-or-break, the admissions process for MBA programs is much more holistic.
With that said, the post-interview reflection provides plenty of opportunities to hurt or help your application, and in a hyper-competitive admissions environment, it’s important to never miss an opportunity to put points on the board.
Most applicants probably won’t do much, if any, prep work for HBS’s post-interview reflection. Fortunately, this is the one part of the application process where not preparing much can actually help you. After all, the exercise is — as HBS makes perfectly clear — meant to be a true reflection. It is not another essay. It is not something that should be prepared prior to your interview. However, there’s one small piece of preparation I’d recommend to every candidate.
Just a few hours before the first application deadline for Harvard Business School, 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
[Author’s Note] Although we initially wrote this article with HBS in mind, it has now been edited to meet the needs of applicants to most MBA programs. Please let us know if you disagree with its content or think we missed anything. Thank you!
1. Thoughts About The Introduce Yourself Essay (Specific to HBS)
We recently covered the new application essay and overall HBS application process in several posts. Make sure to check them out. Continue reading
I always had a lot of questions about what it was like to interview at HBS. I still remember scouring online for examples of HBS interviews, but I never really found a lot of that covered the process in detail. So, to hopefully help fill that need, below I recall my own experience interviewing at HBS just a few years ago. Then, at the end of the post, I consider what other applicants can learn from my experience about good interview preparation, HBS’s 24-hour post-interview reflection, and the interview process.
As a 32 year old MBA applicant, I was extremely concerned that my age would prevent me from attending a top business school. Although my stats were quite strong, several admissions “experts” almost convinced me that a candidate well into his 30s had almost no chance of getting into a top MBA program in the US.
Harvard Business School – Baker Library at night
Not only did I prove these people wrong by getting into HBS, but many other students entered the program with 8+ years of professional experience (47 students to be precise, close to 5% of our class). Some of them had served in the military, but many others had worked for more traditional employers. Our most senior student was a former university professor, well into his fifties.
A few days ago, the admissions director at HBS released some stats about the last 3 incoming classes (2013 to 2015). It turns out that the class of 2015 will welcome 64 students with more than 8 years of work experience. 23 of them completed their undergrad education 10 or more years ago. These numbers are significant, as we’re not talking about just a couple of exceptions.