Thursday, May 30, 2013

Harvard Business School Releases their Essay (yes - only one) for the 2013-14 MBA Admissions Season

Harvard Business School has released their essay prompt for those aiming to enter the class of 2016, and apparently it's optional:

  • 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?
They've also included their own instructions on it:

There is no word limit for this question.  We think you know what guidance we're going to give here. Don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don't know your world can understand.

And a note in their admissions blog as to whether you need the essay at all:

Maybe there will be admits this year who say we don't need to know anything else beyond the credentials they have already submitted - for them, the application may be "essay-less".

My quick thoughts:

No word limit doesn't mean it's okay to write 17 pages as a response. Conciseness is important.

A bucket list of everything not included in the prompt may not work well either - especially if it reads as a list or is unfocused. Focus is important too.

Whatever the topic you choose, make sure it's important.  By this I mean make sure it says something significant about you that will help the reader to understand more about who you are and what drives you.

Even though Dee Leopold has stressed that some may choose not to submit an essay, I'd imagine that the vast majority of applicants would have something they want to add to their application about themselves. This essay is a good place to do that.

Be sure to confirm this and all relevant directions and instructions at the HBS admissions site.

John Couke