Harvard MBA Admission Counselors

A Guide to the Harvard MBA Admissions Process - Essays, Interviews & Deadlines

About Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School (HBS) is one of the most sought-after business schools in the world. Many people consider Harvard for its case method style of learning, allowing students to step into the shoes of business leaders by conducting field studies and evaluating existing organizations. The goal of HBS is to prepare students to make difficult decisions in a global environment.

This prestigious school has a strong alumni network, producing big names in the business like James Dimon (CEO of JPMorgan Chase), Meg Whitman (CEO of Hewlett-Packard), and Jeffrey Immelt (CEO of General Electric).

Harvard MBA Admissions Counselor

What is Harvard's MBA Program?

The HBS admissions committee looks for applicants who exemplify leadership, analytical aptitude, a relentless drive, and high ethical standards. Be ready to answer the question, “What can you contribute to the class?” Students are expected to share their experiences, support each other, and learn from their classmates.

Courses at Harvard are highly analytical, so the admissions team is especially interested in your GMAT (or GRE) scores and any quantitative courses you have on your transcript. You must have a demonstrated ability to master analytical and quantitative concepts.

So, what does it take to get accepted to this competitive program?

Harvard MBA Admission Requirements

The HBS Admission Rate is 13%. How does that play out in numbers? The 2020 incoming class had 9,304 applicants and only submitted 732. Here is what it takes to have a competitive application:

  • Average GMAT score: 730
  • Average GRE score: 163 Verbal, 163 Quantitative
  • Average Undergrad GPA: 3.7
  • Acceptance rate: 13%
  • Average work experience: 4.7 years

Students come to Harvard from many different industries, including Private Equity/Venture Capital, Consulting, Technology, Financial Services, and Manufacturing/Energy.

There are over 69 countries represented, and 44% of the most recent class is female. While the class profile changes from year to year, the HBS admissions committee looks to cultivate a diverse student body with global perspectives.

With such a competitive admissions environment, we strongly recommend considering our MBA admission consulting services.

Harvard MBA Application Process

Applicants to HBS are evaluated holistically, meaning the overall quality of the application is considered. Let’s break it down into components to learn what they are looking for in each.

1. GMAT/GRE Scores

You must submit recent scores for either the GMAT or the GRE. Again, the average GMAT score is a 730 and the average GRE score is 163 Verbal and 163 Quantitative.

Test scores do not make or break your application. While they are an important indicator of analytical aptitude, there is a wide range of acceptable scores.

2. Essays

Harvard has one essay question on their MBA application: What would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for HBS?

The essay has no word limit, however, be succinct and potent in your message. Let your story and personality shine. What events led you to this moment? How have you overcome adversity to get to this point? What are you passionate about?

3. Interview

Interviews at Harvard are by invitation only and are conducted by members of the MBA admissions committee. While it may seem their primary function is for admissions to learn more about you, it is also your opportunity to ask questions and decide if the program is right for you. The interviewer will try to gauge the following:

  • Do you have leadership potential?
  • How has your career progressed?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What can you bring to Harvard?
  • What will you contribute to the class?
4. Recommendations

You are required to submit two recommendations. When selecting your recommenders, keep in mind they will need to provide detailed answers to questions about you. You need to be sure your recommenders know you well and can attest to your work ethic and accomplishments. Moreover, that person may not always be your current supervisor, especially if you have recently moved to a new position.

The MBA experience at Harvard is known for collaboration, a respectful environment, and lively discussion and debate. Harvard prides itself on high ethical standards and peer-based learning and prepares students to make important business decisions through real-world scenarios, current event deliberation, and case study evaluation.

When you are applying to such a competitive school, it is imperative that your application stands out and you showcase your talent and leadership capability.

The HBS application process can be overwhelming, but Solomon Admissions Consulting can help!

For more information about the Harvard MBA admission process, reach out to us via any of the contact options below.