An open letter to the new director of admissions at HBS

In another post, I wrote an open letter to the Stanford GSB Admissions committee with suggestions for how they might change the application, if they so desired.

To be honest, the Stanford application is pretty tight, but I did have some ideas for questions I thought might elicit richer and more diverse answers from applicants than What matters most and why?

But to you, new Director of Admissions at HBS, I say: please, don’t change a thing.

The HBS application is the most perfect of all the MBA applications out there and it no doubt enables you to make strong, confident, and generally correct choices about who to include in your class.

  • You collect detailed but finite information on achievements via the online short answers for candidates whose resumes were poorly written that adds meaningful detail for those with well-written ones.
  • You ask a quite frankly perfect MBA essay question that evokes rich, thought-provoking, revealing, and differentiating answers from applicants. (Unlike Stanford’s question A, which can lead candidates to emphasize the what and the why too heavily, reducing themselves to boilerplate claptrap, your question actually forces the candidate to reveal the how of their life: how they want to be known. It’s much harder for students to answer Harvard’s MBA application essay because it requires such depth of reflection and then, ultimately, self-confidence to answer authentically.)
  • The Harvard MBA interview process is thorough, generous, fair, and enjoyable for applicants.

So basically, though I know you didn’t ask, from my humble perspective as a seasoned MBA application coach who’s helped hundreds of people successfully apply to Harvard Business School, I’d say: don’t change a thing.

Except one thing:

Could you please stop being so brand-conscious?

Every year, you pass over extraordinary candidates who have amazing experiences that took much more initiative, creativity, grit, and drive than getting into and succeeding within a brand name HBS-feeder company. I would just love it if you’d put a little more work into vetting your own candidates instead of letting the market do that for you by bringing on board such a huge portion of your class from the same companies year after year. I have no doubt this advice will fall on deaf ears, but it’s my two cents.

Meanwhile, where the application itself is concerned, I hope you won’t mess with perfection!

For candidates applying to Harvard,
check out our vast resources on the subject:

HBS Interview Secrets | How to Prep for Harvard’s Unique MBA Interview

How will the unique class environment at Harvard Business School affect your interview, and how should you prepare? Find out in this episode of #MBAMonday with Angela!

How to Write the Harvard HBS MBA Admissions Essay – Tips for 2022-2023

When you’re putting together a successful Harvard MBA essay, the most valuable thing you can do is tell an Epic Story. Learn how here.

How to Ace the Harvard MBA Essay in 2022 | “What More Do You Want Us To Know?”

Use these Harvard MBA essay tips to impress the admissions committee and increase your likelihood of HBS acceptance! You've got this!

What Jobs Can You Get With A Harvard MBA?

Want to know where MBAs go to work, how much they're earning and more, post-MBA? Make sure you check out Career Protocol's extensive career report!

How To Get Into Harvard Business School | Tips & Tricks From An Admissions Expert

Applying to Harvard and wondering how to impress the Harvard admissions committee? Here are 3 simple secrets to Harvard MBA success from #MBAMonday.

7 Secret Harvard Business School MBA Essay Brainstorming Exercises We Adore

Harvard Business school is the world’s best. Do you have what it takes to get in? Do these exercises to find out.

How to Get the MBA in Harvard to Love You Back

How to Get the MBA in Harvard to Love You Back Table of Contents Harvard MBA Secrets What the AdCom Looks For Completing a Rockstar App Top Mistakes for Harvard

The Harvard MBA: Why HBS is the World’s Best Business School

The Harvard MBA: Why HBS is the World’s Best Business School Table of Contents Why we love Harvard Values and Mission Pedagogy Must Knows Culture Post-Harvard Earning Potential Intimate Secrets

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Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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