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

What’s not to love about the Harvard MBA?

It gets the most applications of any MBA program worldwide for a reason!

Located in beautiful Cambridge, Massachusetts with an entirely residential program (think: a chance to relive freshman and sophomore years of your undergraduate experience!), and boasting one of the world’s biggest and most powerful MBA alumni networks, one simply can’t go wrong choosing Harvard.

Read on to find out if the MBA at Harvard is right for you!

Table of Contents

Why we love the Harvard MBA Program

The full-time two-year Harvard MBA is one of the top business school programs in the world, aimed at creating purpose-driven business leaders. The HBS name is a global brand in itself, associated with intellectual prestige and a world-class business education.

The Harvard MBA is an immersive 24/7 experience

After two years, you’re gonna know your classmates really well. The MBA at Harvard University is the only top business school in the U.S. with its own fully residential campus. Its traditional, red-brick buildings nestled in the heart of New England provide the classic East-coast, ivy league, academic experience with easy access across the Charles River to the bustling charm of Boston city life.

The Harvard MBA has a strong global alumni network

When we talk about the power of your MBA network, there is simply no better group to belong to than Harvard MBA alumni. Fun fact: 20% of alumni work internationally within five years after graduation. And with more than 87,000 alums in 170 countries, the Harvard MBA’s expansive alumni network means that you have resources and support wherever you go in the world, whether it’s to meet a new friend in a new city or network with industry experts and seasoned leaders to strengthen your professional network. Local clubs meet worldwide and on any given night, somewhere in the world, HBS alumni are frolicking and plotting world domination. Mwahahaha! Just kidding! Well, kind of…

As a Harvard MBA student, you’ll spend 2 years in a fantastic location

Looking for a well-earned study break away from the Baker Library? Living just outside of Boston, you’ll have easy access to the city for networking with potential employers downtown, enjoying the arts and history/culture scene, or rooting for the Red Sox to win or lose at Fenway Park. Newbury Street has a variety of fine dining experiences and casual eats, or find fresh produce and an array of yummy food stalls at Quincy Market near the historic Faneuil Hall.

Let’s not forget the occasional libations with your friends attending one of the several other schools in the area—MIT, BU, BC, Tufts, Emerson, UMass… just to name a few.

But there’s plenty to do in Cambridge, too. Walking through Harvard Square, you can pop into several eclectic bookstores, coffee shops, and boutiques. At night, enjoy a drink, try some ethnic cuisines, or see a live show at the theater with your section-mates in the historic Central Square. On the weekends, there’s always biking along the Charles River or wandering the Peabody Museum and other great University museums.

Want to skip town for a long weekend? Popular weekend getaways include chilling at Cape Cod, enjoying lobster rolls in Maine, hitting the ski slopes in Vermont, or taking a scenic drive to admire the autumn foliage of the Berkshire Mountains. A walk on Walden Pond in nearby Concord is also sure to feed your inner poet.

Harvard admits awesome human beings

On a more personal note, we LOVE our HBS admitted students. We love all our students. But we can unequivocally confirm that the people who work with us and gain admission to Harvard are ambitious, generous, kind, and purpose-driven business leaders, intent on having a major positive impact on the world in their careers. Harvard culture might have a reputation for attracting and spawning arrogant individuals, but in our experience, Harvard admits are actually humble, down-to-earth, and a joy to collaborate with.

Table of Contents

What does Harvard Business School Believe in and Stand for?

HBS’s mission

The HBS mission is “to educate leaders who make a difference in the world” and it strongly believes that “leadership and values are inseparable.”

Knowledge is power. And the Harvard Master of Business Administration program equips its students with a ton of knowledge, and therefore power, to effect and accelerate social change in the world. Being a Harvard MBA student means being entrusted to use your knowledge and power for good, not evil.

That’s why HBS adcoms carefully review applicants beyond their stats to ensure that incoming students meet a high ethical standard and demonstrate strong values that align with Harvard’s mission.

The Harvard MBA program’s values

Upon matriculation, all HBS students (including all faculty and staff) must agree to abide by the school’s community values of  “mutual respect, honesty and integrity, and personal accountability.” Basically, HBS expects you to be a good person who wants to do good in the world and won’t be jerk to your community of peers. 

Do your values align with HBS’s values?

Your admissions essay and your recommendations are key to showing the HBS adcom that you hold the highest respect for these values. As you contemplate your HBS application, you’ll want to make sure you can name and expand on a few pivotal moments in life when you…

  1. made tough choices in favor of honesty and integrity;
  2. fostered respect for others in your school, workplace, or community; and
  3. took responsibility for your own failure and learned from it.

Here are more tips for writing an epic HBS essay, and Our complete Guide to Tackling the Harvard MBA Essay on our YouTube Channel.

YouTube video

What will you learn at in the Harvard MBA program and how?

The Harvard MBA core curriculum

The Harvard MBA curriculum is taught by award-winning faculty and provides extensive general management and leadership training that equips you with the management skills necessary to maximize your potential to make a positive impact in the world. Notably, the Harvard Case Method dominates the classroom experience. Watch out for that cold call!

Check out this HBS blog post for a sense of what a typical Harvard MBA student’s day looks like.

Harvard MBA first-year curriculum (RC Year)

First-year students (RCs) in the Harvard MBA program begin in late-August with a two-day orientation (“START”) mixing academic and social activities, along with a big reveal of your assigned section. You’ll get to bond with your section—your 89 new best friends for the rest of the year—and be introduced to the case method. Then you’re off to the races with the following required first-year courses, which are typically held in 80 minutes sessions:

Term 1

  • Finance 1
  • Financial Reporting and Control (FRC)
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD)
  • Marketing
  • Technology and Operations Management (TOM)


Term 2

  • Business, Government, and International Economy (BGIE)
  • Strategy
  • The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM)
  • Finance II
  • Leadership and Corporate Responsibility (LCR)


RCs also participate in year-long FIELD method courses (“Field Immersion Experience for Leadership Development”), which consists of two modules: Field Foundations and the FIELD Global Immersion.

FIELD Foundations complements the case-method approach by putting theory into practice through action-based learning exercises in small-groups that build leadership skills, increase empathy, and enhance self-awareness. You’ll develop applicable skills in communication, decision-making, and emotional intelligence. Through feedback from coaches and peers, you’ll also learn about your communication and leadership style, as well as your strengths and growth areas. FIELD Foundations meets for ten sessions during the first term and runs longer than the traditional 80-minute class.

In the spring, you’ll have the opportunity to apply the skills you developed in FIELD Foundations in the market, solving real business issues through FIELD Global Immersion (“FGI,” formerly known as “Field 2”). At the beginning of the semester, you’ll rank the Immersion Countries and exclude any countries where you have already traveled. HBS encourages you to travel to a city where you haven’t had significant prior work or travel experience in order to get the most out of your real-world learning experience abroad and further develop your “cultural intelligence.” Then an algorithm will match you with a small team to ensure diversity of background and experience. Together with your team, you’ll apply principles of human-centered design to help your assigned Global Partner in one of the 16 selected cities resolve a real business product or service challenge. The semester culminates in a week-long travel abroad trip to meet with local consumers and pitch your team’s ideas for a success business strategy to your GP.

Harvard MBA second-year elective curriculum (EC Year)

As a second-year student (an “EC”) in the Harvard MBA program, you can pick from a range of over 100 elective courses in a range of academic subject areas including:

  • Accounting and Management
  • Business, Government, and International Economy
  • Entrepreneurial Management
  • Finance
  • General Management
  • Marketing
  • Negotiation, Organizations and Markets
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategy
  • Technology & Operations Management

As an EC, you can also participate in one of several field immersion opportunities, do an independent study project, or take a language course for your own personal enrichment. You can even scratch that multidisciplinary itch in the Elective Curriculum Year by cross-registering for a course in another Harvard graduate program, MIT Sloan, or the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts. Popular choices have been Professor David Gergen’s courses at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Entrepreneurship Lab at MIT Sloan (E-Lab).

Harvard MBA section experience

HBS divides its incoming class of 900 students into sections of roughly 90 students each. Each section represents all kinds of different backgrounds and professional experience in order to ensure diversity in the classroom.  You will remain with your assigned section throughout the year and sit in the same classroom and the same chair all year. Your professors will rotate in and out of the classroom to teach. Because you will be spending so much time with your section-mates taking class together chatting cases, our Harvard students report their section becomes almost like a second family.

Harvard MBA Case Method approach

The cornerstone of the Harvard MBA is its pioneering Case Method approach to classroom learning. Instead of lectures, the professor facilitates a class discussion and cold-calls students to contribute their diverse perspectives on an issue or problem. As a Harvard MBA student, you can expect to read as many as 500 cases in two years!

Learn more about this method on Harvard’s YouTube Channel:

YouTube video

Typically, you will read two or three 10-20 page cases the night before and discuss them in the morning with your small study group in preparation for class. The cases are written from the perspective of a manager (called the “protagonist”) of a real organization facing a real-life business challenge. You’ll get some background and facts (often incomplete information) about a situation and will be left with a key business decision that the protagonist must make. Then you need to put yourself in the protagonist’s shoes and decide what you would do in that situation to achieve the protagonist’s business goals.

Cases come from a wide range of industries, many of which you might not have had much exposure to before your MBA – health, tech, education, retail, energy, etc. So hopefully your small discussion group will have the diversity of experience and background to help fill in any details or perspective you’re unfamiliar with.

In class, the professor might begin the discussion with a broad question and then pick up the pace by strategically cold-calling students, tapping into their diverse knowledge and experience in order to illustrate different perspectives to the protagonist’s problem and various possible approaches to creating a successful business strategy. If the professor puts you on the spot, you will offer your solution and reasoning for the best path forward for the case protagonist. For some people, this is the challenge they’re most seeking through their Harvard MBA experience – the ability to think on their feet!

Although there is technically no right or wrong answer, be prepared for follow-up questions challenging your assumptions and requiring you to defend or modify your solution. Also, be prepared for your peers to shoot up their hands after you speak to either build upon your solution or tear it down! At HBS, classroom discussions are known to be rather lively. For more information on the HBS cold-calling practice, check out this explanation from HBS’s Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning.

Harvard MBA Joint Programs

If you’re the type of student who likes to kill two birds with one stone or can’t decide whether to pursue another subject you’re passionate about instead, then Harvard’s joint degree programs might be the answer for you. Below are the joint degree programs offered with the Harvard MBA:

  • JD/MBA – Harvard Law School (HLS) (4 years)
  • MBA/DMD – Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM)
  • MBA/MPP or MBA/MPA-ID – Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) (3 years)
  • MD/MBA – Harvard Medical School (HMS) (5 years)
  • MS/MBA – Harvard School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS)
  • MS/MBA – in Biotechnology with the Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Generally, you will apply for both programs simultaneously through different application processes. You must be accepted into both programs in order to pursue the joint path. Then you will choose to begin Year 1 in one school, and alternate between the two throughout the duration of your studies until you complete both program requirements.

Table of Contents

Top 5 Must-Knows Before You Apply to the MBA program at Harvard​

1. HBS has its origins in philanthropy

HBS was founded in 1908 as a “delicate experiment” offering the first Master of Business Administration. With a starting class of only 80 students, the Harvard MBA quickly grew to almost 700 by the 1920s. Back then, the business school was scattered all over campus. With a generous gift from George F. Baker (who made his fortune in banking and railroads after the Civil War and known as the “Dean of American Banking”) in 1924, HBS began building its beautiful, self-contained, residential campus that remains the heart of HBS today.

In recent years a campaign led by John Hess (HBS ’77) raised an impressive $1.4 billion from alumni. 59% of Harvard MBA alums contributed to the campaign. The campaign not only raised a bunch of money to invest in new and ongoing programs, but also increased alumni engagement in clubs, reunions, and events. So you can count on an even stronger and more engaged alumni network as you advance in your career post-MBA.

And, with that kind of cash, HBS can afford to fund new and grow existing professional and educational initiatives (the Innovation Lab and the Boardroom are just a couple of cool things to check out). One could say that with that kind of dough, all sorts of cool new things could be born and bread in the Harvard MBA program! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

2. The Harvard MBA class is huge!

The Harvard MBA has an incoming class size of 900 students every year, which makes it one of the largest of the top MBA programs.

This past year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Harvard MBA Class of 2022 size took a significant hit, shrinking down to 732 students. The class is still much bigger than many top MBA programs, but small for Harvard. Many accepted students deferred enrollment for up to two years in order to wait out the economic uncertainty caused by lockdowns and layoffs. Many were also international students affected by worldwide travel bans.

Harvard chose not to go deep down their waitlist to fill the gap, and instead announced that it would enroll the largest cohorts in its history (1,000 students) for the Classes of 2023 and 2024! This is good news for applicants, because an increased class size means you won’t necessarily be disadvantaged by spots already reserved for deferred students. But with applications for MBA programs at an all-time high, HBS invitations are still highly competitive even with the temporary increase in class size.

3. The HBS social scene can be intimidating for some folks

Because the class size at HBS is so large, many students could find it overwhelming at first to find their niche. Browsing the MBA forums, Reddit, or Quora, you’ll find all sorts of praise or complaints about the Harvard MBA program. The Harbus, the independent, student-run HBS newspaper, is probably a better online source for the inside scoop on campus life, just FYI. Here are some common complaints regarding the HBS social scene:

  • HBS has had a reputation in the past for its excessive party scene. Even if you don’t party hard, alcohol still is a key feature at many club and networking events. Students who don’t drink might find it awkward to stand around without a glass or cup of something-something swirling in hand…although the same can be true, to some extent, for many other MBA programs! For more general info on the MBA party-scene at top programs, check out this Bloomberg article and this Financial Times article.

  • The American class divide is ever more present and painful in the Harvard MBA. If you’re not especially wealthy, some social events and trips could be way out of your budget. And FOMO can be a real pain-in-the-wallet/pocketbook. Ouch! Check out this New York Times article on the class divide in the top MBA programs.

  • Introverts could have a hard time with the intensity of having to be “on” all the time in order to compete with their 90 section-mates in the classroom and several hundred other peers during recruiting. HBS isn’t quite as close-knit a learning community as some other MBA programs (cough, cough, Dartmouth Tuck), and it does get competitive. But introverts are also in good company on campus. The Harbus estimates that between 30-50% of the class are introverted leaders. This HBS student blog post offers one perspective of what it’s like to be an introvert in the Harvard MBA program.

  • Students from more non-traditional backgrounds—say the non-profit world, arts, or military—could find themselves outnumbered in social conversations by heavy finance bros. But that doesn’t mean you won’t make good friends! You might just pick up a new kind of (Wall) Street-talk or find other common ground. Check out this interesting Poets & Quants article about the HBS experience from the perspective of a military student.

Some of the above are broad generalizations, of course. What’s true for some is not necessarily true for all. That’s why it’s important to identify what you want out of an MBA program and business school community before you apply to MBA programs, and be honest with yourself about your personality and preferences!

Don’t rely on school stereotypes in your school selection. And don’t just apply to the Harvard MBA because of its name and clout. Do your research and talk to as many students and alumni as you can to really get a good sense of the Harvard MBA program from those who went through it. Apply because you can see yourself thriving there academically and socially, and because it will truly further your career goals and vision for impacting the world.

Also check out our MBA Monday video and Career Report to see which schools are best for your desired post-MBA industry choice.

4. The HBS core curriculum and Case Method might not be everyone’s cup of tea

The Harvard MBA is designed to be a training ground for general managers and leaders. This is great for students pursuing management consulting post-MBA. But for students who are looking to become functional specialists and are impatient to jump right in, they could have a hard time sitting through an entire year of required classes outside their desired specialization.

Students coming from an industry with little business exposure (i.e. the arts, humanities, military) could find it difficult to follow and contribute to class discussions initially if they lack understanding of basic business concepts and vocabulary. Although that’s not necessarily true for all, according to this student blog (written by a theater major from the non-profit world). Plus, according to this Harvard Business Review article, liberal arts majors are the future of the tech industry!

Finally, HBS’s Case Method approach might prove difficult to love for those who prefer and are used to traditional lectures. To find out which MBA pedagogy is right for you, check out our MBA Monday video on YouTube!

5. Your grades depend on your class participation

If you hate public speaking, dread being put on the spot, and can’t stand having your views being publicly challenged and sometimes ripped apart by you peers, then you might not have the most pleasant business school experience at Harvard.

But fear not, the cold-call is not intended to be a torture method. It’s intended partly to make sure everyone reads the assigned case and partly to keep the class thinking on their feet. The cold-call also isn’t as random as it might initially appear. Professors know the backgrounds of every student in the class and will often pick on a student who has some familiarity with the industry or issue being discussed. Word on the street is that sometimes you can even request a professor to call on you that day if you know you have valuable insight from your professional experience to add.

The general rule of thumb is to speak up at least once every 3-4 classes. A grad student in the back keeps track of everyone’s comments and participation. So if you haven’t spoken in a while, you’re a prime target for the next class!

Often as much as 50% or more of your grades hinge on your participation in class – not just the number of times you speak, but also the quality and thoughtfulness of your input. You are also graded on a curve against your section-mates. For more info on HBS’s grading policy, check out the school’s FAQ page and Financial Aid page (unsatisfactory performance can affect your federal educational loans).

Table of Contents

Is the Harvard MBA a cultural fit for you?

The Harvard vibe is intense, diverse, and collaborative. Let’s dig into what that means.

Residential Program

HBS has a beautiful, residential campus on 40 acres of land featuring classic, red-brick, Georgian Revival-style buildings and landscaping designed by the legendary Friedrich Law Olmstead (who designed New York’s Central Park). See for yourself at the HBS virtual campus virtual tour!

65% of HBS students live in dorms or university-affiliated housing assigned through a lottery. Living and studying in close proximity fosters daily interaction with your peers and creates a strong sense of community at HBS. Living on or near campus also makes it easier to participate in HBS’s 90+ student clubs. The Graduate Commons Program (GCP) also hosts several events to enhance the community experience by connecting neighbors living in university housing.

Partners & Families

Since 30% of HBS students bring their partners and families to campus, HBS has a strong extended community as well. Through Partners Club, spouses and domestic partners can bond with other student partners. For those looking to relocate to the Boston-Cambridge area, MBA Partner Services helps integrate partners and spouses into the HBS community by providing career resources and other support. Members of the Crimson Parents can take advantage of weekly toddler classes and participant in their many annual events for the kids.


In terms of diversity, HBS actively seeks to shape a class that is diverse not only in personal background (race, country, gender), but academic and professional background as well. According to the HBS website, out of the 732 students in the Class of 2022, 44% were women, 33% were international, and 45% were from a U.S. minority group. The most highly represented region among the international students was Asia (11%), followed by Europe (9%), then Central & South America (6%).

Academically, engineering majors are the most highly represented discipline (26%), followed by Business/Commerce (22%) and Economics (19%). Arts/Humanities majors are scarce, representing only 4% of the Class of 2022.

Professionally, Private Equity and Venture Capitalists represent the most sizable pre-MBA industry at 16%, with Consulting as a close second at 15%. Former military comprise 5% of the class.

Will a Harvard MBA increase your salary?

Harvard MBA recruiting and employment statistics

According to the HBS website, 90% of the Class of 2020 received full-time offers by graduation with a median base salary of $150,000. 60% of the class also received a signing bonus with a median of $30,000. Harvard MBA students go into a variety of industries post-MBA, the most popular of which is Financial Services (34% of the Class of 2020) and the second most popular is Consulting (24%). A fair number of graduates also went into Tech (19%). 

The highest paid HBS graduates of the Class of 2020 are the consultants, who score a median base salary of $165,000, median signing bonus of $30,00, and $20,400 in other guaranteed compensation.

The lowest paid HBS graduates of the Class of 2020 were those who went into government service, earning a median of $100,000.

Career development resources

During your first few weeks of the RC year, you work on your career visioning, then meet with one of over 50 coaches on your initial self-assessment to recruit for summer internships. Outside of career services, you can also recruit with employers through various industry-specific student clubs.

Interested in working in non-profit? The Leadership Lab Fellowship Program places up to 20 students a year in high-impact management positions in the nonprofit and public sectors

If you’re looking to work with a specific employer immediately post-MBA, be sure to check out the HBS’s list of employers that have recently recruited on campus for full-time hires and summer internships.

Also check out Career Protocol’s MBA Career Placement Report to see how Harvard employment stats stack up against other top MBA programs.

Table of Contents

Intimate secrets of the Harvard MBA program

Looking for the real inside scoop on all the little secrets of the Harvard MBA? Get off Reddit and the online forums overflowing with trolls and unverified gossip. Or just take those things with a grain of salt!

Your best bet for the real deal is to reach out to current students and alumni. Connecting in person or on the phone/Zoom with a member of the community will expand and strengthen your professional network. Who knows? You might even meet your new best friend.

The HBS blog, website, and virtual events are also a great places to learn student perspectives on the HBS experience.

The Harbus is another great source for researching the school’s news and culture. Poets & Quants also has good articles on everything MBA-related.

But if you’re looking for a critical (occasionally scathing) view of the Harvard MBA, here are a couple of books from a less-than-rosy perspective:           

Prefer a synopsis instead? Here are links to the New York Times reviews of those books:

10 Famous Harvard MBA alumni you’d love to be like

HBS boasts a long, impressive list of notable alumni who hold the status of admired industry leaders. Here are just a famous few:

Sal Khan – educator and founder of Khan Academy

Sheryl Sandberg – COO of Facebook and author of Lean In

Gideon Yu – Co-Owner of the San Francisco 49ers, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube

Zoe Cruz – former Co-President of Morgan Stanley, #10 on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World (2006)

Jamie Dimon – Chairman of JPMorgan Chase

Abigail Johnson – Chair of Fidelity Worldwide Investment

Ray Dalio – Founder of Bridgewater Associates and author of the NY Times bestseller, Principles: Life & Work

Meg Whitman – Chairman and CEO of Hewlett Packard

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss (Cofounders of Rent the Runway)

For other admired alumni, check out:

Three infamous Harvard MBA alums and why you don’t want to be like them

But of course, there are always a few bad apples, even in the best of barrels. Here are a few Harvard MBA alums who strayed from HBS’s stated mission and landed on the MBA Wall of Shame:

Steve Bannon – conspiracy theorist and former White House Chief Strategist who allegedly defrauded donors of Trump’s Failed Mexican Wall and was suspended from Twitter for suggesting that Dr. Anthony Fauci should be beheaded

Rajat Gupta – former Managing Director of McKinsey who served federal prison time for insider trading and remains unrepentant for his actions according this NY Times article

Jeffrey Skilling – former CEO of ENRON and inmate at the Federal Prison Camp Montgomery Alabama for fraud and insider trading

7 Famous Harvard MBA professors and their books

Want to get a head start on your Cantab life? (Cantab is short for Cantabrigian, the Latin word for people from Cambridge; or you can just go with Crimson or Havardian.) Check out some of the community’s most illustrious professors and the stuff they’ve written.

Clayton Christensen – a legendary and beloved HBS professor famous for his theory of “disruptive innovation,” which he introduced in his 1997 book, The Innovators Dilemma. Clay was described by Forbes in 2011 as “one of the most influential business theorists of the last 50 years.”  He was also on the Poets & Quants “The World’s Best Business Professors” (2012) list. He recently passed away in January 2020 and whose loss was deeply felt in the HBS community.  In honor of his memory and legacy, HBS named its teaching center after him.

Michael Porter – is another popular professor at HBS who is known for his work and teaching on Competitive Strategy. Poets & Quants named him one of “The World’s Best Business Professors” (2012). This book is still a reference for top management consultants and strategists, and it will almost certainly come up in any corporate strategy class you take in any MBA program worldwide.

Nancy F. Koehn – is a business historian whose work on crisis leadership (Forged in Crisis) is widely quoted on tv and radio. She also wrote two books on Oprah: Orpah (Brand) Renew and Oprah, Leading With Heart! Poets & Quants listed her as one of “The World’s Best Business Professors” (2012).

In 2020, the following professors won the Faculty Teaching Award at HBS: Josh Margolis (Leadership & Organizational Behavior), Kristin Mugford (Creating Value Through Corporate Restructuring), Sophus Reinert (Globalization & Emerging Markets), and Ting Zhang (Leadership & Organizational Behavior). 

In 2019, Gary P. Pisano and Linda Hill landed on the Poets & QuantsMost Influential B-School Professors & Thought Leaders” list.  

Table of Contents

What writing the Harvard MBA essay will teach you about yourself

The Harvard MBA essay question is arguably the hardest to answer out of all the top MBA applications because it is so broad and there are no guidelines or word limits. The HBS essay question hasn’t changed in many years, and it still continues to stump even the brightest and most interesting of applicants:

“As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?”

This essay requires deep introspection and self-reflection in order to create a compelling and epic personal narrative that emotionally connects with the HBS admissions committee. Simply rehashing your resume in sentence and paragraph form will not get you into HBS. You must invite the reader into your world through a captivating story about who you are as a person and leader. Show Harvard, through detailed examples from your life, how your character and values have influenced your major decisions and shaped you to be who you are today.

Of course, this is easier said than done. To help you tackle this mammoth essay question, check out our special article on the Harvard MBA application essay.

Applying to Harvard Business School?

We absolutely LOVE helping our students get into Harvard. It’s our favorite school to work on, because our process so uniquely equips our students to shine authentically through their essays and project confident humility and executive presence in their interviews.

Check out what one such student says about working with us:

Want to know your odds of getting into HBS?

Get your personalized 20+ page report detailing
your chances of admission plus app tips!

Top links for further exploration

The Harvard MBA on Social

HBS on Instagram @harvardhbs and @hbsadmissions

HBS on LinkedIn

HBS on YouTube

HBS on Twitter @HarvardHBS

Fulfilling your potential begins with a single step.
Let’s have a conversation!