The Founders' Blog

Must-Read Advice Before Submitting Your MBA Application

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: September 4, 2016)

Just a few weeks (or even days) before the first round application deadlines for most top MBA programs, including Harvard Business School, MIT, Stanford, Booth, Kellogg, LBS, and Wharton, 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

View of Harvard University and the Charles River

1. Thoughts About Harvard’s Essay

In the past, Dee Leopold, former director of admissions at HBS, tried to offer comforting words to its MBA applicants. She insisted that the essay should not be considered a hit or miss exercise. It is really just meant to add color to your application package. More recently, HBS’ new dean of admissions, Chad Losee, wrote the following: “(…) As in years past, we will read (and re-read) and consider the application in its entirety —application, resume, essay, recommendations, transcripts, interview, post-interview reflection, GMAT or GRE scores, etc. Said another way, no one thing will get you admitted or “released” from our admissions process.” Therefore, do not feel that you have to cover any particular topic in this optional essay. You set the rules here, depending on what you believe will allow the admissions committee to better understand what makes you unique. Interestingly, this year’s essay prompt is similar to the one HBS used just a couple of years ago: “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?”. In 2014, Kyle Watkins had provided advice about  a very similar HBS essay. We also wrote about the overall HBS application process in several posts. Make sure to check them out.

2. Completing The Application Form

Most business schools have a lengthy online application form. You should allocate at least 3 hours to go through it and fill it out properly. You will be asked about past job titles, exact employment dates, and compensation data. You will have to describe your employer, explain why you left the company, detail your key accomplishments and most significant challenges. You already should have some of this on your resume, but in a different format. Although Harvard’s admissions team is telling you not to obsess, you’ll notice that it’s easy to spend 20 to 30 minutes writing a meaningful job description in the space allotted to your answer. And then you will go through the same excruciating process for your extra curricular activities, awards and recognition, and academic experience. Some candidates tend to describe the online form as a collection of mini-essays, and approach the form’s questions as such. Don’t fall into that trap. Do your best, but be ready to settle for good enough, unless you are willing to spend 10 hours filling that form.

In any case, do not panic if the options from a specific drop down menu do not match perfectly your personal situation, and do not sweat over the limited space allocated to describe your work experiences. Filling this form properly is important, but keep in mind that the admissions committee will largely rely on your resume to assess your pre-MBA experience.

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The MIT Sloan Fellows, Stanford MSx, and LBS Sloan Masters: one-year alternatives to regular MBA programs

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: June 12, 2016)

Over the last few applications cycles, we have received an ever increasing number of inquiries regarding three 1-year MBA programs aimed at senior managers:

  1. The MIT Sloan Fellows program (probably the most popular amongst our clients)
  2. The Stanford MSx program
  3. The London Business School Sloan Masters program

In this post, we will review what makes these programs particularly attractive to some of the most experienced MBA applicants. We will also highlight the key facts that candidates should consider before starting the application process. Continue reading

HBS Round Two Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 29, 2016)

On Wednesday, March 30th, 2016, Harvard Business School will be sending round-one notifications to applicants who went through the interview process this winter.

50% to 60% of interviewed applicants should receive an offer from HBS.

The Baker Library

The Baker Library

Harvard Business School’s admissions rate has been pretty steady in recent years, and when emails go out at noon, Boston time, on Wednesday, more than half of second-round interviewees should receive a positive answer (“Yes!”, according to Dee Leopold, admissions director at HBS ). These lucky applicants will have more than 5 months to get ready for their HBS journey, and their main challenges going forward will be to stay focused at work, and plan their attendance at the Admitted Student Weekend in Boston.
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Wharton Round Two Decisions

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 29, 2016)

Having helped a number of first round applicants prepare for their Wharton interview, we are excited about the school’s round two decision notifications on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

Notification time Continue reading

How to Prepare for the Wharton Team Based Discussion

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: March 3, 2016)

On February 9, Wharton will release invitations to its Group Interviews (“Team Based Discussions” or “The Wharton TBD”). If you haven’t done so already, please review our dedicated post for preparation tips for your team based discussion.
As in previous rounds, MBA Admissions Advisors will be holding several mock group interviews to help applicants prepare. Continue reading

HBS Round Two Interviews

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: January 27, 2016)

Round Two Interview Invites for HBS Class of 2018 Applicants

The Harvard Business School Admissions Committee will send out interview invitations to its first round applicants in two distinct waves. The first will go out at 12pm noon ET on January 27, 2016. A second batch of interview invites will be sent on February 3, 2016, along with “releases” for unlucky candidates (2+2 applicants will all be notified on that date, whether invited or released). Based on data from previous years and a recent communication from Dee Leopold, here’s how we expect HBS round two interview invitations to be released this year: Continue reading