Breaking down the new (class of 2014) hbs essays


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Breaking Down the New (Class of 2014) HBS Essays - A brief guide on HBS Essays for 2014

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Breaking down the new (class of 2014) hbs essays

  1. 1. Breaking Down the New (Class of 2014) HBS Essays MBA Admissions Consultant |
  2. 2. Breaking Down the New (Class of 2014) HBS EssaysWe tell clients all the time to sign up early becausethe process starts earlier and earlier. Theres nogreater proof of that fact than HBS releasing itsnew essay questions during the second week ofMay. One of our Round 3 clients literally just gothis acceptance letter and already were talkingabout next year. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  3. 3. Breaking Down the New (Class of 2014) HBS EssaysThis means we have to scramble the fighters andupdate our How to Apply to HBS Guide in thecoming days, lest we send out dated advice tothe world. In the meantime, we figured wed takea stopgap measure by posting our thoughts onthe new questions here in the blog.So here are comments and thoughts on thenew HBS Essays: MBA Admissions Consultant |
  4. 4. Essay 1: Tell us about three of your accomplishments (600 words).Its basically the same old famous Essay #1 - the"accomplishments" essay. What is noteworthyabout the phrasing this year is that they havetaken out some of the "lead a horse to water"language from last year. Gone is the requirementthat you include your *most significant*accomplishments, as well as the instruction toexplain why they have meaning. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  5. 5. So ... do we think you should ditch last yearsinstructions the way HBS has?Yes and no. It seems as if taking away thephrase *most significant* is a pretty clear signalthat HBS was getting too many down the middleanswers and not enough personality. Whenyou see *most significant,* you tend to think"best" or "most impressive," and fail to explorepersonal growth. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  6. 6. In our professional opinion, HBS wants to seecandidates be more intelligent in the way theycompose responses to this question - choseaccomplishments that create a thematicprogression or that take us chronologicallythrough your development.Dont just pull the best three resume items youhave and write paragraphs about them. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  7. 7. On the flip side, we believe you should absolutelystill explain why they have meaning.In fact, stating any accomplishment - on anyapplication - without including relevant meaningmeans that you are probably wasting anopportunity. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  8. 8. Here, we think HBS just wants to give morediligent applicants an advantage - those who goa level deeper and provide meaning will likelyhave stronger essays than those who just bangout formulaic responses.In all, dont fear this essay. Its a chance to becreative, to brag about yourself, and to reallyshow HBS what you can do. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  9. 9. Essay 2: Tell us three setbacks you have faced (600 words).HBS is going heavy on introspection! Harvardhas had a "mistake/failure" essay in place forsome time, but it was shorter and basically justa diluted version of the Wharton mistake essay(which asked for more developmental insights). MBA Admissions Consultant |
  10. 10. The placement stays the same - right after youget done bragging, its time to break out thehumility, but the increased word count andmirroring "tell us three" device is a clear signalthat Harvard wants a little less boasting and alittle more thoughtfulness this time around.(Note: Perhaps HBS is starting to see somefallout from skewing young? MBA Admissions Consultant |
  11. 11. We dont feed into the hysteria that youngergenerations have no social intelligence/EQ, butwe know that admissions officers worry aboutthat and we also know that no school admits ayounger class than Harvard. Perhaps AldrichHall is just a little too full of people with a littletoo much confidence and this is a coursecorrection. Or maybe were just fanning aflickering flame and yelling fire. Who knows.) MBA Admissions Consultant |
  12. 12. Essay 3: Why do you want an MBA (400 words)?This question is going to be maddening forapplicants, we have a feeling, but in reality, itshould be a pretty easy essay to handle. If youlook closely at Chicago Booth Essay #1 lastyear, they asked for 300 words on Why an MBA- separate from the defining of career goals andseparate from Why Chicago. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  13. 13. In much the same why, this is not HBS boilingdown the typical career goals essay ("What areyour short and long-term goals and how can anMBA from School X help you achieve thosegoals") into 400 words, but rather HBS askingfor a very specific part of a career goalsanalysis - why the degree itself?Surely if you are HBS material, opportunitybeckons from all corners. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  14. 14. So why business school?The key to answering this question is to beheavy on vision, on personal passion, and onmotivation. Dont bog them down with specifics(Harvard, like MIT, does not seem to care muchabout detailed career goals) and definitely dontwaste words bragging about your skills (youalready did that in Essay 1!) ... this is all aboutWHY. Not WHAT, now HOW, not WHERE ...WHY. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  15. 15. Again, this should be an easy question, but tonsof applicants will throw up a brick here, so if youare reading this blog, be happy that you areahead of about 75% of your fellow candidates. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  16. 16. Essay 4: Answer a question youwished wed asked (400 words)?Wow, what a wrinkle! Okay, listen carefully:DO NOT TREAT THIS LIKE AN "ADDITIONALINFO" ESSAY AND APOLOGIZE FOR FLAWSIN YOUR CANDIDACY. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  17. 17. I can only imagine what kind of whining we aregoing to see people wedge into this space inthe coming year.Remember that HBS - like chance - favors thebold. Come with swagger and confidence (savefor Essay 2, of course) or dont come at all. Please, as a favor to all consultants and HBSadmissions officers, dont create a prompt like "Iwish you had asked me to explain my GMATscore." If you do, its game over. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  18. 18. Okay, so what should you do?You can start by looking to the very recent past(last year) to cherry pick one of the "choice"essays that HBS has done away with. Careervision is out, obviously, as Why an MBA hitsclose enough to that. We always hated lastyears new addition question of "introduceyourself to your classmates," so probably bestto avoid that. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  19. 19. You can also look to other programs.See a 400-word essay out there that you love? Use that and tell HBS "I love this question thatTuck asks" and then answer it. Trust us, HBS willlove that you have the guts to do that and, frankly,it helps them hone in on good questions for thefuture. Because clearly, they are at a bit of a losson this last question. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  20. 20. Theyve tried all kinds of cannon fodder at theend of the app and the "invent a question"strategy is an admission that they are gettingcrap in return. I mean, sure, you could look at itas HBS changing the game and encouragingcreative expression, but I guess were just toocynical to buy that one.No, this is more test balloon than evolve theprocess, we suspect. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  21. 21. But the main thing here is dont get cute and try toshow how you smart you are with the question.Above and beyond everything else, make sureyou create a prompt that actually funnels towardan answer of strength. It doesnt have to be so onthe nose as to be embarrassing (you are a conflictresolution master so you write "Tell us about atime you resolved a conflict" - thats a bit obvious),but there are no points for esoterica either. MBA Admissions Consultant |
  22. 22. (If you are really stretched, go with "What wasthe last great book you read?" This is prettymuch the most enjoyable answer to read in anessay and can be surprisingly informative aswell. So if you are in a panic, feel free to usethat one!)Overall, good luck on your HBS applicationsthis year! MBA Admissions Consultant |
  23. 23. If you are interested in a free initial consultation, please email Our boutique approach pairs you with one of the principals of our company, meaning youwill be working with someone capable of walking you throughthe above steps and perfecting your application. Finally, make sure to download our free How to Apply to HBS guide. MBA Admissions Consultant |