The dean of Harvard Business School explains why you should — or shouldn't — choose HBS over any other MBA program

Susan Young for Harvard Business School‘If you have a very special interest in a particular thing, other schools may be better suited to you,’ said Nitin Nohria, pictured.
  • HarvardBusiness School dean Nitin Nohria said the program is designed to produce generalists as opposed to specialists.
  • He looks for students who want to develop their overall leadership and management skills.
  • Research suggests that generalist MBA graduates receive better job offers than those who specialised in a single field.

Business school is a big investment – of time, money, and energy.

So if you’re planning to apply, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a program that helps get you where you want to be in your career.

Harvard Business School has cachet, to be sure, but it’s not necessarily the perfect program for everyone. According to dean Nitin Nohria, HBS is best for people who want to develop their general management skills, as opposed to those who aim to specialize in a particular field.

“We’re looking for people who really enjoy the responsibility of running a company, or want to run a company,” Nohria told Business Insider. “If you have a very special interest in a particular thing, other schools may be better suited to you.”

US News & World Report ranked business schools by specialisation: The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania took the top spot for finance, while McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin took the top spot for accounting.

The Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College was ranked No. 1 for entrepreneurship, while Harvard was ranked No. 1 for management.

Business Insider previously reported on research that found generalist MBA graduates receive better job offers than MBA grads who specialised in a single area.

The study authors told the Harvard Business Review that experienced hiring managers “said things like, ‘Someone who has accomplished a lot of things is better than a one-trick-pony who just keeps doing the same thing and isn’t taking advantage of what the MBA has to offer.”’

As Nohria put it, HBS is “really looking for people who want to develop their general management and leadership capabilities, which they can then apply in a wide variety of settings.”

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