Harvard Business School is undoubtedly the best business school in the nation.
Do you have what it takes to get accepted?
In an interview with PoetsAndQuants.com, Deirdre Leopold, Harvard Business School’s managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, says just how competitive the process is. The 910 member class of 2010 was chosen from 9,524 applicants, a 5% application increase from last year.
Do you have what it takes to snag one of the 910 slots? If you come up short on even one of these questions, you’ll probably get the axe.
According to Sandy Kreisberg, a man who has made Harvard Admissions training and consulting his career, your undergraduate GPA matters more. 'At Harvard, the most predictive metric is undergraduate GPA,' he tells Fortune. They put a lot of value on it.'
'To Harvard's credit, the school is willing to blink at the GMAT. Someone is at Harvard this year with a 520 (out of 800).' But a less fortunate Harvard hopeful Kreisberg worked with had a 2.9 GPA and a 690 GMAT. Kreisberg cites the low GPA as the reason for this particular student's rejection.
2. You open up the envelope that reveals your long-awaited GMAT scores. You need what score to match the 2012 Harvard MBA class average?
According to Bryne, This year's incoming HBS students boast the highest average GMAT ever--a record-breaking score of 724, up five points from last year's 719.
The average GMAT score for their entire applicant pool was over 700.
3. Magically, you've scored a 30-minute interview with Harvard Business School's admissions office. Still, your odds of getting accepted are:
A. 50% -- They could really swing either way.
B. 60% -- Odds are in your favour but it's still pretty cut-throat.
C. 70% -- You've got a pretty good shot, but if you really choke during the meeting you could blow it.
D. 80% -- They wouldn't ask you in if they didn't really like your application.
Leopold says the acceptance rate of interviewed candidates is 60%.
The interview invite list is widdled down from the 9,500+ hopefuls to about 1,800 applicants.
Nine out of 10 times, an accepted candidate will choose to attend Harvard.
A. Tell your story - it's personal, maybe intriguing, and definitely honest.
B. Mention that you sponsor a child in Africa.
C. Talk about your leadership experience and your Big Brother Big Sister participation.
D. Discuss that big billion-dollar private equity deal you worked on. It says what you do and it's something you're proud of.
5. If you're chosen for an interview, what is the single most important thing your interviewer will be looking for?
A. Your preparedness
B. Your character
C. Your experience
D. How smart you are
Every application is reviewed by at least two members of the Harvard Admissions team.
But by the time a candidate is admitted, their application may have been read by five or six different people.
D. There is no set formula
While each school weights GMAT and GRE performance differently, Harvard claims the scores add no exact weight to any given application.
'My thinking on the GMAT and the GRE is that they are both pretty good measures of what a standardized test can measure, which is not your intelligence but your ability to commit to do well on a standardized test,' Leopold tells PoetsandQuants.com.
A. It helps to have an alumni write one on your behalf.
B. An alumni writing you a recommendation carries more weight than a famous person writing you one.
C. A current student's recommendation will go a long way.
D. You should have someone who knows you well write a recommendation over someone you know that Harvard knows.
Answer: D -- You should have someone who knows you well write a recommendation over someone you know that Harvard knows
Leopold insists that famous people, alumni and current student recommendations do not sway their decisions in the admissions office.
She says her response to people who try this tactic is standard: 'I say 'I'm so glad our students want the very best people to be here, but it's really important to me that people are not advantaged in our process by being fortunate enough to have HBS students as friends and colleagues.' It is a level playing field, and we are trying to make the field as level as possible.'
9. Harvard requires three recommendations from each candidate. Which is NOT one of the questions the writer must answer?
A. Describe this person.
B. What is the most constructive piece of feedback you've give then candidate.
C. How has the candidate responded to constructive feedback you've given them?
D. Explain how this person has shown leadership in the community.
Harvard looks for each applicant to have three recommendations answering three questions:
'Describe this person; What is the most constructive piece of criticism you've ever given this person; How did they respond to the criticism?'
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