Wharton, HBS To Begin Round 1 Interviews

Deidre Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School will begin informing round-one applicants on Wednesday (Oct. 26) if they will get an invite for an admissions interview and Wharton will begin the process the very next day (Oct. 27).

In a blog post today (Oct. 25), Wharton MBA Admissions Director Ankur Kumar said that invites for interviews will continue to roll out for first-round applicants until Friday, November 11. “Starting on Wednesday, November 2nd, we will begin hosting interviews on campus, which will continue until December 2nd. We will also host interviews in hub locations around the world between November 7th and November 30th.  Both on-campus and hub location interviews are conducted and considered equally,” she wrote in the post.

Her message comes on the heels of yesterday’s blog post(Oct. 24) by Harvard’s Managing Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Deirdre “Dee” Leopold who said that interview invitations for applicants who filed their application by the first round deadline of Oct. 3 would go out on the next three Wednesdays—Oct. 26, Nov. 2, and Nov. 9th.

“On November 9, everyone who applied in Round 1 will hear something – either an invitation to interview, an invitation to join the waitlist with the possibility of an interview in Round 2, or a “release,” wrote Leopold. Ultimately, Harvard will provide final notification of an acceptance or rejection for all round one applicants by Dec. 19th, with the exception of those put on the waitlist.

Typically, some 800 applicants in Harvard’s first round are invited to interviews, virtually all of which are conducted by admissions staff. At Stanford, where slightly less than 400 first round applicants will get invites for interviews, alumni do the vast majority of interviews. Stanford said it will interview between 900 and 1,000 of its applicants this year. At Wharton, second-year MBA students, admissions staff, and alums are called into action. Wharton, which interviews between 30% and 50% of its applicants, can invite as many as 900 MBA candidates for interviews in its first round.

Kumar said that between Thursday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Nov. 11, Wharton’s round-one applicants will receive emails “that will provide next step information regarding your status with Wharton. If you are invited to interview, you will be given instructions on next steps to set up your interview. If you are not invited to interview, your process with Wharton is closed for this application cycle.

“As a reminder, interview invitations are not released in any particular order, as we don’t read your applications in any particular order either. Please don’t stress if you don’t receive your invite until the last day; it indicates nothing about your candidacy,” said Kumar.

At Harvard, Leopold told applicants that the school will be managing the availability of interview slots so that candidates invited on November 2 and 9 have location options. While our availability in hub cities is limited, we always have capacity in Boston and via Skype. There is no advantage to one location/type of interview over another.”

Leopold didn’t provide any clues as to how many applicants would receive interviews.  “I hope you understand that we really cannot give precise numbers of interview invitations going out on specific dates – we just don’t know,” she said. “I also hope that the above schedule alleviates the day-to-day anxiety – believe me, we are trying to be as helpful as we can during this process. If you would like to hear me read this message out loud to you, you’re welcome to call me at 617-496-6835. Seriously, we’re deeply appreciative that you want to come to HBS and know that waiting is difficult and the anxiety can be high.”

Leopold is winning praise for the transparency she has given business school admissions. “My hat is off to Dee,” said Sanford “Sandy” Kreisberg, founder of MBA admissions consulting firm HBSGuru.com.  “This is a common sense and easy change which actually does save a good deal of unnecessary applicant anxiety. Her blog posts also have that Clinton-esque, ‘I feel your pain’ tone in a good way.”

Her blog posts stand in contrast to several other schools which tend to share less information with applicants. “There is no reason why Stanford and Wharton cannot be this transparent,” added Kreisberg, “although they may throw up a smoke screen by saying that arranging interviews with alums is logistically harder. That is just not true. Also, in prior years, about 25 percent of Wharton invites went out in the very last days of their window. Really anxious-making and it always reminded me of some slacker undergrad writing a term paper.” His comments came before this latest blog post by Kumar at Wharton.

Meantime, on its website, Stanford says that first round applicants who met its Oct. 12th deadline and have not been waitlisted or released will be interviewed between mid-October and mid-December. Second-round applicants who meet the Jan. 11th deadline, will be interviewed between mid-January and late March. Third-round applicants who meet the April 4th deadline will be interviewed between early April and mid-May.

The deadline for round two at Harvard Business School is Jan. 10, while the final deadline is April 10. Those who apply in round two are expected to get final notification of an admission decision by March 29. Those who apply in round three are expected to be notified by May 17th.

At Wharton, first round applicants who submitted their applications by Oct. 3 are expected to gain final notification by Dec. 20. Wharton’s second-round application deadline is Jan. 4, with a date of March 30 for final notification. Wharton’s final third-round deadline is March 5, with final notification by May 8.



  • Round3

    Anyone heard of Stanford of HBS interview invites going out for Round 3 yet?

  • BT

    Kinda surprised that Stanford didn’t give a range of dates for interviews like HBS did.

  • juarga

    I find it strange how wharton is not using alums but using not nearly enough HUBS..for example, israelis have to fly to london (hard to go to dubai), and all in lat am need to go to brazil…why cant they send the interviewers to more places…people got invited on the 1st or so and have sao paulo interview on the 9th…we are not jetsetters…thomas caleel used to go all over lat am to do interviews…they could do this…in fact, sao paulo was not even included in the original list until a lot of complaining on s2s

  • Kevin


    I had the same question as AG, so thank you for the feedback.

    My biggest concern is that I submitted my application one month prior to the deadline. Are applications usually reviewed in the order that they come in or is it truly random like they tend to say?

  • AG,

    Not at all. HBS is trying to get as many of these invites out as possible upfront and then will do the rest without regard to their chances. It’s simply balancing the tremendous workload of all the apps that flow into admissions. I wouldn’t read anything into this at all. I think HBS should be applauded because they’ve made a public commitment to give word to everyone in the first round on three successive Wednesdays. That’s it. That really minimizes the stress and the torture. Good luck to you.

  • AG

    Hey John,

    What do you make of HBS’ comment that MANY interview invitations will be sent out on November 26th and SOME on the other two dates? That was the only part of the blog post that was somewhat ambiguous. Makes it seem like if one didn’t get an invite on the 26th then the chances are fairly low.

  • jay

    If memory serves me correctly, Wharton released invitations on two specific days last year while HBS used an open range. Apparently, this year, they’ve decided to switch strategies. It’s sad that wharton has decided to use the open range. It causes a lot of anxiety for applicants. People tend to hit refresh on their inboxes all day, and each day that goes by without an invitation is more stressful than the last. I really don’t see why the Wharton adcom couldn’t hold invitations and release on specific days. Just thoughtless in my opinion…

  • MBA Hopeful,

    Thanks for the info. Of course, the big difference at Harvard is their commitment to give every Round one applicant the news on only three dates: one of the next Wednesdays.

  • MBA Hopeful 2012

    Hi John,

    Wharton did in fact give a range of dates in which applicants can expect to receive interview invitations. The range of dates span October 27th to November 11th. Similar to HBS on November 9th, November 11th is when Wharton will give a final decision to waitlist, deny, or interview all Round 1 candidates.