Wharton | Ms. Project Mananger
GMAT 770, GPA 3.86
NYU Stern | Mr. Washed-Up Athlete
GRE 325, GPA 3.4
MIT Sloan | Mr. NFL Team Analyst
GMAT 720, GPA 3.8
London Business School | Mr. Consulting To IB
GMAT 700, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Big Beer
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Indian Quant
GMAT 750, GPA 7.54/10
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Duke Fuqua | Mr. CPA To Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Mr. Big 4
GMAT 770, GPA 8/10
Wharton | Ms. General Motors
GRE 330, GPA 3.2
Stanford GSB | Mr. Venture Lawyer
GRE 330, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Digital Health
GMAT 720, GPA 3.48
Yale | Mr. Philanthropy Chair
GMAT Awaiting Scores (expect 700-720), GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. MBA Class of 2023
GMAT 725, GPA 3.5
Foster School of Business | Mr. Construction Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Ross | Mr. Stockbroker
GMAT 700, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Harvard Hopeful
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. LGBTQ
GMAT 740, GPA 3.58
Kellogg | Mr. Risky Business
GMAT 780, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. CPA To MBA
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.2
UCLA Anderson | Mr. Southern California
GMAT 710, GPA 3.58
Harvard | Ms. World Explorer
GMAT 710 (aiming for 750), GPA 4.33/5
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
Kellogg | Ms. MBA For Social Impact
GMAT 720, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mx. CPG Marketer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.95
Kellogg | Mr. White Finance
GMAT Not Taken, GPA 3.97
Stanford GSB | Ms. Russland Native
GMAT 700, GPA 3.5

How To Answer Harvard’s New Essays

The official start to the new MBA application season for the Class of 2014 began yesterday (May 9) when Harvard Business School released its new essay questions. Nearly 10,000 applicants typically apply to Harvard’s MBA program each year, more than any other U.S. B-school. Stanford, Chicago, Northwestern, and the other elite schools will soon follow with their newly revised application essays.

This year, Harvard’s new questions were quietly posted on the school’s website, with only a brief earlier mention that they would be coming this week by Admissions Director Deirdre “Dee” Leopold on her blog.

Yet, the publication of Harvard’s questions is “the bugle that starts the Kentucky Derby,” says admissions consultant Sandy Kreisberg, aka HBS Guru. “That’s when anyone who is focused on applying next year starts paying attention. We’re talking about the first round mindset, the bankers, the PE (private equity) guys, the consultants. These guys have known they were going to apply years ago.”

This year’s big news: HBS applicants no longer have a choice among questions. They have to write as many as 200 more words than this year. And there are two new questions, including one that requires you to fess up to three setbacks as well as three accomplishments.

The new, four mandatory essay questions (with word limits):

* Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)

* Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)

* Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)

* Answer a question you wish we’d asked. (400 words)

They replace last year’s lineup:

* What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600 words)

* What have you learned from a mistake? (400 words)

Please respond to two of the following (400 words each):

* What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

* What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

* Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed.

* When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

Sandy Kreisberg, HBS Guru, in Harvard Square

With Harvard’s Oct. 3rd first round application deadline less than five months away, we turned to Kreisberg to assess the changes and to offer early advice on how to craft essays to answer HBS’s new questions. Kreisberg has been advising applicants to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and other elite B-schools for some 15 years.

Sandy, what’s the headline news here?

The important news is that you now need six stories instead of four. Last year you had to write about three accomplishments and a mistake. Now you need three accomplishments and three setbacks. That will separate the men from the girls. There’s no choice of questions. You have to write 200 more words, and then there’s a free throw question on the essay to answer a question you wished Harvard asked.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.