Dee Leopold’s Harvard B-School Webinar Slides

You want to be in these case method classes, and we want students to come out of each class saying, ‘I never would have thought of it that way.’ I have never encountered one student on campus who grabs me by the shoulder and says, ‘I’m having a great time here; but I wish there were more people just like me in my section.’ Our goal is to comprise an interesting class. And that means a selection. It doesn’t mean a check-the-box evaluation.

Question: Is there a difference between Round 1 & Round 2?

Leopold: I cannot predict the future, but I am going to capsulate what we’ve seen historically, because Round 1 tends to be a strong round. There are a lot of applicants. They are ready to hit submit. They have everything lined up on Sept 24, and they tend to have very strong academic qualifications. I am generalizing, but we plan accordingly.

In Round 2, we historically receive the greatest number of applicants, but there’s more of a normal distribution in terms of some metrics. So we plan accordingly for that. We start each round and try to take an overall look at what the applicant pool looks like. We make an estimate of how many offers we’d like to make. And we don’t drive to that target as if, we’ve got to hit it or else, but things worked out year over year, that we are pretty consistent.

By Round 3, 90% of the class is selected, and we always say to ourselves, why do we have Round 3? We like Round 3. It tends to attract a smaller number of applicants for a smaller number of spaces, but we’re always looking for interesting backgrounds, and often we actually find them in the intrepid Round 3 applicants. I don’t want to get rid of Round 3. Round 3 does deprive people of having a gala admit welcome and miss housing deadlines, and internationals can be at real jeopardy for getting visas in time. But in our case – and this is important – it would be that financial aid does not run out.

We are a need-based school and we have just as much money available for the last round admitted as we do for the first. Because it is based on a formula that takes into account your last three years of earnings, this is pretty easy to find on the website as to how we do this.

Question: If you are released early, is there any chance that you will be put on the waitlist for a future round?

Leopold: No. It’s one application per customer per year. The way the waitlist works, is that in Round 1, you could be put on the WL before an interview, or you could be put before or after an interview. But that’s something that we decide, not something you can request. If you are released, which means “goodbye,” in Round 1, that means you are finished for the season. We can talk about next year, but you cannot move from that status to the waitlist.

Question: When can we find out more about the “post-evaluation interview?”

Leopold: We’ll have details on that when it is time to invite candidates.

Question: Are there any different expectations in terms of re-applicants?

Leopold: I think we are a pretty re-applicant friendly school. You are read clean, as if you had not applied in the past at the written application stage. We do ask you to indicate whether you have applied in the past. If you are invited to interview, that’s when your older application is coupled with your current application. If you were interviewed in the past, you will most likely not be interviewed by the same person who saw you the first time.

In terms of recommendations, this is just my advice, and we are sitting around with six people here [members of the admissions committee]. This isn’t policy or gospel, but I wouldn’t submit exactly the same recommendations word for word. It’s fine to have the same people, but I think it shows a little bit of investment on your part and certainly on their part, in terms of how has this person developed or changed over the past year; what have the interactions been like? We want to see that. We want to see that there has been some investment, other than simply dragging out the old application and submitting it again.

Question: With the new application, should the resume be more elaborate?

Leopold: No! We’re not trying to shift to the eight-page resume. I truly believe that a resume for someone at your career stage should be one page. I’m sure there are exceptions to that but I think that that would be a smart guideline to follow.

Question: Do you have any recommendations about how the board looks at international applicants?

Leopold: We have a deep and strong admissions board that has seen applications from many countries and many schools. When you come in the door as an applicant, our way of sorting first is by the industry in which you work, not the country from which you come. We like to start with things you have chosen, not by chance. That’s our first organizing principle. No, it’s not as if we are deciding how many students we would like from a certain country. There are no targets or quotas.

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