Dee Leopold’s Harvard B-School Webinar Slides

Question: Does your career and professional development office work with admits before school would start?

Leopold: No, we like to think that once you’re admitted you are now in a zone. Rest up and get ready, it’s going to be an exciting, thrilling ride here. Trying to explore career options and trying to hash out who you are really begins when you are a student here. There are some exercises that you do as an admit that we are going to deliver online. We have the ultimate career exploration guru, Tim Butler, here, and he has developed a self-assessment tool, which is pretty amazing. But there isn’t let’s start the career resource before you become a student.

Question: Can you talk about how the financial aid process works?

Leopold: This is important because sometimes when I’m talking to brand new admits and I say, “Congratulations!” Sometimes they say, “but I didn’t get a fellowship.” We’re not the school that does that. Our financial aid is, as I said, need-based. After you are admitted, you tell us about your financial situation. We’re going to see your tax returns. Our financial aid staff comes up with a package for you. It’s going to be a two-year package. You will know what your first year will look like and your second year. It will include loans and will include, if you are eligible, fellowships. We do not have merit fellowships where we say, “Congratulations, Jane, you’ve been admitted and here’s $60,000 because we like your GMAT score. We just don’t do that. We are need blind when we do our admissions offers.

Question: Can we talk about the GMAT and GRE?

Leopold: I know everything is changing. Your GMAT score is good for five years, period. So if you’ve taken the old GMAT within the past five years, it’s good. We put dates up on the website as to what is the last test date we will accept in terms of that five-year period. GRE, same thing.

There isn’t a cutoff. We are looking at sub-scores. The GRE and GMAT play different roles for different types of candidates. Let me describe that to you. If we are looking at a candidate who is a strong engineer, has taken tons of math and is working with numbers and analytical stuff all day, I don’t think we need to pay terribly much attention to what their GMAT Q scores are. We want to look at their GMAT verbal score because maybe they are not having practice in terms of writing and in terms of reading long passages at work.

So we want to make sure there’s a level of comfort there. The absolute flip side would be for someone who had not had any quantitative work in college or had not had any analytical or quant work on the job. We are looking underneath the score, and we are looking case by case.

You’re going to self-report the highest score, and that’s how the admission board is going to see it. We are going to see your total GMAT history but we are going to look at primarily your highest score.

Question: If I am regular applicant and I want to submit in June do I receive any special treatment?

Leopold: We don’t do anything until the deadline, Sept 24. Then we look at everything; as soon as that deadline passes, it is game on. All the applications are printed and distributed. Also, there is no correlation whatsoever between when you submit your application and when you are invited to interview. You can develop all sorts of theories about when you are invited to interview. It is not derivative from your zip code, your application number, the time you submitted, your mother’s maiden name. It is really simply how we are moving through applications, which can vary from year to year.

Question: How specific do you want us to be in our post MBA goals?

Leopold: In this year’s application, there will be a question about why do you want an MBA? We hear over and over again that this is an opportunity for you to focus. We would like you to have thought seriously about the why. That’s a lot different than saying I want to be at the XYZ corporation on June 1, 2035. We are not looking for a long-term map of your career.

We are looking for what is driving this decision to get an MBA. What excites you? How do you plan to use this degree at some level? No one’s going to hold you to it. But it will be an excellent guide post when you do. This place can be an amazing candy store. There are so many things going on, so many options, that I think coming in the door it’s nice to have a little bit of focus at the starting point.

Question: Is there a limit on age? And how does the 2+2 candidate compare in terms of experience?

Leopold: Is a 2+2 person at a disadvantage? No, I cannot imagine. As I said before, there is no right time. Keeping in mind that there are no 2+2 people coming from college right to HBS. There are 2+2 people who come right after college. There are people who’ve done a third year, and we’ve approved one fourth-year student. This is a small group of people who we get to know very well.

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