Stanford GSB | Mr. Latino Healthcare
GRE 310, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Military MedTech
GRE 310, GPA 3.48
Wharton | Mr. Aspiring Leader
GMAT 750, GPA 3.38
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Advisory Consultant
GRE 330, GPA 2.25
Kellogg | Mr. Equity To IB
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
INSEAD | Mr. Marketing Master
GRE 316, GPA 3.8
Darden | Ms. Marketing Analyst
GMAT 710, GPA 3.75
Darden | Mr. Corporate Dev
GMAT Waived, GPA 3.8
Cornell Johnson | Mr. SAP SD Analyst
GMAT 660, GPA 3.60
Kellogg | Ms. Public School Teacher
GRE 325, GPA 3.93
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Army Officer
GRE 325, GPA 3.9
INSEAD | Mr. Future In FANG
GMAT 650, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Hedge Fund
GMAT 740, GPA 3.8
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred MBA
GMAT 760, GPA 3.82
Stanford GSB | Mr. Robotics
GMAT 730, GPA 2.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Artistic Engineer
GMAT 730, GPA 9.49/10
Yale | Mr. Army Pilot
GMAT 650, GPA 2.90
Kellogg | Mr. Double Whammy
GMAT 730, GPA 7.1/10
INSEAD | Mr. Tesla Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. Tech To MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
INSEAD | Ms. Investment Officer
GMAT Not taken, GPA 16/20 (French scale)
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Startup Of You
GMAT 770, GPA 2.4
Kellogg | Mr. Hopeful Admit
GMAT Waived, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Mr. International PM
GMAT 730, GPA 2.3
Harvard | Mr. Policy Development
GMAT 740, GPA Top 30%
Ross | Mr. Brazilian Sales Guy
GRE 326, GPA 77/100 (USA Avg. 3.0)
INSEAD | Mr. INSEAD Hopeful
GMAT -, GPA 2.9

The Early Verdict On HBS’ New App

THE NEW FORMAT FORCED APPLICANTS TO BE MORE STRATEGIC ABOUT WHAT INFO THEY SHARED WITH HARVARD

Chioma Isiadinso, founder of EXPARTUS who was once on the HBS admissions board, echoed Bauer’s remarks. “This new format forced clients to really be strategic about the information they presented in different parts of their application.” she said. “It called for more engagement with recommenders to ensure that the right egs were being highlighted as well as greater scrutiny on resumes and the online application. Overrall, clients were apprehensive about the new essays but once they began working on them most of their fears were allayed.”

Kreisberg said most of Harvard’s applicants “spend hours agonizing over which stories to feature and feel that their fate depends on this (story) versus that (story). I sympathize with them. The process is important to applicants. I also believe, that while shorter, these applications are not as much fun to read for the adcom.”

Ultimately, the cutbacks may have done little to reduce the anxiety associated with applying to a highly selective business school. “In the end, everyone was relieved that it was shorter. But there’s still a tendency to underestimate the amount of work it takes to put together an entire application, 800 words or 2,000 words,” said Betsy Massar, founder of Master Admissions. “Plus, managing three recommenders is a project management exercise in itself!”

LESS REALLY CAN BE MORE

David Thomas, co-founder and educational consultant at Forster-Thomas Inc., had a slightly different perspective. “At first,” he said, “most candidates were frustrated that HBS only has two essays this year. They worried that it wouldn’t give them the opportunity to showcase as many accomplishments, or demonstrate how multi-faceted they are. Our response is that we’d love there to be more essays, too. However, great admissions essays are not about showing what you’ve done, but rather how and why you do things.  And for that reason, we love these two questions—they give candidates the perfect opportunity to differentiate themselves from their peers by demonstrating sophisticated insight, depth, and maturity—rather than hitting the Admissions Board over the head with more facts about accomplishments. When we explained it to them that way, our candidates embraced the intent of the essays and pretty quickly got on board.  As long as you know what to do with it, less really can be more.”

Not every consultant saw dissatisfaction with the Harvard changes. “I think that the clients took the changes in stride,” says Stacey Oyler of Clear Admit.  “After the initial surprise, they focused on sharpening their message and telling their stories with the two essays and their resume.  It took some fine tuning, but I think most are happy with the applications they crafted.”

HARVARD’S ROUND ONE APPLICANTS CAN WEIGH IN ON THIS BELOW IN OUR COMMENT SECTION

DONT MISS: DEE LEOPOLD’S HARVARD B-SCHOOL WEBINAR SLIDES or THE GATEKEEPER TO HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

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.