HBS To Admits: ‘The answer is YES!’

Dillon House, the home of admissions at Harvard Business School

Dillon House, the home of admissions at Harvard Business School

“The answer is YES!”

That’s how Dee Leopold, managing director of admissions and financial aid, is informing applicants that they have been accepted for admission to Harvard Business School’s MBA program.

Emails to HBS candidates who applied in round one and made it through an admissions interview went out today (Dec. 10) and they have an a rather informal feel about them compared to the typical acceptance notification from most business schools. The tone of the letter is more in line with Harvard’s this year’s MBA application instructions, with such lighthearted asides like, “No, we don’t give special consideration to recommendations written by HBS alums.”


Admission consultants seem to like the more casual approach by Leopold. “This is a home run for Dee,” crows Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.com. “It’s the best admit letter I have ever seen.”

B-schools inform their admits in several ways. Some like to make a personal phone call with the good news. Others reach out by email or a hard copy letter. And some rely on the application website to report the final status of an application. Whatever the method, an invitation from a top business school can, in the words of Dan Bauer, CEO of The MBA Exchange, bring “laughter and/or tears. Screaming, jubilation, satisfaction, relief, pride, humility, anxiety. “The moment that he or she learns of acceptance is truly unforgettable,” says Bauer. “This is a treasured story that will be retold to friends, family and associates for a lifetime.”

Most invites are pretty matter of fact. At SDA Bocconi, the leading business school in Italy, the letters begin simply: “It is a great pleasure to inform you that you have been admitted.” Then, it’s pretty much official stuff, asking applicants to submit enrollment documents via fax along with hard copies by land mail.


At UCLA’s Anderson School, the acceptance letter begins this way: “On behalf of the MBA Admissions Committee, it is my pleasure to offer you admission to the MBA Program at UCLA Anderson. You were selected from a large and exceptional group of applicants based on your impressive academic, career and personal accomplishments. I am delighted to extend a warm welcome to you.”

And at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, an acceptance can acknowledge a thank you email from a candidate as well as the applicant’s interview. “Greetings from Goizueta Business School! Thank you for your thoughtful email message. I very much enjoyed interviewing you earlier this week and I’m pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit to campus. The MBA Admissions Committee has reviewed your application file and I am delighted to inform you that you have been accepted to our Two Year MBA Program. The committee was most impressed with your experience along with your entrepreneurial endeavors. Having interviewed you, I am confident that you would be a wonderful member of the Goizueta community.”


As for Harvard’s Leopold, here’s how the rest of her letters sent today end:

“We have read everything you have told us in your written application and enjoyed getting to know you in the interview. We think you will be a wonderful addition to the Harvard Business School community and we invite you to join the MBA Class of 2017.

“I speak for faculty, administration, students, and alumni when I say that we think that Harvard Business School is a very special place. We believe deeply in the School’s mission: “To educate leaders to make a difference in the world.” When you join our community, you will hear this mission statement again and again – it is our clarion call.

“I hope you feel happy, proud, and excited to read this letter. Please thank your family, friends, and colleagues for the support they have given over the last few months.

“Now that we have chosen you, I hope that you choose us. We’ll be reaching out in a variety of ways to make sure that you have all the conversations you need in order to be here in August 2015 and to meet your future classmates.

“Our Prematriculation Website will be your main source of information over the next few months. It will direct you to key activities that will help you learn more about HBS; in addition, the site features a checklist of personalized requirements and/or recommendations and logistics related to joining HBS.

“Should you need any assistance, please contact MBA Student & Academic Services at prematric@hbs.edu or 617.496.0902.

“Your offer of admission is exclusively for the MBA Class of 2017, entering in August 2015, and it is contingent upon the verification of all materials submitted in your application, the submission of your Admissions Acceptance Form (accessible via your Applicant Status page), and a tuition deposit.

“You have an excellent adventure ahead of you – two very special years that will last a lifetime.

“I will close with a wish I hope to deliver personally – welcome to the Harvard Business School family!

“It is a pleasure to be signing this letter.”

At West Coast rival Stanford Graduate School of Business, Assistant Dean for MBA Admissions Derrick Bolton’s acceptance letter this year does a nice job of welcoming admits and selling the school. “CONGRATULATIONS!,” his letter starts.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.