WRITING AN ESSAY ALLOWS APPLICANTS ‘AN OPPORTUNITY TO PAUSE AND REFLECT’
Leopold noted that the essay question allows candidates “an opportunity to pause and reflect. Business school is a big experience – it’s exciting, it’s an unknown,it’s a beginning, it’s an investment in your future. Stopping to reflect and gather your thoughts in writing is a useful exercise. That’s not just our opinion – it’s what we hear from students all the time.”
For HBS’ admissions team, the new essay question provides “a chance to get to know you beyond the elements of the application that feel fixed and stationary,” wrote Leopold. “Can also be a starting point for interview conversations.”
Harvard Business School encourages applicants to apply in the first or second round, as space in the class may be limited by the third round. Applying in the earlier rounds will give international candidates more time to get their student visas and to work on English proficiency. Moreover, HBS sometimes requires applicants to complete preliminary course work prior to enrollment so having the extra time to do that is helpful. Besides, many
deadlines for outside fellowships are in early spring. Only students who have been accepted are eligible for these fellowships.
THE UNOFFICIAL START OF THE NEW MBA APPLICATION SEASON
Typically, the posting of the new application by Harvard Business School signals the unofficial start to the new MBA application season. It’s the time of the year that the next generation of MBA applicants begins to prepare for admission by prepping for the GMAT, researching business schools, possibly hiring an admissions consultant, and mapping out a strategy for what will turn out to be a campaign to get into a selective school.
Most schools have yet to issue their new questions, though Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, and MIT Sloan have recently done so (see Earlier Round One Deadlines At Stanford, MIT & Wharton). More schools will soon follow. The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, for example, plans to post its 2015-2016 essay and recommender questions during the week of May 18th.
Meantime, schools are hatching their recruiting plans for the coming cycle, which has a soft start in June with events for the Consortium, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) and the Forte Foundation. Harvard will push its application for the Class of 2018 live in mid-June.