Harvard MBA Class of 2018: Now What?

Harvard Business School - Ethan Baron photo

Harvard Business School – Ethan Baron photo

Admitted to the Class of 2018 at the Harvard Business School? Congratulations! While admissions numbers are still pending, last year HBS invited 1,033 candidates out of an applicant pool of 9,686 to join what is largely considered the world’s best MBA program for its Class of 2017. Today (March 30), the bulk of the invites for this fall’s incoming class went out to Round 2 candidates while HBS put about 100 new applicants on its waitlist.

In what will be the last class crafted by outgoing Managing Director of MBA Admissions Dee Leopold, Harvard will ultimately enroll around 940 students, for an acceptance rate of just under 11%. Only Stanford Graduate School of Business, which admits an entering class that is slightly less than half of Harvard’s, is more selective among the elite schools. This year, HBS is expected to enroll roughly the same number of incoming students as it did last fall: exactly 937 first-years (see below for Class of 2017 stats).

Though hardly reliable, GMAT Club stats to date for the Class of 2018 are at least entertaining. As of March 30, the day Round 2 decisions were released, some 757 candidates (a sample size of about 7.8% of the total HBS would get annually) say they have applied to the school this year, with just 100 reporting being interviewed and 53 getting admit letters. That comes to an acceptance rate of only 7%, though that is bound to increase over the next few days as more applicants report their decisions.

The time between being accepted and starting business school is a critical period where you can position yourself to succeed both academically and professionally. When you start classes, you’ll face an enormous transition. The coursework is more rigorous and time-consuming. And you’ll have so many options, ranging from clubs to job interviews. If you don’t come with a plan, you’ll squander time and opportunities – and make the program much harder than it needs to be. Before you order your Harvard t-shirt or baseball cap, here’s what you need to do now:

Class of 2018 admits should immediately join Harvard Business School's private Facebook group

Class of 2018 admits should immediately join Harvard Business School’s private Facebook group

1. Get to know your future classmates. Join the Facebook group for the HBS MBA Class of 2018. It’s the best place to meet your classmates, get up-to-date info on admit weekends as well as upcoming social events for admitted students. Harvard’s Facebook group is administered by Pete Rizzo, an HBS student in his first year.

As of today, the group has 584 members, though it is likely to grow faster now that the round 2 acceptances are out.

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2. Firm up your career knowledge. Start reading The Wall Street Journal, if you don’t already, and learn about typical and atypical post-MBA career paths. Register now for Poets&Quants’ May 5-6 preMBA Networking Festival in New York. It’s a smart way to build relationships and get on the radar of the most prominent recruiters of elite MBAs. If you’re interested in consulting, you’ll be able to meet senior executives and partners from McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, PwC, Accenture Strategy in their New York offices. If your interest is in finance, you’ll be able to have pow-wows with leading executives from Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citi, and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch. And if you’re interested in tech, consumer product marketing, or even government jobs, you will be able to connect with Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and the Securities & Exchange Commission. If you think you want to use your MBA experience as a way to start your own company or work for an early stage firm, you can take our startup track to visit with such successful MBA startups as Commonbond, Pymetrics, Warby Parker, Birthbox, and Rent The Runway.

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