Reapplying to Harvard Business School
Getting into Harvard Business School is no easy feat. Many have tried and failed.
But for Arman Keshani, reapplying to the 2+2 program at HBS was worth it.
In a blog post for Harvard’s MBA Voices, Keshani explains how he approached the application differently the second time around.
“People often ask what I think changed between my 2+2 rejection and my eventual acceptance,” Keshani writes. “They usually expect a story about a series of deliberate decisions I made to change my course and make myself an attractive candidate for HBS. In reality, my journey from college to business school was defined by a series of serendipitous opportunities which I did little to author myself. The difference that I made was in being adaptive and making the best of the environment I was in.”
BUILD YOUR WORTH
Experts say if you’re reapplying for an MBA, it can be helpful to show how you’ve switched gears to reach your goals.
“Reapplying gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself in new ways, and to pursue unusual opportunities,” Karen Marks, President And Founder Of North Star Admissions Consulting, writes for P&Q. “I have worked with clients who described completely different career goals and priorities the second time around, and who were admitted in part because they credibly explained their true motivations.”
For Keshani, he utilized his time at a management consulting firm to improve his skillset.
“I took advantage of this time to take coding classes and read textbooks about data analytics, and before long had a strong technical skillset which was invaluable to the team,” he writes.
It’s important to have a different mindset when applying the second time around.
But how exactly do you get there?
For Keshani, it was spurred by first-hand experience uncovering bribery through the power of technology.
During his time at the consulting firm Control Risks, Kesehani had the opportunity to build a team from the ground up and work on a large project in Brazil to uncover bribery at a state-owned company.
“The timing couldn’t have been better,” he writes. “I eventually spent a year in Brazil, traveling throughout the country, seeing firsthand the destruction caused by corruption, and discovering the power of technology to stop it.”
He says the experience was eye-opening.
“It gave me a sense of purpose, a mission, and a reason to attend an institution like HBS,” Keshani writes. “I came to HBS to obtain the skills, experiences, and network that I need to make my difference in the world. Ultimately, I think that was the difference between my rejection and my acceptance.”
Keshani knows what’s it’s like to be rejected. But, he says, rather than letting a rejection define you, view it as an opportunity.
“When you step into work, find ways to distinguish yourself,” he writes. “Go beyond the job description. Ask questions; understand the higher-level trends which drive the work you are doing. Seek opportunities to receive more responsibility and seize the moment when it comes. Life rarely follows our perfect plans”