Meet Harvard Business School’s MBA Class Of 2022

Harvard Business School From the Air

EVERYTHING CHANGES…EXCEPT MEDICINE

Under Toyin Shodiya’s leadership, a Boeing team only needed 10 months to go from concept to flight test for a fully-functional cargo prototype. With a joint MBA-Engineering MS, she hopes to expand her mastery of product development into financing.

“My interest in an MBA, as well as my empathy for the “founder journey,” was sparked during my experience working with an early-stage drone startup. After countless pitches to venture capitalists, I wanted to demystify the venture funding process and understand the financial implications of each decision made during product development. This is what drew me to Harvard’s MS/MBA engineering joint degree program. The MS/MBA program will allow me to hone my ability to lead scrappy teams in translating business needs into engineering-design criteria to bring novel products to market.”

In medical school, Charlotte Lawson saw no need for an MBA. Over time, she grew frustrated as she watched every industry – from ordering groceries to booking lodging – had changed…but emergency medicine remained stagnant.

“I began to have all these ideas about how the technology that already exists could improve the experience of delivering and receiving care,” Lawson explains. “But it quickly became clear that the process of turning ideas into reality in the healthcare ecosystem is really challenging. I decided that if I were going to lead in this arena, I would need to close several skill and network gaps. Ultimately it was the desire to close those gaps that led me to HBS.”

Well, that and HBS’ family-friendly environment – a must for Lawson, who is expecting her first child with her partner. “The key piece that tipped the scale for us was the programming for families and partners through clubs like Crimson Parents and MoMBAs (a club for student moms),” Lawson adds. “A few examples of the resources I’m referring to: a large community of families living on campus, formal parental leave policy, the culture of partner inclusion (ex: section leadership includes a Partner Rep and a Family Rep), and preference in the housing lottery for students with children (all the families we know got first-round pick for apartments next to the school).”

Harvard Business School. Courtesy photo

A HISTORICALLY SMALL CLASS

Historically, Harvard Business School has ranked as the largest full-time MBA program in the United States. In 2019, for example, the school enrolled 938 first-years. This year, the school shaved over 200 students off that total, with 732 students making it into the Class of 2022. In other words, HBS is now smaller than the Wharton School and Columbia Business School…for a year, at least. That’s because HBS gave admits a one-time option to defer due to the pandemic. Sure enough, over 200 admits took HBS up on its offer.

The upshot? We could soon see larger cohorts at HBS in the future.

Beyond deferrals, the 2022 class profile closely resembles those of years past. HBS’ acceptance rate is estimated to be 13%, down a point over the previous year, but still very selective. The median GMAT of the class remained 730, no different than the previous five years. The median GPA also held steady at 3.7, as did median GRE at 326. In terms of applications, HBS experienced a slight surge during the 2019-2020 cycle, going from 9,228 to 9,304. In the bigger picture, this is still a step back from the 2019 and 2020 classes, which boasted 10,351 and 9,886 applications respectively.

The percentage of women continues to climb at Harvard Business School. Women account for a 44% class share, up three points over the past two years. This progress, however, is offset by international students, whose percentage fell from 37% to 33% between classes (though a 4% slide is less than the 8.5% drop at rival Stanford GSB). At the same time, the percentage of U.S. ethnic minorities increased 18 points to 45% in the Class of 2022. Overall, 67% of the class hails from the United States, followed by Asia (11%), Europe (9%), South and Central America (6%), and Africa (3%).

Looking for the biggest change in this year’s class?  STEM majors have finally caught up to their Business and Economics counterparts, with each holding 41% of class seats (followed by Humanities at 18%). That’s a big change from two years ago, when the difference was 46%-to-37% in favor of B&E. Professionally, the gaps are far smaller. The largest segment is Venture Capital and Private Equity at 16%. Consulting (15%), Technology (13%), Manufacturing and Energy (11%, Financial Services (11%), and Consumer Products (9%) also representing substantive sectors of the class.

Senior Associate Dean Srikant Datar will become dean of the Harvard Business School on Jan. 1, 2021

A NEW DEAN ARRIVES

It has been a surreal year at Harvard Business School, which has ranked as P&Q’s top MBA program over the past decade. Along with enrolling its smallest class since the Korean War, HBS also reduced the size of core classes from 90 to 72 students while implementing a hybrid teaching model. In the coming year, the school will also make some shifts due to a change in leadership. This month, the school elevated Srikant M. Datar, a senior associate dean who has spent a quarter-century at HBS, to succeed Dean Nitin Nohria. Dean Datar has big shoes to fill. During his decade-long term, Nohria doubled the school endowment while shepherding several renovation and construction projects. At the same time, he revamped the MBA curriculum, an effort that included adding a hands-on, global FIELD project. Most important, he revolutionized online education with Harvard Business School Online, which included CORe courses that have trained over 20,000 pre-MBA students.

Nohria himself is bullish on Dean Datar’s prospects in the coming year. “Srikant is an outstanding choice as Harvard Business School’s next dean. He has thought deeply about the challenges and opportunities facing management education, and has a proven record of collaboration, innovation, and leadership — not only within HBS but across Harvard and at other organizations.”

Under Nohria, HBS reinforced its position as a leader in entrepreneurship, to go along with its acclaim in general management, international business, and finance. Over the past five years, 23 HBS startups have ranked among the 100 best for receiving venture capital funding. Despite the pandemic, HBS has been busy creating a STEM pathway with its Management Science track  — one that will enable international students to extend their F-1 Visa eligibility by 24 months.

AN INTERVIEW WITH CHAD LOSEE

Harvard Business School’s Chad Lossee

What else can prospective students expect from Harvard Business School in the coming year? P&Q recently posed this question to Chad Losee, the managing director for MBA admissions and financial aid. Here are his written responses to these new developments at the school, along with what sets the HBS experience apart.

P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments at your program?

CL: “We are excited to have the first cohort of MS/MBA Biotechnology: Life Sciences joint degree students starting this fall! Since Boston and Harvard are a global hub for innovation in biotech, healthcare, and life sciences, this new MS/MBA program is a natural addition to HBS’s joint degrees. In two years, students earn an MBA from HBS and an MS from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences through the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, which will equip them to make an enduring impact at the intersection of life science and business.

Incoming Class of 2022 MS/MBA students have an undergraduate degree in life sciences or medicine and/or significant work experience in biotechnology or life sciences. Having their presence in the MBA class will amplify our already vibrant health care community, and inspire section mates interested in the space to pursue a career in the biotechnology and life sciences industries. You can learn more about the MS/MBA here.

There are also a number of new courses.  Several examples include Leading Difference, Road to the White House: A Businessperson’s Perspective on Presidential Politics, Using Mobile Phones to Fight COVID in Developing Economies, Conversations on Leadership, Scaling Minority Businesses, Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning, Leadership and Happiness, AI in Market-facing Functions, and Crafting Your Life: the Tactics and Practices of the First 10 Years Post MBA.”

Go to Page 3 to read 9 profiles of Harvard Business School first-years.

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