If you managed to get an admissions interview with Harvard Business School, you now have 24 hours to create something that is unique in MBA admissions: the post-interview reflection. Every MBA applicant who gets an interview is required to submit a written reflection through Harvard’s online application system.
These post-meeting memos take many forms, from brief ‘thank you’ notes to fairly long missives that go into deeper biographical detail. The longest reflection published in 2020-2021 edition of The Harbus’ MBA Admissions & Interview Guide stands at 1,295 words, while the shortest is a mere 228 words long. The guide includes 23 different post-interview reflections along with dozens upon dozens of interview questions with analysis. Available for $66.63 via download here, the guide is written by current HBS students, culled from successful applicants to Harvard Business School who enrolled in the MBA program and are now immersed in HBS culture. “We were in your shoes not long ago and we understand the nuances of preparing for the HBS interview, from first-hand experience,” write the guide’s editors.
In almost every case, the students who have written successful post-interview reflections express unbridled enthusiasm if not awe at what they discovered during their visit to campus. And many candidates make clear their intentions to contribute to the HBS community. “Whether I am the President of a club, a member of a team, or the person who dresses up in (a) costume making a fool of myself to spread the word about a cause, I’ll be the one shamelessly all in,” concluded one applicant.
SAMPLES OF POST-INTERVIEW REFLECTIONS BY SUCCESSFUL HARVARD MBA APPLICANTS
Some vividly (and always enthusiastically) describe their interactions with other MBA students while on the 40-acre campus. “During the day, I came across several interviewees that worked at venture capital firms. When I gave them my elevator pitch for (the address changing service that I’ve been working on), they expressed interest and wanted to learn more about the business model and potential market size,” wrote one candidate. “I had never approached a VC with ideas before and quickly realized the tremendous opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs at HBS.”
Others reflect on the diversity of the students they bumped into while on the expansive grounds of the Harvard Business School. “When I attended a class today, I saw the rainbow of flags scattered across the room and heard the sound of many accents,” wrote a female applicant who worked in private equity. “The level of diversity was unlike anything I have witnessed.”
How should you think about this requirement of the admissions process at HBS? With permission from The Harbus, we’re publishing four of the 23 sample reflections from the latest Admissions Guide. We hope they whet your appetite to buy the complete guide and gain access to the full collection of interview questions and reflections. The post-admission interview memos have been written by both men and women, candidates in a variety of fields from private equity to technology, by both domestic and international applicants.