Getting Into Both Harvard & Stanford: What It Takes

Virtual welcome videos from Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business unwittingly reflect the cultural differences of each school

Getting Into Both Harvard and Stanford: What It Takes

With Harvard Business School having an acceptance rate of 11% and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business being even lower at 6%, most applicants will ultimately receive a rejection letter.

And yet, there are those applicants who miraculously get accepted into both programs. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting (SBC), recently published the top lessons on what it takes to be a dual HBS and GSB admit in today’s admissions reality.

“MBA-ORIENTED EMPLOYER OR RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCES HELP”

If you’re set on getting into both HBS and the GSB, it’s helpful to have some professional experience under your belt – especially from an MBA-relevant employer.

“This year, this first lesson has changed to include both pedigree and non-feeder profiles—with the caveat that MBA-oriented firms and experiences are evolving,” Blackman writes. “We had more double admits this year who came from blue-chip companies such as McKinsey and megafund private equity firms.”

While these types of companies and firms tend to lean towards consulting and finance, Blackman says, dual admits aren’t limited to traditional-MBA work backgrounds.

“Our current double-admit pool included employers from the education and media tech fields,” Blackman writes. “This may reflect the evolving landscape in MBA recruiting and employment at HBS and GSB.”

“YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE SAVED THE WORLD”

Among the double admits at SBC, extracurriculars were modest with activities ranging from music and sports to mentoring and volunteering.

“Whatever you chose, your extracurricular activities should resonate with you,” Blackman writes. “Meaningful involvement offers a low-risk, high-impact way to exercise leadership and management skills.”

“REAL CHARACTER AND A DESIRE PLUS A TRACK RECORD OF HELPING OTHERS”

When it came time to discuss their stories in the applications, Blackman says, double admits chose to highlight narratives that went beyond the workplace.

“Instead, they wove in anecdotes about helping others—mentoring, giving, or assisting in some way,” Blackman writes.

In other words, admissions officers at HBS and the GSB like these people not just for their career accolades, but for their real character.

“Overall, these dual admits were people with whom you would want to work on a group project, organize a conference, or study for exams,” Blackman writes. “In short, they are real, relatable people–with flaws and strengths–applying to b-school to get better and achieve more.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q, P&Q

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