MYTH 4: TEST SCORES MAKE OR BREAK YOUR APPLICATION
According to Losee, there’s no minimum test score required for admission. “The two people who are reading your application are looking at your test scores in the context of everything else that you’ve shared with us, such as your background, work history, essay, and transcripts,” says Losee. “Your test score is neither something we admit or deny off of. It’s simply one data point among others that help us to understand if you’re ready for a program that’s going to ask a lot of you.”
Losee adds that their most recent MBA class has a wide range of test scores. Plus, the school is agnostic when it comes to students submitting their GRE or GMAT score — one isn’t preferred over the other. “Take the test that you feel the most comfortable with,” Losee advises.
MYTH 5: YOUR GPA MATTERS — A LOT
Many prospective students are also concerned about their GPA. “Like your test scores, your GPA is simply one data point that we use alongside everything else to understand your readiness for an engaging and rigorous program,” says Losee.
Losee says that the admissions board aims to understand the context behind someone’s GPA; in many cases, hardship has affected people’s grades in certain semesters of their undergraduate degrees. Prospective students can share context about their grades in the Additional Information section of their application.
Losee encourages students to not worry about their GPA and instead focus on the stronger parts of their application. “Your GPA is in the past; there’s nothing you can do about it,” he says. “Just know that overall, your GPA is looked at in the context of everything else as we do a holistic review of your application. ”
MYTH 6: THE HBS ENVIRONMENT IS EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE
There’s a common myth that HBS has an extremely competitive atmosphere. Straughn-Turner says that he believed this until he started at HBS; he was pleasantly surprised by his experience. “No doubt, there are incredible, impressive people at this school. But it’s one of the safest, most supportive communities I’ve ever existed in,” he explains.
Since HBS is taught in a Socratic manner, students learn from each other as opposed to fighting for the right answer. Straughn-Turner says that this helps to create a community-driven learning environment rather than a competitive one. “Everything is designed to create a team-oriented atmosphere,” says Straughn-Turner. “Everyone wants everyone to succeed.”
Losee recounts being shocked at how down to earth his classmates were; he was able to develop relationships with people who had different and shared interests to form a deep sense of community. He was also anticipating everyone competing for the same jobs when it came to applying for internships. “My experience was the opposite. I had many people make introductions between me and alumni about work that I was interested in exploring. I found that the community was very selfless,” he says.
Straughn-Turner adds that breaking the class into sections helps to create a more intimate community. “This means that you get a fun, family-like element that exists in your day-to-day life with people you take the same classes with. You spend a lot of time getting to know your classmates outside of school, too,” he says.
There’s also a long-standing tradition in which HBS students share personal stories about their life and defining moments with their classmates. According to Losee, this also helps to make the class experience more supportive rather than competitive. “People taking the time to share things that were so personally important to them helped us form a supportive network where we understood where each other was coming from,” he says. “This transparency created trust within our section.”
MYTH 7: ONLY EXTROVERTS THRIVE AT HBS
Straughn-Turner and Losee both describe themselves as introverts. While many people think that the case study method requires everyone to speak up in front of large groups, Straughn-Turner says that that’s not the case. “Being vocal doesn’t have to be through words. It can be through your contribution to the HBS community,” he says.
Straughn-Turner adds that being an introvert isn’t an inhibiting factor at HBS, but rather something that compliments and rounds out the student environment. While he and Losee may not have been the most vocal in class, they were committed to strengthening the community in their own, unique ways. He says that like he and Losee, many other students are introverts, too. “The vast majority of the student body is committed to paying it forward and helping to make HBS a stronger community — whether that’s by instilling a sense of safety for people of all different backgrounds, or just making sure that incoming students have an opportunity to learn and have the resources they need to feel comfortable applying” he says.