Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Environmental Sustainability
GMAT N/A, GPA 7.08
Columbia | Mr. Old Indian Engineer
GRE 333, GPA 67%
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31
Chicago Booth | Mr. Private Equity To Ed-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.4
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Trucking
GMAT 640, GPA 3.82
Harvard | Mr. Athlete Turned MBB Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. Low GRE Not-For-Profit
GRE 316, GPA 74.04% First Division (No GPA)
Harvard | Mr. Marine Pilot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.98
Ross | Mr. Civil Rights Lawyer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.62
Harvard | Mr. Climate
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seeking Fellow Program
GMAT 760, GPA 3
Harvard | Mr. Army Intelligence Officer
GRE 334, GPA 3.97
Harvard | Ms. Data Analyst In Logistics
GRE 325, GPA 4
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Comeback Story
GRE 313, GPA 2.9
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Green Financing
GRE 325, GPA 3.82
Harvard | Mr. Gay Singaporean Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
MIT Sloan | Mr. Marine Combat Arms Officer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Darden | Mr. MBB Aspirant/Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 3.16
Kellogg | Mr. PM To Tech Co.
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Chess Professional
GRE 317, GPA 8.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. Deferred Asian Entrepreneur
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Yale | Mr. IB To Strategy
GRE 321, GPA 3.6

11 Myths About Getting Into Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2018.


Since HBS professors are extremely accomplished, many students expect them to be unapproachable outside of the classroom. However, Straughn-Turner says that this isn’t the case. Rather, faculty devote a ton of time to getting to know students. “They love being around students,” he says. “Last year, when we were doing a lot of things virtually, they hosted virtual lunches and outdoor tea sessions.”

He adds that the HBS professors help students progress in their unique interests. For example, he’s interested in the intersection of real estate and social impact, so he connected with a professor who is an expert in the future of cities. “There weren’t any classes I could have taken with him last year given the structure of the first-year curriculum. But I went to his office hours every other Tuesday where I could talk to him,” he says.

As Straughn-Turner enters his second year, he’ll be doing an independent study project on the future of cities this year with the help of this professor and one of his classmates. “Here, you find like minded people who you can do really cool things with, especially in your second year where you have more flexibility with your schedule,” he says.


Many prospective students think that they’re chances of getting into HBS will decrease if they don’t get a recommendation letter from their supervisor and an HBS alumni. But Losee assures students that it doesn’t matter what the title is of their recommenders. “What’s most important is that the recommender has seen you in a professional work context so they can comment on your outstanding skills and what areas you’re still working to develop,” he explains.

If asking a supervisor for a recommendation letter will in any way inhibit opportunities for promotions or cause negative consequences, Losee advises prospective students to ask other people within the student’s company, instead. There’s also the opportunity to provide context in the Additional Information section about why the candidate chose this specific person as a recommender.

“For a number of applicants, it can be uncomfortable asking their current supervisor for a recommendation,” adds Straughn-Turner. “There’s no typical path. Both of my recommenders saw me in different phases of my life and in different contexts. This whole process is about rounding out who you are as a person so that admissions can see all those different data points to get a full picture of who you are.”

HBS also takes into account the fact that some recommenders don’t have much experience writing letters of recommendation. “We’re conscious of industries where there are fewer applicants, or people who are not as comfortable with English,” says Losee. “We take all of that context into account. We’re trying to get to know you, and having the perspective from someone who’s worked closely with you can be helpful in our evaluation process.”


The HBS interview is different from other interviews; according to Losee and Straughn-Turner, there are no stock, resume-based questions asked, nor are any problem-solving exercises involved. Rather, the interview is more so a conversation, with questions that are custom to each person. “This interview is all about you,” says Losee. “You have nothing to be nervous about or study.”

Prior to the interview, the interviewer acquaints themselves with the student’s application, essay, and work history. “If we aren’t as familiar with the student’s company, we’ll research it so that we can go beyond scratching the surface,” says Losee. “We want to know what perspective they’ll bring to an HBS class, that they’d be able to explain things in a way that would translate well to a classroom, and that they’ve invested in others and will do the same for the HBS community.”

Straughn-Turner says that his HBS interview was one of the best interviews he’s ever experienced. “It felt very personal, and I was pleasantly surprised by all the different facets of my life that we explored. My interviewer first walked through the more academic and professional parts of my life and then let me speak about my interests and goals, and how I can see myself using what I learn at HBS. It just felt like a natural conversation,” he says.


While business school is expensive and requires sacrifice, Losee and Straughn-Turner stress how valuable the experience is — personally and professionally.

Losee says that in order to maximize the ROI from HBS, prospective students should have a long term focus. “There are upfront costs to investing in yourself at graduate school. You’re taking time off of work and you have to fork out the cost of the program. But the value of an HBS MBA is going to carry on over the next 30-40 years of your career,” he explains.

Straughn-Turner says that two things in particular make the expense worth it: the network and the ability to integrate the knowledge into your career for years to come. “Not only are you building relationships with fellow peers who are going to be future business leaders, but you’re also building relationships with alumni who were in your shoes not too long ago,” he says. “Plus, applying what you’re learning to your life and career helps you to continue to develop and grow.”

When it comes to calculating the ROI of HBS, Losee has some advice. “Don’t do the ROI calculations on the job you would get right after an MBA program,” he says. “Rather, think about the different slope that you’ll be on 10 years or 20 years from now. There are going to be opportunities that this degree will open that may not have opened if you just stay on the path that you’re on, as good as that path may be.”

Despite the cost of the program and the effort it takes to get into HBS, Losee closed the virtual event by providing a few words of encouragement. “As humans, we have this mentality to count ourselves out before we count ourselves in,” he says. “It can be difficult to get into a place like HBS, but you’re guaranteed to not get in if you don’t apply.”


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