Meet Harvard Business School’s MBA Class Of 2024

HBS students in the classroom, Evgenia Elliseva


You could say Harvard Business School has it all: prestige, opportunity, and experience. Ranked as the world’s #1 full-time MBA program by The Economist, the school also boasted the widest range of recruiters – not to mention ranking among the top 10 for alumni effectiveness, culture and classmates, and facilities in its annual student survey. Financial Times data pegs HBS as the most prolific and influential program for faculty research– and its alumni recommend the school higher than anyone else. And it remains the top feeder school to investment banking. Among business school faculty and administrators surveyed by U.S. News, HBS earned the highest marks for Management – and scored among the five best for Marketing, Nonprofits, International Business, and Entrepreneurship.

When it comes to Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business School ranks among the world’s best according to Poets&Quants. That includes HBS offering a higher percentage of electives in entrepreneurship or innovation than any MBA program in the world (49.7%). Megan Murday, a ’21 grad whose Metric startup provides software that measures and manages ESG performance in portfolios, not only credits faculty for her success, but also her peers.

“I have been most surprised by the proactive support from classmates though. The idea to prioritize private market investors as our beachhead market came from classmates who worked in VC and PE and saw the need for Metric’s solution.  Even after graduation, the HBS network has worked as 900 pairs of eyes and ears flagging relevant articles, opportunities, and customers for Metric.”


While entrepreneurship – creation and risk-taking – may embody the Harvard spirit, the case method – analysis and persuasion – remains the cornerstone of the MBA program. Since 1921, HBS students have analyzed business stories: weighing facts, interpreting data, formulating solutions, and defending viewpoints. Here, professors step back, guiding discussions to tap into the wide range of industry, functional, and even cultural experiences among the student body. The repetitive process enables students to develop a natural system for conducting research and designing solutions that take broader implications into account. Even more, it places them in classroom situations where they must factor in alternative perspectives and sometimes revise their viewpoints entirely.

On average, HBS students read over 500 cases – 10-20 pages per case – during their two years in Boston, with 90% of courses relying on the case method. “Cases expose students to real business dilemmas and decisions,” explains Nitin Nohria, the former dean of Harvard Business School. “Cases teach students to size up business problems quickly while considering the broader organizational, industry, and societal context. Students recall concepts better when they are set in a case, much as people remember words better when used in context. Cases teach students how to apply theory in practice and how to induce theory from practice. The case method cultivates the capacity for critical analysis, judgment, decision-making, and action.”

Thus far, Yina Sun believes the case method has enriched her understanding of both leadership and decision-making. “Learning how to think on your feet, speak with confidence, engage others, and synthesize differing information and opposing viewpoints are integral aspects to being a good leader. I think the case method effectively teaches both what you want to say and how you say it.”

Classroom Photo, Josh Coval FIN


Even more, the case method simulates the real world where managers must weigh incomplete and conflicting data, and where neither right-and-wrong nor future repercussions of decisions are ever clear. That means taking deep dives into the complex and ambiguous, knowing you can be cold-called into class to make cogent arguments that can’t be quickly unraveled. Sounds pressure-packed, but it also yields an unexpected benefit, notes Ramprashanth Mohanasundaram.

“This approach also takes into consideration the lives and emotions of people who will get impacted with the decision, which could get lost in simple theoretical strategizing.”

Plus, the Harvard brand enables professors to leverage a benefit available in few other MBA programs: guest speakers who lived the cases being taught. “Harvard will invite the protagonist to class while we talk about their specific case,” adds Hannah Henderson. “You get to hear directly from the source what it was like to go through that experience and make that decision. I think it will really help bring cases to life, while also hearing from people we might not have gotten a chance to meet otherwise.”


Naturally, the ‘Harvard’ name conjures up images of elitism. In reality, HBS has been looking to extend its brand. That starts with its Harvard Business School Online, which has brought the case method to the masses in areas as different as negotiations, finance, analytics strategy, and sustainability. This egalitarian urge has extended to its students. While HBS’s endowment has swelled from $4.1 billion to $5.3 billion over the past year, the school isn’t just sitting on its war chest. In August, the school announced that 10% of its students would have full tuition covered, which comes to $76,000 annually. Overall, HBS budgets north of $45 million dollars each year for financial aid. When it comes to tuition, there are a dozen school in the Top 25 that charge more than Harvard Business School – including every M7 school.

“We know that talent is much more evenly distributed than opportunity,” HBS Dean Srikant Datar observed in announcing additional aid to students in August. “Harvard Business School should be a place where the most talented future leaders can come to realize their potential. We want to remove the financial barriers that stand in their way and alleviate the burden of debt so they can focus on becoming leaders who make a difference in the world.”

Earlier this month, P&Q reached out to Chad Losee, the managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School. Wondering what to expect at HBS in the coming year or what you can’t miss as an MBA student? Here are Losee’s thoughts on the state of the HBS MBA program.


HBS Admissions Chief Chad Losee

P&Q: What is the most exciting development at your program in the past year and how will it enrich the MBA experience for current and future MBAs?

Losee: “We are excited to take further steps to make a Harvard Business School MBA degree more affordable to a wider range of students. We just announced that we will provide scholarships to cover the total cost of tuition and course fees for 10 percent of our student body—those with the greatest financial need. HBS will also begin to offer need-based scholarships to additional students from middle income backgrounds, adding to the approximately 50 percent of students who already receive scholarships. Both changes will benefit current and future students and are the latest in a series of steps taken by HBS over the past decade to reduce financial barriers to enrolling in our MBA program.”

P&Q: If you were giving a campus tour, what is the first place you’d take an MBA applicant? Why is that so important to the MBA experience?

Losee: “It’s a tie. First, we would take them to Aldrich Hall, where our first-year students take most of their classes. As the case method is vital to the HBS MBA experience, the MBA classrooms in Aldrich Hall are designed to allow faculty to move easily through the classroom and promote dynamic interaction among students. During the academic year, the walls are decorated with the flags of each nation represented by the students in that section. Check out the case method in action in an Aldrich Hall classroom. After Aldrich, we would venture to the Harvard i-lab, an innovative space available to all Harvard students located on HBS’s campus. The i-lab provides all the entrepreneurial resources current students need to develop and grow, including one-to-one advising, office hours with industry experts, workshops, an incubator program, and a competition.”

P&Q: What is the most innovative thing you have introduced into the MBA program in recent years? How has it been a game changer for your program?

Losee: “HBS recently announced the creation of the Institute for the Study of Business in Global Society (BiGS). The Institute was established to provide a research-based platform to address critical business and societal issues. By integrating and amplifying work already underway at HBS and catalyzing new streams of inquiry, it aims to direct the tools and resources of HBS directly towards the critical areas where business and society overlap and occasionally collide. Rather than presuming a single purpose for the profit-making firm, the Institute will gather a community of scholars, students, practitioners, and policymakers to re-examine and explore the appropriate role for business in a complex and challenging global society.

As part of the launch of BiGS, the school announced the inaugural cohort of the BiGS Visiting Fellows, who will be joining the school this fall. BiGS will also be doing a two-day module for all first-year students in the spring called The Social Purpose of the Firm. This new mini-module has been designed to help students think about the critical first stage of being a “leader who makes a difference in the world” — Where do they want to make a difference? Where can they? And which problems are theirs to solve?”

P&Q: What have MBAs told you is the most memorable, signature experience they’ve had in your program? Why did it resonate so much with them?

Losee: “The section experience at HBS. Incoming students are divided into 10 intentionally-constructed groups, called “sections,” of approximately 90 students, each of which is assigned a specific classroom. For the entirety of their first year, students join their sectionmates for classes in that room, sharing a team of faculty and facilities. The section becomes an academic and social support system, and an opportunity to get to know fellow students on a deeper level through MyTakes and section activities. Students and alumni often refer to their section as foundational to their experience and remain lifelong friends with their sectionmates.”

Harvard Business School Aerial View, ©Gren Hren for Harvard Business School

P&Q: Give us your Harvard Business School elevator pitch. Why here and nowhere else?

Losee: “HBS invented the case method pedagogy, which we still use today. Students discuss up to 500 cases over their two years at the school, reading and analyzing them before class to prepare themselves for a discussion about how they would solve the business challenge presented. HBS brings together amazingly talented people from diverse backgrounds and puts that experience front and center. Students do the majority of the talking (and lots of active listening), and their job is to better understand the decision at hand, what they would do in the case protagonist’s shoes, and why. They do not leave a class thinking about the case the same way they thought about it coming in. In addition to learning more about many different businesses, with the case method, they develop communication, listening, analysis, and leadership skills. It is a truly dynamic and immersive learning environment grounded in our mission of creating leaders who will make a difference in the world.

The international nature of the HBS MBA program is another major differentiator. In addition to its global alumni network (with a third of MBA alumni living outside the U.S.), the School’s 15 research centers and regional offices in key areas of the world enable faculty to work with leaders, industry, government, and academia worldwide, and to learn from business challenges and innovations wherever they occur. Through sustained work in the field, faculty are provided the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and values – as well as intricacies and nuances – that lead to truly meaningful and insightful global research, and in turn, more robust and global-focused curriculum and opportunities for students.”

Next: Profiles of 9 Harvard Business School First-Years

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