When it comes to elite educational institutions, Harvard University’s MBA program stands as a paragon of excellence. Situated in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, this program is globally recognized for its prestige and competitiveness. Harvard University’s reputation precedes itself, attracting some of the brightest minds from around the world.

The allure of Harvard extends far beyond its ivy-covered walls. The program offers unparalleled opportunities, including cutting-edge facilities, a robust alumni network, and a track record of exceptional placements. Its ability to draw in the crème de la crème of talent from across the globe creates a diverse and dynamic learning environment.

Harvard Business School (HBS), the birthplace of the MBA, introduced the world to the Master of Business Administration degree. At the core of HBS’s pedagogy is the famed case method of business instruction. This distinctive approach continues to define the HBS MBA program, alongside a structured Required Curriculum and an unwavering commitment to nurturing the leaders of tomorrow.

Night view of the iconic Baker Library at Harvard Business School
The iconic Baker Library stands as a beacon of knowledge at Harvard Business School a symbol of the institutions rich history

The Harvard MBA: A Two-Year Journey

The Harvard MBA is a comprehensive two-year program, meticulously crafted to provide an immersive educational experience. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, this program is highly regarded worldwide and is currently ranked third in the Financial Times Global Business School rankings. However, this prestige comes with exclusivity, as only about 12% of applicants gain admission.

Harvard Business School’s faculty is more than just academicians; they are thought leaders shaping the business landscape. Their teachings not only contribute to knowledge but also directly influence current business practices. When you join Harvard, you become a part of a vast network of over 47,000 alumni leaders from diverse industries and backgrounds, with over 500 speakers from various sectors engaging with students every year.

While the tuition fees for one year amount to $73,440, the total first-year budget, which includes boarding and other expenses, stands at $112,764. International candidates with exceptional merits are eligible for generous scholarships.

Diverse and Dynamic: The Harvard MBA Class Profile

One of the defining features of the Harvard MBA program is its exceptionally diverse cohort. Students hail from various industries and professional backgrounds, creating a global melting pot of knowledge and experience. Approximately 37% of students are international or non-US, ensuring a truly international learning experience.

Moreover, the students’ pre-MBA industry experience is just as eclectic, encompassing fields like consulting, banking, financial services, fashion, and the performing arts. With an average work experience of 5 years, students bring a rich tapestry of industry insights to the classroom. Harvard boasts a commendable 46% gender diversity ratio, setting a global benchmark.

The incoming class maintains high standards with a median GMAT score of 730 and an average GPA of 3.69. For a detailed breakdown of the class profile, you can refer to the Harvard MBA program’s official website.

Enrollment and application statistics for the HBS MBA Class of 2025
A numerical glimpse into the HBS MBA Class of 2025 illustrating the competitive nature of the program
Educational background, demographics, and test scores of HBS MBA candidates
A detailed breakdown of the educational background demographics and test scores of HBS MBA candidates showcasing the diversity and excellence of the program

APPLICATION PROCESS

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Application deadlines for Harvard Business School MBA program
Key application periods and deadlines for prospective students of the Harvard Business School MBA program mapping the path to application success

Written Application

To apply to Harvard Business School, we ask you to assemble and prepare a variety of materials that will help us assess your qualifications. Remember, all materials must be submitted to HBS online by the application deadlines. The following serves as a preview of what you need to prepare.

  • Transcripts
  • GMAT/GRE
  • English Language Test
  • Essay
  • Recommendations
  • Resume
  • Acceptance of Policies
  • Fee or Fee Waiver

Interview

After your written application has been submitted and reviewed, you may be invited to interview. Interviews are 30 minutes and are conducted by an MBA Admissions Board member who has reviewed your application. Your interview will be tailored to you and is designed for us to learn more about you in the context of a conversation.

Post-Interview Reflection

Within 24 hours of the interview, candidates are required to submit a written reflection through our online application system. Detailed instructions will be provided to those applicants who are invited to interview.

Harvard MBA applicant taking notes for essay writing
An HBS applicant diligently jotting down thoughts and insights for crafting compelling MBA essays

ESSAY ANALYSIS

Let’s dive into the HBS essay analysis for 2023-2024

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program? (900-word limit) 

This essay question provides applicants with an opportunity to present aspects of their candidacy that may not have been covered in other parts of the application, such as the resume, recommendation letters, and other essays. It essentially allows you to tell your unique story and provide context to your application.

Key Considerations for Your Response:

  1. Relevance: Your response should be relevant to your candidacy. Focus on aspects that genuinely enhance your application and provide insights into your character, experiences, and qualifications. Avoid rehashing information already present in your application.
  2. Diversity and Depth: Use this essay to showcase different facets of your life, experiences, or attributes that set you apart. It’s not just about adding more information but adding valuable and unique dimensions to your candidacy.
  3. Why HBS: You can also use this essay to convey why Harvard Business School is the ideal place for you to achieve your career and personal goals. What specific resources, programs, or aspects of HBS align with your aspirations?
  4. Authenticity: Be genuine and authentic in your response. Admission committees value self-awareness and honesty. Don’t exaggerate or invent experiences or qualities to impress.
  5. Brevity and Clarity: While you have a 900-word limit, it doesn’t mean you must use all of them. Be concise and clear in your writing. Every word should add value to your narrative.
  6. Proofread and Edit: Carefully proofread and edit your essay to ensure it is free of grammatical errors and is well-structured. Review it for clarity and coherence.

Possible Content Areas:

Your response to this essay question can include a range of content, such as:

  1. Life Experiences: Personal experiences, challenges, or life events that have shaped your character and perspective.
  2. Passions and Interests: Any hobbies, interests, or passions that are central to your identity and personal development.
  3. Achievements and Impact: Specific accomplishments that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, and impact on your community or organization.
  4. Diversity and Background: Your cultural background, heritage, or experiences as they relate to your candidacy and potential contributions to the HBS community.
  5. Career Goals: Your professional aspirations, how your background and experiences have prepared you for the MBA, and how HBS fits into your career plan.
  6. Failure and Resilience: Instances where you faced setbacks and how you overcame them, highlighting your ability to learn and adapt.
  7. Values and Beliefs: Personal values or beliefs that guide your actions and decisions.

Remember that while this essay is an opportunity to add depth to your application, it’s also a chance to demonstrate your communication skills and your fit with the Harvard Business School community. The admission committee is looking for candidates who can clearly and compellingly express themselves.

In conclusion, when responding to this essay question, take the opportunity to provide a more holistic view of your candidacy, share what makes you unique, and express your sincere interest in joining the HBS MBA program. Tailor your response to reflect who you are and why you belong at Harvard Business School.

Essay 2 : Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations. (500 characters)

The HBS MBA essay question, “Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations. (500 characters),” is concise and requires you to provide a clear and focused response within a limited character count. Here’s an analysis and guidance on how to approach it:

  1. Clarity and Conciseness: With only 500 characters (including spaces), you need to be extremely concise. Avoid lengthy explanations and get straight to the point.
  2. Focus on the Future: This question is about your career aspirations, so concentrate on where you see yourself in the future. What is your desired role, industry, or impact?
  3. Align with Your Application: Ensure that your response aligns with the rest of your application. Your career aspirations should make sense in the context of your background, experiences, and the MBA program you’re applying to.
  4. Unique Value Proposition: Highlight what sets you apart and what unique value you can bring to your chosen field or industry. What makes your aspirations stand out?
  5. Be Realistic: While it’s good to aim high, make sure your aspirations are grounded in reality. Your goals should be achievable within the timeframe you’re describing.

Example response within 500 characters:

“My career aspiration is to lead innovative sustainability initiatives in tech, leveraging my engineering background and MBA skills to drive positive environmental impact and long-term business growth.”

This response is specific, future-focused, and aligns with the applicant’s background and the broader context of the MBA program. It communicates the desired role (leading sustainability initiatives), the industry (tech), and the impact (environmental and business growth) in a concise manner.

Student raising hand in an HBS classroom discussion
An engaging classroom discussion at HBS where the exchange of ideas is vital for learning and growth

CRAFTING LEADERS: THE COURSE CURRICULUM

Harvard Business School’s curriculum is designed to foster general management and leadership skills, creating a foundation for a lifelong impact on leadership practices. At the heart of this approach is the case method, which places students in the shoes of real-world business leaders, challenging them to make tough decisions while benefiting from diverse perspectives.

The second year is all about customization, as students choose from a wide array of elective courses to expand upon the fundamentals established in the Required Curriculum. This phase empowers students to apply the functional skills they acquired in the first year to view the firm as a holistic entity. Additionally, students can cross-register for courses in select graduate programs, broadening their horizons.

You can read more about the curriculum here.

Executives attending a session at Harvard Business School
A glimpse into an executive education session at Harvard Business School showcasing the schools global outreach and leadership training

REAL-WORLD APPLICATION: FIELD GLOBAL IMMERSION

One distinctive aspect of the Harvard MBA program is the FIELD Global Immersion course. This semester-long experience requires students to tackle real-world business problems. Students are paired with a Global Partner (GP) company, allowing them to address a specific product or service challenge. The course culminates in a one-week immersion at the company’s location, where students engage with their GP and local consumers, gaining invaluable practical experience.

ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE: PLACEMENT STATISTICS

Harvard consistently maintains an impressive track record in terms of placement. Year after year, over 96% of MBA graduates secure employment. This high employment rate showcases the program’s efficacy in preparing students for successful careers.

The return on investment for a Harvard MBA is substantial, with alumni boasting an average salary of $150,500 upon graduation, supplemented by a median bonus of $30,000. These remarkable statistics underscore the program’s capacity to create career opportunities and financial rewards for its graduates.

Harvard MBA employment statistics for recent graduates
A snapshot of the successful job placement rates for Harvard Business Schools recent MBA graduates
Median salary and bonus information for HBS MBA graduates
The impressive median base salary and bonus statistics reflecting the earning potential of Harvard Business School MBA graduates

In summary, the Harvard MBA program, located in the vibrant academic landscape of Boston, Massachusetts, is a global beacon of excellence. It offers a diverse and challenging educational environment, a well-structured curriculum, and a strong alumni network, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared to make a lasting impact in the world of business.

Source: Official Harvard Business School Website

Graduates celebrating their success at Harvard Business School
Jubilant Harvard Business School graduates celebrate their achievements and the culmination of their MBA journey

FAQs

Here are 10 frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the Harvard MBA program:

  1. What is the Harvard MBA program?
    • The Harvard MBA program is a prestigious two-year Master of Business Administration program offered by Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.
  2. What sets the Harvard MBA program apart from others?
    • The Harvard MBA program is renowned for its case-based teaching method, diverse student body, and extensive alumni network, making it a unique and sought-after educational experience.
  3. What is the admission rate for the Harvard MBA program?
    • The admission rate for the Harvard MBA program is approximately 12%, making it highly competitive and selective.
  4. What is the tuition fee for the Harvard MBA program?
    • The tuition fee for one year in the Harvard MBA program is $73,440.
  5. Are scholarships available for international students?
    • Yes, generous scholarships are offered to outstanding international candidates based on merit.
  6. What is the average work experience of Harvard MBA students?
    • The average work experience for students in the full-time MBA program is five years, ensuring a rich and diverse classroom learning environment.
  7. How diverse is the Harvard MBA class in terms of gender and nationality?
    • Harvard boasts a commendable 46% gender diversity ratio and a diverse international student population, with approximately 37% of students coming from outside the United States.
  8. What is the curriculum like at Harvard Business School?
    • The curriculum at Harvard Business School is known for its case-based approach, which immerses students in real-world business situations. It is complemented by a flexible second-year curriculum with a wide range of elective courses.
  9. Can students gain real-world experience in the Harvard MBA program?
    • Yes, students participate in FIELD Global Immersion, a semester-long course that allows them to apply their learning to real-world business challenges with global partner companies.
  10. What are the employment prospects for Harvard MBA graduates?
    • Harvard MBA graduates enjoy high employment rates, with over 96% securing employment. The average post-graduation salary for alumni is $150,500, often accompanied by substantial bonuses.