There is only one essay question for the Class of 2016: You’re applying to Harvard Business School.  We can see your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you.   What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy?

Harvard Admissions: Keep It Simple

Analysis: The fact that there is just one essay to write makes it very difficult to decide what to discuss.  While MBA applicants have been known to complain that there just isn’t enough space to talk about themselves, this open-ended question is not necessarily the fix they’ve been hoping for. In general, the vaguer a question is, the more difficult it is to get started and feel comfortable. I’m thinking about NYU’s third essay question, “Present yourself,” or  Chicago Booth’s four-slide  essay.

Changes in Harvard MBA Application Essays

In the last few years, Harvard admissions has reduced the number of essays and the overall word count: from six stories two years ago (three setbacks and three accomplishments) , to just two  last year (something you did well, something you wish you had done better).  This time, you can pick almost anything you want to talk about. And that’s a challenge – where do you start?

Get Started on Your HBS Essay

The first step would be to understand what aspects of who you are are covered in other sections of your application (and to optimize them) – from your resume to your recommendation letters (just two this year, compared with three in the previous HBS application cycle). Identify both the issues that are already covered and  the ones that need some additional support; choose a story that is not covered in depth in your resume and develop it further. talk about it . Or you can talk about something that is very important to you, your upbringing, or your passion for the Amazon, for example.
Not sure where to start? Contact our admissions expert (info@ )  and we will help you figure out the missing piece of the puzzle that will make your application as attractive and impressive as possible.

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