MBA Admission Consulting :: the best

Harvard HBS Essay Tips

Harvard MBA 2016-2017 Essays This years application see the comeback of the essay questions from past years. This year's question is not optional. We suggest you make the best use of this opportunity!

Harvard Essay: “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?” No word limit and no right answers. It’s all yours.

Harvard Essay Tips

Infinite possibilities! Endless freedom! Immeasurable terror?

While the free-fall without guidelines regarding length or topic might be discomfiting, grab this opportunity to write absolutely ANYTHING you want the Harvard admissions committee to know about your candidacy. Use this terrific opportunity to traverse into an area of your personality or life or dreams that has not been adequately covered in the rest of the application.

Since your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and recommendations have already been disclosed, identify the areas that might need to be uncovered and the picture that needs to be drawn. Explaining your goals and your vision, displaying strategic thinking and showcasing passion and intelligence are good options to consider. Your view of life and work might be another. How and why Harvard and you make a great fit - and how it is mutually beneficial might be another.

HBS may already know a lot of facts about you. It has sufficient information regarding the 'whats' about you, but it still doesn’t know all the 'hows' and 'whys' of your achievements, struggles, and visions. So utilize this opportunity is to talk about the reasons behind your choices. You could build a story and show one or more themes running through your life-events. This will help the Adcom understand the person behind the numbers they see in your application and get a true glimpse of you. BUT remember that the intended audience for your essay is your 'section' and you can't assume they have looked at your resume and application. So it would be advisable to include high-level details about your career path. Think about presenting a holistic picture of your candidature including your career progression, your personal achievements/interests, your expectations from Harvard and reasons why you "fit" with HBS.

Another approach could be to reveal who you are by showing with examples what you value, what your passions are, and what all you care about. Work is (possibly) one big part of your life, so while there should be obvious connect with what you aspire to do professionally, an approach that shows more of your personal side will help make a more memorable impression. Your view of life and work, how and why Harvard MBA will work for you, and how you plan to contribute to the Harvard MBA class could be other options.

While no essay length is prescribed, we recommend that you should aim for roughly 600-750 words, keeping in mind the given the word limits of previous HBS essays.

Essays and tips archives from past years

   

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2015-2016

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2014-2015

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2013-2014

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2011-2012

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2010-2011

 

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2009-2010

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2008-2009

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2007-2008

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2006-2007

   

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2015-2016

Harvard Essay: There is one question for the Class of 2018. It's the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your "section." This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.

Introduce yourself.

Harvard Essay Tips

HBS already knows a lot of facts about you, the 'Whats' about you, but its still doesn’t know the 'Hows' and 'Whys' of your achievements, your struggles, your visions. So one way to utilize this opportunity is to talk about the reasons behind your choices. You could build a story and show one or more themes running through your life-events. This will help the Adcom understand the person behind the numbers they see in your application and get a true glimpse of you.

Another approach could be to showcase a few of your key strengths and accomplishments you are proud of. Through them show with examples what you value, what your passions are, what you care about. Work is one big part of your life, so while there should be obvious connect with what you aspire to do professionally, an approach that shows more of your personal side will give HBS exactly what they want to know.

Explaining and fleshing out your goals and your vision, displaying strategic thinking, passion and intelligence is another definite option to consider. Your view of life and work, how and why Harvard MBA will work for you and how you make a great fit - might be other options.

Some Harvard essays from previous years could help you identify these options:

2010-2011: What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

2010-2011: When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

2009-2010 Write a cover letter to your application introducing yourself to the Admissions Board.

2011-2012: Tell us about three of your accomplishments.

OR if you feel you have covered all the usual bases, then maybe some of the following archived Harvard essays will help. "Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed." "What area of the world are you most curious about and why?" "Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization." "Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision."

Length: While no essay length is prescribed, around 600-750 words might be what we should target, given the word limits of previous HBS essays.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2014-2015

Harvard Essay

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? Use your judgment as to how much to tell us. We don't have a "right answer" or "correct length" in mind. We review all the elements of your written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage.

Harvard Essay Tips

Although the essay is optional, we strongly recommend you to write it. This is one more opportunity for you to showcase your strength and personality and enhance chances of your admission- so don't let it go!

So what all you could write?

HBS already knows a lot of facts about you, the 'Whats' about you, but its still doesn’t know the 'Hows' and 'Whys' of your achievements, your struggles, your visions. So one way to utilize this opportunity is to talk about the reasons behind your choices. You could build a story and show one or more themes running through your life-events. This will help the Adcom understand the person behind the numbers they see in your application and get a true glimpse of you.

Another approach could be to showcase a few of your key strengths and accomplishments you are proud of. Through them show with examples what you value, what your passions are, what you care about. Work is one big part of your life, so while there should be obvious connect with what you aspire to do professionally, an approach that shows more of your personal side will give HBS exactly what they want to know.

Explaining and fleshing out your goals and your vision, displaying strategic thinking, passion and intelligence is another definite option to consider. Your view of life and work, how and why Harvard MBA will work for you and how you make a great fit - might be other options.

Some Harvard essays from previous years could help you identify these options:

2010-2011: What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

2010-2011: When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

2009-2010 Write a cover letter to your application introducing yourself to the Admissions Board.

2011-2012: Tell us about three of your accomplishments.

OR if you feel you have covered all the usual bases, then maybe some of the following archived Harvard essays will help. "Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed." "What area of the world are you most curious about and why?" "Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization." "Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision."

Length: While no essay length is prescribed, around 600-750 words might be what we should target, given the word limits of previous HBS essays.

Harvard Online Application Question

Briefly tell us more about your career aspirations (500 characters max)

Harvard Online Application Question Tips

Just enough space to briefly talk about your past experiences, and how HBS will help you reach your short and long-term career goals. Try to include a theme running through your career and rationale for your goals. Your argument for Why HBS- has to be very specific to your goals, so make your reasons intricately tied to how the resources and opportunities you will gain at and because of Harvard Business School will help you advance in your career.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2013-2014

Harvard Essay

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? There is no word limit for this question. Don't overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don't know your world can understand.

Harvard Essay Tips

Infinite possibilities!

Endless freedom!

Immeasurable terror?

While the freefall without guidance on length or topic might be discomfiting, grab this opportunity to write absolutely ANYTHING you want the Harvard admissions committee to know about your candidacy. Use this mouth watering opportunity to traverse an area in your personality or life or dreams that has not been adequately covered in the rest of the application.

Since your resume, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and recommendations have been read, identify the areas that might need to be uncovered and the picture that needs to be drawn. Perhaps instead of a few select aspects you would choose to paint an overall picture of you or your goals or why Harvard is the best option for you.

Explaining and fleshing out your goals and your vision, displaying strategic thinking, passion and intelligence is one definite option to consider. Your view of life and work might be another. How and why Harvard and you make a great fit - and how it is mutually beneficial might be another. Some Harvard essays from previous years could help you identify these options: 2010-2011: What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you? 2010-2011: When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates? 2009-2010 Write a cover letter to your application introducing yourself to the Admissions Board. 2011-2012: Tell us about three of your accomplishments.

OR if you feel you have covered all the usual bases, then maybe some of the following archived Harvard essays will help. "Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed." "What area of the world are you most curious about and why?" "Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization." "Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision."

Feel free to be inspired by essay prompts of other b-schools as well. Peruse the hundreds of MBA essays and tips at the Vibranture MBA essays archive for inspiration.

Length: While no essay length is prescribed, around 600-750 words might be what we should target, given the word limits of previous HBS essays.

Go for it!

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2011-2012

Harvard Essay 1

Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

A straightforward question from Harvard where you detail three of your achievements. The 2010-2011 question "What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such?" might serve as a better guide.

Start off by forming a list of 5-6 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life. Having done that, look at the Harvard MBA application essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. Since you might later write essays highlighting aspects of your leadership, learning, worldview or career vision, ensuring that abilities/skills already highlighted aren't repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. A generous sprinkling of leadership instances across the entire package is fully acceptable and this first essay may be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you. While "why do you view them as such" is absent in the question an implicit mention of that will be welcome.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 2

Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

You might find this new Harvard question demanding since it asks for not one but three separate failures, setbacks or challenging situations.

Though this seems to be a failures/setbacks essay it is learning that should be the key aspect of the essay. The 2010-2011 essay "What have you learned from a mistake?" points you in the right direction. After all an ability to fail does not qualify you for a Harvard pass; but willingness to try, ability to evaluate failures/setbacks/challenges, capacity to learn from mistakes, facility in conquering obstacles and a knack for bouncing back, might be exactly what the admissions committee might appreciate.

Identify situations and stories where you faced obstacles and emerged either victorious and/or a better person. If the setback created a significant difference in your thought process, leadership style, behavior or value system and was a substantial learning, you can go to the printers with the stories.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3

Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)

Harvard Essay 3 Tips

This a goals essay that asks you why you want the Harvard MBA and also possibly gives scope for answering the 2010-2011 prompt "What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?". How much of the essay you want to devote to the goals and how much to Harvard depends entirely on you.

Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application. With the loose structure of the question Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "career goals" question.

This essay implicitly tests you on how serious are you about seeking admission to Harvard. How specific and convincing you can be about Harvard's contribution to your further growth will decide the fate of this essay. After defining your goals and explaining your vision, move on to why the Harvard MBA makes most sense for you. Try to establish a perfect fit between your goals and Harvard. Think about why you are taking all this trouble applying to Harvard in the first place. Detail what skills, knowledge, relations, thoughts or anything else you expect to gain from HBS that will aid you in pursuing your goals. Take steps to learn as much as possible about Harvard using online and offline modes - websites, current Harvard students, alumni, Harvard fairs/receptions. The objective is to implicitly or explicitly demonstrate that your application is a reflection of your serious and specific interest in Harvard.

Do bear in mind that the theme you choose for the fourth essay can impact this essay, especially if you want to focus on your goals in the next essay (e.g. "What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?").

Do your best!

Harvard Essay 4

Answer a question you wish we'd asked. (400 words)

Harvard Essay 4 Tips

Infinite possibilities! You have the freedom to write on absolutely ANYTHING you want to tell the Harvard admissions committee. Use this mouth watering opportunity to traverse an area in your personality or life that has not been covered in the other essays.

Some essay options from previous years will help you identify options: "What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?" "What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?" "Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed." "When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?" "What area of the world are you most curious about and why?" "Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization." "Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision."

Feel free to choose from essays of other b-schools as well.

Have fun!

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2010-2011

Harvard Essay 1

What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

Straightforward question from Harvard. So start off by forming a straightforward note that lists the 5-6 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life. Having done that, look at the Harvard MBA application essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. Since you might later write essays highlighting aspects of your leadership, undergraduate days, worldview or career vision, ensuring that abilities/skills already highlighted aren't repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. A generous sprinkling of leadership instances across the entire package might be acceptable and this first essay may be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you.

Of course the second part of the question "why do you view them as such" is truly where you must start from: clarify your position on the "why" and you will almost automatically arrive at the answer to the first part.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 2

What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

This is a straightforward failure essay - the express focus on the learning.

Learning is the key aspect of the essay, not the failure as such. Think about why you are writing this Harvard essay and find a situation that has created a difference in your thought process, leadership style, behavior or value system. Once you get a substantial "learning" you can go to the printers with the story.

This year the choice of examples and incidents for the Harvard application essays will be extremely difficult as you are presented with a rich collection of choices. Your choice in Essay 2 depends on your preferred essay questions in question 3.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3

Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each)

Harvard Essay 3.1

What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

Harvard Essay 3.1 Tips

As an academic experience preceding the Harvard MBA, your undergraduate performance might be a good guide to what you are capable of at HBS. This Harvard essay should speak of that formative phase in your life that has now made you the irresistible applicant/scholar that you are today!

Write about all that you found interesting, influential and character-shaping during your undergraduate academic experience. And talk about what YOU helped shape during those years. While "academic" might seem a little limiting, please do not restrict yourself to classroom activities: examples of your initiatives, creativity or leadership in the academic sphere (inside and outside the classroom) could top the list of what may put in. Your choice of electives/program, your suggestions for course/class/program/college improvement, your paper presentation/original research are some possibilities apart from simple recounting of academic brilliance.

The little problem with the question is that after a substantial work experience period (4-5+) or following a post graduate academic experience you might find it a little tough to backtrack and look into your undergraduate phase. Also you might feel that the "academic" aspects of your undergraduate days were not exactly electrifying. In which case simply overlook this one and select another essay to write - unlike two years back this is not a mandatory essay!

Harvard Essay 3.2

What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

Harvard Essay 3.2 Tips

A leading MBA essayist recently told me that she felt dizzy every time she tried to imagine the number of applicants who want to graduate from a leading Ivy League B School, join McKinsey (or another leading Management Consultancy) and then found their own company. If you imagine the career track in your Harvard essay to be similar to that, perhaps you should think again. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with the idea (or with McKinsey or with entrepreneurship) but that is certainly not a differentiating or different answer. Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application. Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "what is your career goal" question. Define the goal and explain your vision. Show how it makes sense for you and for HBS. Strategic thinking, passion and intelligence: show these in the essay and you'll have my vote.

Harvard Essay 3.3

Tell us about a time in your professional experience when you were frustrated or disappointed.

Harvard Essay 3.3 Tips

Select a specific situation across your career wherein you faced disappointment, disenchantment or frustration. Be very careful to ensure that this essay focuses, not on your distress, frustrations or disappointments within the selected story, but on your attitude, approach and actions that made you overcome the painful episode.

Having given the context, ensure that you move on to positive actions and results; always minimize the negativity in your essays. Your reasoning process, decision making skills, maturity, ability to overcome hurdles, people skills, proficiency in handling setbacks, strength of purpose and moral rectitude could be just a few of the possible critical factors that can be highlighted in this essay. How you make your judgments about events/circumstances, the methods you adopt to understand varied aspects of a situation and how you use innovation, a balanced mind and/or strength of spirit to make positive change could be further areas of focus.

It is (almost) essential that this ultimately be a "success" story where you changed the situation for the better and everyone lives happily ever after!

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3.4

When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

Harvard Essay 3.4 Tips

Somewhat similar to last year's prompt (Write a cover letter to your application introducing yourself to the Admissions Board), this essay requires you to present yourself to the Harvard class, underlining your main qualifications to be a part of the Harvard Business School. Compellingly state why you should be admitted to Harvard and mentions why you are interested in HBS. And yes, this will also act as your "goals essay", unless you plan to use essay 3.2 to that end. Since the audience is the Harvard class, displaying some knowledge about the Harvard class profile might be in order.

Since this is an all-purpose essay a holistic picture of your candidature needs to be presented, including your career progression, your personal achievements/interests, your expectations from Harvard and your "fit" with HBS. How you contribute to the Harvard MBA class would be an underlying overt or subliminal theme.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2009-2010

Harvard Essay 1

What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

Straightforward question from Harvard. So start off by forming a straightforward note that lists the 5-6 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life. Having done that, look at the Harvard MBA application essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. Since you might later write essays highlighting aspects of your leadership, undergraduate days, worldview or career vision, ensuring that abilities/skills already highlighted aren't repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. A generous sprinkling of leadership instances across the entire package might be acceptable and this first essay may be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you.

Of course the second part of the question "why do you view them as such" is truly where you must start from: clarify your position on the "why" and you will almost automatically arrive at the answer to the first part.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 2

What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

This is a straight failure essay.

Learning is however the key aspect of the essay, not the failure as such. Think about why you are writing this Harvard essay and find a situation that has created a difference in your thought process, leadership style, behavior or value system. Once you get a substantial "learning" you can go to the printers with the story.

This year the choice of examples and incidents for the Harvard application essays will be extremely difficult as you are presented with a rich collection of choices. Your choice in Essay 2 depends on your preferred essay questions in question 3.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3

Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each)

Harvard Essay 3.1

1. What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

Harvard Essay 3.1 Tips

As an academic experience preceding the Harvard MBA, your undergraduate performance might be a good guide to what you are capable of at HBS. This Harvard essay should speak of that formative phase in your life that has now made you the irresistible applicant/scholar that you are today!

Write about all that you found interesting, influential and character-shaping during your undergraduate academic experience. And talk about what YOU helped shape during those years. While "academic" might seem a little limiting, please do not restrict yourself to classroom activities: examples of your initiatives, creativity or leadership in the academic sphere (inside and outside the classroom) could top the list of what may put in. Your choice of electives/program, your suggestions for course/class/program/college improvement, your paper presentation/original research are some possibilities apart from simple recounting of academic brilliance.

The little problem with the question is that after a substantial work experience period (4-5+) or following a post graduate academic experience you might find it a little tough to backtrack and look into your undergraduate phase. Also you might feel that the "academic" aspects of your undergraduate days were not exactly electrifying. In which case simply overlook this one and select another essay to write - unlike two years back this is not a mandatory essay!

Harvard Essay 3.2

2. Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization.

Harvard Essay 3.2 Tips

Have you led or been an important component of an organization or community activity? Do you have significant volunteer activity in your resume? In dealing with a community (in which you might have worked or lived or not) have you exhibited praiseworthy skills and/or attitude that would make the HBS adcom misty-eyed with admiration?

Communication, relationship building, leadership, networking, inclusive world view - any or all of these qualities you possess could be covered to best advantage in this essay.

Harvard Essay 3.3

3. Tell us about a time when you made a difficult decision.

Harvard Essay 3.3 Tips

Select a specific situation wherein your decision was difficult - either because it was unpopular or because you stood to lose materially or emotionally. The motivations and reasons that support your decision will be the foundation of this essay.

Recount a dilemma you faced in choosing between diverging options. Your reasoning process, decision making skills, strength of purpose and moral rectitude are some of the possible critical factors that can be highlighted in this essay.

How you make your judgments about events and people, the methods you adopt to understand varied situations and how you balance the various options to make your decision could be your main areas of focus.

Though it is not essential that this be a "success" story where ultimately everyone lives happily ever after, it would be nice to know that your decision ultimately paid off for everyone involved. A display of your strength of character, robust value system and/or intellectual courage might be adequate to polish off the essay.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3.4

4. Write a cover letter to your application introducing yourself to the Admissions Board.

Harvard Essay 3.4 Tips

Write an essay in cover letter format which highlights your main qualifications to be part of Harvard Business School and explains why you should be admitted to Harvard and mentions why you are interested in HBS. And yes, this will also act as your "goals essay", unless you plan to use essay 3.5 to that end.

Since this is an all-purpose essay (oops.. cover letter) a holistic picture of your candidature needs to be presented, including your career progression, your personal achievements/interests, your expectations from Harvard and your "fit" with HBS. How you contribute to the Harvard MBA class would be an underlying overt or subliminal theme.

Harvard Essay 3.5

5. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

Harvard Essay 3.5 Tips

A leading MBA essayist recently told me that she felt dizzy every time she tried to imagine the number of applicants who want to graduate from a leading Ivy League B School, join McKinsey (or another leading Management Consultancy) and then found their own company. If you imagine the career track in your Harvard essay to be similar to that, perhaps you should think again. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with the idea (or with McKinsey or with entrepreneurship) but that is certainly not a differentiating or different answer. Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application. Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "what is your career goal" question. Define the goal and explain your vision. Show how it makes sense for you and for HBS. Strategic thinking, passion and intelligence: show these in the essay and you'll have my vote.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2008-2009

Harvard Essay 1

What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

Straightforward question from Harvard. So start off by forming a straightforward note that lists the 5-6 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life. Having done that, look at the Harvard MBA application essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. Since you might later write essays highlighting aspects of your leadership, undergraduate days, worldview or career vision, ensuring that abilities/skills already highlighted aren't repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. A generous sprinkling of leadership instances across the entire package might be acceptable and this first essay may be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you.

Of course the second part of the question "why do you view them as such" is truly where you must start from: clarify your position on the "why" and you will almost automatically arrive at the answer to the first part.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 2

What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

This is a straight failure essay.

Learning is however the key aspect of the essay, not the failure as such. Think about why you are writing this Harvard essay and find a situation that has created a difference in your thought process, leadership style, behavior or value system. Once you get a substantial "learning" you can go to the printers with the story.

This year the choice of examples and incidents for the Harvard application essays will be extremely difficult as you are presented with a rich collection of choices. Your choice in Essay 2 depends on your preferred essay questions in question 3.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3

Please respond to two of the following (400-word limit each)

Harvard Essay 3.1 Tips

1. What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

As an academic experience preceding the Harvard MBA, your undergraduate academic experience might be a good guide to what you are capable of at HBS. This Harvard essay should speak of that formative phase in your life that has now made you the irresistible applicant-scholar that you are today! Talk about all that you found interesting, influential and character-shaping during your undergraduate academic experience. And talk about what YOU helped shape during those years. Examples of your initiatives, creativity or leadership in the academic sphere could top the list of what may put in; but remember that we are just at the beginning of a long Harvard essay package and you really don't have to oversell yourself before the audience has settled into their seats.

The little problem with the question is that after a substantial work experience period (5+) or following a post graduate academic experience you might find it a little tough to backtrack and look into your undergraduate phase. OK so who said you HAD to write this essay?!

Harvard Essay 3.2 Tips

2. Discuss how you have engaged with a community or organization.

Have you led or been an important component of an organization or community activity? Do you have significant volunteer activity in your resume? In dealing with a community (in which you might have worked or lived or not) have you exhibited praiseworthy skills and/or attitude that would make the HBS adcom misty-eyed with admiration?

Communication, relationship building, leadership, networking, inclusive world view - any or all of these qualities you possess could be covered to best advantage in this essay.

Harvard Essay 3.3 Tips

3. What area of the world are you most curious about and why?

Looks tough initially but a fairly simple question actually.

Choose a spot on the globe. Then show a personal, non-trivial connection to the place through your past actions, present ideas or future dreams. Does the place resonate with a discovery, invention or development that is of great interest to you? Has the place witnessed a horror or beauty that you feel strongly about?

This question lays out a canvas for you to explore and showcase your best.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3.4 Tips

4. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

A leading MBA essayist recently told me that she felt dizzy every time she tried to imagine the number of applicants who want to graduate from a leading Ivy League B School, join McKinsey (or another leading Management Consultancy) and then found their own company. If you imagine the career track in your Harvard essay to be similar to that, perhaps you should think again. Not that there anything intrinsically wrong with the idea (or with McKinsey or with entrepreneurship) but that is certainly not a differentiating or different answer. Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application. Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "what is your career goal" question. Define the goal and explain your vision. Show how it makes sense for you and for HBS. Strategic thinking, passion and intelligence: show these in the essay and you'll have my vote.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2007-2008

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

Straightforward question from Harvard. So start off by forming a straightforward note that lists the 5-6 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life.

Having done that, look at the Harvard MBA application essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. For example you might later write essays highlighting aspects of your leadership, undergraduate days, worldview or career vision. So no point reiterating a point unless you have a good story that is not repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. A generous sprinkling of leadership instances across the entire package might be acceptable and this first essay be may be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you.

Of course the second part of the question "why do you view them as such" is truly where you must start from: clarify your position on the "why" and you will almost automatically arrive at the answer to the first part.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

What have you learned from a mistake? (400-word limit)

This is a straight failure essay.

Learning is however the key aspect of the essay, not the failure as such. Think about why you are writing this Harvard essay and find a situation that has created a difference in your thought process, leadership style, behavior or value system. Once you get a substantial "learning" you can go to the printers with the story.

This year the choice of examples and incidents for the Harvard application essays will be extremely difficult as you are presented with a rich collection of choices. Your choice in Essay 2 depends on your preferred essay questions in question 3.

Go for it!

Harvard Essay 3 Tips

Please respond to three of the following (400-word limit each)

a. Discuss a defining experience in your leadership development. How did this experience highlight your strengths and weaknesses?

Hey, leadership is very important to HBS. Harvard mentions it wherever and whenever they can. So you will do well to assume that this essay is important. Write about an experience where you were in a leadership position, preferably one that helped define what kind of a leader you are today. Choose an experience that had it's successes but was certainly improvable - so that you can include your leadership strengths and weaknesses. The story can go back in time since the focus is on a developing leader (but let's skip the story about your leadership experience in the first grade classroom!). The leadership development, after the mentioned experience, can actually form the central focus of the essay if that is what you want.

b. How have you experienced culture shock?

How do you complement the international flavor and global outlook of the most famous business school in the world? What is your attitude to an international mix of colleagues (or classmates)? How you have dealt with these in the past might give clues to how you approach them in the future (at Harvard and later). This essay is a great platform to show your global viewpoint, international exposure and maturity in cross-cultural interactions. Typically, "culture shocks" also make for great stories.

c. What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

Write about what you found interesting, influential and character-shaping during your undergraduate academic experience. If you possess substantial work experience or find it tough to backtrack and look into your undergraduate phase, please attempt another essay.

d. What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you?

A leading MBA essayist recently told me that she felt dizzy every time she tried to imagine the number of applicants who want to graduate from a leading Ivy League B School, join McKinsey (or another leading Management Consultancy) and then found their own company. If you imagine the career track in your Harvard essay to be similar to that, perhaps you should think again. Not that there anything intrinsically wrong with the idea (or with McKinsey or with entrepreneurship) but that is certainly not a differentiating or different answer. Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application. Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "what is your career goal" question. Define the goal and explain your vision. Show how it makes sense for you and for HBS. Strategic thinking, passion and intelligence: show these in the essay and you'll have my vote.

e. What global issue is most important to you and why?

This is an essay explicitly targeted at gauging your worldview, maturity and aptitude for analyzing and communicating great issues. The choice obviously should have universal ramifications and should also (hopefully) find at least a local and partial solution through you. The latter is not explicitly stated in the question, but is implicit - after all this is not just an essay writing competition!

f. What else would you like the MBA Admissions Board to understand about you?

Do you know why, in most places, we advise against attempting an optional essay? Because the temptation to use 400 words worth of admission committee time to repeat points, contradict the other essays or otherwise simply bore them into a blank stupor, is for some unimaginable reason too sweet to resist. Here when you have the choice of making it a mandatory essay, take that option only if you feel you can convey greater meaning with greater power than in any of the other five essay choices. If you can, please go ahead. If not, please DO NOT.

Harvard HBS MBA Application Essays and Tips 2006-2007

Harvard Essay 1

What would you like the MBA Admissions Board to know about your undergraduate academic experience?

Harvard Essay 1 Tips

As an academic experience preceding the Harvard MBA, your undergraduate academic experience might be a good guide to what you are capable of at HBS. This HBS essay should speak of that formative phase in your life that has now made you the irresistible scholar-applicant that you are today!

The little problem with the question is that after a substantial work experience period (5+) or following a post graduate academic experience you might find it a little tough to backtrack and look into your undergraduate phase. So who said everything was perfect?!

Harvard Essay 2

What are your three most substantial accomplishments and why do you view them as such? (600-word limit)

Harvard Essay 2 Tips

Straightforward question from Harvard. So start off by forming a straightforward answer that lists not 3 but 6-10 key achievements from your professional, personal or academic life.

Having done that, look at the Harvard essay package as a whole and then revisit the list. For example you might notice that there are separate leadership, ethics and academics related questions. So no point reiterating a point unless you have a good story that is not repeated. The rider to that is that since this is Harvard and since this is an MBA application, there is an exception to that rule - leadership. 4-5 sprinklings of leadership instances across the entire package might be just right and this might be the place for at least one.

The final choice can now be made based on the general importance of the achievements, the extent of your contribution to it's success and what the stories tell about you. Choose the qualities that the accomplishments highlight and decide if those are the traits that you want the Harvard admissions committee to remember about you.

Of course the second part of the question "why do you view them as such" is truly where you must start from: clarify your position on the "why" and you will almost automatically arrive at the answer to the first part.

Harvard Essay 3

Discuss a defining experience in your leadership development. How did this experience highlight your strengths and weaknesses as a leader? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 3 Tips

Hey, leadership is very important to Harvard. Harvard mentions it wherever and whenever they can. So you will do well to assume that this essay is important.

Write about an experience where you were in a leadership position, preferably one that helped define what kind of a leader you are today. Choose an experience that had it's successes but was certainly improvable - so that you can include your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Simple?

The story can go back in time since the focus is on a developing leader (but let's skip the story about your leadership experience in the first grade classroom!). The leadership development, after the mentioned experience, can actually form the central focus of the essay if that is what you want.

Harvard Essay 4

In your career, you will have to deal with many ethical issues. What are likely to be the most challenging and what is your plan for developing the competencies you will need to handle these issues effectively? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 4 Tips

It is so very easy to write a bad essay here, even after some hard work.

That last statement is actually designed to make you smile with anticipated pleasure. Did you?

If not, maybe the next paragraph will make you feel better.

There are very few questions in any essay package that most applicants will get almost completely wrong. Each such question gives you the opportunity to create a well-defined advantage for yourself. This Harvard essay is undeniably one such. Unless you you are determined to do it wrong smile you must!

Apart from your own attitude towards ethics, and your past experiences where your value system may have been challenged, you will probably do well to talk to a few people in your chosen industry and supplement it with online research to uncover specific (or even unique?) ethical challenges that you will face in your chosen sphere of activity.

Harvard Essay 5

What is your career vision and why is this choice meaningful to you? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 5 Tips

A leading MBA essayist recently told me that she felt dizzy every time she tried to imagine the number of applicants who want to graduate from a leading Ivy League B School, join McKinsey (or another leading Management Consultancy) and then found their own company. If you imagine the career track in your Harvard essay to be similar to that, perhaps you should think again. Not that there anything intrinsically wrong with the idea (or with McKinsey or with entrepreneurship) but that is certainly not a differentiating or different answer. Some lucid thinking and creativity will go a long way in transforming this from a well-disguised sleeping pill to the high point of your Harvard application.

Harvard gives you greater scope than in a usual "what is your career goal" question. Define the goal and explain your vision. Show how it makes sense for you and for HBS.

Strategic thinking, passion and intelligence: show these in the essay and you'll have my vote.

Harvard Essay 6

What other information do you believe would be helpful to the Board in understanding you better and in considering your application? (400-word limit)

Harvard Essay 6 Tips

Here we have a Harvard style optional essay - no option!

Point 1: Let us not stare a gift horse wherever.. grab the chance to write on any aspect of your life, career, value system, thought process or whatever else you feel will advance the quality of your Harvard application. This is 400 words worth of free airtime for brand YOU. Broadcast!

Point 2: Do you know why, in most places, we advise against attempting an optional essay? Because the temptation to use 400 words worth of admission committee time to repeat points, contradict the other essays or otherwise simply bore them into a blank stupor, is for some unimaginable reason too sweet to resist. Here you have no choice - write you must. So please resist the urge!

Go for it!

           
           
 

What are you looking for?

Home Page

Essay Tips Mega Collection

Resume Writing Tips

Testimonial & Reviews

Blog Posts

About Vibranture

We provide premium MBA admissions consulting to prospective b-school students. With presence in India and US,  we help smart and ambitious applicants from all over the world gain admission to their target b-school. Work with us to realize your MBA dreams. Sign up for FREE Consultation

Services

Our services include comprehensive Business School Packages, Essay Writing & Editing services as well as help on enhancing quality of your Resume, Letters of Recommendation and Admission Interviews. We can also build customized service packages specifically for your needs. Learn more

Contact Us

Email: mail@vibranture.com

Facebook: Vibranture MBA

Skype: Vibranture.com

 

 
           
 

Essays and Deadlines for Top MBA programs

 
 

Anderson UCLA  Australian AGSM  Babcock Wake Forest  Babson  Berkeley Haas  Carlson  CEIBS China  Chicago Booth  Columbia CBS  Cornell Johnson   Cranfield  Darden Virginia  Duke Fuqua  Emory Goizueta  Erasmus Rotterdam   ESADE Barcelona  Fisher Ohio  Harvard HBS  HEC Montreal  HEC Paris  HKU Hong Kong  HKUST Hong Kong  IESE Navarra  IIMA PGPX  IIMC PGPEX  IMD Switzerland  INSEAD  Instituto de Empresa  ISB PGP  ISB PGPMAX  ISB YLP  Ivey Ontario  Judge Cambridge  Kelley Indiana  Kellogg Northwestern  Kenan-Flagler  Krannert Purdue  LBS London  Macquarie  Marshall USC  Manchester  McCombs Texas  McDonough Georgetown  McGill  Melbourne  Mendoza Notre-Dame  Nanyang NTU  NUS Singapore  Olin Washington  Owen Vanderbilt  Queens Ontario  Ross Michigan  Rotman  Said Oxford  Schulich York  SDA Bocconi  Simon Rochester  Sloan MIT  Smith Maryland  Stanford GSB  Stern NYU  Tepper CMU  Thunderbird  Tuck Dartmouth  Warwick  Wharton Penn Yale SOM