Last year, Harvard Business School announced the most significant changes to its MBA admission policies in 10 years when among other things it cut in half the number of required essays for applicants to its full-time MBA program.
Harvard is shaking it up again.
The school said it now will ask MBA applicants for only one essay, down from two, only two recommenders, down from three, and also set its earliest round one application deadline ever — September 16.
Even more astonishingly, Harvard left open the possibility that an applicant wouldn’t have to even write a single essay if he or she believed the rest of the application fully reflected their candidacy.
Dee Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, announced the changes for admission to Harvard’s Class of 2016 in a blog post on the school’s website. The new open-ended essay prompt:
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?” Only two years ago, Harvard required applicants to write four separate essays for a total of 2,000 words. Last year, it fell to two essays of 400 words each for a word limit of 800 words. This year’s single question has no word limit at all.
“That’s it,” writes Leopold. “No word limit. Use your own judgment as to how much you tell us. We have neither a ‘right answer’ nor a ‘correct length’ in mind. We will review all the elements of the written application to decide who moves forward to the interview stage of our process.”
Harvard’s changes last year kicked off a round of alterations by many other business schools, which tended to follow Leopold’s lead. Stanford’s Graduate School of Business dropped an essay requirement, going from four essays to just three. MIT Sloan scrapped one of three required essays for this year. And only last week, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management cut by nearly a third the total word limit on its essays to 1,525 words from 2,200 last year. With this latest change, Harvard is inching ever closer to the admissions world of law schools which generally require a personal statement — and little else.
Typically, the posting of the new application by Harvard Business School signals the unofficial start to the new MBA application season. It's the time of the year that the next generation of MBA applicants begins to prepare for admission by prepping for the GMAT, researching business schools, possibly hiring an admissions consultant, and mapping out a strategy for what will turn out to be a campaign to get into a selective school. Most schools have yet to issue their new questions, though Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, and the University of Michigan's Ross School have only recently done so.
For our exclusive interview with Dee Leopold and our analysis, see PoetsandQuants.com:
Originally posted on: Linked In By: John A. Byrne
Meet the Team
WorldBridge Partners earned the Best of Staffing®Award for providing remarkable service quality. Fewer than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada earned the 2015 Best of Staffing Award for service excellence. With satisfaction ratings more than three times higher than the industry average, the Best of Staffing winners truly stand out for exceeding expectations. This award identifies the staffing industry's elite leaders in service quality.