by Abby Jackson
Harvard Business School is often pegged
as one of the toughest business schools to get into. That may not be welcome information for applicants to the class
of 2019 hoping to receive acceptance letters.
But at least this year, the only HBS admissions essay, one of the
mandatory application components, seems pretty straightforward.
The prompt reads:
"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?"
The simplicity may be an attempt to rectify an overly complicated
prompt from last year, Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting
told Business Insider by email. Her firm helps clients earn
admission to top MBA programs such as Harvard's.
Last year's essay question read:
"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."
"I think that the more 'creative' format of the introduction may
have muddied some of the answers, wasting word count being cute,
setting up a conversation, etc.," Blackman said.
Even though the question is pared down this year, applicants
still need to ensure they understand HBS and its case method so
that their essays invoke the the qualities admissions officers
Blackman directed us to her blog for more tips,
where she has written in-depth about the 2016 essay.
"Maturity, accomplishment, and leadership are highly valued
qualities, and this essay is your chance to display those
qualities through the stories you choose and the voice coming
through your writing," she writes on her blog.
One of her recommendations is to watch a video that
describes the HBS case method before writing the essay.
She advised brevity, saying that while Harvard does not have a
word limit, applicants should write 1,200 words or less.
Finally, she warned applicants not to write an essay on why they
chose HBS. Instead, the essay should focus on the applicant and
the particular qualities and candidacy.