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Harvard Business School Releases Class of 2021 Profile

This fall, there are 938 students arriving at Harvard Business School’s campus as part of the Class of 2021 MBA cohort, according to new data from the school.

Those students were selected from 9,228 applicants, which represents a 6.7 percent drop from last year. As a result, HBS joins with other top MBA programs in reporting a significant decline in applicants.

Still, admission to HBS remains plenty competitive, with the Class of 2021 bringing an average undergraduate GPA of 3.70.

Eighty percent of enrolled students chose to take the GMAT, achieving a median score of 730. The other 20 percent opted for the GRE, obtaining median verbal and quantitative scores of 163.

The proportion of women in the class remains short of the halfway mark, at 43 percent. Twenty-seven percent of the class identifies as some type of US ethnic minority.

Sixty-three percent of enrolled students are from the United States.

International students most commonly represent Asian (14 percent) and European (9 percent) countries. But Latin America (5 percent), Canada (4 percent), Africa (2 percent), the Middle East (2 percent) and Oceania (1 percent) are also accounted for.

As far as undergraduate majors, the Class of 2021 has a strong bent toward economics and business (43 percent) as well as STEM subjects (38 percent). Still, 19 percent of incoming MBA students hold degrees in humanities and the social sciences.

Of course, work experience is an essential part of most MBA applications, with HBS’s latest cohort averaging 4.7 years.

Most commonly, that experience comes in venture capital and private equity (16 percent), consulting (15 percent), financial services (12 percent), tech (12 percent), or manufacturing and energy (12 percent).

Significant portions of the class also established their pre-MBA careers in consumer products (9 percent), nonprofit and government (8 percent), healthcare and biotech (7 percent), the military (4 percent), services (4 percent), or media and entertainment (3 percent).

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In the class profile, HBS makes a point of noting that it aims to build classes that bring a diverse breadth of experiences to the MBA program.

As HBS puts it, “From academic assignments to casual conversations, the unique qualities of individual lives enrich the education of the entire community.”

This emphasis on multiple perspectives is one reason an effective MBA application will highlight what sets your personal brand apart, and what you will add to the MBA program that other students can’t.

We can give you feedback on how to communicate that within the application process, and how your profile is likely to be received at top schools like HBS. If that sounds helpful, don’t hesitate to ask us for a free MBA application assessment!