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HBS Increases Class Size to 1,000 for Next Two Years

Harvard Business School will be temporarily increasing its MBA class size over the next two years, the  school announced this week. The school will now have a target of 1,000 students for both its Class of 2023 and its Class of 2024.

The move is a consequence of the school’s decision to let MBA students admitted this year defer enrollment for one or two years in light of the pandemic. As a result, the school enrolled an MBA class of 720 students, down from a typical size of 930 or so.

When the announcement that students in the Class of 2022 would be able to defer came in May, HBS said it would take steps to make sure a glut of deferrals wouldn’t put applicants in future years at a disadvantage. 

Possible steps the school had mentioned were to spread the deferrals over two years and to increase class sizes.

Now, it appears that HBS is making good on that commitment by upping its class sizes over the next two years to about 70 students greater than in typical years. 

As HBS puts it, the temporary change in class is meant to ensure that applicants this year and next year are not “disadvantaged by spots already reserved for those who deferred from the Class of 2022.”

The school says that planning has been underway to accommodate larger MBA classes. HBS’s announcement explains that “though uncertainty remains around the world, we have developed robust plans and contingencies for a great experience for enlarged HBS Classes of 2023 and 2024.”

In its announcement, the school separately mentioned another change that it is implementing: a new requirement that students complete summer internships. 

The school acknowledged that 99 percent of students already pursue internships, and that the school already considers internships an integral part of its curriculum, but that the new requirement would “formalize their vital role.” Exceptions to the requirement can be made based on personal circumstances.

HBS’s temporary increase in class size provides some assurance for applicants that they will not be at an undue disadvantage as a result of deferrals from admits to the Class of 2022. Still, this remains an MBA admissions season that is far from typical, with much uncertainty remaining in the process.

In that context, what applicants can do is focus on the side of the admissions process that they have control over: putting together an application that underscores their unique strengths and conveys a compelling personal brand.

We’re happy to give you feedback on how you can best do that. Just ask us for a free MBA application assessment!

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Chioma Isiadinso

Chioma is a former Harvard Business School admissions officer and the CEO and Co-Founder of EXPARTUS, the first MBA admissions consulting company to use personal branding as a key part of the b-school application process. Chioma is the author of The Best Business Schools' Admissions Secrets, one of the leading books on how to successfully navigate the MBA admissions process.