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MBA Application: Harvard Business School Changes its MBA Application Process

HBS Managing Director of Admissions

and Financial Aid, Dee Leopold,

announced that HBS has made major changes to its admissions process.

The last major change in admissions at HBS was the decision to interview all admitted students from the 2004 MBA class.

Here are the new admissions changes in a nutshell:

1. Fewer HBS Application Essays (two essays before the interview and one essay after the interview)

2. Interview Process With a Twist (the third essay is a reflective essay describing the HBS interview experience but has to be written within 24 hours after the interview)

3. Weekly Webinars

4. And Earlier Application and Notification Deadlines

Fewer HBS MBA Essays

The MBA class of 2015 will now write fewer essays (two 400 word essays totalling 800 words) compared to the four essays (totalling 2000 words) that they had to write in the past.

The new essays are:

1. Tell us something you’ve done well. (400 words)

2. Tell us something you wish you had done better. (400 words)

Applicants who survive the first cut will be invited to an interview and immediately after the interview will need to write a 400 word reflective essay on “What they wished they had said during their interview session but didn’t get to say” in response to their interview experience.

This third essay has to be written within 24 hours of completing the interview.

[Click here to read about how to handle the new 2015 HBS essays.]


The HBS interview has always been important. Its importance is likely to grow as greater scrutiny will be paid to not only the applicant’s interview performance but also to his/her assessment and insight into the interview experience.


Starting June 1 HBS is introducing a weekly Q & A webinar at noon EST for prospective students to engage with the admissions board. Participation in these webinars requires registration.

Several other business schools have been hosting admissions webinars for applicants; in this unprecedented move, HBS offers applicants the ability to engage with the admissions board regardless of where they live.

Earlier admission and notification deadlines

The HBS decision to move the round 1 deadline to September 24 (a week and half earlier than it was last year) instead of October 3 (what it was last year) is the earliest the school has had its admissions deadline for over a decade.

This is good news for applicants who are organized since they can start working on their application right away.

Applying earlier also means applicants will find out earlier what their decision is (notification deadline this year is December 12 instead of December 19 from last year).

I’ll share tips on how applicants can succeed in their HBS admissions MBA application process.

Now that the HBS admissions essays have been announced, it’s time to get your game face on! Check out our earlier blog, MBA Application: How to Get a Head Start on Your MBA Application for practical things you can do right away to start your application.

To your success!

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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.

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