If you are looking to get into one of the most selective business schools in America, then the first thing you should do is evaluate your own personal leadership qualities and determine if you have what it takes to be successful in business.
Business students at HBS look for strong leaders that can motivate others around them to contribute and work hard. While having rich parents will definitely help with tuition, nothing compares to developing these skills before college.
There are many ways to develop this quality of leadership including through experiences such as working in fast-paced environments, leading teams of people, motivating individuals, managing time effectively, communicating well, being honest, and keeping commitments.
All of these things cannot only be learned while in school, but must also be practiced and reinforced after graduation!
With that said, here are some tips to help you gain acceptance into the world’s top MBA programs like the one at HBS.
Create a great application
Along with your applications, there will be several questions about you that directly impact how well you are assessed for admission into HBS. These questions typically assess whether you would make a good student leader or team member, if you contribute as much in class as you do outside of it, and if you show leadership in extra-curricular activities.
In fact, one of the most common ways to get rejected from HBS is poor academic performance. If this applies to you, don’t worry! Almost everyone is discouraged by this factor at some time during their studies, so don’t feel bad!
Fortunately, though, things aren’t quite as dire as they may first seem. Many students who are accepted into business school didn’t always perform academically very well, and many others struggled with academia throughout their undergraduate career before getting into the best schools.
So what can you do to improve your chance of being admitted into HBS? First, take general college courses seriously. Second, try taking more advanced courses than those given in high school. And third, spend time studying ahead and organizing your assignments and tests efficiently.
Once again, these points relate back to our earlier point about showing leadership. The better you prepare yourself in the classroom, the more likely you will be considered for leadership positions within the department. This could mean teaching other students, leading discussions, etc.
Find out what they are looking for
When you apply to business school, there is a lot of competition for their limited resources. Therefore, each admissions committee has their own set criteria for deciding which applicants to invite for an interview.
Most schools have general information about themselves published online. By reading through these materials, you can learn some basic things like how many students graduate every year and some key statistics such as average GMAT and GRE scores.
But beyond that, you will need to dive into the specific qualities that make an individual student stand out from the rest. These personal traits should be ones that showcase your strengths as a person and show why you would fit in well at the school.
Some common characteristics include:
- Demonstrating leadership skills
- Showing passion or engagement during class sessions
- Having strong communication skills
- Knowing the basics of the field well – this includes knowing who the top people are within it
These types of questions get asked throughout most stages of applying to business school, so being prepared for them makes sense.
Prepare a personal statement
After high school, most business students choose to go straight into college after graduating. This is not the case for us at HBS! While some people start with business right out of college, most people do not.
Business students must prove they are qualified to attend graduate school through a process called application. This includes writing a very specific essay about yourself and your career goals.
The admissions committee looks at this piece seriously as it requires them to evaluate you as a person and what you want out of life.
At the same time, they look at how you describe your career dreams to show that you have thought deeply about what you want to be doing in future years. A good way to ensure this success is by preparing your own personal statement ahead of time.
What is a personal statement?
A personal statement is an optional question included in the applications seeking more information about you. It can ask anything from why you wanted to pursue your current degree to what kind of job you hope to achieve one day.
Connect with alumni
One of the most important things for business school applicants is connecting with past students. If possible, visit an event or gathering that recent graduates hold, speak with some people there, and ask if you can meet them afterwards for a drink or coffee.
Alumni connections are one of the best ways to assess true leadership qualities as well as whether or not someone has personal success after college. Many top companies recruit directly from these events so it’s worth your time!
Business schools want to connect with successful individuals and learn how they achieved their career goals, so don’t be shy about asking questions. Most importantly, remember that your dreams aren’t too big — what good does it do you to aspire to be CEO of a company if you cannot lead a team of people and you do not have strong communication skills?
By using these tips, you will make a great impression on potential employers who will give you credit for being honest, straightforward, and hard working.
Do a little networking
Being pre-qualified for business school doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax, however. You have to actually apply and get in! While most people focus on getting into Harvard as an undergraduate student, doing so as a business major is very different.
Business students are typically much more focused on learning than educating, making it easier to find people outside of the college community who may know about your strengths or could help you strengthen them.
By actively engaging with others, you’ll not only meet new people, but also grow your network which has many benefits.
This article will talk about some easy ways to start connecting with people and going beyond “hello”s.
Pay your tuition
The next step in getting into HBS is paying your tuition. This can be done directly through Harvard University or via an outside party that offers business school scholarships.
General scholarship listings for business schools are very common, especially now with most universities offering students their application process online.
Most major banks and lending companies offer business student loans that have lower interest rates than credit cards. It’s best to apply for these before you even think about college so that the money is readily available when classes start.
A great way to make sure that your financial situation is taken care of during times of unrest is to put in place some basic savings. Many people begin investing at twenty five years old, but it doesn’t hurt to get started early!
By putting away 6% of your income every month, you will achieve your goal of being able to spend no more than 2-3% of your income on monthly bills within just one year! You will also have enough saved up to cover any unexpected expenses that may arise.
Get the best score possible on the GMAT
The Graduate Management Admission Test is a five-part test designed to measure your proficiency in business, managerial, quantitative skills, and communication. While it’s true that having strong quant skills will boost your chances of getting into HBS, being able to demonstrate an understanding of organizational theory, leadership styles, and motivation theories can also play a significant role.
The GMAC does not require students to take the GRE as part of their application process, which means there are some great resources available for those who need help improving their gre scores. There are many websites with free content and easy to use tools to improve your gre score, so do not hesitate to look around!
General tips for anyone seeking admission to top MBA programs include doing your research and making connections. Being active at school social events will showcase you as a responsible person, while meeting new people could inspire you to pursue an advanced degree.
Prepare a company profile
A company profile is an important first step in getting into business school because it reveals several key pieces of information, including what fields you are interested in studying, how much money your family does not have, and whether or not you are willing to relocate as a student.
Business schools look at how well students can describe themselves and their career goals and determine if they are a good fit for the program. They also look at how motivated students are by studying business and whether those students show up to class consistently.
A company profile should include details about yourself (where you work now, any additional education you have completed), your job title and responsibilities, and anything else that sets you apart from other people in the field. Make sure to keep these simple, but authentic!
There are many ways to gather this information, so do whatever makes you feel most confident. Check out our article tips for more advice.