HBS: 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Apply

Applying to HBS this year? Those essays giving you night sweats? Not sure how to stand out from the crowd of impressive applicants?

Take a breath.

The key to HBS (or any b-school, for that matter) is understanding what the school’s about. So what is HBS all about?

We asked HBS MBA and rockstar consultant Eric Weisman for the lowdown. Here are 5 things about Harvard Business School (directly from the source, folks) you should know before you sit down to write that application.

1. Be humble… but brag at the same time. Find a way to tell how great you are without saying that you are the best

2. Don’t be intimidated. You would be surprised by who gets in and who does not; don’t think that you don’t have a chance. HBS wants real people with real stories. So just be yourself and tell your story.

3. HBS is arguably one of the more differentiated MBA programs. From the case method to the class size to the alumni network, HBS is unique. You need to truly understand why HBS is different (case method in particular) and demonstrate why it is the best fit for you and your goals. It’s not enough to say you want to go to HBS because it’s the best and most recognized program in the world. You gotta go deeper and show the adcom why the HBS approach is the only approach that will help you get ahead.

4. HBS takes its mission (to educate leaders who make a difference in the world) very seriously.  It is critical to show how you fit with this mission, with particular emphasis on “leaders” and “making a difference.”  However, bear in mind they are not looking for each applicant to save the world, become president, or become CEO of GE (even though some have), but rather to know how each person will make a difference in their own way

5. Don’t be so serious.  Have fun with your essays and the rest of the application, take some risk, show your lighter side, make the admissions committee laugh.  Classes are taken quite seriously but outside of the classroom, the HBS likes to laugh a lot and have some fun.

Now that you know the secrets of HBS, it’s time to get writing! Not sure how to approach those essays? Check out our 2012-2013 HBS Essay Analysis.

The Tuesday Q&A: Should I Get an MBA or a Different Master’s Degree?