i read this post last week on poets & quants. it’s the “best of” admissions advice from the blog, militarytobusiness, which chronicles a us military officer’s journey to the business world as he attends harvard business school.
hbs is the second most selective (hardest) mba program to get into so i think i could learn a thing or two from this person. especially since he/she started his/her own admissions consulting!
these tips are really valuable and a really different approach than what i had planned on doing for my applications this fall.
i won’t copy/paste the entire story…i’ll just include the main points and you can read the details and the reasoning behind them from the original post.
- begin your dream school application first, but turn it in last
- submit your applications in reverse order of priority
- apply to your safety school in round one; dream school in round two
- interview in reverse order of priority
- never apply to a school you are not willing to attend
- consider your business school interview the 30 most consequential minutes of your life
- mitigate perceived weaknesses by playing up presumed strengths
- consultant: strength – organization and presentation; weakness – lack of leadership or vision
- engineer: strength – technical and analytical; weakness – lack of people skills
- military: strength – leadership and ethics; weakness – working in ambiguously defined environments, working without a clear chain of command
- non-traditionalist (artist, social sector, etc.): strength – unique experiences and fresh perspectives; weakness – lack of business and math ability
- investment banker: strength – business and computational skills; weakness – lack of leadership ability, lack of interest outside of work.
- international: strength – strong global viewpoint, language skills; weakness – poor (english) presentation skills, challenges adapting to western business
- younger applicant: strength – academic rigor, vitality; weakness – lack of experience, immature
- older applicant: strength – experience, maturity; weakness – lack of career focus, reluctance to change or to adapt
a lot of the reasoning he/she provided made sense to me and i think i may incorporate it into my strategy. submitting my applications in reverse order of priority is something i hadn’t considered and may be a little difficult if i decide to apply to columbia since they have rolling admissions (so it’s generally better to turn this one in asap).