MBA essay question for 2015 application, class of 2018:
It’s the first day of class at HBS. You are in Aldrich Hall meeting your “section.” This is the group of 90 classmates who will become your close companions in the first-year MBA classroom. Our signature case method participant-based learning model ensures that you will get to know each other very well. The bonds you collectively create throughout this shared experience will be lasting.
First impression stays for long, and in this case, will stay with the adcom till decision making. You might want to introspect well and freeze the aspects of your personality that need a mention in your introduction to a possible academic and professional network. You are going to be a special addition to your section at HBS because you have diverse experiences, personal values, skills and motivations. HBS has a past record of admitting professional with that leadership streak and proven accomplishments at work. So, it is going to be a good idea to showcase the high points at work. While doing so, also keep in mind that, for your section mates and future team mates, you are going to be much more than your professional resume. Try to include the personal qualities and interests that can help you get along with them.
When you click on the video that the adcom wants you to view, you would get into the world of HBS and closely view the case-study method and the synergies between professors and students and learning teams. You would find that in a typical class, you will participate, collaborate and co-facilitate the learning of your fellow students. Your mates in the learning teams will contribute to your understanding of case studies by drawing from their own professional experience during and before the class discussions. It would be great to bring an experience which can showcase your pre-job(presentation, client visit, board room) preparation, ability to mastering the details and giving recommendations, experience of putting yourself in the shoes of the protagonist and taking decisions. Know your metacognitive abilities well.
This narration is an introduction and hence needs to be broad, clear, crisp. Please try to be informative yet resist bragging about things which are out of the scope for your ‘first impression’ at HBS. How would you remember someone who introduced himself some time ago? – maybe the person was attractive, had experiences or qualities that you admired and made the narration memorable. It’s your turn now.
In conclusion, please help HBS adcom to find reasons why should you be in the class.
Read the question prompt again, if you need to, but remember
1. You want to focus on aspects which you could not showcase much via other sections and components of the HBS application
2. Stay authentic, because this is not the place to fit in all the super abilities that you want your classmates/adcom to know, a good judgment will prevail
3. The good and not so good part is, they have not suggested a word limit. However, if you imagine introducing yourself, about two to three minutes would be a good time. Let’s safely assume about 700-1000 words.
While reviewing your HBS essay, we would read them aloud and get a feel of how they will sound. Would you like to do the same and rehearse?
Before you start writing the essay, here are two links which you might find useful –
1. Dee Leopold’s full thoughts on this question at on her blog, Direct from the Director
2. Dee Leopold’s interview with Poets and Quants. Read more