Three Things that Harvard Business School Looks For

Harvard Business School GuideHarvard Business School’s Round 2 deadline is still almost two months away, but we know that thousands of applicants are already gearing up for their Round 2 HBS applications. We thought this would be a good time to share some snippets from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools. Our Annual reports are absolutely free — all you have to do is register to access all of them — but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your HBS research.

Today we break down the main characteristics that HBS looks for in its applicants. Obviously, HBS is highly selective and can afford to look for “perfect” candidates. In addition to the common metrics such as GPA and GMAT score, the school specifies a handful of qualities and traits that it seeks in an applicant.

Three things that HBS looks for may seem obvious, but are all extremely important in successfully applying to the school:

  • Habit of Leadership. As mentioned in the HBS Approach, the business school is highly focused on leadership. Professional leadership experience is the most common and transferable, but extracurricular, personal, and community leadership accomplishments and qualities are recognized as well.
  • Capacity for Intellectual Growth. This is the portion of the HBS admissions process that puts a candidate‚Äôs undergraduate performance (reputation of institution, major, course work, GPA, trends, and so on) and GMAT scores under a microscope, to ensure that the candidate can thrive in the demanding case method-based courses. While HBS does not state a preferred major or career path, it demands a comfort with and aptitude for quantitative, analytical, and communication skills.
  • Engaged Community Citizenship. This element is as simple as it sounds: HBS is looking for people who have shown the ability to impact their communities and who will continue to do so both as a student and an alumnus. While this can be demonstrated in a host of settings and ways, paramount is a sincere commitment to helping others, viewed as an integral component of the responsibilities of leadership.

While demonstrating all three of these attributes won’t guarantee that you’ll earn a spot at Harvard Business School, NOT demonstrating these traits is a sure way not to gain admission. Think carefully about how persuasively you can demonstrate all of these attributes when you build your HBS application.

Today’s installment was clipped from our HBS Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own candidacy, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

6 Responses

  1. BG says:

    IF you score over 700 in GMAT, would the GPA still count?

  2. Scott says:

    Yes, your GPA will always matter, no matter what GMAT score you get. There are no hard cutoffs or thresholds after which business schools don't look at your undergraduate GPA. However, if you had a low GPA, then a high GMAT score is one way to help mitigate its impact on your overall candidacy.

  3. I scored 760 in GMAT but my GPA is very low. Should I be worried?

  4. Scott says:

    I don't necessarily think you need to be worried, but EVERYTHING matters in your application: your GPA, your GMAT, your letters of recommendation, your admissions essays, your interview, etc. No single part of your application will render another part moot. Admissions officers will look at the entire package, no matter what.

  5. I have CGPI 7.2 on 10 point school is it LOW?

  6. Scott says:

    I would say that's the low side vs. your competition, but again, don't focus too much on any one part of your application!

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