Harvard Business School Application Essay & Deadlines for 2019-2020

Several of the top U.S. business schools have already released their application essays and admissions deadlines. It’s that time of year when we start digging into them for you. Today, we’re looking at the business school with the biggest name and the earliest Round 1 deadline: Harvard Business School.

Without further ado, here are Harvard’s deadlines and essay, followed by our comments:

Harvard Business School Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: September 4, 2019

Round 2: January 6, 2020

2+2 Round: April 2, 2020

Harvard Business School Admissions Essay

There is one question for the Class of 2022:

As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?

There is no word limit for this question. We think you know what guidance we’re going to give here. Don’t overthink, overcraft and overwrite. Just answer the question in clear language that those of us who don’t know your world can understand.

HBS kept the exact same essay prompt. When a school carries over an essay from one year to the next, that means admissions officers like what they’re seeing in the essays they receive. Based on what we’ve learned from our clients over the past several years (many of whom were admitted!), we feel very good about the advice we’ve been giving on this essay, so our advice mostly remains the same.

A familiar essay prompt. Take a look at this HBS essay prompt from 2014-2015:

“You’re applying to Harvard Business School. We can see your résumé, school transcripts, extra-curricular activities, awards, post-MBA career goals, test scores and what your recommenders have to say about you. What else would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy? (No word limit)

Notice anything similar? While the school chose not to list out the other application elements this year, the prompts are essentially the same. Regardless, it’s important to take some guidance from the way HBS once chose to phrase the essay question. Keep in mind that they do have your résumé, they do have your test scores, and they do have your transcripts. In other words, Harvard’s admissions committee isn’t looking for an essay answer that merely rehashes everything already noted on your application. If one or two of your accomplishments listed elsewhere organically find their way into your answer, that’s fine, but avoid the temptation to merely remind them of what they already know.

Your overall goal. We always tell every applicant that they need to do two things to get into HBS or any other top MBA program: 1) Stand out from other applicants (especially those with similar profiles), and 2) show how you fit with the school. If you come from a very common background (think management consultant, investment banker, or IT consultant from Asia), then you need to stand out even more, and this essay is your chance to do it. If your background already makes you unusual compared to the typical HBS class profile (perhaps you have more than the typical amount of work experience or have zero quantitative abilities to point to), then you need to use this essay to demonstrate that you will fit in and thrive at Harvard. Resist the urge to go for a gimmick, but don’t be afraid to let your hair down a bit. What brought you to this point in your life? What will you uniquely contribute to your MBA class? What do you want to do after HBS? What do you like to do outside of school and work? What gets you up in the morning?

Choose a theme. One approach we would recommend is to think of a key theme or differentiator that defines you. Recognizing that this kind of self-reflection can be a challenge for many applicants, Veritas Prep entered into a yearlong collaboration with the publishers of the Myers-Briggs personality type assessments to develop our Personalized MBA Game Plan™ assessment tool, available free to all GMAT Prep and Admissions Consulting customers. Using your Myers-Briggs personality type, this assessment helps you analyze your own strengths and weaknesses to determine the unique ways that you may stand out from the crowd. Whether or not you utilize this resource, be very mindful of the key takeaway that you want the admissions board member to remember about you.

Read more of our thoughts on the HBS essay here.

Every year we help dozens of applicants apply to Harvard Business School. Want to see if you have what it takes to get into HBS? You can get a free profile evaluation from a Veritas Prep MBA admissions expert or give us a call at (800) 962-2069. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and YouTube, and follow us on Twitter!

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Northwestern Kellogg 2019-2020 MBA Application Essay Tips

If you’re applying to Northwestern Kellogg’s MBA program and looking for advice on the essays you’ve come to the right place. Applicants to Northwestern Kellogg must answer two essay questions and complete a video essay.

Essay 1: Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip & inspire brave leaders who create lasting value. Provide a recent example where you have demonstrated leadership and created value. What challenges did you face and what did you learn? (450 words)

Use the SAR method to tell stories. This essay is a classic candidate for the SAR (Situation–Action–Result) outline that we recommend our clients use. The situation will likely be an opportunity or challenge where you needed to demonstrate leadership in order to get something done. The action will be how you exercised your leadership. Perhaps you influenced a team to see things your way and convinced them to take up your cause. Finally, the result will be the outcome—the lasting value you created–not just of that particular situation, but also the positive impact that it had on you as a young leader. Pay particular attention to the last few words of this essay prompt; what you learned may be what the admissions committee pays attention to the most.

Essay 2: Values are what guide you in your life and work. What values are important to you and how have they influenced you? (450 words)

Provide insight on what motivates you. The values you choose are important, but the reasons why you chose those values are even more important. The best answers will include specific examples or stories that demonstrate how or why these values have significance in your life. We can’t really say it better than Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kellogg. “We hope to hear how these values have influenced you. Last year, this question focused on how an applicant has grown in the past, and how he or she intends to grow at Kellogg. Our change comes from wanting to understand what drives you when you get up every morning. How will this make you meaningful members of our community at Kellogg? How will these values shape the kind of leader you will become one day?” It’s a lot to pack in to 450 words, but try to be as specific as possible and providing examples with concrete details will help bring your answer to life and be an engaging read.

We’ve got a couple more tips for Essay 2. To read them check out the full version of our advice.  

The Video Essay

Video essay 1: Please introduce yourself to the admissions committee.

Video essay 2: What path are you interested in pursuing, how will you get there, and why is this program right for you?

Video essay 3: Each of you will receive a randomly selected prompt, all of which have the same objective. We want you to show us how you handled a challenging situation in your career or personal life. For example, we might ask you to tell us about a time you failed to achieve a goal you had set for yourself.

Tips for success

First, practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable with the format and the technology using the sample questions provided in the application.  

The questions for the video essay aren’t intended to be difficult. For the first question, with just one minute to respond, you may want to pick one or two aspects of your background to share that you may not have been able to bring to life in other parts of your application. For the second question, show enthusiasm and thoughtfulness. You have a plan. If you’re excited about it, it’s more likely that the viewer will be excited about it and you, too. For the third question, be prepared to think somewhat on your feet. You may not think of a brilliant answer for all of these questions, and you might even stumble a little bit. That’s actually fine. Simply do your best and let them see a glimmer of your personality.

These are just a few quick thoughts on the 2019-2020 application essays for Kellogg. For more about Kellogg check out the Essential Guide to Kellogg. To learn more about 12 of the top MBA programs check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools.

Veritas Prep has helped people just like you discover their story and produce top-notch applications, gaining them admission to the most selective MBA programs in the world. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Give us a call at (800) 962-2069 or fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation.

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Columbia Business School 2019-2020 MBA Application Essay Tips

If you’re applying to Columbia Business School and looking for advice on the essays you’ve come to the right place. Applicants to Columbia Business School must complete one short answer question and three essays. Read on for a taste of the advice you can find in the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools. You can also skip straight to the full version of our advice, if you’d like a more in-depth analysis of this year’s essay prompts from Columbia.

Short Answer Question:

What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (50 characters maximum)

50 characters is not a lot, so get to the point! A straightforward question deserves a very straightforward answer, so don’t beat around the bush in answering this. Be specific. Note that the examples Columbia provides all start with a verb.  

Essay 1:

Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

Here’s your chance to expand on the answer you provided to the short answer question. Two very important things to keep in mind with this essay: 1) Make sure your goals are researched, realistic and real, and 2) show that you have the vision and ambition to really make a positive impact.

We go into depth about how to ensure that your goals are researched, realistic, and real in the full essay advice section of our Essential Guide. For example, in researching your goals, ask yourself have you done “human research”? Have you actually talked to someone who has your target position and do you truly know what it entails? Will an MBA from Columbia help you achieve that goal? These are questions you should be asking yourself as you tackle this essay prompt.

Essay 2:

Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

In your essay response, show how you’ll take advantage of the unique opportunities Columbia offers. What specifically does Columbia offer you that is perhaps not available at the other top business schools (especially other schools in New York) that you might be interested in? Go beyond just the obvious professional opportunities, and consider also writing about the social benefits of immersing yourself in the Columbia culture and going to business school in New York City.

Essay 3:

Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)

Why you admire the leader is more important than who you choose. An important part of a strong answer to this question is showing what leadership means to you and tying in ways you’ve exemplified those qualities.

Those are just a few quick thoughts on the 2019-2020 application essays for Columbia. For more free expert advice on getting into top MBA programs like the one at Columbia Business School, check out the Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools.

Veritas Prep has helped people just like you discover their story and produce top-notch applications, gaining them admission to the most selective MBA programs in the world. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Give us a call at (800) 962-2069 or fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation.

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What Game of Thrones Teaches Us About Applying To Business School

Many of you watched the Game of Thrones finale this past weekend. As you start working on your applications to business school, you would be well-served to keep Tyrion Lannister’s words in mind.

There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.

        –Tyrion Lannister

A good story can make the difference between being an admit and not in the highly competitive world of MBA admissions.

It’s probably not that hard for you to imagine that many applicants look similar on paper. GMAT scores, GPAs, types of work experience, post-MBA goals. So how does an MBA hopeful stand out from the crowd? One way is by telling your story. Are you worried that your story will sound like everyone else’s? That’s possible, but if you dig deep and think really hard about who you are and what’s brought you to the point you’re at today you just might hit on something compelling, even if it isn’t the most unique.

You might need a little help sifting through the details and stories of your life to identify key themes to highlight. That’s something an admissions consultant can help you with. The story you tell doesn’t have to be something the admissions committee has never heard. However, it should be genuine and heartfelt, with concrete details and specific examples. A good story has a hook, beginning, middle, and end and more importantly connects with the reader by being about something interesting or important.

So whether you’re working on HBS’s essay question “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?” or any of the other essay prompts out there keep the following in mind as your write your essays and craft your entire application:

  • Figure out what your story is
  • Tell it well

Veritas Prep has helped people just like you discover their story and produce top-notch applications, gaining them admission to the most selective MBA programs in the world. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. Give us a call at (800) 962-2069 or fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation.

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Things to do in May when you are applying to MBA programs

May is a huge month for MBA applicants. For starters, this represents the best (and in some cases, last) chance to visit campuses before a round one application deadline. Students are usually in good spirits and very willing to talk this time of year and exploring campuses late in the spring is a great way to define a school search heading into the summer (when visiting is fruitless, because campuses are empty). Furthermore, this is the time to start assessing strengths and weaknesses in your candidacy, while you still have time to address them. Four months from Round One, you still have time to increase your GMAT score, showcase leadership and teamwork, to start a volunteer activity, to take a summer class, or even to pursue a credential like the CPA or CFA. Also, essay prompts and deadlines will start being released in May, and we’ll publish essay advice throughout the summer, so make sure you watch for those and keep up with us on social media (Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, Instagram coming soon!).

 

Not only that, but (and this is going to sound crazy) your preparation for MBA interviews starts now. The goal over the next half of a year is to refine your own personal sales pitch to the point where you can deliver a one-minute version or a one-hour version, depending on the audience. You will be able to splice it up to answer different questions, figure out ways to bring up certain points yourself, and generally know how to get the whole message out in front of any interviewer. Such a sales pitch is made up of the answers to four questions: (1) why do you want an MBA? (2) why now? (3) why this school? (4) why should you be admitted over another qualified applicant? At some point, you are going to have to artfully answer (in so many words) those questions. So start practicing now! Every time someone asks you why you are pursuing an MBA, take advantage and work on your sales pitch. It will be easy to play it cool and make a joke or a passing comment, but that does you no good. That choice is part of a bygone era, where you could afford to stay aloof and still achieve success. Now? The hungry win. Survival of the fittest rules the day.

 

Hopefully, this blog post will light a fire under you to start working on your goal now – to start living your dream earnestly and passionately, with no room for procrastination and no scorecard for cool points.

 

It’s time to set your dreams in motion.

 

For more MBA admissions advice, give us a call at (800) 962-2069 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. You can also fill out this quick form to schedule a free MBA consultation, where we’ll review your applicant profile and give you actionable advice for your unique situation. At Veritas Prep, we’ve helped over 300,000 people take the GMAT, apply to their dream schools, and get admitted. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.