Harvard Business School Students’ Work Experience

Last week HBS posted the college graduation years of its incoming Class of 2010 on its blog. As expected, more than half graduated in 2004 or 2005 (i.e., they have between three and four years of work experience), and about three quarters graduated between 2003 and 2005 (three to five years of work experience):

Source: The Director’s Blog at HBS.edu

There’s nothing too eye-opening here, but it’s good to see the data broken out so explicitly. One reason is that so many applicants only see the mean number of years of work experience for a school’s incoming class, and wrongly assume that if they aren’t right at that number, then their chances of success are very low. It’s good to see that, while their numbers are clearly lower, there are significant numbers of older and younger HBS students.

We expect to see the number of years of work experience for admitted HBS students to continue to decrease slightly over time, given the school’s push to attract younger applicants (especially through its HBS 2+2 Program). Although, it will be interesting to see if the economic slowdown affects number in the coming year: Will it cause the average age of applicants to drop even further as they accelerate their plans to go to business school, or could it actually end up attracting more older applicants who are out of career options? Only time will tell.