Hello dear readers! We are pleased to present the first one of the ‘Futureworks Wednesday words of wisdom’ posts and to begin this initiative; we bring some tips to approach the Harvard Business School’s Deadlines and essay topics for the class of 2014 which are now available:

The deadlines are as follows:

  • Round 1
    Deadline: October 3, 2011
    Notification: December 19, 2011
  • Round 2
    Deadline: January 10, 2012
    Notification: March 29, 2012
  • Round 3
    Deadline:  April 10, 2012
    Notification: May 17, 2012

All the applications are due by noon EST on the day of the deadline.

The essay topics are:

  • Tell us about three of your accomplishments. (600 words)
  • Tell us three setbacks you have faced. (600 words)
  • Why do you want an MBA? (400 words)
  • Answer a question you wish we’d asked. (400 words)

While attempting the essay questions, students should keep in mind that the essay topics have changed a little from last year:

  1. This year, unlike last year, none of the questions give you multiple options.
  2. Essay 1 remains largely the same. The difference it they have removed the words ‘most substantial’ enabling you to talk about any of your accomplishments rather than focusing only on your most substantial accomplishments.
  3. Essay has changed somewhat. In the past they had 2 options to answers questions on a mistake or a failure. Now they are asking you to give them 3 examples of setbacks; these setbacks could be driven by a mistake, a failure or a setback driven by the external environment. This reflects HBS focus on understanding how an applicant deals with setbacks; business schools know that everyone faces setbacks and that to be a strong leader you need to be able to learn from them and overcome them. In fact in my last job in the U.S, one of the things we always looked at was how someone had dealt with a downturn or setbacks before promoting them. So when answering this question remember to focus on the learning from the setback and how, if that was the case, you overcame the setback. Now of course this question seems a little harder to most applicants because you have to come up with 3 examples this year, while in the past you could have just focused on 1
  4. ather than asking for your career vision this year they are more directly asking you why you want an MBA. The rationale for this may well be explained given your career vision so it not as much of a difference as you may imagine it to be initially.
  5. Essay 4 gives you the opportunity to present something about yourself that you have not had the chance to do so in other questions. So carefully review the rest of your answers before you finalize this question. However since they have asked you to pose the question to them remember that question must be relevant to this application.

All four essay questions require a response.

The recommender questions are for both MBA and 2+2 applicants and include the following four essay questions.

  • Please comment on the context of your interaction with the applicant. If applicable, briefly describe the applicant’s role in your organization. (250 words)
  • How does the candidate’s performance compare to other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (250 words)
  • Please describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
  • Please make additional statements about the applicant’s performance, potential, or personal qualities you believe would be helpful to the MBA Admissions Board. (250 words)

You may visit Harvard Business School website for more information.

That was the first bit from our ‘Wednesday words of wisdom’. We hope it helps some of your in strategizing for your HBS MBA applications. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the ‘The college goers’ Thursday’. See you soon!