By betsy On Tuesday, June 10 th, 2014 · no Comments · In

HBS appAs promised, the Harvard Business School admissions board has released its online application for the class of 2017.  You can see the link here: but it will make you fill out all sorts of forms before getting inside to the good stuff.

Dee Leopold made an announcement in her blog, which, inside the application self-referentially calls itself “funny.” It is, and very informative.

As is the application itself.  There are some really interesting points about the school’s philosophy about looking at candidates. For example, on the extra curriculars section, you will find this introduction:

Mostly, we’re interested in hearing about the things you did (or do) while you were (or are) attending your college or university. Other activities, like community service, are perfectly acceptable to include here.  If you don’t have any, that’s fine, too.  We know you’re busy.  We use this section mostly to get a sense of what you like to do when you’re not working or in class as well as the sort of leadership roles you gravitate towards.

I underlined the last line because it’s worth re-reading. It’s not about the soup kitchen unless that’s your thing. It’s about the the other stuff. The stuff that makes you interesting.

Or here’s what they are looking for in the employment section — you may as well know now, so you can organize your thoughts when filling out the form:

We get a lot of questions about employment.  Here are a few quick hits: 

  • Please (please!) report your salary and bonus in U.S. dollars.  Use any currency conversion scale you like!
  • If you’ve had more than one position at the same employer, just list the employer once but with different starting and ending positions.  We’ll know that you’ve changed titles and/or been promoted.  You can include more details on your resume.  
  • When reporting your salary and/or bonus, do not include housing or relocation allowances, cost of living adjustments, tax exemptions, combat or hazardous duty pay, etc.  
  • If you’re admitted, we will verify what you submit below, so please be accurate!  If you’re admitted, we promise you’ll get lots of information about our verification process and policies — it’s not something you need to stress about right now.  (Easy for us to say, right?) 

So don’t stress, but get it right, OK?

Next, take a look at the GMAT or GRE requirements. These points are key:

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — a GMAT or GRE score is required to submit your application!  There’s no getting around it.  We won’t waive this requirement.  

This means you need to take the test before you submit your application. As a reminder, our application deadlines are here.       

Please list your highest valid GMAT or GRE score from a single session. Do not combine test scores from multiple dates.  You may only submit a GMAT or a GRE score, not both. The system here will *technically* allow you to input multiple scores, but once you try to submit your application you’ll get an unpleasant error message.

If you need to submit an English language test, the same rules apply — one score from one test on one single test date.     

Unofficial scores may be submitted here as long as an official score report, when available, is sent to HBS.  If you are submitting unofficial scores, enter “0” for sections where your scores are unavailable (i.e., AWA, Integrated Reasoning) without an official score report. We will update our records with your official score when it is available.

I didn’t add the bolding above, HBS did. So take note of their instructions. However, I did underline the part about multiple scores.  They will see multiple scores from the GMAT or GRE feed, so don’t worry about that, but they probably won’t delve into it at first blush. Note the hot link to the word “valid” for the test score dates above.

Oh, one more thing: there’s no advantage to applying far before the deadline. They they do not timestamp submissions. All are equal once the clock strikes one second past midnight on the day after the deadline of September 9, 2014.

Got questions? Email me at betsy@masteradmissions.com

In the Bay Area? Come to my workshop on July 15.