Harvard Business School, located in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools in the US and one of the best MBA programs in the world. In addition to admitting graduates of some of the best undergraduate business schools in the US, it admits students from all over the world. This business school is known for its mission of fostering future leaders who make a difference in the world, and its high-achieving alumni. The Harvard business school is also known as being one of the largest schools in the US, accepting up to 900 students per year, and among the oldest as well, as it was founded in 1908. In this blog, you’ll learn about the graduate business school of Harvard University curriculum, application timeline, admission statistics, tuition cost, and funding opportunities, as well as expert tips for how to get in.
Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.
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“The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. Achieving this mission requires an environment of trust and mutual respect, free expression and inquiry, and a commitment to truth, excellence, and lifelong learning.”
Aside from the school’s MBA program, Harvard Business School students can pursue a joint MBA degree with any of Harvard’s other programs, including the Harvard Medical School or Harvard Law School. It also offers eight full-time doctorate programs in areas including marketing, business economics, and management. The school hosts professional executive education programs for individuals and businesses to strengthen management and leadership skills.
The following are joint MBA degrees available at Harvard Business School:
Harvard Business School offers a two-year, full-time program, focusing on general management with a real-world perspective. Harvard Business School places an emphasis on authentic leadership and real-world experience. Courses also focus heavily on collaboration and teamwork projects to foster these professional skills in future leaders. The school also partners with 140 other educational programs to offer diverse and expanded learning opportunities. Harvard Business School employs a blend of case and FIELD methods to take students from learning to doing in real world environments.
Harvard Business School Application Timeline
Harvard Business School has three rounds of applications during the year. Round 1 applications are open until early September, and students are notified of their rejection or invited for an interview by early December of the same year. Round 2 applications are accepted until early January, with the admissions board’s decision being sent out by late March of the same year.
Round 3 applicants are usually for 2+2 applicants, or current college students or students in another full-time master’s program who want to apply to Harvard Business School. Applications of this type need to be submitted by late April, and decisions are made by the end of July the same year. Dates for the current application cycles can be found on the Harvard Business School website.
Harvard Business School Admissions Statistics and Eligibility
The Harvard Business School accepts students from the US, as well as international applicants. All applicants, both in-state, out-of-state, and international must meet the same admissions standards to apply. However, international students will need to submit with their applications a TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson Test of English (PTE) if the student attended an undergrad program in a language other than English. Students are expected to score at least 109 on the TOEFL IBT test, a score of 7.5 on the IELTS and at least a 75 on the PTE. All students who wish to apply need to have also completed a 4-year undergraduate degree from an accredited US institution, or an international equivalent.
Harvard Business School does not list a minimum requirement for GPA, GMAT or GRE for acceptance. However, most recently, Harvard Business School admitted students with an average GPA of 3.7 and a median 730 GMAT score. The average work experience of accepted students overall was 4.7 years and included a variety of experience in different sectors. The top undergraduate programs represented at Harvard Business School’s MBA program are engineering, business commerce, and economics.
Harvard Business School’s overall acceptance rate hovers at 11%, and the school admits a maximum of 900 students per intake into its program. In the 2020-21 academic year, 46% of students accepted were women and 37% were international students. In past years, Harvard has accepted many students from other top universities in the US, including the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Yale University, Duke University and Cornell University.
Need to work on your MBA resume? Check out these tips:
Harvard Business School Recommended Courses
Harvard does not have a list of required coursework to apply for the MBA program, and it does not state any preference for undergraduate programs. However, the majority of Harvard’s MBA students come from an engineering, economics or business and commerce undergraduate background.
The Harvard MBA Admissions Committee claims it is looking for diversity, so rather than a list of recommended coursework, we suggest diversifying your application as much as possible. At the top of the list should be your work experience.
Harvard Business School Tuition and Funding Opportunities
Tuition costs for the two-year MBA program at Harvard Business School comes with a hefty $146,880 price tag. This is on top of living costs, healthcare, and the costs of study materials while at school. Living costs to attend Harvard in most recent years are estimated at $60,540, with healthcare ringing in at $10,564 and materials at $5,100. So in total, students can expect to pay over $220,000 to get their MBA from Harvard Business School.
Even so, there are plenty of grants, awards and scholarships students can apply for to help ease the cost, and Harvard offers a few forms of financial aid to around 50% of its students each year.
Harvard offers a program called MBAid to its MBA students, which includes tuition assistance, summer fellowships and career support. The school provides tuition assistance based on demonstrated need, with the average awarded scholarship being $40,000 per year. You are also able to apply for additional funding through HBS Complementary Fellowships. The remainder of your school funding is expected to come from savings and student loans. The HBS Summer Fellows Program provides students with funds if they are starting their own entrepreneurial venture or have joined an early-stage start-up. Students are also provided with expert resources and a peer exchange network of student founders. These funding options are available to both domestic and international students.
Harvard Business School also provides institutional financial aid for graduating students and beyond. The school offers loan reduction awards to chosen students at graduation who are choosing to enter the private sector, the non-profit or public sectors, or are pursuing an entrepreneurial venture. Students receive a one-time load reduction at the time of graduation if their chosen career starting salaries are lower than typical MBAs.
HBS offers students the chance to apply for a variety of fellowships post-graduation, with positions in select sectors such as the public sector or non-profit. Students can receive additional financial resources in addition to salaried positions.
Other financial options are federal loans, only available to US citizens and permanent residents, but they are generally low-interest and have flexible repayment. Private loans are available for students at most financial institutions or organizations. Though they are generally less flexible on repayment and have higher interest, they may have easier eligibility criteria.
Scholarships and grants for business school are available, although they will vary in the amounts and eligibility criteria. A thorough search of external scholarships is beneficial, as some organizations will offer scholarships to students based on background, achievements, diversity and so on. Many of these scholarships will cover the entirety of tuition costs for students, so it’s always a good idea to cast a wide search net when hunting for scholarships and apply to as many as possible.
Selection Factors at Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School asks for applicants from diverse backgrounds with a variety of life experiences, but specifically mention three common characteristics their students share. These are a habit of leadership, analytical aptitude and appetite, and engaged community citizenship.
Proving that you are already the kind of leader Harvard Business School wants to produce will go a long way to pushing your application to the top.
Students who already have experience working at least a few years in a business position are favoured, especially if students have experience in the social, public, private and non-profit sectors. Any work promotions or leadership positions should be front and centre on the MBA resume you submit to Harvard, to prove to the admissions board that you are the kind of leader they are seeking.
As far as your undergraduate coursework, depending on what you majored in, consider how you can translate the skills you learned and the topics you studied into the realm of business. If you are asked to write a Harvard MBA personal statement, you can mention your coursework and how it contributed to your motivations to apply for an MBA from Harvard. For example, if you studied medical sciences in your undergraduate degree, mention how you want to pursue an MBA to help ensure equitable delivery of cutting-edge technology to medical patients of every background. Include details of your work experience and projects in which you took leadership in your MBA personal statement, too. It can also be helpful to read some MBA personal statement examples to help inspire your own.
Need inspiration for your personal statement? This video is for you:
You’ll also need to provide two letters of recommendation as part of your application. You’ll need to be able to find the best verifiers and referees to ask for reference letters. For Harvard Business School, it can be best to talk to employers, co-workers or professional mentors you have a good relationship with, who have worked with you extensively and can provide a picture of your professional self to the admissions board. If possible, try to pick an employer who works in the field you aspire to work in after graduation. Or, if you’re planning to become an entrepreneur, ask a fellow entrepreneur or mentor you worked with to provide you with a letter of recommendation.
Harvard Business School Interview Format
Once students have sent in their application, they will receive an invitation to interview if the admissions board is considering admittance. Invitations are usually sent out a few months after the application deadline closes, depending on which round of applications the student is in. Harvard Business School uses a one-on-one interview format, where students are interviewed by the MBA Admissions Committee member who reviewed their application.
Interviews may be conducted in-person on campus, online via Skype, or they may be scheduled in domestic or international hub cities, at the interviewers’ discretion. MBA interview questions can be tough, but some sample questions and answers can help you prepare to ace the interview.
Do you know how to prepare for these different question types? Make sure you have an answer strategy for each type!
Students can expect to hear news about their application in early December if they applied in Round 1 of applications, late March if they applied in Round 2 or mid-July if they applied in Round 3 or were a 2+2 applicant. Students will either receive a notification through email of their application’s rejection or they will be invited to an interview with an admissions board member.
Harvard Business School Admissions Website
Contact email: [email protected]
1. Which programs are available at Harvard Business School?
Harvard Business School offers a two-year, full-time MBA program, as well as executive education courses for individuals or organizations to expand their professional learning. The school also offers a variety of joint degrees including an MS/MBA, an MD/MBA and a JD/MBA.
2. Am I eligible to apply to Harvard Business School?
Harvard accepts US students as well as US permanent residents and international students. Any student with a 4-year undergraduate degree or international equivalent can apply. International students also have to supply proof of English language proficiency with a Pearson Test of English, TOEFL or IELTS test if they attended a non-English undergraduate program.
3. Can I apply to Harvard Business School if I don’t have an MBA-related undergraduate degree?
Yes. The MBA Admissions Board admits up to 900 students per year and seeks as much diversity in its applicants as possible. Students from all academic disciplines are considered for admission.
4. What is the overall acceptance rate at Harvard Business School?
Harvard’s acceptance rate for its MBA program is around 11%.
5. What GPA and GMAT/GRE score do I need to get into Harvard Business School?
The average accepted GPA for successful applicants is 3.7. The median accepted score for the GMAT is 730.
6. What is the interview format at Harvard Business School?
Harvard uses a one-on-one interview format for applicants who are being considered for admission. Students are interviewed by the member of the MBA Admissions Board who reviewed their initial written application.
7. What is the tuition for Harvard Business School?
The cost of tuition is $73,440 per year, with the estimated total cost of attendance for the two-year program being $223,000.
8. How can I get into Harvard Business School?
To get into Harvard Business School, students are recommended to have a good GPA and excellent GMAT score. Along with a strong written application, students must submit their resume. It is recommended students have at least 2, and preferably at least 4 years of professional experience in private, non-profit or public sectors. Your work experience should showcase the qualities of leadership, community, critical and analytical thinking that Harvard is looking for. Your resume should also include any volunteer or community work you have, as Harvard is seeking leaders who contribute to their communities and society in a meaningful way. An impressive interview performance is also a must. Finally, it is important to apply before the deadline of whatever round of admissions you choose, and have all the necessary documents you need in order.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.
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