Harvard Business School

Representative name: Hilary Caplan Somorjai
Position: Director, West Coast, HBS MBA Admissions
Email: [email protected]
Open chat hours: 19:00-20:00
School brochure: click to open
Q&A with admissions: click to open

Harvard’s MBA program is among the best-known, most prestigious and most sought-after in the world. Harvard consistently appears at the top of business school rankings. Founded in 1908, it is the third-oldest MBA program worldwide and the largest in the United States, with about 1,800 students. Its main academic strength is general management and strategy. In addition, Harvard is considered strong in marketing and non-profit management.

The main quality Harvard seeks in a candidate is leadership potential, defined as the ability to influence, persuade and take initiative.

Harvard pioneered the case-study method of pedagogy, which has now spread to the overwhelming majority of business schools internationally, which quite often use Harvard’s original case studies. The program boasts a general management orientation with a unique emphasis on leadership. Its alumni network boasts 41,000 graduates of legendary power and prestige.

We offer a two year, full-time MBA in general management. The general management perspective is so important because no business decision is ever made in a silo, instead it is important for a leader to have a broad understanding of all elements of an organization to make it run successfully.  ​

There are many different ways that we teach at HBS—from case method to hands-on project-based learning to simulations and small-group sessions. But all of them are highly dynamic. Highly participatory. We’re best known for the Case Method. This is the exact opposite of a lecture-based classroom. Each class is a guided discussion about a real-life business challenges facing real companies and leaders. In fact, 30-40% of the time, the person who the case is about is actually right there in class with you. The professor asks, “What would you do?” and the class discusses and debates the answers and the issues.  The first year is the Required Curriculum (RC) that consists of 11 courses to give a foundation in general management.  The second year is the Elective Curriculum (EC) with over 100 electives to choose from as well as the opportunity to cross-register with other schools and to take on independent projects.​

Two years

Tuition: $73,440

Total estimated cost of attendance can be found here: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/tuition-assistance/Pages/cost-of-attendance.aspx

HBS offers generous aid throughout your time as a student and beyond – everything from Tuition Assistance (need-based), to Summer Fellowships, to Career Support & Exploration.

Boston, MA, USA

Harvard’s MBA program is among the best-known, most prestigious and most sought-after in the world. Harvard consistently appears at the top of business school rankings. Founded in 1908, it is the third-oldest MBA program worldwide and the largest in the United States, with about 1,800 students. Its main academic strength is general management and strategy. In addition, Harvard is considered strong in marketing and non-profit management.

The main quality Harvard seeks in a candidate is leadership potential, defined as the ability to influence, persuade and take initiative.

Harvard pioneered the case-study method of pedagogy, which has now spread to the overwhelming majority of business schools internationally, which quite often use Harvard’s original case studies. The program boasts a general management orientation with a unique emphasis on leadership. Its alumni network boasts 41,000 graduates of legendary power and prestige.

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Harvard Business School Chat
Evan Caplan
6/09 09:32PM
Hello! My name is Evan Sherwood and I am an admissions representative at HBS. Let me know if there are any questions you have! My colleague, Jessica, and I will get through as many as we can!
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Guest- Elad
6/09 09:35PM
Hi Evan, given that about 30% are international students, how effective do you find the career counseling the school offers them?
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Guest- Alon P
6/09 09:36PM
Hi Evan, thanks for having this session. Is there a fair planned for the innovation labs that I can attend?
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Guest- Ron
6/09 09:37PM
Hi Evan and Jessica, is there any option you can share the link to the zoom meeting that just started? would be greatly appreciated!
Evan Caplan
6/09 09:37PM
Elad - the career office is very useful! They work with both domestic and international students to find jobs around the world. We have such an expansive network to tap into around the world, that we have high success in placing student in domestic and international locations.
Alon - there is no fair for the innovation labs planned. I encourage you to check out their website though! https://innovationlabs.harvard.edu/
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Guest- Lia
6/09 09:43PM
hi Evan , How fluent does my English need to be in order to apply to your MBA?
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Guest- Itamar
6/09 09:46PM
I might have a strange question - are the studies hard? I will be moving to Boston, living in a new country... my English is good, and I was a good student in my BA, but how difficult is the MBA?
Evan Caplan
6/09 09:47PM
Hi Lia, thanks for your question. HBS does not have a minimum test score requirement for TOEFL/IELTS/PTE tests. However, the MBA Admissions Board discourages any candidate with a TOEFL score lower than 109 on the IBT or lower than 7.5 on the IELTS from applying. This is just to ensure that applicants can effectively learn from and participate in the case method experience in the MBA classroom.
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Guest- Ido
6/09 09:50PM
Is there any difference in Round 1 or Round 2 applications? Admission or scholarship wise?
Evan Caplan
6/09 09:51PM
Hi Itamar, thanks for your question. The MBA program at HBS is rigorous, but also very rewarding. The case method utilized by HBS prepares students for the challenges of leadership in the real world. Through the demanding, engaging, and proactive learning environment, it develops the knowledge, skills, and confidence to face the variety of difficult decisions that students will undoubtedly face throughout their careers.
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Guest- Terry
6/09 09:52PM
HI, I saw there is a joint HKS / HBS degree. If I apply and dont get in, can I still be considered for the MBA? debating to which to apply to
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Guest- Assaf Liron
6/09 09:53PM
Hi Evan, how does HBS view young applicants?
Evan Caplan
6/09 09:54PM
Hi Ido, there is no difference between Round 1 or Round 2 in terms of admission or scholarships. Applicants should apply in the round that they feel their application is at its strongest.
Hi Assaf Liron, Some HBS students have 2-3 years of experience; some have 8-10 years. We still look for the same qualities in applicants (leadership, analytical aptitude, engagement). We will evaluate within the context of your experience and what you have accomplished. Some of our students have never managed someone else and others have and will share with their classmates about that experience. Application and particularly your recommenders show that you're ready and poised.
Hi Terry- For the joint degrees through HKS (the MPP or the MPA-ID) you apply to those separately from the MBA. They are different admissions processes. You would need to apply to both programs to be considered and each review process produces an independent result. You could get into both, neither, or just 1.
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Guest- Ori
6/09 09:59PM
I do not have concrete volunteering experience. Is that a mandatory requirement?
Hello, do you have any GMAT waiver this year?
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:01PM
Hi Evan - does Harvard like the art of communication so much so that earlier essays didn't have a word limit, now it has a 900 word limit ; moreover the case studies gives a great insight on the business world ; but why are Harvard style cases called the classic style ( it's long as well) ; doesn't the corporate world state - less is more ; I feel - cases give more philiosophical wisdom ; stanford - does more impact : hands on. Have respect for Harvard, but since few months, looking at Stanford students conversation with mastercard ceo, jp morgan ceo, abc ceo , different rankings of harvard vs stanford , more entrepreneurs come out of stanford than harvard. Witnessing aspects in the marine field / military field; executives like people who do more and take command , I would want to be challenged with such environment , Harvard would give me the network, the grace of walking by life ; but stanford might show me more fierce competiton of the world, and make me tear my comforts down. I had only harvard in mind untill last year - because it hosts a medical school as love as I love medical projects, but knowing - I want to be in a healthcare product management space or fmcg brand managerial segment. I feel witnessing the synergy of the university, the faculty, interaction with them, abc - might lock in one decision. Would like to know your thoughts.
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:02PM
Hello - The HBS MBA application does require the GMAT or GRE.
Hi Ori- volunteering is not required but we do look for engaged community citizenship. We want to see that you are eager to share your experiences, support your colleagues, and teach as well as learn from your peers. Volunteering is one way applicants can show this, but certainly not the only way.
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Guest- Moti
6/09 10:08PM
Will you have fewer slots in your class this year due to deferrals from last year?
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:09PM
Hi Moti - will have no deferrals in this upcoming class starting in fall 2023 (this application cycle)! We have the full space of 940 students.
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Guest- Alon P
6/09 10:11PM
Hi Evan, would you recommend not working at all during the first year?
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Guest- Daniel
6/09 10:12PM
Hi, I am Daniel, 21Y from tel Aviv. I am finishing my 3Y army service now, in parallel I did my BA and will finish this year with a high GPA of 94/100
can I register to the 2+2? or do I have too much experience due to my army service?
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:14PM
Hi Guest, thanks for your thoughts. There are many wonderful business schools to choose from and we have the utmost respect for each of them. We can only speak to the strengths of the MBA program at HBS. Ultimately, applicants should choose the school that best fits their own personal goals.
Hi Alon- I would recommend not to work, but we see plenty of students make the time to do it if it is a priority. We see some students work on a startup during the first year. It is difficult, but it can be done. Just remember it is all about what you want prioritize. There are a lot of things vying for your attention when at HBS - academically, socially, emotionally, and professionally. Up to you on how you want to balance it.
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Guest- Alon P
6/09 10:16PM
Thanks Evan.
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Guest- Nadav
6/09 10:16PM
Hoe does one fund himself throughout the full time MBA if they cannot work?
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:16PM
Hi Daniel - We would direct you to our regular admissions process, Round 1 or 2, since you have at least 2 years of full-time work experience already.
Hi Nadav, HBS is committed to making the MBA Program accessible to students with a demonstrated financial need. Although students are encouraged to draw on personal resources wherever possible to minimize debt, approximately two thirds of HBS students receive some form of financial assistance, which is composed of a combination of scholarships, fellowships and loans. Nearly 50% of the class receives an average $40,000 per year in need-based HBS scholarships. In addition to need-based aid, HBS offers financial assistance over the summer between first and second year and after graduation depending on your area of work and also has a selection of Complementary Fellowships that students may apply for in addition to need-based aid. These fellowships are for students with specific backgrounds and interest, such as nonprofit and life sciences: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/financial-aid/tuition-assistance/additional-harvard-funding/Pages/default.aspx
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:18PM
A great thought Sir Evan - " There are a lot of things vying for your attention when at HBS - academically, socially, emotionally, and professionally." Up to you on how you want to balance it. *Applaudable
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Guest- Moti
6/09 10:19PM
How would you advise candidates to get to know your MBA program and student community if they aren’t able to visit your campus?
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Guest- Roy
6/09 10:21PM
any key tips when applying? I saw the one application question and didn't even know where to start from
I am sorted in terms of recommendations but the essay seems very difficult
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Guest- Nadav
6/09 10:22PM
Thank you Evan, this info was really helpful
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:23PM
Hi Moti - HBS offers a wealth of virtual programming to help prospective students learn much more about the MBA experience. We offer regular virtual information sessions as well as more specialized webinars and virtual chats for different industries, regions and interests. Al webinars and chats include perspectives from alumni and/or current student panelists. I encourage you to review and register for all of the virtual programming offered that matches your interests. You can view all of the events on this page of our website: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admissions-events/Pages/default.aspx
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:25PM
Hi Evans , is it that after a year , during an internship - if the internship extends to a year (a project ), can i continue my second post completion of 1 year internship at the organization (say Johnson & Johnson)
*if internships were supposed to be a two - three month stint ( I assume) prior to beginning the second year of MBA program
How can executives offer help in such situation ?
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:27PM
Hi Roy- For letters of recommendation I would say pick recommenders who know you well and can provide specific feedback on you as a candidate. We do not care what their title is. We care much more about the type of feedback they are able to provide. You can see the questions we will ask your recommenders here: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/application-process/Pages/default.aspx. For the essay I always recommend articulating why HBS, why now, and how does the HBS MBA in particular help get you to where you want to go. Those are the first things that will be good to articulate.
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Guest- Aman
6/09 10:28PM
Hi Evan, is there a way for us to schedule a 1 on 1 chat with an admissions officer for more information/feedback?
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:28PM
Continuation of the thread : Incase the company states ; hey we need you , kindly speak with Harvard, if you can get back onto the mba program after the project completes. My personal interest would be to complete the project and get back at the mba program
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:28PM
Hi Guest, A student in the situation you described would need to go through a formal leave of absence request with the MBA program. These are handled on a case-by-case basis.
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:29PM
would additonal fee have to be paid ?
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Guest- DAN
6/09 10:29PM
hey, Do you consider army service as work experience?
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:30PM
Hi Aman - we do not provide meetings 1 on 1 with prospects. You are welcome to attend one of our virtual information sessions where an admissions rep will be happy to answer additional questions. You can sign up for those here: https://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admissions-events/Pages/default.aspx?LocalFacet4=Virtual%20Events&LocalFacet7=Information%20Session
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:30PM
Would the graduation certificate highlight then 2023- 2026 ? ( incase leave of absence ) ?( is there any content/link , where i can read more on this )
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:31PM
Hi Dan - army service is work experience, yes. That counts toward the minimum 2 years of full-time work experience needed.
Hi Guest, it would very much depend on the specific of the situation and timing regarding your leave of absence question.
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:32PM
alright
thanks
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:32PM
That is all we have time for today. If you have any further questions, please email [email protected] and we will get back to you!
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Guest- DAN
6/09 10:32PM
Thank you, can i apply a student?
as
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:32PM
dan after 2 years of experience
Evan Caplan
6/09 10:32PM
Dan - yes you can
MBAFair Admin
6/09 10:33PM
Chat will close in 2 minutes - Harvard
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Guest- Guest
6/09 10:33PM
how is the dating culture at Harvard ?
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Guest- DAN
6/09 10:34PM
im seeking to start whether in 2023 or 2024? im now on finishing my second year out of 3 years program. can i apply? can i defer?
Boston, MA 02163, USA