By removing the word limit, HBS has given you just enough rope to hang yourself. What is the one key attribute behind my greatest hits? While you had to describe the accomplishments, it was up to admissions to try to glean what those accomplishments actually said about you, your strengths, and your leadership style. If you have any intention of applying for a coveted spot at Harvard Business School this year, you’ve no doubt heard the news: as first announced in a. by HBS Admissions Director Dee Leopold, there is now only one admissions essay. When HBS had four required essays, there was a chance—even if only a slim one—that you could get by on charm and pretty words. You can’t talk your way into HBS anymore. The goal, Richmond says, should be two letters from individuals who “are in a position to judge the candidate’s managerial skills, leadership qualities, emotional intelligence, and intellectual firepower.”. After all, HBS looks for leaders who strive to make an impact in the world around them. No longer can you just throw out a bunch of ideas and hope the Adcom sees a superpower at work. If you’re not doing that—if you’re merely living life, putting in the hours at your job, and participating in the bare minimum extracurricular activities to avoid resembling a human slug—then it’s probably not your year to apply. There is no question in the application for space to discuss unusual background. This new approach puts that responsibility where it belongs: on you. Second, although the essay prompt specifically refers to academic background and test scores, applicants can include other information helpful for the committee to consider. By removing the word limit, HBS has given you just enough rope to hang yourself. calculus, microeconomics, statistics, financial accounting), please tell us how you plan to prepare yourself for the quantitative rigor of the MBA curriculum” How have I been successful in enacting change or inspiring others? Anyone else unsure about this? We'll also send you updates on MBA Admissions and other goodies! It makes one think  any unusual background history that doesn't relate to academic performance, work gaps, low scores etc can be included here. The goal, consultants say, is to forge a connection with the admissions committee—the essay should be personal, not analytical. If you babble endlessly for pages, listing all the numerous reasons why you are worthy, you’ll come off as desperate and insecure—not qualities HBS (or anyone) likes to see. Conversely, dashing off a couple of short sentences in an attempt to look cool and confident will just make you look cocky and arrogant. I think this may replace it.”. Be Brief. Your personal story is what you write about in your statement of purpose. Graham Richmond, co­founder of Clear Admit, a Philadelphia­based consultancy, says applicants should keep their answers short. The optional MBA application essay that Harvard Business School announced May 30 is likely to be optional in name only, with the vast majority of applicants for 2014 expected to submit an essay to bolster their chances of admission, MBA admissions consultants say. Also, is it possible to make a switch from MPP to MPA program after acceptance or enrollment? You’ve already written the required essays that most business schools ask for – do you really need to write the optional essay? It's free to sign up and for a limited period you can download our Complete Guide to Business School Applications. If there is any accepted HKS admit or HKS student who can look over my essays/goals, then can you please pm? You shouldn’t tell an elaborate, personal story, or write creatively. The new essay prompt makes one thing clear: the essay is a chance to talk about something not sufficiently covered in your resume, recs, test scores, transcript, etc. Speaking of character, the simple act of writing the optional essay can say a lot about yours. If you have any concerns about your prior academic background, or if you believe the Admissions Committee may have concerns, please give a brief explanation of your performance in college, or your standardized test scores (750 word limit). Some applicants may find the essay useful for explaining a low college GPA or an unusual career choice, but it’s really an opportunity to describe the person behind the resume. They took away the writing crutch. If so, you are not alone. Harvard Business School applicants should take advantage of its new optional application essay to show the admissions team their personal side, consultants say (Photograph by Adam Gault). Candidates can’t just talk-the-talk anymore. October 25, 2014 in Government Affairs. Here are the kinds of topics I recommend people cover in the optional essay: a low GPA (e.g. And it’s completely open-ended. ), an important element has been largely ignored: What does this all mean to you, the applicant? “Instead, I recommend creating something highly personal and self­revealing about the applicant’s evolution as a person. This is a big change from the days of yore (A.K.A. While the broader community of self-proclaimed admissions experts debate whether or not these changes are good or bad (for the record, this self-proclaimed expert supports the changes), an important element has been largely ignored: What does this all mean to you, the applicant? The consultants say they will be advising clients to take advantage of the essay to provide context for the rest of the application, including formative experiences, outside interests, and insights into their personalities. If you babble endlessly for pages, listing all the numerous reasons why you are worthy, you’ll come off as desperate and insecure—not qualities HBS (or anyone) likes to see. They have to walk-the-walk. They give you a long word limit because some people have very complicated academic circumstances and they need room to explain. If you're still unsure, you can also email the HKS admissions office and ask if it's OK to use the optional essay for additional personal stories. And it’s completely open-ended. While this book includes the latest application essays, which are updated regularly by the ad missions committee, it retains several It’s up to you to know your own superpowers. Optional MBA Application Essay can be categorized into two types: Type 1 “If your standardized test scores are low or if you have not had coursework in core business subjects (i.e. You want to use this space judiciously, and to communicate succinctly. Here are some guidelines about the optional MBA application essay. 2. They have to walk-the-walk. Words can no longer compete with actions, which is why we work with candidates early on, actually helping them to build their own candidacies through our, Why The Travel Industry Is Crying Out For MBA Talent, GMAT Online Exam Appointments Extended Into 2021, GMAT Online Exam | Everything You Need To Know, HBS’s Single, Optional Admissions Essay: What It Means for you. You'll want to look at the November 3, 2014 entry on the HKS Admission Blog for hints about the optional essay. And it has no word count. You'll have to do what you think is best, but a generally speaking the number 1 thing admissions officers tell students to do is "follow the instructions on the application." If you’re not doing that, chances are you’re just not worthy of HBS. The optional essay is not a place to introduce new content related to your goals, why you want to go to HKS, etc. Do not use your optional essay to discuss additional personal stories or accomplishments. If all of this sounds a bit like an ominous warning, well, don’t kill the messenger. But the optional essay is NOT AN OPTION in the following two cases: For example, I didn't have a lot of quant classes on my transcript, and I had a couple of places where my academic performance was not outstanding (including one course where I just flat out failed). And it’s completely open-ended. Visit www.forsterthomas.com or our Admissions Experts Page for more information. Any current HKS student/admit/applicant who is running into the same issues? Here’s our answer: makes one thing clear: the essay is a chance to talk about something not sufficiently covered in your resume, recs, test scores, transcript, etc. Evan Forster is the co-founder of Forster-Thomas Inc, an educational and career consulting firm in New York City. In the HKS MPP/MPA application can the only optional essay be about diversity/personal story/addendum not related to academic matters? Looks like HKS made the question intentionally confusing, You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. By cutting the requirement down to one essay, they’ve leveled the playing field. Having no word limit is not an invitation to go to town. By cutting the requirement down to one essay, they’ve leveled the playing field. Given that HBS has been streamlining the application essays—from a maximum of 2,000 words in 2011­12 to 800 words in 2012­-13— he advises applicants who answer the new essay to do so in less than 800 words. The GradCafe The optional MBA application essay that Harvard Business School announced May 30 is likely to be optional in name only, with the vast majority of applicants for 2014 expected to submit an essay to bolster their chances of admission, MBA admissions consultants say. Hi there. The Harbus, the Harvard Business School weekly student newspaper, recognizes that applicants require upto-date materials and - inspiration to match the current environment. For years, HBS asked candidates to name their three most significant accomplishments in a 600-word essay. There are 2 required essays for MPP, one asking specifically about future plans and the second asking specifically about how the program helps achieve the plans. They’re really going to be evaluating you more on who you really ARE, not on who you SAY you are. I think there is a blog post by admissions office HKS that says that this spacee can be used to explain "anything" not covered in the other parts of the app. Gulp. But the later part of the blog post says that this is not an essay, but more of clarity on something committee may have questions about or be confused about. http://hksadmissionblog.tumblr.com/  And you can also call or write us at HKS. Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW Business School. until 2011), when applicants had four essays—all with clear questions and word limits—through which to convey their accomplishments, strengths, and carefully position their unique background, values, and perspectives.