It’s pretty unfair of us to be using this “type” label since it can send the wrong signals. There’s definitely not just one “type” of person who gets admitted to Harvard. But there’s patterns. Or “commonalities” as we called them before.
Here’s more proof of that: A profile of a now-HBS alum (a 2nd-year at the time) posted on the HBS blog a few months ago:
We offer this not to send you reeling into a bout of depression – it’s true, this guy looks like a million bucks when you see his bio written out like that. And we have more examples to share – these snapshots of 27 current HBSers* are equally – nay, even more impressive.
Not to rub your nose in it or anything…
What we’re trying to do is offer some perspective.
Obviously Dee Leopold chose to post that one guy’s profile on the admissions blog, and she chose to post it exactly when she did – in mid April, right before announcing the first cut of Round 3 candidates – for a reason. In our overanalysis of the tea leaves, it looks to us that she might be trying to send a signal: “If your profile doesn’t have AWESOME screaming out of it like this guy’s does, then please don’t feel bad if we’re having to say ‘no’ to you now.”
So what if you didn’t do a double-major in college, and you didn’t do a stint in TFA or the Peace Corps, and you’ve never worked in the Middle East?
You can still apply to Harvard Business School. They are looking for a wide range of diversity, and surely you have something unusual to offer, somewhere in your background.
But if you have to dig too deep to uncover what those unusual elements are — if you can’t easily rattle off a small handful of such interesting facts about yourself — then please don’t feel bad if you don’t get make the cut at Harvard.
This is a serious school with a serious amount of competition. Most people don’t make it through. You should absolutely still apply. But please, just be real.
*Nobody calls them that. But maybe we should.
Here's what others have said about this:
Fun fact about Duke undergrad: A buddy of mine who went there said the curriculum is set up so that it’s very easy to double major and practically everybody does it (pay attention the next time you’re looking at LinkedIn profiles and someone went to Duke). In fact, you’re pretty much a slacker if you don’t double major…which is why the basketball players only have one major 😉
Huh – that’s a good insight to know about. Takes the idea of ‘grade inflation’ to a whole other level!