Update: Dee Leopold posted to the HBS blog this morning with a few additional details about the process.
The MBA applicant discussion boards will be lit up tomorrow with Harvard hopefuls. And there will be lots of wondering and worrying and virtual hair-pulling-out.
Truth is, most HBS applicants will not get invited to interview – not tomorrow, not next week, not ever. That’s just a pure statistical truth. Sorry to be so blunt about it.
That doesn’t mean that YOU will not get invited to interview – and it also doesn’t mean that all of those candidates won’t make it in to some other Very Good School.
The way the process has played out in several seasons now means that most people who are going to be invited to interview at Harvard in Round 2 will receive those invites this week.
If you don’t get invited tomorrow, then if you’re like many BSers of past years, you might do a couple different things:
a) You might assume that you won’t be receiving an invitation, and decide you’re a loser, and transfer your waitworry anxiety MULTIPLIED BY A FACTOR OF TEN over to the next school (Columbia Regular Decision invites are coming fast and furious these days, did yours come yet?) – people often decide, if they don’t get the HBS invitation, that they won’t get any, and they reel off into major doom-and-gloom mode.
b) You might decide that HBS is biased and discriminates against people in your candidate pool (whatever it is) and get bitter about things and proclaim that you never wanted to go there anyway.
Both of those reactions are extremely common; it’s human nature. Being rejected is hard to take, especially if you’re the type of person who thought that he was Harvard material. Which, obviously, you are, if you bothered to apply.
But guess what? There’s a third reaction available, too: You could recognize that it’s a competitive process, and that most people don’t make it in – but those people who are committed to the process and who have done the work will almost definitely make it in somewhere good.
Each school’s admissions decision is an independent event. Don’t lose sight of that fact. Just because one school takes a pass doesn’t mean squat – especially if that one school is Harvard. The fact that Harvard is first out of the gate with some preliminary outcomes for applicants is a little unfortunate; it sort of taints the pool. If a bunch of other schools had been merrily inviting massive amounts of Rd 2 candidates for many weeks now, and then HBS comes along and has to disappoint a gazillion folks, it wouldn’t be so bad; most Harvard rejects end up making progress at plenty other places.
But you don’t know that now. It’s not the current reality, if all you have to go on is that the first decision received on any app is a “no.”
There’s still many many weeks of interview invite opportunities at many many schools. We assume that you threw your hat into the ring for a couple of those, too. We’re not suggesting that you now turn your obsessivethinking to them. Yes we know that the wait is the hardest part. But instead of constantly refreshing the boards and forums, you could do something different. Dive into some new project. Rededicate yourself to the improvements that you started a couple weeks back. Or just leave the house and go for a walk.
The more you apply yourself to the things you’re passionate about, to making a difference at work, to creating impact and change, even if it’s in some miniscule corner of the world, the more you’re going to see the time fly by – and the more you’re going to be happy with yourself.
And, when those interviews do roll around, the more you’ll have to talk about with your interviewer about all the things you’ve been doing with yourself since you submitted that application. Talk about being an impressive candidate.