In this year of change and societal upheaval, one school that’s seeing increased interest from graduate applicants is Harvard Kennedy School. HKS is known as a government and policy program, which has degrees which are sort of like the MBA, but in some ways, even more flexible. A wide variety of employers come recruiting at HKS. About a third of their grads go to public sector, a third to non-profit jobs, and a third into private sector including the same big corporations like McKinsey or Google that you might be interested in post-MBA. Mostly though, you’ll find the true save-the-world types there. The HKS programming is like the do-gooder’s MBA.
In line with that focus, Kennedy Admissions has long been interested in hearing about applicants’ backgrounds through their application requirements , and for many years they’ve had an essay they call the “Personal History question” that this year looks like this:
Diversity of all kinds (race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, physical abilities, political philosophy, intellectual focus, socioeconomic status, geographic and many others) is important to enriching the educational experience at the Kennedy School. Please share with us anything in your background or life experience that has shaped your perspectives and how that would contribute to the classroom and community at HKS. (250 word limit)
What’s changed, quite unfortunately, is that word limit. Not many years back, HKS allowed 400 words. A 250-word essay is hardly an essay.
What else changed though is that that Personal History question used to be optional. This year, it’s mandatory for all applicants to all flavors of master’s degrees that Kennedy offers.
For those wanting to try for a joint MBA/MPP degree between Kennedy and the MBA program at Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, MIT, or Tuck, then you’ll be writing a lot! The standard MBA essay questions for the business school side, and the separate HKS questions for the MPP side.
There’s also questions about strategy to consider going into the entire endeavor.
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Like many other schools, Kennedy is going to be HIGHLY oversubscribed with the levels of interest there this admissions season.
The main degree that most business-type BSers are interested in out of Kennedy is the Master’s in Public Policy. There are other degree options at HKS too, though — and we’ve frequently worked with applicants who realized that they actually didn’t want the MBA degree at all, that a policy degree such as available at Kennedy or Princeton or other great schools was more in line with their interests. Don’t get dazzled by the M-B-A designation and forget to explore all your options!
EssaySnark has helped lots of BSers with successful applications to Kennedy in the past. We’re here to help you too if you’re feeling inspired to go for one of these excellent educational opportunities!
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