At 12noon Eastern time today, October 6th, Harvard Business School will be deciding your fate: Do they want to meet you for an interview? Are they cutting you loose as an “early release”? Or are they hanging onto you for Further Consideration?
What should you do in each case?
Well obviously, if the former: You will dance around your living room and celebrate!!! Yes, BSer, if you get the news out of Boston that the HBS Admissions Board wants to meet you for an interview, you will be excited — deservedly so!
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hopefully you will also remember EssaySnark in your celebrations and you will pop into your SnarkCenter portal and update your school targets with news of the interview also, so that we can share in your happiness today.
What if today you get a “Thanks but sorry” out of Harvard?
Well, we also invite those with more depressing news to circle back to SnarkCenter and update your School Targets — and we can take a look at your plans, and what your status is at these schools, and possibly offer some input or reactions, based on where things stand for you so far into the season and what you’ve shared with us about your profile.
We also offer you this: Each school’s decision is an independent event.
That may seem tough to appreciate in the moment of a rejection. We tried to caution BSers last week about the unfortunateness of the timing of the Harvard admissions cycle, that the Harvard decision is near-meaningless. You can do a bang-up job at your Harvard application and still not even move to the interview stage. It’s just how the competitiveness works at a school in the stratosphere of selectivity as this one is.
That does not have any bearing whatsoever on how the rest of your applications will fare.
It can be MASSIVELY discouraging though, particularly because it’s exactly those well-qualified candidates who would have their hopes us, justifiably so — and then if the invite does not come through, it can feel like a truly significant loss.
The disbelief can be real. You may go through the stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression — all in an instant.
If you’re already feeling overwrought, under-resourced, wrung out and exhausted from just LIFE and all the drama of 2020, then getting that negative news today might be really difficult to take. (The schools honestly should provide some form of free counseling to candidates who are rejected like this — it can be quite the blow.)
If after you’ve recovered from the shock of the “no”, after some screaming or sobbing or sadness or whatever emotional depths you may initially plunge, you feel you could use some support, you can come back here to EssaySnark and we’ll try to help think through rationally what your next steps should be.
Because, if you aren’t moving forward at Harvard, there are a few options:
1. You probably have other apps in play — and if you did as good a job on them as we know you did, then there’s plenty more opportunities for you to still make it in somewhere great. Today will feel crappy, but the game is absolutely not over for you.
2. If you are now feeling nervous and worried, you could try for a school like Duke or NYU that has a deadline coming up in the next few weeks (We just released our 2020 update to the SnarkStrategies Guide for NYU). Those would still be Round 1 apps and you’d get an answer in the December timeframe. Might be worth looking into? Depending on the rest of your strategy that’s already in place.
3. We have a Post-Mortem Rejection Analysis service that will examine what you submitted to Harvard to let you know an objective third-party perspective on possible reasons it did not turn out — though we’d mostly be concerned if your HBS app and an app to another school like Columbia or Darden have turned out as a “no” already. (Darden Early Action decisions will be out on Wednesday — WEDNESDAY!! Very exciting if you put your hat in the ring for them, you will know very soon if you’re in!)
If you get cut loose from Harvard today, please remember: The Round 1 cycle has only just begun!! We’re still at the very beginning of the interview-invite stage. Most schools have not been releasing any invites yet, though they will start to hit from here, and hopefully you’ll be receiving some! We’ve heard reports of early invites from schools like Ross, and of course Columbia has been issuing them for months due to how the do a rolling cycle there, and other schools like Yale, and of course Darden, Duke, and Tuck with their early-interview windows, and if you’ve submitted to Kellogg…. so lots of interviewing may be happening already. However, for most of the schools that do invite-only interviews, those have only just started, and those are the most nerve-wracking of all, because all you can do is sit in your powerlessness and wait.
What if you get Further Consideration’d at Harvard?
Often these Further Consideration applicants have a quite negative reaction to that proclamation — understandably so, as it can feel like a “WTF? I’m so close but not quite?!! What do I do with this?? I’m not interviewing, but I’m not rejected? What does that MEAN?? Aaargh!!” kind of limbo. It often deteriorates into an emotional spin-out of second-guessing and self-berating, of “If only I’d done X, Y, and Z” where you try to figure out what could you have done differently to have an actual interview instead of this purgatory state. It can be pretty negative for some people.
Others who may be more prone to a “glass half full” reaction to the world could take it in stride — but our experience is that this can be nearly as depressing to hear as getting outright rejected, which seems odd, but it’s often how the human brain reacts.
All we can say to a Further Consideration is Dude you’re in a good spot don’t despair!!!!! And, we’ll refer you back up to the list of steps you could consider taking right now, just like the rejected not-gonna-be-a-HBSers might do.
That’s because it’s smart to keep working on apps until you’re actually admitted — which is advice even for those who’ve been invited to interview should heed! Making it to the next stage is obviously majorly important but it’s not yet an invite, and as we cautioned several weeks ago, this process is likely to be drawn-out and lengthy for a lot of BSers this season.
For anyone who feels like, dang it, maybe I coulda done things differently, and is worried that the rest of their apps may actually be fatally flawed, and has gotten more than one rejection already…
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For those who do get the golden ticket today at Harvard:
When you come back to Earth and start looking around for ways to get ready, we’ve got a special-built service for custom-designed HBS Interview Prep Questions, developed specific to you and your profile. Our MBA Interview Guide might also be worth checking into.
And finally, we beseech you: If you get invited to interview at HBS today, please be sensitive to the feelings of any of your friends who may also be going through this, or even just the strangers you interact with on the MBA forums. Applicants you don’t know, but who are your peers, colleagues, comrades, experiencing the same experiences, but from a sadder side of the situation today.
Try your hardest to keep your excitement muted or moderated.
Yes others will be happy for you — but when others are also trying for the big prize, and who learn today that one significant door has been shut to them…. They’re gonna be feeling crappy. They don’t need you to be gloating your glee their direction. It’s not that you don’t deserve to be ecstatic in the news of your advancement to the next stage. Just try to be sensitive to the sting of disappointment that lots others will be experiencing today.
Once you’re done celebrating, please recognize that you have real work ahead of you with interview prep, too! Even though what the Harvard Admissions Board member will be asking will be focused exclusively on YOU, you need to PRACTICE how to answer common questions. You may be the expert in you, but you’re not yet proficient in talking eloquently about yourself in a way that will come across coherent, convincing, confident, and not cocky. Practice is mandatory for the Harvard interview experience, for everyone.
For those of you feeling stung and dejected:
We get it.
Maybe today you can take the day off the hamster wheel. Maybe your boss will let you sign off of Zoom for awhile, and you can go take a walk in the fall sunshine. Breathe some fresh air. Sit by a body of water, if you have one in your area — beach, lake, river.
Rejection is really hard.
We’re betting you put everything into that Harvard app. If it’s not turned out to be a path-forward for you, we’re sorry. We’re feeling it, right alongside you. It’s okay to be sad. This year has been so hard for so many. It’s not the end of the road, but it’s OK to be feeling down in the dumps for awhile, to mourn the loss of a dream you had held. Hard work doesn’t always pay off the way we want it to. That doesn’t mean you’re not deserving.