There are so many complexities involved with applying to bschool — and applying as a reapplicant is especially complicated. To a large degree, your reapplicant strategy needs to be built around what the specific school you’re trying for values. The strategy you develop to reapply to Harvard is going to be less similar than what…
Anyone with a long-range mindset who’s looking at options to pursue in their future is likely doing plenty of “What if?” calculations on the different opportunities they’re considering.
If you’re a college student who’s interested in one of those Deferred Admission tracks that we spoke of recently, like the ones offered through Harvard with 2+2 and Booth Scholars and MIT Deferred Admission and the rest, then you might be wondering:
“If I try for a top school now and I don’t make it in, will that jeopardize my chances later on?”
This is one of the few cases where the answer is a simple and emphatic NO.
In most other situations, when someone is trying for bschool and their MBA apps are rejected, it does complicate the picture for trying for that school again. Plenty of schools are reapplicant-friendly and every year, they admit lots of applicants who had first applied in a previous year. So don’t get us wrong, it’s never a mistake to try if you think you’re ready now. You wouldn’t want to put your future plans and dreams on hold just because you thought it might now work out.
But if someone is, say, applying to a top school in Round 3 in the Spring, in an effort to be admitted to the entering class that same Fall, then yeah, there are real complications that should be considered in case it doesn’t work out (please look at our various Round 3 warning posts here on the blahg for more details). Some admissions directors like to tell applicants there is no harm to applying in Round 3 but honestly, it really can make it more difficult to get in later, since you’re going to be putting together a new set of essays in only a few short months, and that’s truly challenging for most people when they don’t have that much new to talk about in such a short time. (Again, please check out our Round 3 warning posts for more on this.)
For all the Young Talent and Early Admissions types, though, who are trying for the special-focus programs like HBS 2+2 where you have a guaranteed future entry after you’ve built up some work experience after college, then there’s no risk for trying right now. You can apply to any of these tracks that you want as a college senior and if it doesn’t work out, it won’t impact your chances of getting in as a “regular” candidate later on. That means if you really want to try for an admit today to Harvard Business School while you’re a senior in college, then go ahead and give it your best shot in the 2+2 round. (Make sure you have a very high GMAT or GRE score though! That’s practically a pre-requisite to getting in during the 2+2 cohort.)
We hope you make it in!!! But if you don’t — and be prepared for a letdown, since 2+2 is super competitive these days — then don’t worry about it. Go ahead and pursue the plans you’d already put in place for your post-college career, and then if after a few years you decide that you still really want to go to Harvard, you can apply in their standard MBA admissions pool then. You’ll essentially be creating your own independent 2+2 track. No, it won’t be the same, since you won’t have the support of Harvard behind you from the get-go, but it’ll essentially be the same career trajectory. You won’t be considered a “reapplicant” in the typical sense, and the Harvard Admissions Board won’t look at your application poorly at all. If anything, they may be pleased to see your motivation for success at such a young age!
So anyone thinking of an early-admission track so go ahead and apply with no concern about how things might impact their chances later.
If you decide to try for it, we wish you all the luck in the world!! And we’re here to help if we can.
Used to be, the answer to that was “Not really anywhere.” If you wanted to go get an MBA, many schools wouldn’t even consider an app from you until you’d accrued some work experience. Regardless of how motivated you may have been, you couldn’t apply to business school straight out of college. Well guess what? Times have changed!
Now, a bunch of MBA programs are practically falling over themselves to get undergraduates to apply.
Just this season alone, a bunch of business schools launched or expanded formalized programs where they will accept you even if you have not graduated from college yet. This gives you a guaranteed deferred admission to a future entering MBA class.
The new ones this season are being offered at:
- Columbia Business School who is calling this Deferred Enrollment (note: totally different from Columbia Early Decision, and also totally different from applying through a school’s standard admission, getting accepted, and then asking for a deferral)
- MIT Sloan MBA where it’s called Early Admission
- University of Virginia Darden who’s named it Future Year Scholars
These are tracks of admission for a specific cohort: Seniors, as well as students who are in their final year of another (non-MBA) graduate program (with certain restrictions).
What schools have had this for awhile?
- HBS 2+2 was the first track of its kind, launched over 10 years ago now
- Then came Yale Silver Scholars
- This season, Booth expanded its Booth Scholars program to allow rising seniors from any university to apply, rather than limiting it only to University of Chicago students as it had previously been.
There’s also at least one such track available at MBA programs in Europe, such as the Young Talent Path MBA track at IESE in Spain .
These new opportunities mean that graduating college students have more options than ever before if they’re motivated to aim for a top-tier business school early on and they like the idea of setting up options ahead of time. We’ve heard it said multiple times recently that a college degree is what a high school diploma used to be, and that a graduate degree is becoming an expectation as part of a typical career path, rather than a possibility or nice-to-have.
If as a college student you’re wondering about committing yourself too early, don’t worry: You’re never locking yourself in to any one specific future through these programs. If anything changes for you as you go out into the world and build your career, and when it comes time to start the MBA, you realize that maybe it’s not the right next step for you, or not at that exact time, then you don’t absolutely have to attend. There may be some deposits that are unrefundable, but you’re not sealing your future fate 100% by applying or accepting an admit to one of these programs. The schools understand that you still have a lot of Real Life to experience, and that maybe you’ll change your mind.
However, more and more college students are becoming more and more motivated to tackle their careers with a vengeance, and this is one option to consider. It can sure be nice to embark onto the first phase of your post-college career knowing how the next three to five years will play out for you! Some people really like that sense of security and enjoy putting a longer-term plan into place when they can.
You also get to avail yourself of tremendous resources from your school: You’ll be part of the student community, with all sorts of mentoring opportunities and special programming, and at some schools you’ll have access to the fellow students and alumni as you navigate your career and think through possible career paths. It can be a tremendous resource and support system, almost like a built-in ecosystem to nurture your career.
If you’re wondering how competitive these programs are, it’s harder to say, based on all these changing factors. There’s a lot more awareness of these opportunities at college campuses all over the world, which means the schools are seeing more applications. We can tell you that way back when Harvard Business School first launched its 2+2 program in 2008 or so, they got 630 applicants and admitted 106 — which was around a ~17% admit rate, which was INCREDIBLY favorable for those candidates compared to the realities of getting into HBS in their standard cycle.
Now that there are so many of these tracks available at so many different schools, it’s possible that some of them will become less competitive (maybe). It unfortunately also means that the increased awareness among college seniors will lead to way more candidates for the limited spots. Many schools may implement a waitlist for these deferred-start programs just as they have with their full-time MBA admissions — but don’t worry, if you’re on the waitlist to start at a top school in the Fall, you’re considered separately from these college-senior waitlisters. Those pools don’t mix. You won’t be competing against an experienced-admit if you’re a coming-from-college admit (and vice versa).
EssaySnark can help college seniors looking to lock in their MBA admits early — check out our MBA admissions consulting services or hit us up if you have questions! Our MBA Application Guides also may be useful, though do note that many schools have different essay questions and specific requirements for their college-senior applicants, and those are not necessarily covered in our individual school guides, which by definition focus on the standard MBA admissions process of applying to school the year that you want to begin.
We’re happy to help if you have questions! Please post them in the comments section and we’ll let you know what we can about your situation and the schools that you’re interested in.
We’re more and more impressed by the caliber of talent coming out of college these days and if you’re a go-getter who has an MBA in your sights some day, then putting the foundation for that now might be a decision that truly pays off!
You’re digging into MBA application requirements and starting to think about exactly who to enlist for support in the form of letters of recommendation to be submitted with your bschool apps. Most schools require two recommendations; a tiny few including Michigan Ross want only one; a handful of specific programs want three (as of this…
Some time ago we had an exchange that went like this: I am an Indian male engineer. There, I said it. I am in college so, had no shillings to use your charged services. I really hope you answer this!!! Please…please…please do. So i recently took GMAT and got [a great score]. Now, I applied…
We’ve had ongoing dialogs with a variety of kids over the past year who were planning on applying to the Harvard 2+2 program this year. Where did y’all go? We haven’t heard from any of you in awhile. How’s it going with your essays? Anyone else out there tackling 2+2 at the moment? Please get in touch – EssaySnark wants to get an update from those we’ve communicated with before, and for everyone, we want to hear how you’re doing in the ramp-up to the deadline!!
Email us (essaysnark at gmail) – we’d love to help.
HBS is in the air today, since the first of the HBS interview invites are going out today.
This post is not about that.
It is about HBS though, however it’s geared to people at the complete opposite end of the process.
Awhile ago we has an exchange we had with a motivated Brave Supplicant who’s currently finishing college and is planning for an application to HBS 2+2 before graduation. We were so impressed that this Brave Supplicant was starting to do research so early — the first inquiry came in July or August of 2011 and this kid isn’t going to be applying for a full year from then! To (hopefully!) start the 2+2 program a full year later! Which actually means not starting classes until 2015! Which means not graduating with the MBA until 2017!!
Phew! Talk about planning things in advance!
Anyway, we told you before about the question on GRE vs GMAT and timing.
This time we’re going to share an earlier exchange we had, about application rounds, specifically about interviewing. Note that this is specific to HBS 2+2. Some of what we’ve got here tells you about the standard HBS application process, but read it carefully if you’re applying to that program since not everything that we say is fully relevant to a standard Harvard MBA application.
Here’s the question we got:
First of all I’d like to thank you for your very prompt responses, all of which have been of great help to me. [You’re welcome! ES.] There is this one thing that i am a little confused about. The HBS 2+2 program invites applications in four rounds, including a summer round. Now, in the summer round the chosen applicants are required to fly to Boston for their interviews. This might prove to be slightly inconvienient for me, considering that I live near [foreign city]. At the same time I have heard from quite a few people that if one applies in one of the earlier rounds at HBS there is a greater probability of getting in. [Uh, yeah. You probably heard it from EssaySnark.] So I m a little torn as to when I should apply for the program. I do want the advantage of applying early but at the same time flying to Boston might be a little difficult. I will once again be very grateful for your valuable advice.
Here’s what we said:
Hi [BraveSupplicant] – that’s a very good question.
You are right: In past years, when they had just one (summer) deadline for the 2+2 program, HBS had a requirement that in order to apply, you needed to be willing to fly to campus in Boston to do the interview if they were interested in you. That requirement is still true to apply in that first early (summer) 2+2 round. However, now that they’ve opened up the three additional rounds for 2+2 applicants, they can fit the interviewing in with their standard admissions process. That means that if you apply in one of those three rounds, you’ll be able to interview in any of the cities that the HBS adcom travels to. In previous years, interviews for candidates applying through the main application Round 1 and Round 2 cycles have been held in [foreign city near where BSer lives] (along with many other cities too). The adcom does not travel all over the world for Round 3 interviews, usually those are only held in the U.S.
So, yes you should try to apply in the earliest round if you can, however if you would be unable to travel to the Harvard campus for the interview, then you probably should NOT apply in the summer 2+2 round. It sounds like maybe the second cycle (the main Round 1 process with the October deadline) would be the ideal target for you.
Of course, the school might change their processes and policies again next year when it comes time for you to apply, so you’ll need to make all these decisions when they make those announcements. But that’s probably how it will work out next year.
A few links:
- Here’s the current HBS 2+2 application info page; note that this is being posted when the application for HBS 2+2 Class of 2016 is active.
- Here’s the standard interviewing info for Harvard – note that they also will do interviews via Skype however this isn’t ideal for you, the Brave Supplicant, so we didn’t discuss it above.
As we stated before, very impressed with this BSer’s motivation and all the planning-ahead. Good stuff! You’re gonna need it to be successful at this school. 🙂
And for those of you biting your nails in advance of the Rd 2 interview invites going out — GOOD LUCK!!
We received a very polite inquiry about Harvard’s 2+2 program a few months back and thought we’d share our answer. This Brave Supplicant is still in college and is trying to figure out strategies for applying.
With a target of applying in Round 1(with the October deadline) when should I take my GMAT/GRE exam? Also, I am a little confused as to which exam I should prefer. I don’t really know what advantage I would have and in which exam.
Here’s what we said:
The GMAT test is preferred over the GRE by some business schools. If you think that some day you may be interested in a different master’s degree besides the MBA, then the GRE gives you more flexibility, since it’s accepted by more types of graduate programs. However, several of the best bschools do not accept the GRE at all (Kellogg is in this group, as an example EDITED 12/28/11 Kellogg now DOES accept the GRE for most of its MBA programs; Columbia still has very restrictive policies re: GRE/GMAT however, and Haas only accepts it for the P/T program). So, worst case scenario, if you don’t get in through HBS 2+2, if you have taken the GMAT then that will give you the option to apply to any other bschool later. The GRE is also accepted by many top bschools but it’s not seen as equivalent. So if you’re choosing a test, then you should probably decide what your future education path might be first, and let that dictate which one. There are some articles on the website here.
The GMAT scores are good for 5 years. That means if you were to take the test today, you would need to start (matriculate) at a MBA program before Fall 2016 – which means that you’d need to apply for that program probably in 2015. If you do not get into 2+2, then your best strategy will be to work for a few years and then apply to bschool after you have some work experience. Make sure that the timing of that plan matches up for how long your test score will be valid.
The advantage to testing a little earlier is that it gives you time to retest if your score is low. So, the latest you’d want to take the test the first time is probably around May next year, to prepare for a Round 1 application. You should leave several months for studying. It’s a very difficult test!
The big wrinkle in all this is that both these tests are/will be changing. There is a new GRE out right now, and the GMAT will be going through a big change next Spring. There may be an advantage to testing NOW for the GMAT, and LATER for the GRE, due to these changes.
Some of this is discussed elsewhere on this site; we’ll probably be posting more articles about this, too, in terms of the upcoming GMAT changes and what it means to all candidates, not just HBS 2+2 kids.
Between these GMAT vs GRE questions and overall timing, there are obviously a lot of factors to consider! It’s great to see a Brave Supplicant who’s so motivated.
Does your resume look like this? No, of course not. But maybe it looks like this? Or this? Or (hopefully not) this? No offense to the authors of those resumes, but they’re not appropriate for bschool applications. (And to be fair, they’re not being submitted for bschool apps either… so we’re not gonna critique them…
>So we could’ve predicted it. We got the question right after our post last week: “What about ME? I’m unique and special and these are all my circumstances and in that case isn’t it OK for ME to take the GRE instead of the GMAT?”
And yes, we have to admit, for one certain type of applicant, it is perfectly acceptable to take the GRE: If you’re applying to multiple graduate programs beyond just the standard MBA.
If you’ve laid out a path for your future that allows for a few different avenues of possibility — in other words, if you’ve realized that maybe you might want to do this, or that, and some other thing, and you’re not quite sure — and those other avenues would include a different flavor of graduate school to earn a different type of Master’s degree that isn’t an MBA, then typically, those other programs will ask for a GRE score. In which case, it makes perfect sense for you to JUST take the GRE and submit it with your applications to bschool and these other programs.
If you do that, you probably would want to explain this somehow in your bschool app.
And, if you do THAT, then you run the risk of maybe sounding like you don’t really know what you want to do with your life (and remember how important career goals are?).
The MBA is a pretty specific education/career track. It’s tried and true and well proven to pump out qualified (hopefully!) graduates skilled in the ways of business. Employers know what to expect from MBA graduates: they are ready for business. Typically, it works to the applicant’s favor to know what they want from a graduate education BEFORE they apply.
Many other Master’s programs are actually more designed for academics — some of them seem to be stepping-stones to a PhD program — and in lots of cases they’re not as much geared for the practical as they are for perhaps the intellectual or scholarly pursuit. You know, like, research and stuff.
You do realize, don’t you, that most Master’s programs require their graduates to write a thesis? There isn’t a single MBA program out there that does. Unless you count the *optional* thesis at MIT, which then earns you a Master of Science in Management. Not an MBA. Different degree. (Figures that MIT would offer this option. Propeller-heads.)
Note, too, that many business-like graduate programs actually accept the GMAT, too (along with the GRE that is their traditional purview) because they realize the overlap of candidates. One example is the Duke Master of Management Studies. Another is the NYU Mathematics in Finance M.S. (EssaySnark has helped clients with applications to all manner of graduate programs. EssaySnark gets around.)
We are absolutely not knocking the academic track. We very much appreciate those who dedicate their life to furthering the body of knowledge and advancing humanity in whatever realm or domain that lights them up.
BUT. There is a very big difference between going to bschool (inherent goal: to launch a specific future career) and going to some other type or flavor of graduate school (inherent goal: any number of things). You’ll need to be sure you don’t muddy your message or give the adcom reason to doubt your commitment to the whole bschool thing if you go down this path.
The one other situation where it makes total sense to just take the GRE: If you’re still in college. While we think that’s actually a brilliant time to get the GMAT out of the way, we also don’t expect you, young whippersnapper that you are, to have all your career goals and plans worked out just yet. The GRE makes perfect sense if you’re a junior, and easily qualifies you to apply to the HBS 2+2 program if you’re so interested. (Remember though, they only accept true superstars, so make sure you’ve got the stuff.)