How to write a Harvard business school essay

Students accepted for the MBA at Harvard will tell you what the themes and strategies for writing the famous essays were. Check out!

One of the crucial – and most feared – steps in the selection process for postgraduate courses abroad is the time to write essays. These essays have the power to reveal to university what school records and standardized tests do not show: their personality. It is the best opportunity that the student has to show what he thinks and why it would be a good addition to the school, if approved.

Invariably, candidates for an MBA abroad need to pay attention to a crucial point in the process application (application): the essays (or essays ) . Passed the tests ( GMAT and TOEFL or IELTS ) this is probably the component that most demands energy and dedication during the process.

How to write impact essays ?

Universities are interested in knowing who you are as a person and if you have the potential to become a leader that makes a difference in the future

First, you need to know what the admissions committee ( AdCom ) expects when reading a candidate’s essays . Think about it: the resume and the letters of recommendation show your professional background and what you have been able to produce throughout your career. Test results such as GMAT (mathematics and logic) and TOEFL / IELTS (English) indicate your analytical ability, ability to make decisions under pressure (after all, the time to answer each question is quite short) and knowledge of the English language – Good grades are a sign that you will have no trouble following the program, which includes highly quantitative disciplines and whose timeline is drawn. So what’s left for the essays ?

Well, universities are interested in knowing who you are as a person and if you have the potential to become a leader that makes a difference in the future, among others. Therefore, Essays ‘ questions generally focus more on personal and social skills, in which the candidate must go on learning to work in a team, impact that has had on a group or organization, motivations to lead other people, personal passions and / or a rational analysis behind certain decisions. See below the essays requested this year in the process of selecting some of the best business schools in the world:

Answering questions like “What matters most to you, and why?”, It is essential that you begin preparing for the applications well in advance so you have enough time to delve into the process. This is not only to enter into a competitive program, but also to revisit your values, life goals and the person – and leader – who intends to become in the future.

Do not repeat information that has already been said in other parts of the application

It is also important that you demonstrate how you fit, both personally and professionally, in the school’s proposed academic and social development culture.

To do this, we recommend that you do a thorough research on the program, talk with current students or with those who have passed through the experience, visit the campus , attend classes, participate in infosessions , whether online or in person, and note all activities ( curricular and extracurricular) that make your eye shine. This information will be useful not only in essays , but also in interviews later. In addition, your future career goals (after the MBA) must be clear, showing the admission committee how you have reflected on how the course will help you leverage your skills to reach the desired position or area.

In practice, note some details:

1. Do not repeat information that has already been said in other parts of the application, such as the curriculum or online form;

2. When you argue why a particular school offers exactly what you are looking for in an MBA, do not just cite the courses and activities that are easily found on the program’s website. Gather authentic information and emphasize how it connects with your story and will help you achieve your goals;

Avoid empty phrases that exalt qualities – the reader should come to the conclusion that you were competent

3. Be clear and objective in writing. Clean text, with simple words, often has a greater impact and manages to pass the message even more efficiently than another stuffed with fancy expressions. Remember that in most cases there is a limit of words to be respected, and writing objectively helps to save space;

4. Demonstrate your performance in a given situation, exemplifying whenever possible. Avoid empty phrases that exalt qualities – the reader should come to the conclusion that you were competent and knew how to motivate your team when necessary.

At Harvard Business School, one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, it is no different. They ask a series of questions about their motivations and interests and expect the student to have consistency and self-knowledge to answer them.

For engineer Mariane Hotta, 34, a former MBA student at Harvard, essays were the most challenging part of the application. “As I am from the exact area, words do not flow so easily,” she says, which allowed them six months to prepare the essays. “It’s a maturation process, the text will not come suddenly … and giving the time for that to happen is also important,” she comments.

Everyone needs to find their own preparation strategy and the best way to tell their story. Gustavo Bassetti, also a former student of HBS, explains that he sought to put elements of his personal life that somehow were related and helped in the professional.

Doctor Fabio Katayama sums it up: “To put together a good essay is to put on paper a little of what you believe.” Want to know what topics were covered and how did they prepare for writing an essay that won the Harvard admissions?

Finally, remember that each individual is unique and can contribute to the program, the school community – and the world – in a different and original way. Do not compare yourself to other candidates, and do not be fooled into thinking you should tell the same story of future plans just because it worked with your friend who joined Harvard. Quite the contrary: your mission – and great challenge – in applicationsis to be able to extract the best of himself, his past history and his future ambitions to convince the university either: i) the MBA is a necessary step in his career at that time; ii) you will enrich the classroom discussions with your personal and professional experiences, and the school community with your engagement in specific activities; iii) there is a great compatibility between the development you are looking for and the resources that the school offers; iv) you have the potential and desire to become a competent leader not only technically but also committed to the ethical values ​​expected of someone who will occupy important and high-impact decision positions.