Breaking News – HBS Releases Early Deadline & Essay Prompt!

Harvard has announced a new early admissions round that they are calling “Round 0.”  They also released the essay prompt, with a deadline of April 1, 2019 at 11:59pm. Below is the essay prompt:

“As we review your application, in one word what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for Harvard Business School? (one word limit)”

If you’re considering racing to this finish line, here are some thoughts on how to approach the essay. As in years past, HBS continues its tradition of having open ended essay prompts.  This year, however, they’ve added a significant twist and have limited the response to a single word. Because, of course they would.

Here’s how to nail this essay:

  1. Applicants who succeed with this prompt will keep their responses simple, and concise.  In terms of length, we recommend a minimum of 2 characters and a maximum of 27. For fans of Scrabble (we’re looking at you “QI” for 11 points), this is really your moment to shine.
  2. Avoid nouns.  Just don’t go there.
  3. Adjectives are hit or miss here.  If your application shows a strong career trajectory, then a word like “fast” might work.  However, it might imply arrogance, or irresponsibility. An adjective like “methodical” might be a better match.  It implies a degree of comprehensiveness, and the right balance of getting things done as a team player. The risk here is that it really depends on how the admissions officer is feeling at that particular moment of the day, and his or her gut response to your word.
  4. Verbs are powerful.  Do you have a record of delivering projects on time and crushing the results? If so, “expedite” might be your best option.  Are you cheerful, a bubbling personality? If so, “dance” might best describe you.

Also….Happy April Fool’s Day! (This whole article is a joke if you’re not familiar with what April Fool’s is!)

If you’re preparing for your real applications in the fall, as always, the team at Vantage Point MBA is here to help get your applications as strong as possible.  Each year our team of seasoned admissions consultants helps clients from all types of backgrounds build their stories, identify the right schools for them, work with recommenders, and nail their interviews.  That’s why our clients have a 3X higher admissions rate at the top schools than average. That part of this post is, in fact, not a joke!

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