How Hard Is It to Get into Harvard Business School?

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Harvard Business School (HBS) is renowned worldwide for its exceptional business education and prestigious reputation. As more aspiring business leaders set their sights on attending HBS, one question looms large: “How hard is it to get into Harvard Business School?” In this article, we will explore the admission criteria, competition, acceptance rates, and provide valuable tips to help you navigate the challenging application process.

Admission Criteria at HBS

At HBS, the admission process is rigorous and highly selective. The school looks for exceptional candidates who not only possess strong academic backgrounds but also demonstrate leadership potential. Academic achievements, such as undergraduate GPA, are considered, but HBS also evaluates other factors such as GMAT/GRE scores and transcripts.

However, it’s important to note that HBS takes a holistic approach to admissions. They value professional experience and seek candidates who have showcased leadership skills in their careers. Your resume, recommendation letters, and interviews play a crucial role in evaluating your suitability for HBS.

Competition and Acceptance Rates

Given the reputation of HBS, it’s no surprise that the competition to secure a spot is fierce. Each year, a large number of highly qualified candidates apply for a limited number of seats.

While HBS does not disclose its exact acceptance rates, it is widely known that they are low. However, the exact figures can vary from year to year. It’s essential to keep in mind that acceptance rates are only part of the story. HBS attracts an exceptionally talented and diverse pool of applicants, making the competition even tougher.

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Tips for a Strong Application

Crafting a strong application is crucial to increase your chances of getting into HBS. Here are some valuable tips to help you stand out:

1. Showcase Your Achievements

Highlight your accomplishments, both professional and personal, in your resume and essays. Demonstrate your leadership skills, impact, and growth in your chosen field. The admissions committee looks for individuals who have made a difference and have the potential to contribute to the HBS community.

2. Craft Compelling Essays

Your essays provide an opportunity to showcase your unique personality and aspirations. Be authentic and reflect on your experiences, challenges, and goals. Use storytelling techniques to engage the reader and make a lasting impression.

3. Leverage Networking and Alumni Connections

Connecting with HBS alumni can provide valuable insights and strengthen your application. Attend events, reach out to alumni, and demonstrate your genuine interest in the school. Building relationships can enhance your understanding of HBS and potentially lead to impactful recommendation letters.

4. Prepare Thoroughly for Interviews

If you receive an interview invitation, it’s essential to prepare thoroughly. Research common interview questions, practice your responses, and be ready to articulate your motivations and goals. Showcasing your fit with HBS’s values and culture is crucial during the interview process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

– Does HBS prefer applicants from a specific academic background?

HBS does not have specific academic preferences. They value diversity and consider applicants from various academic backgrounds. What matters most is your ability to excel academically and contribute to the HBS community.

– What is the average GMAT/GRE score for admitted students?

While HBS does not disclose the average scores, it is expected that admitted students have outstanding GMAT/GRE scores. However, it’s important to note that scores alone do not guarantee admission. HBS evaluates candidates holistically, considering various aspects of their application.

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– Does HBS consider international applicants equally?

Yes, HBS considers international applicants on an equal footing with domestic applicants. The school values diversity and actively seeks candidates from around the world who can bring unique perspectives to the classroom.


In conclusion, getting into Harvard Business School is a challenging endeavor. The competition is fierce, and the admission process is highly selective. However, with careful preparation, a strong application, and a compelling story, you can increase your chances of securing a spot at HBS. Remember, HBS looks for individuals with exceptional academic backgrounds, leadership potential, and a drive to make a positive impact. So, if you aspire to join the ranks of HBS alumni, start early, put your best foot forward, and pursue your dreams with determination and passion. Good luck!

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