Getting into Harvard Business School is no easy feat. As one of the top business schools in the world, HBS receives thousands of competitive applicants every year vying for a spot in its prestigious MBA program.

If you’re wondering how to get into Harvard Business School, you’ve come to the right place.

In short, getting into HBS requires outstanding academics, strong professional experience, stellar recommendations, and a compelling story that shows how an HBS MBA will further your goals. Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to get into Harvard Business School.

Academic Requirements

High GPA and GMAT/GRE Scores

One of the key academic requirements to get into Harvard Business School is a high GPA and impressive GMAT or GRE scores. Harvard values academic excellence and seeks candidates who have excelled in their undergraduate studies.

A high GPA demonstrates a strong work ethic, dedication, and the ability to handle rigorous coursework. Similarly, a competitive GMAT or GRE score showcases your aptitude for business and problem-solving skills.

While there is no specific cut-off score, it is generally recommended to aim for a GMAT score above 700 or GRE score above 320 to increase your chances of acceptance.

Challenging Coursework

Harvard Business School looks for candidates who have pursued challenging coursework throughout their academic journey. Taking advanced courses in subjects such as economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics can demonstrate your analytical and critical thinking abilities.

Additionally, enrolling in business-related courses or participating in programs like business clubs and competitions can showcase your interest and dedication to the field of business.

Prioritizing your academic performance and choosing challenging coursework can significantly enhance your application to Harvard Business School. Admissions officers want to see that you have taken advantage of the opportunities available to you and have pushed yourself academically.

It is important to note that while academic requirements are crucial, Harvard Business School also considers other aspects of your application, such as leadership potential, work experience, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.

Achieving high academic standards is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to gaining admission to this prestigious institution.

Professional Experience

When it comes to applying to Harvard Business School (HBS), having a strong professional experience is crucial. Admissions officers at HBS look for candidates who have demonstrated leadership and impact in their previous roles.

This section of your application is an opportunity to showcase your achievements and how you have made a difference in your field.

Leadership and Impact

HBS values candidates who have taken on leadership roles and have had a tangible impact in their organizations or communities. Whether you have led a team, spearheaded a project, or initiated a positive change, it is important to highlight these experiences in your application.

Admissions officers want to see that you have the ability to motivate and inspire others, as well as the capacity to make a meaningful difference.

One way to demonstrate your leadership and impact is through quantifiable results. For example, if you were able to increase sales by a certain percentage or streamline operations to improve efficiency, make sure to include these achievements in your application.

Numbers and statistics can help to validate your claims and provide concrete evidence of your abilities.

Additionally, it is important to showcase your ability to work well with others and collaborate effectively. HBS values candidates who can work in diverse teams and bring out the best in their colleagues.

Highlight instances where you have successfully collaborated with others to achieve common goals and emphasize the positive outcomes that resulted from your teamwork.

Career Progression

Another aspect of professional experience that HBS considers is career progression. Admissions officers want to see that you have taken on increasingly challenging roles and have shown growth and development throughout your career.

This can be demonstrated through promotions, job transitions, or taking on additional responsibilities.

When describing your career progression, it is important to not only focus on the titles or positions you have held, but also the impact you have made in each role. Highlight the achievements and accomplishments that have contributed to your professional growth.

This can include successful projects, revenue growth, client acquisitions, or any other measurable outcomes that showcase your ability to excel in your field.

Remember, HBS is looking for candidates who have a track record of success and have the potential to make a significant impact in their future careers. By showcasing your leadership abilities and career progression, you can position yourself as a strong candidate for admission to Harvard Business School.


One of the most important parts of your application to Harvard Business School (HBS) is your recommendations. These letters provide insight into your character, abilities, and potential for success in the program.

Here are some key points to consider when selecting recommenders and guiding them on what to emphasize:

Who to Ask

When choosing who to ask for a recommendation, it’s crucial to select individuals who know you well and can speak to your strengths and accomplishments. This could include professors, supervisors, or mentors who have worked closely with you.

It’s important to choose recommenders who can provide specific examples of your leadership abilities, teamwork skills, and intellectual capacity. Remember, it’s not about the title of the recommender, but rather the depth of their knowledge about you and your capabilities.

What Recommenders Should Emphasize

Recommenders should emphasize your unique qualities and contributions that make you stand out from other applicants. They should provide specific examples and anecdotes that highlight your leadership potential, problem-solving skills, and ability to work well with others.

It’s important for recommenders to provide concrete evidence of your accomplishments and impact, rather than simply providing generic praise. This will help the admissions committee gain a deeper understanding of your abilities and potential for success at HBS.

Additionally, it’s important for recommenders to align their letters with HBS’s values and mission. They should highlight how your experiences and qualities align with the school’s emphasis on leadership, innovation, and making a positive impact in the world of business.

This will demonstrate that you understand and resonate with HBS’s core values.

Lastly, recommenders should be honest in their assessments. While it’s important for them to highlight your strengths, it’s also important for them to address any areas for improvement or growth. Admissions committees value authenticity and appreciate recommenders who provide a balanced and comprehensive view of your abilities.

For more information on recommendations for applying to Harvard Business School, you can visit the official HBS website at

Essays and Interviews

Telling Your Story

One of the most important aspects of the application process for Harvard Business School is the essay portion. This is your chance to tell your unique story and showcase your passions, experiences, and goals.

The admissions committee wants to understand who you are as a person and what you can bring to the HBS community.

When writing your essays, it’s crucial to be authentic and genuine. Avoid using cliches or trying to sound overly impressive. Instead, focus on showcasing your true self and what makes you stand out. Be sure to highlight any leadership experiences, challenges you’ve overcome, and significant accomplishments.

Remember, the goal is not to impress the admissions committee with a laundry list of achievements, but rather to provide them with a deeper understanding of who you are and what drives you. Use specific examples and anecdotes to illustrate your points and make your essay memorable.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share personal stories that have shaped your character and values. Admissions officers are looking for authenticity and emotional intelligence.

Nailing the Interview

After submitting your application and essays, the next step in the Harvard Business School admissions process is the interview. This is an opportunity for the admissions committee to learn more about you and assess your fit for the program.

To prepare for the interview, start by researching commonly asked questions and practicing your responses. It’s important to be well-versed in your own experiences, goals, and motivations. Additionally, take the time to learn about the school’s values, culture, and curriculum so you can demonstrate your interest and fit.

During the interview, remember to be confident, articulate, and professional. Maintain good eye contact, listen actively, and provide thoughtful responses. The interview is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the program, so come prepared with insightful inquiries.

Pro tip: Treat the interview as a conversation rather than a formal interrogation. Be yourself, show enthusiasm, and let your personality shine through. Remember, the admissions committee is not only evaluating your qualifications but also your potential to contribute to the HBS community.

Extracurricular Activities

When it comes to applying to Harvard Business School, having a strong extracurricular profile is just as important as your academic achievements. Engaging in extracurricular activities showcases your leadership skills, ability to work in a team, and your commitment to making a positive impact in your community.

Here are two key aspects to consider when it comes to extracurricular activities:

Leadership and Initiative

Harvard Business School values applicants who have demonstrated leadership and initiative in their extracurricular pursuits. Engaging in activities where you take on leadership roles, such as being the president of a club or organizing a community service project, can showcase your ability to motivate and inspire others.

Admissions committees are looking for individuals who have made a significant impact and have taken the initiative to create positive change.

Furthermore, it’s not just about holding a title, but rather the impact you have made in that role. For example, being the captain of your high school basketball team shows leadership, but taking the initiative to organize a charity basketball tournament that raises funds for underprivileged children shows both leadership and initiative.

Unique Interests

Another way to stand out in the extracurricular activities section is to showcase your unique interests. Harvard Business School values diversity and wants to see applicants who bring different perspectives and experiences to the table.

Participating in activities that align with your passions and interests can help you differentiate yourself from other applicants.

For example, if you have a passion for environmental sustainability, you could join or even start an environmental club at your school. This not only shows your dedication to a cause you believe in but also demonstrates your ability to think critically and problem-solve in a real-world context.

Admissions committees are looking for individuals who are well-rounded and have interests outside of their academic pursuits.

Remember, it’s not about participating in as many activities as possible, but rather about quality over quantity. Admissions committees are looking for depth and impact in your extracurricular involvement.

Choose activities that align with your passions, showcase your leadership skills, and demonstrate your ability to make a difference in your community.

For more information on extracurricular activities and their importance in the application process, you can visit Harvard Business School’s official admissions website.


Gaining admission into Harvard Business School is highly competitive, but with outstanding academics, work experience, recommendations, essays, interview skills, and extracurricular involvement, you can strengthen your application.

Be sure to tell a compelling story highlighting your leadership potential and how an HBS MBA will further your goals. With meticulous preparation and differentiation, you can achieve your dream of stepping onto HBS’ prestigious campus.

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