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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

June 25, 2010

HBS MBA Admissions Tokyo Event Report

I attended the June 25th HBS MBA Admissions Tokyo Event tonight.

The presenter was Andrew Erlich,  the Associate Director, Global Initiative, HBS. As you may have just realized, he is not a regular member of the admissions committee, but as his work brought him to Asia, he was asked by admissions to make the presentation.  Based on what he said, he has conducted HBS interviews before, but from what I could gather he has not actually been a regular part of the admissions team.   The information he could provide was relatively surface level and consistent with what one would find on the HBS website.  That said, he had no specific knowledge of the admissions situation in Japan in as much as he mentioned that HBS has both admissions and alumni conduct interviews, but did not seem to be aware that this has not been in an option in Japan for years.  I know for a fact that HBS has not conducted any alumni interviews in Japan for at least four years (I can't recall if has been more than four years).   HBS does have a "small alumni interviewing network"  and does conduct some alumni interviews. See http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/interview.html. I think these must be rare.  The "small" size of the network indicates that.

The single most interesting (off-script) insight that Andrew made was that as an HBS interviewer, those he highly recommends for admission are not necessarily admitted.  He suggested that creating the right class composition means that some very qualified applicants are not admitted.

Another interesting nugget of information related to the age issue.  Andrew mentioned that some HBS faculty think that students who are too old are not mailable enough, which I think helps to explain why 46% of the Class of 2012 have three years or less of professional experience.

Andrew repeatedly emphasized the importance of the essays to the application process, but said that every component is important.

This year's video was different from last year's as it was focused on members of the Class of 2009 and Class of 2010 and less on case study.  The production quality of the video was really high compared to prior years.  The video begins with "The World's Thinking - Intro"
and then focused on the experience of these two students.  For moreHBS videos, see their YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=HarvardBSchool#g/u.

The best part of the event was most certainly the alumni panel.  They brought a sense of reality to the evening and gave potential HBS applicants some really great insights on HBS and its impact on themselves and their careers.

I would encourage applicants to attend admissions events, both to listen to what the admissions officers say and to meet alumni.  Always remember that school representatives are marketing their school, but alumni often feel no such obligation, especially in private. With any marketing effort, things are not necessarily as they seem, so don't just take what is said or written by school at face value.

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

MBA留学 ビジネススクール カウンセリング コンサルティング  ハーバード MBA

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