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July 23, 2010

When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

This post is on the forth of four of the "pick two" questions for the Harvard Business School MBA Application for Fall 2011 Admission.
All the posts in this series: Overall Strategy, Accomplishments, Mistake, Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, and Option 4.  My post on HBS interviews can be found here. My post on HBS recommendation questions can be found here.

4. When you join the HBS Class of 2013, how will you introduce yourself to your new classmates?

As I discussed in my analysis of Columbia Business School’s Essay 2, first impressions matter. The purpose of this new question is to give the HBS Admissions insight into your personality. Specifically, what parts of you would you want your fellow students to initially know about you? Think about the section of 90 students you will be a part of as well as the Class of 2013 as a whole. You can think about this in terms of contribution and/or in terms of fit:  Explain why the HBS Class of 2013 is the right community for you to be a part of.  

You have already discussed your most substantial achievements in Essay 1 and clearly a career vision is not really what your classmates need to first know about you. If you think people want to hear about your career goals when you initially meet them, you are (a) suffering from delusions of grandeur, (2) impossibly socially retarded, and/or (3) not taking the question seriously. Perhaps your goals will be interesting to some people in the Class of 2013 but certainly not all.  And is that what they first need to know about you?  When you meet first someone, do you first tell them your career vision?  I bet not.

For those who don't write a career vision essay for HBS, this essay can certainly explain why you not to attend HBS, but very careful about how you do that. Make sure you are communicating that explanation in way that would actually make a strong first impression on a fellow student.  Make sure you don't end up writing a goals essay, instead try to write a fit essay.  For those also applying to MIT, it is possible that this HBS essay would be a great choice because both the MIT cover letter and this essay question are focused on fit.  

Think about why someone would want to be your friend, your colleague, and/or your teammate.  Without making this into a contribution essay so directly, you need to imagine that you are trying to make your fellow students like you and what to work with you.  What special qualities and a talents will bring to enhance the experience of the Class of 2013?

Identify a few, likely two to four, aspects of yourself that would make a strong positive impression on your classmates. provide stories, perhaps only anecdotes, to introduce yourself.

Obviously you don't want to unnecessarily repeat content presented in other essays, but it is certainly possible that the same characteristic about yourself that makes an accomplishment possible is also something you elaborate on, with a different story, in this essay. 

Keep in mind that you don't want this to a purely chronological life story.  There is really not enough word count for such a chronological exercise, but you can certainly interpret your life if doing so will make for an effective way of introducing yourself to your classmates.  

Bottom Line: Make your reader want to meet you!

-Adam Markus
アダム マーカス

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