June 26th, 2007
HBS just released its essay questions for the 2008 application. It’s quite similar to last year’s (the one I submitted), but introduces more flexibility in selecting essays and new essay questions.
A while ago I posted my analysis of last year’s essays; Most of these essays appear in the new application: Essay 1 is last year’s #2 (accomplishments), optional essay 1 is last year’s #3 (leadership), optional essay 3 is last year’s #1, optional essay 4 is last year’s #5. They removed the ethics essay, a very understandable decision (in my analysis, I nicknamed this essay “the oddball”).
I won’t write an analysis for the new essays; after all, I don’t have to apply this year :) However, you’re more than welcome to use the parts of my analysis which apply to the current essays. I’ll just say a couple of words about the new essays and the new application structure:
– The last optional essay (“What else would you like the MBA Admissions Board to understand about you?”) is practically a gift; a “joker” that you can use to say whatever you’d like and didn’t manage to in the other essays.
– The two new optional essays both discuss globalization; which I really like as an admit – I’m glad HBS puts more emphasis on global issues. So I guess that application-wise, that’s good news to those of you with extensive international exposure – now you have plenty of space to ‘show it off’. And thanks to the flexibility of the new application, applicants without impressive international experience can simply choose other essays. Btw, the “culture shock” essay is practically a “copy paste” from the Insead application.
– The other new essay (“What have you learned from a mistake?”) is not an easy one; however it might be somewhat relieving to know that other schools also feature a variation of this question, so at least you’ll have some stories you’ll be able to share between applications.
Good luck! To be honest, I really don’t envy those of you now beginning the long process of applying and writing the essays… It’s hard, and at least for me wasn’t like anything I’ve done before. On the other hand, you’ll learn a lot during the process, and definitely will have moments of satisfaction and pride during (or probably after…) it.
For more information about the new essays, Accepted.com already published their own analysis of the new essays – good read. I’m sure ClearAdmit will follow with their own analysis.
I have another post coming up soon about preparing a general essays strategy – “stay tuned”… :)