A few years ago, I was sitting in a room discussing MBA applications with some consulting peers.Â At the time, I had not yet decided to go to business school, but most of the others already had and were in the process of applying.Â One comment struck me with intrigue:
â€œEveryone should apply to Harvard.â€
The Harvard brand is the best in the world.Â Despite what any ranking or article may tell you, a Harvard MBA will do more for your career than any other school can.Â It might be hard to get into, but everyone has a shot.Â They have a class size of nearly 1,000 and people have even scored in the 500s and gotten into Harvard.
I didnâ€™tÂ necessarily agree with all of his comments, but I definitely understood his point.Â And it got me thinking about my application process.Â Now, Iâ€™m well into the 80th percentile in GMAT scores and GPA for Harvard (and thus, most other schools as well). Â But Iâ€™ve noticed on forums and blogs that a number of well-qualified applicants ignore Harvard completely in their application attempts.Â Some people have said they simply donâ€™t want to go there and have toÂ use the case method for their classes.Â Others feel itâ€™s just too hard to get into and would rather invest their time and effort in a school where the odds are better.
After I got my GMAT score, I started seriously picturing myself at the school.Â My fellow MBA applicants told me that I was â€œdumbâ€ if I didnâ€™t at least try.Â But despite being more â€œqualifiedâ€ than the average applicant, itâ€™s still difficult to gauge the competition in the MBA admissions process.Â Weâ€™ll never really know how hard it is to get into a particular school until they start releasing their applicant data along with the admitted class data.
In my opinion, if you have the time and the funds, and youâ€™re well within or above their middle 80th percentile, an application to the â€œproverbial top business school in the worldâ€ is definitely worth it.Â At most itâ€™s a $250 application fee.Â And if you get in, it may change your perspective on where and how far you think your career can go.
1 thought on “Should Everyone Apply to Harvard?”
I always found the trade-off logic between the odds of getting in vs application fees and effort interesting. A few people I knew landed on either side, some deciding it was worth a ‘try’ and others deciding to focus on more ‘likely’ outcomes. I personally concluded that because:
1) the odds increase if I focus my application efforts
2) I save money by limiting my application fees
I should only apply to where I truly wanted to go to school. In the end, I only submitted one application which had a favorable outcome.