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HBS Admissions Response to COVID-19: What Applicants Need to Know

Many of our international clients have expressed fears that where they live may negatively impact their chance of admission to their top-choice business school.

With travel bans, consulate closures, and March 19 notice that the U.S. State Department is “suspending routine visa services in most countries worldwide,” uncertainty is on the rise.

Last Friday March 20, Harvard Business School’s admissions director posted a message to reiterate its commitment to international students. “Today I want to reaffirm that HBS MBA Admissions will continue to admit the most talented international and domestic applicants, irrespective of citizenship, as we strive to build a class of leaders who will make a difference in the world. We hope that the global situation around COVID-19 improves and that the suspension of visa services passes quickly,” wrote HBS Admissions director, Chad Losee.

Conceding that it’s not a typical year, Losee goes on to write: “In the spirit of transparency, I am sharing that we plan to invite many talented and qualified applicants to stay with us on a larger waitlist.” He also emphasizes that HBS will do what it can to support students through the visa process. “Any international admitted student who is unable to start the program due to a visa issue despite their best efforts will be deferred to next year’s MBA class.”

While HBS can’t control US policy or its implications on a candidate’s capacity to secure a visa, it’s heartening that deferral – undesirable to your original plans as this may be – is a sincere option. While the ripple effect of this global pandemic is uncertain and ever-changing, I recommend identifying different scenarios and implications for each one – whether it’s a waitlist, deferral, or the idea of holding off on applying until the following year.

Here’s an update on HBS admissions changes announced over the past week:

HBS extends 2+2 deferred admissions application deadline.
The HBS 2+2 deadline changed to June 1, 2020 (from April 2) at noon ET for college seniors applying for deferred admission. HBS plans to release final decisions on July 28, 2020.

Campus visits to Harvard are suspended.
In response, HBS is ramping up virtual tours and online events, such as the upcoming Life at HBS Virtual Chat and MBA Program & Admissions Information Session on Wednesday, March 25. (The on-campus commencement is also suspended.)

It’s also noteworthy that HBS Dean Nitin Nohria isn’t exiting his post as planned for a sabbatical at the end of this academic year.

My team at Fortuna Admissions and I will continue to provide updates on the latest developments in Coronavirus-related changes to MBA admissions at the top business schools.
In the meantime, view our related stories: 


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