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The Harvard Business School Essay & What HBS Really Wants

With the Harvard Business School round one deadline around the corner, Fortuna’s Karla Cohen offers her insights on what HBS really wants.

Whether HBS is on your list of target schools or not, Karla’s incisive advice is invaluable for anyone in the throes of crafting a standout MBA essay. In a revealing and candid article for Poets&Quants, Karla delves into specific tips for crafting your HBS essay, What Harvard Business School Really Wants, from her insider perspective as former Associate Director of Harvard Business School.

“Your essay is the make or break factor for HBS,” says Karla. “It’s the essay that sets your overall application apart and earns you the interview amid so many applications with impressive credentials. You can’t expect to compete on credentials alone at any top tier business school, let alone Harvard, because HBS has seen it all.”


What Karla underscores is that credentials are incredibly important, but they only get you to the threshold (again, this is true for all top MBA programs). Once you’ve reached a certain level of exceptionalism in terms of being brilliant, dedicated and driven, it’s about your story.

Karla puts her advice into context, along with five top tips for nailing your HBS essay. Read her full article on Poets&Quants: What Harvard Business School Really Wants.

Find more great tips and admissions advice from Karla (former Harvard Business School Associate Director) in her video blog strategy session on HBS with Fortuna’s Matt Symonds, or learn more about Karla by reading her Fortuna bio.

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