#AskStacyHBS: Twitter Party Transcript

by Stacy Blackman Consulting, Oct 16, 2015

MBA admissions expert Stacy Blackman, president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, joined us for a Twitter party on September 28th at 1 p.m. EST to share tips and answer all of your questions about the admissions process at Harvard Business School.

Using #AskStacyHBS and #BTGTwitterParty, here are the questions and answers that you might have missed if you could not make it to our Twitter party last week.

Q1: How do you choose recommenders?

A1: First, ask direct supervisor. Then, ask those in professional roles/volunteer roles that can comment on your abilities & answer questions. http://goo.gl/eOm4Am

Q2: What does an ideal recommendation letter look like?

A2: Recommenders need to provide specific examples to back up any claims they make about your abilities.

Q3: How do I stand out from my Peer Group?

A3: By not telling what you did, but digging into WHY you did it. Everyone is different & usually ones story differs from anothers through the whys.

Q4: Does HBS Favor GMAT Test Takers over GRE?

A4: No difference. Use your strongest test. http://goo.gl/ILrLCy

Q5: What is the typical profile for a HBS admit?

A5: They have a track record of excellence & leadership in many different areas. It is not what they have done but how well they have done.

Q6: School Visitdo you recommend it?

A6: I always recommend a visit. It can also help you decide which schools to apply to and which to choose after accepted.

Q7: How do you make a great impression on the HBS Admission Team?

A7: Show leadership qualities, maturity and accomplishment. Demonstrate how you fill the HBS need. http://goo.gl/n1Gz9k.

Q8: Can you provide important tips for the HBS MBA essay?

A8: http://goo.gl/eHpnyQ

Q9: What are the biggest mistakes applicants make in the essay?

A9: Writing too much. Telling them everything. Instead, stay focus. Decide what HBS values, how you fill their needs succinctly.

Q10: What makes HBS special from the other top tier schools?

A10: Its the biggest school with the highest global reputation. It pioneered the case method & uses it as a key teaching method.

Q11: How to make best use of Adcom/Current Students/Alumni meetings?

A11: Ask questions! Be real. Dont worry too much about forging that life-changing connection. Dont monopolize group discussions.

Q12: When is the best time to apply to HBS? R1, R2?

A12: R1 or R2 both work! Do it when you feel most ready.

Q13: GPA, GMAT, App Essays, Interview, Work Experience & Extracurriculars. Rank in order of importance.

A13: It varies by candidate. Its a holistic process where each criteria is carefully weighed. Dont underestimate each impact.

Q14: What applicants from over represented applicant pool (e.g. Indian IT Male) can do to stand out their applications?

A14: Focus on your personal story as opposed to credentials that can look like others. Think about why you did what you did.

Q15: What is the best way for my resume to stand out?

A15: Use action words, quantify results, focus on skills that HBS values, keep it one page and show progression of your skills. http://goo.gl/YnPBNM

Q16: Whats the ideal time to start essays writing?

A16: 6-8 wks before deadline. Dont overthink and start typing. Give yourself time to edit, restart, and rethink. You may need several tries.

Q17: How do Adcoms look at multiple GMAT attempts? Can multiple attempts hurt applicants chances?

A17: They take the highest score so two attempts not a problem. After 6 attempts, no increase could be a prob. Evaluate, are you spending your time wisely?

Q18: Do you have any specific tips for women MBA applicants?

A18: Critical to exude confidence in essays, interview & recommendations http://goo.gl/2OmjmJ

Q19: Do you have any advice in applying for the HBS 2+2?

A19: Its harder to show a track record of excellence & leader that early on & without work exp. Dig into extra-cur & personal stories.

Q20: What do adcoms look for in a candidate before/after the interview?

A20: They review the app holistically both before/aft the interview. In the interview, they seek clarity on the written app. http://goo.gl/FNoOvj

Q21: Would you say that HBS is more open to excellent candidates with less work experience and more depth of story and background?

A21: HBS is looking for the whole package. They want impactful work experience regardless of length.

Q22: How does HBS see candidates who look like job hoppers on paper? Even with a good profile overall.

A22: As long as they can clearly tell their story and demonstrate the WHY's behind the moves, they will be fine.

Q23: What were some challenges your #HBS clients had with the new essay?

A23: Figuring out how to tell their story within the context of introducing themselves to their classmates.

Q24: I'm from an under represented group native of Latin America, but in the USA. Should I highlight this beyond the citizenship box?

A24: YES! HBS sees a ton of applicants. The more you can highlight your diverse background, the better.