harvard business school online review

Last Updated on August 24, 2022 by

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harvard business school online review


Good coverage of intuition. It’s like having a great teacher for each of the classes that really focuses on delivering a good understanding to you of the topics covered

Good questions and well thought out order and timing of questions throughout each module. I can tell a lot of thought went into this when initially putting it together. The same cannot be said for the majority of other online learning offerings

Excellent explanation of answers after answering, right or wrong, allowing you to delve deeper into the topic and calibrate your understanding of the concept

Great interview videos with business owners and managers in each of the courses, delivering some insight into the day to day applications of the topics discussed and giving you something to engage your thought in

The LMS is a custom LMS, meaning it has some great integrations and dedicated features to reinforce the learning process you won’t find in other learning management systems

You are being taught by Harvard faculty, so it’s great to see them deliver some of these concepts while maintaining the discussion within the scope of the course

Deadlines keep you on your toes and help you overcome one of the bigger issues with online learning which is completing what you start, especially if you don’t have critical reasons for doing so


The answers are all online pretty much. Between quizlet and Chegg it’s easy to find the answers to the questions, making it also easy for people all around the world to fool the system into getting honors or high honors, at least on the online portion

The module summaries are NOT comprehensive and leave out a lot of the important information for the module, leaving the student with no real reference to look back to and check information after finishing the course. Aside from their own notes. The business analytics course is especially disappointing as the module summaries do not cover all of the excel functions discussed in the modules.

The LMS is NOT optimized to overcome online cheating. No randomization of questions or answers.

People use chat groups to boost each other’s stars to further hack the honors and high honors system

People post articles just to post them in the shared articles section leaving a bunch of copy-paste stuff in your feed which also impacts the honors system

There ARE bots, or HBX employees (some can be found on LinkedIn as employees), as far as I can tell, who participate and post regularly, likely to demonstrate ideal engagement methods. I may be wrong but some of the individuals seemed too ideal in timing, response, etc and didn’t exist on google/LinkedIn which is something some of my cohorts commented on as well.

The final exam is not worth as much of the overall evaluation as you’d expect so most of the honors system is determined within the platform

Nowhere near as in-depth as I believe it should be. In reality, for what they’re apparently trying to accomplish, the takeaways can be done with about 30% of the content and time that goes into it

The level at which this is taught does NOT go far beyond a great high school course in the same subject taught by an excellent teacher

The accounting portion is missing several fundamental things that would need to be researched outside of the course if you really want to walk away with a good understanding for how accounts are classified and how or why positive and negative credit and debit is the way it is. But then again accounting in general is not the easiest thing to cover. I would have approached the accounting course a little differently probably by having the student build up a structure for managing business transactions and then explaining the convention.

harvard business school online acceptance rate

Your application checklist is primed with a high GPA, top GMAT test scores, and professional experience to match. But each year, thousands of Harvard hopefuls don’t make the cut. The time, effort, and thought it takes to prove to Harvard that you’ve earned that coveted spot is just as rigorous as its two-year, full-time MBA program.

What sets the application process apart is its “introspective” nature, HBS officials, students, alumni, and MBA experts agree. Harvard doesn’t want to hear about how great it is, but how you, as an MBA candidate, can make it even better.

In 2020, Harvard received 9,304 applications for its full-time MBA program and extended admission to 859 candidates (that’s a nitpicky 9% acceptance rate). What’s the secret to competing among the world’s future business leaders?

“It’s more of an art than it is a science,” says Shaifali Aggarwal, an HBS graduate who is the founder and CEO of Ivy Groupe, an MBA admissions consulting firm.

Through interviews with current students, alumni, consultants and the HBS admissions director this article seeks to unpack the “art” of getting into Harvard Business School in 6 steps:

Consider why you want the degree
Don’t focus solely on test scores and GPA to carry your application
Choose your recommenders carefully
Tell your story
Memorize your application & practice explaining your “whys”
Reflect on your interview

  1. Consider why you want the degree
    The HBS process requires applicants to be forward-thinking. Consider not only why you’re looking to earn your MBA, but also what you’re going to do with it once you have it.

“If you know you want to go to HBS, you need to know what you will do at HBS,” says John Okemah, who was admitted in 2020.

Harvard employs the case study method, using scenarios from real business leaders. Students debate approaches for protagonists to take in a variety of situations and challenges across multiple industries. Students tackle a whopping 500 cases during their two years at Harvard.

“As an admissions team, we’re thinking about the pedagogy and who’s going to lean into that kind of environment,” says Chad Losee, managing director of HBS MBA admissions. Cold-calling and fast-paced debates are an essential component of an HBS education. Consider whether that’s an environment where you would sink or swim.

“It can be easy to fall into the trap of applying to Harvard solely based on the name recognition,” says Ayo Ekhator, another member of HBS’s MBA class of 2023. “But I think the most successful process is had by those who take the time to both research what Harvard offers on an academic, social, and professional level and to next understand how that fits with the applicant’s goals.”

  1. Don’t focus solely on test scores and GPA to carry your application
    Students admitted to Harvard Business School in 2020 on average had a 3.7 undergrad GPA, 4.7 years of work experience, and a 730 median GMAT score. While these numbers can indicate success, they don’t guarantee admission. HBS students come from engineering, economics, social sciences, business/commerce, and math and physical science backgrounds, with no one undergrad program representing a majority of admitted students.

Focus on your letters of recommendation, essay, interview, and post-interview reflection. These will differentiate your candidacy.

“We’re not doing anything in an algorithmic way,” HBS admissions director Losee says. “We also see our application process as a two-way street. Those who are applying to HBS want to learn more about the school as they go through the process. And we want to learn more about the applicants.”

  1. Choose your recommenders carefully
    Accompanying your application are two letters of recommendation, which should illustrate HBS pillars: a habit of leadership (stepping up for yourself and others), analytical aptitude and appetite (strong academic performance), and engaged community citizenship (what you’re giving back as your success grows). Someone who’s been close enough to your work to provide constructive feedback makes the best recommender, Losee says.

Although a good recommender could be an HBS alum, it’s more important to have someone who knows you well to speak on your behalf.

“Don’t undervalue how important selecting the right composition of recommendation writers is,” says Tess Michaels, HBS class of 2020 and founder and CEO of Stride Funding, a platform that offers income share agreements, an alternative to traditional student loans. Having multiple letters of recommendation from one job is “less interesting to HBS than them getting to see different dimensions of you,” she adds.

Recommenders should articulate how you’ve shown leadership in an academic, professional, or extracurricular setting—or a mix of these, says Michaels, who applied under HBS’s 2+2 Program during her time in undergrad at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The deferred program requires two years of work experience followed by two years in the regular HBS MBA Program. Its application process is identical to the traditional HBS; it’s just under a different timeline.

  1. Tell your story
    Admissions officers don’t ask, “Why Harvard?”

Harvard (not so simply) asks, “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?”

This isn’t something you can respond to quickly or in one sitting, Harvard students, officials, and MBA experts agree. It takes time to reflect on your past and plan your future—and to illustrate it through a well-crafted story.

“While HBS is of course looking for certain qualities, it’s really in the context of your own experiences, your perspectives, your values,” MBA consultant Aggarwal says. “It’s really important to tell your story.” And HBS values people who are not purely bookish, she adds.

“So much of what I wrote about was the power of learning by doing, which had helped me propel my career,” HBS alum Michaels says of the essay.

Critical points to hit in your essay: Why now is the right time to pursue your MBA, what your goals are, what you’re hoping to get from the program to get you where you want to be, and (in a non-generic way) why you want to earn your MBA.

Life can be very busy and fast-paced for those applying to an MBA program. Take a cue from Ferris Bueller: It’s important during the essay process to stop, take a step back, and look within to tell your story through your essay instead of approaching it as a longer version of your résumé.

“That reflection, I think, can really help you hit the ground running when you get to business school, and it can help us get to know you and what you would bring to HBS,” Losee says.

  1. Memorize your application & practice explaining your “whys”
    HBS typically invites one in five applicants to an on-campus interview, Losee says, and of those interviewees, about half are eventually admitted.

Unlike other programs, only HBS admissions board members conduct interviews. And believe it or not, these officials likely spend more time preparing than you.

Your interviewer will know your application to a T. They’ll know the classes you took your freshman year of college, where you had your first internship, in which clubs you were involved—and even where you went to high school. They know your story from your essay.

To nail the interview is to know yourself and to justify your decisions.

“A lot of the prep was asking myself all these ‘why’ questions that I hadn’t really considered before,” Okemah says. These questions included why he worked for the company he did after graduating from Williams College and why he left that company to go to another one. Looking at his decisions from a high level and forming responses for an admissions officer made it “really tough,” he says.

Googling HBS interview questions won’t be very helpful, as every interview is tailored to the applicant. To prepare for the hot seat, memorize your application and practice explaining your “whys.”

“That’s about you and not about what was asked to someone else who submitted a different application,” Losee says.

  1. Reflect on your interview
    Within 24 hours of the interview, applicants must submit a follow-up letter—the last piece of the puzzle.

The post-interview reflection takes the traditional thank-you note a step further and allows applicants to have the last word, Losee says. Applicants can expand on topics addressed during their interview and bridge any gaps in their application. It’s also another opportunity for HBS to understand how applicants synthesize conversations, says Aggarwal, who counsels prospects for top MBA programs.

There’s no prescription for the structure or length of the letter, but it should be concise and reflective. It’s not something that you can prepare for since no two HBS interviews are alike.

“It’s not meant to be intimidating or prescriptive,” Losee says. “It’s not something to be overthought or overwrought.”

is harvard business school online accredited

Harvard Business School Online launched as HBX in 2014 to deepen the School’s impact and broaden its reach, all while staying true to the HBS mission: to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The nuance? Now we could reach those leaders wherever they are—in the world, in their careers, and in their lives.

Since, HBS Online has educated 100,000-plus learners from more than 175 countries via our innovative online platform.

We achieve this through a learning model that is active, social, and case-based. Meaning, you immerse yourself in real-world challenges facing seasoned business leaders and discuss and debate solutions with peers from around the world—all while learning from renowned Harvard Business School faculty. It’s an online business education like no other.

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