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How To Get Into Harvard Business School: Acceptance Rate

July 17, 2024
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Harvard Business School Acceptance Rate: 11.5%Harvard Business School Admissions StatisticsJob Enrollment After GraduationWhat is Harvard Business School Looking For In Applicants?Harvard Business School Admissions Requirements Harvard Business School Application DeadlinesHow to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Harvard Business SchoolHarvard Business School Essay PromptsHarvard Business School Interview

Harvard Business School (HBS) is famous worldwide and is located at Harvard University in Boston. It was founded in 1908 and still ranks among the top business schools in the world. Though the rankings may vary each year, HBS consistently ranks among the top five graduate business programs yearly. 

Since a Harvard MBA is so renowned, you must put much time and effort into the application. The application procedure is somewhat similar to that of other MBA colleges. However, Harvard's admissions committee has certain expectations you need to fulfill to get accepted. 

This guide will help you understand everything you need to know about how to get into Harvard Business School. 

Harvard Business School Acceptance Rate: 11.5%

The HBS acceptance rate is 11.5%, reflecting its highly competitive admissions process. With 8,149 applications received, only 938 students were admitted. This low acceptance rate underscores the school's commitment to selecting exceptional candidates with academic excellence. 

If you hope to gain admission into HBS, ensure you have an extremely strong application and submit everything on time. Please note that this acceptance rate is an estimate because many MBA programs have stopped releasing this. 

How Hard Is It to Get Into Harvard Business School

With an acceptance rate of 11.5%, Harvard Business School is very selective. This means that out of every 100 applicants, only approximately 11 or 12 are admitted. To increase your chances of acceptance, it's important to have a strong academic record, impressive professional achievements, outstanding test scores, compelling essays, and glowing recommendation letters.

Harvard Business School Admissions Statistics

Here are the average GPA, test scores, and work experience of Harvard Business School applicants to help you better understand what they expect from them. 

Harvard Business School Average GPA: 3.73

The average GPA of admitted applicants applying to Harvard Business School is 3.73. Although HBS doesn’t have a minimum GPA requirement, you should aim for a minimum of 3.7. It’s always best to aim for a 4.0. It’s important to note that HBS does look at other factors of an applicant's application; however, your GPA is very important. 

Harvard Business School Average GMAT Score: 740

The Harvard GMAT average for admitted applicants is 740. HBS only requires one test score, so it’s your choice if you want to submit a GMAT or GRE score. Remember that HBS GMAT scores are competitive so if you do submit a GMAT score make sure it's considered competitive. 

Harvard Business School Average GRE Score: 163

The median GRE score for Harvard Business School admitted applicants is 163. Due to HBS being extremely competitive, aim for a GRE score higher than 163. You’ll have the choice to submit either the GRE or GMAT, so ensure you have the best score for whatever test you write. 

Employed After Graduation: 80% 

80% of Harvard Business School graduates are employed after graduation. They often land jobs at leading companies in different fields.

Average Year of Work Experience: 4.9 Years

The average work experience for HBS-admitted applicants is around five years. The top industries admitted applicants worked in were consulting, consumer products/retail/e-commerce, financial services, and healthcare. If you want to be considered competitive, ensure you meet the average work experience of admitted applicants.

Job Enrollment After Graduation

After graduating from Harvard Business School (HBS), students follow many different paths. Around 73% of graduates look for jobs, with 86% of them getting job offers.

Meanwhile, 27% don’t seek jobs; of these, 13% start their own businesses, 11% are already employed or have company sponsorship, 3% do other things, and 1% continue their education. The median base salary for these graduates is $175,000. A median signing bonus of $30,000 is received by 57%, and a median performance bonus of $40,000 is received by 70%.

Graduates work in various industries: 25% in consulting, 16% in technology, 17% in private equity, and smaller numbers in investment management, health care, manufacturing, nonprofit/government, investment banking, consumer products, other financial services, venture capital, retail, entertainment/media, and services. 

They take roles in finance (33%), consulting (26%), general management (16%), marketing (10%), business development (6%), strategic planning (7%), and other areas (3%).

As for locations, 89% of graduates work in the United States, mostly in the Northeast (54%), followed by the West (16%), Southwest (7%), South (5%), Midwest (4%), and Mid-Atlantic (3%). 

Internationally, 11% work abroad, with 5% in Europe, 3% in Asia, 1% in the Middle East and North Africa, and smaller numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada, Latin America, and Australia & Oceania. This shows the variety of career paths and good salaries HBS graduates usually get.

What is Harvard Business School Looking For In Applicants?

Harvard Business School evaluates applications by assessing applicants' demonstrated leadership skills, emphasizing collaboration and meaningful dialogue. They also consider analytical aptitude and a drive for lively discussion, seeking individuals capable of mastering complex information and problem-solving. 

Additionally, HBS prioritizes engaged community work, expecting applicants to uphold ethical standards and positively contribute to the MBA program. The school aims to assemble a diverse class reflective of the global economy, fostering a dynamic learning environment enriched by varied perspectives and backgrounds.

Harvard Business School Admissions Requirements 

To apply to Harvard Business School, you’ll need to submit various application materials, these include:

Ensure your Harvard MBA application is submitted online by the application deadlines. 

Harvard Business School Application Deadlines

Here is a table showing the various Harvard Business School application deadlines to ensure you don’t miss one. 

Application Round Deadline Decisions Released
Round 1 September 4, 2024 December 10, 2024
Round 2 January 6, 2024 March 26, 2024

Source: HBS

Harvard Business School Regular Decision Deadline

The regular decision deadlines for rounds one and two for Harvard Business School’s MBA program are early September and early January. Ensure you have your application materials ready by these deadlines. 

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into Harvard Business School

Getting into Harvard Business School can be very overwhelming. The admissions committee at HBS carefully evaluates each applicant before accepting them. Here are a few tips on improving your chances of getting into Harvard Business School:

Begin Your Research Early

Researching Harvard Business School should be the first thing you do before applying. Researching will help you gain insight into what the school can offer and what it stands for. 

You can start learning about HBS by networking with current students, connecting with alumni, and attending admissions events. It’s never too early to start your research into HBS. Although it depends on your time and availability, starting your research one year before you apply is generally a good idea.

Focus on Acing the GMAT/GRE

HBS is looking for applicants who are able to handle the rigors of a business school. While HBS doesn't set a minimum required GMAT or GRE score, you should aim for a competitive score, ideally within or above the class average scores. This is especially valuable if your GPA is on the lower side.

Write an Outstanding Personal Statement

‍You may have all the essential qualities needed to get into HBS, but it will be useless unless you can show Harvard that you are a perfect fit. Write a clear and concise personal statement that will help you stand out. Tell the admissions committee about yourself, your passions, and your work experiences.

The admission committee loves to accept students who are passionate and willing to give back to society. You should aim to let the admissions committee know how you can contribute to the world through your knowledge, potential, and leadership skills. 

In addition, your HBS essay shouldn't just expand on your resume. Admissions committees will want to know the 'why' behind the 'what,' so it's essential to communicate both what you want to achieve and why from your career and business school experience.

Have Valuable Work Experience

‍You should try to collect at least four years of work experience before applying to HBS. Though there is a four-year program at Harvard that allows undergraduate students to get admitted and then work for two years to gain some work experience, you should try to acquire at least four years of work experience before applying to HBS. 

Before applying to HBS, aim to build a strong skill set. HBS is looking for strong leadership skills and an analytical aptitude. HBS welcomes students who can master quantitative concepts and engage in the community by showing respect for others.

You can go for internships that will help to improve your skill set. If you feel that you don't have the required skills, it may just be a matter of looking at your experiences differently. There are likely other aspects of your experiences that can be highlighted in these instances.

Expert MBA Admissions Consulting for Harvard Business School 

Our MBA application consulting helps you get into top business schools like Harvard. We customize every part of your application, from strategy and essays to your resume and interview prep. 

We focus on highlighting your strengths and unique story, making sure your application stands out. With our expert guidance, you'll navigate the application process with confidence and improve your chances of success.

Harvard Business School Essay Prompts

Applicants to the MBA Class of 2027 (starting in fall 2025) need to answer these three essay prompts:

Business-Minded Essay: Please reflect on how your experiences have influenced your career choices and aspirations and the impact you will have on the businesses, organizations, and communities you plan to serve. (up to 300 words)
Leadership-Focused Essay: What experiences have shaped who you are, how you invest in others, and what kind of leader you want to become? (up to 250 words)
Growth-Oriented Essay: Curiosity can be seen in many ways. Please share an example of how you have demonstrated curiosity and how that has influenced your growth. (up to 250 words)

Harvard Business School Interview

After reviewing your written application, you might get invited for a 30-minute interview. The interviewer will be someone from the MBA Admissions Board who has reviewed your application. The interview is a chance for them to learn more about you through a conversation.

Getting an interview is a positive sign but doesn't guarantee admission. It's just one part of the whole application process. Interviews are only given to those invited; you must attend to complete your application.

Interviews can take place on campus, in different cities, or online via Zoom. Whether you're invited and how the interview is conducted don't indicate the status of your application.


Here are some frequently asked questions if you need further clarification on HBS. 

1. Is There a Minimum Age to Get to HBS?‍

No, there is no age restriction to apply to HBS. You can choose from various programs, depending on your goals and preferences.‍

2. Is the GMAT/GRE Compulsory to Get to HBS?‍

Yes, you need to take either the GMAT or GRE to get into HBS. ‍

3. Do I Need to Take an English Proficiency Exam to Get Into HBS?

Yes, you might have to take an English proficiency exam, such as TOEFL or IELTS, unless your native language is English. You can also be waived from the exam if you can submit a transcript showing you graduated from an English medium college/university.‍

4. What is the Application Fee for HBS?‍

The application fee is $250, which has to be paid via credit card.‍

5. Can I Submit a Hard Copy of My Application?

No, you cannot submit a hard copy of your application. You need to use the online application tool to submit your application.‍

6. Can I Reapply to the MBA Program?

Yes, you will need to file a new application, submit the fees, and get at least one new letter of recommendation from someone who hasn’t already written one for you. ‍

7. What is the Deadline to Apply?

Deadlines vary each year so be sure to regularly check the HBS website to see the deadlines for your course. The Round 1 deadline is usually in early September and the Round 2 deadline is normally at the beginning of January. The deadline is 11:59 pm on the date mentioned. 

Final Thoughts

Getting into Harvard Business School can be daunting since it is one of the world’s top business schools. There is no one sure-shot way to get into HBS, but give yourself the best possible chance by following the strategies outlined above.

Start your research early, and make sure to set aside ample time to fill out and review your application thoroughly. Try your best to prove to the admissions committee how you’d be an excellent fit for the HBS, and you will not have to worry about how to get into Harvard Business School.


Reviewed by:

Alexei Sorokin

Investment Banking and Corporate Development Expert

Reviewed: 7/16/24

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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