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Fridays from the Frontline: Reapplying to HBS

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Earlier this week, Harvard Business School (HBS) released interview invitations for applicants in Round 3, as well as for undergraduate applicants to its 2+2 Program. (This deferred admissions program guarantees a place for admitted undergrads in the HBS class after they graduate from college and successfully complete two years of approved work experience.) As expected, MBA LiveWire lit up with submissions as the decisions rolled in—but unfortunately red rejections far outnumbered interview invites.

If you were among those “released” from consideration on Wednesday, don’t despair. As HBS itself notes, the school receives roughly ten applications for every available spot in the class, and every year it must turn away many qualified candidates. Not only that, reapplicants—people who were rejected on the first try—claim 94 spots in the Class of 2017. That’s almost a full tenth of the class!

One such successful reapplicant, Ryan Hansen, applied to HBS’s 2+2 Program while in college but didn’t get in. Did he let that stop him? No. Instead he went out into the workforce and gathered valuable experience that made his candidacy stronger the second time around—winning him a spot in the Class of 2017.

Hansen has generously agreed to allow us to republish a post he wrote about his experience and his decision to reapply here on Clear Admit. We thank him—and encourage you to check it out for inspiration in the reapplication process.

This following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, “MBA Voices,” the student blog for HBS.

Reapplying to HBS

By Ryan Hansen, HBS MBA ‘17

During my undergraduate education I knew I wanted to eventually attend business school. I had heard about HBS’s 2+2 Program and loved the idea of being admitted to a masters program before graduating with my bachelor’s degree. Who wouldn’t want to know that they had been admitted to Harvard Business School more than two years prior to matriculating? It’s difficult enough figuring out life for the next six months, let alone two or three years in the future.

In fact, while still in undergrad, I would have preferred to pursue an MBA immediately after graduating without spending several years getting “work experience” in between. Why not just front load the formal education and then jump into the work force, armed and ready for the challenges ahead? At least, that was my thought process at the time.

I decided to apply for the 2+2 Program, and a month or two later I found out that I had been dinged. Life went on and, following graduation, I started working for Worthington Industries—a manufacturing company based in Columbus, Ohio. After a few years at Worthington, and a recent promotion to a Product Manager role, I again started thinking about applying to full-time MBA programs.

This time, however, my perspective was much different. Since graduation, I had spent significant time in more than a dozen manufacturing facilities working with both plant management and shop floor employees. I had presented a recommendation for several acquisitions to the corporate senior leadership team, introduced a line of products in a new geography, and launched a new product development process in the company’s highest growth business unit.

Surely, my perspective—both what I might contribute and the learnings I’d now internalize in an MBA classroom—would be much different after those experiences.

Well, I had already been dinged from HBS. Was it worth applying a second time? Although uncertain of whether or not I’d be accepted to the program, I wanted to give it another shot. Fortunately, and likely due to some divine intervention, I was accepted to the program. I was absolutely elated when I received the good news.

For applicants who get the “ding” as I did, my suggestion is to brush it off, gain some meaningful work experience to prepare for your career and to contribute in an MBA classroom, and then don’t hesitate to reapply when ready. Of the 900+ students in the Class of 2017, 94 of us were reapplicants. Just because you don’t get into HBS the first time, doesn’t mean you won’t be at some point in the future.

Now, here at HBS, I’ve had an incredible first semester and am headed to Ghana for FIELD 2. In fact, I’m writing this at the Atlanta Airport as my 13-hour itinerary just became 30 hours due to travel delays. HBS is a very special place that is exceeding my already high expectations. Just remember that the timing for your application and/or admission is unique for everyone.

If you are considering reapplying to business school, check out Clear Admit’s Reapplicant Guide, packed with valuable advice and tips on how to get into your top-choice school the second time around.