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MBA LiveWire Briefing: HBS R1 Interviews, Rejections, Waitlists

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As the Round 1 season has gotten underway, Clear Admit’s MBA LiveWire has been lighting up with entries from candidates reporting statuses as interview invites begin to roll out for many of the top MBA programs.

LiveWire briefing
A shower of red accompanied R1 LiveWire reports regarding HBS interview invitations

In our first LiveWire Briefing this season, we wanted to take a look at some of the data from those who have received decisions in Harvard Business School (HBS)’s first round of admissions. As many of our readers know, yesterday marked a critical moment in HBS’s R1 process—with candidates learning whether they received that coveted interview invite, or not. Actually, that’s not entirely true, since HBS also has a third, lesser-known option called “Further Consideration.” Further Consideration means the applicant has neither received an invite nor been rejected, he or she has simply been bumped into the next admissions round for—you guessed it—further consideration.

In total, as of the end of day yesterday, 135 HBS candidates shared their status from Round 1 on MBA LiveWire. As always, with MBA LiveWire, we preface our analysis with a reminder that we’re still dealing with a relatively small sample size—likely less than 5 percent of the applicant pool depending on volume. Of course, the more of you who upload your results, the better MBA LiveWire and these analyses will become.

Rejected HBS Applicants Are Pretty Darn Impressive
There were 83 candidates who posted to LiveWire to indicate that they were denied without an interview. This comprises 61 percent of the HBS applicants we heard from. The average GMAT score of this group is 731, with a range of 680 to 780. The average GPA (of those who reported a GPA on a 4.0 scale) is 3.63. These numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at—and would likely be head-of-the-class stuff at many business schools across the globe—yet each and every one of the candidates in this group were rejected without an interview.

Those Invited to Interview Are Also Pretty Darn Impressive
There were 44 candidates who posted that they had received an interview invite at HBS. This comprises 33 percent of the applicants we heard from. It also means that those who read Clear Admit and hang out on LiveWire perform a bit better than the applicant pool at large (since HBS typically invites only 25 percent of applicants for an interview). [OK, we know it might also just mean that our readers who get good news are more likely to share…but let us have our little moment in the sun, no?] The average GMAT score of this group is slightly higher at 745, with a similar range, 680 to 790. Their average GPA is 3.67, also slightly higher.

Further Consideration Is Just a Fancy Word for Waitlist
Only 8 candidates reported being placed on the waitlist. The average GMAT of this group was the same as the denied group, 731, while the group’s average GPA was 3.81.

What Does It All Mean?
While it would be foolish to draw too many conclusions from this data (see our comments above), the numbers do support the notion that GMAT/GPA are important, but that they are also simply qualifiers. Candidates are given a positive decision (interview invite in this case) based on many more factors that will include the quality of the work experience, community service record, overall impact, leadership qualifications, personal background and goals.

Stay tuned for more insights from MBA LiveWire data as the admissions season continues!

Alex Brown
Alex is a co host for Clear Admit's Wire Taps podcast. He has spent 30 years in the MBA admissions industry, and authored the book: Becoming a Clear Admit: The Definitive Guide to MBA Admissions