Boston, MA – Harvard Business School has been forced to backtrack on a new initiative that was piloted in the 2018-19 admissions cycle: the elimination of school’s third admissions round. Admissions director Chad Losee, who just months ago touted the benefits of moving to a more simplified two-round admissions cycle, announced today that the school was bringing back the third round, effective immediately. This means that applicants can still apply to HBS for a September 2019 start date by submitting an application before the 21st of April.
Losee cited several factors that influenced the admissions team’s sudden change of course: “We haven’t seen the sort of application volume we’re accustomed to in rounds one and two, so we’re looking to simply get some more folks into the pool and to ensure that we can build the best, most diverse class possible.” Losee added that some external factors were at play too; “With the US economy effectively at full-employment, the MBA faces some headwinds…but this is cyclical and we’re hoping for a bit of a recession in the near future to drive some folks out of the labor force and into the business school pipeline.”
This season has indeed been difficult for many top-MBA programs, with application volume experiencing declines at nearly every leading business school. As such, HBS may have found itself in a tough position with an under-supply of candidates and one round less in which to solicit applications. Losee also cited on unintended consequence; “It seems like many of our peer schools, like Stanford and Wharton, are just cleaning up on applications from non-traditional, creative types this season. That crowd often applies late, and our peers successfully painted HBS as being a bit too type-A with only two deadlines.” Stanford’s admissions viewbook did reveal an unusual labeling of admissions rounds, referring to their third round as the “HBS Won’t Wait for You, But We Will” round.
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