MBA News: Tips and Trends from Harvard Business School’s Deirdre Leopold

John Byrne, founder of the Business Week rankings and the new MBA community Poets and Quants, landed a coup of an interview with Harvard Business School’s managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid, Deirdre “Dee” Leopold, which posted late last week. Although the interview wasn’t earth shattering, Leopold, who saw 9,524 applicants to HBS this year—the most since 2004—chatted with Byrne about the evolution of the application process, from hand-written applications to online applications (which she says make a less personal impression). Leopold cedes that the essays have become critical in terms of understanding the personality of MBA candidates, but she cautions applicants against feeling that they are in “an essay-writing contest” and trying to figure out “what a business school wants to hear” (as does mbaMission!) She notes that the most common mistake candidates make is overstating their importance and taking too much credit—for a billion-dollar deal, for example. She says that many applicants worry too much about standing out and that it is crucial “simply to tell your story.” We agree…

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