Harvard Business School Review: Is Harvard The Best MBA?

Created by EarlyAdmit in Articles 7 Sep 2022

Evaluating whether a school fits your personal needs, career aspirations, and desired academic environment is critical in determining your potential fit as a deferred MBA candidate. For applicants interested in the Harvard Business School 2+2 Program, this blog is a helpful starting point to identify relevant resources to help gauge your fit within HBS. The insights below are a combination of what I learned as an applicant and a deferred admit to the HBS community.

So is Harvard Business School the best deferred MBA program for you? In this complete HBS MBA review, we intend to answer that question and more.

Harvard Business School MBA Highlights 


As most applicants to Harvard’s MBA program may already know, HBS is one of the elite M7 MBA programs. It’s ranked as the number #5 Best Business School by US News in 2022 and the #1 by the Princeton Review. Here are a few important statistics for the Harvard Business School class of 2022 per the website:

Size of Class of 2022: 732 

Acceptance Rate: 9.23%

Undergraduate Institutions Represented: 232

Average years of work experience typically seen in a cohort: 4.7 years

GRE Quant Range: 145-170

GRE Verbal Range: 148-170

GMAT Range: 620-790

Median GMAT score: 730

Median undergraduate GPA: 3.7

2020-2021 MBA Career Outcomes

(Courtesy of HBS Website)

90% “Seeking Jobs” Graduated with Full-Time Offers

11% Start their own business 

$150K Median Base Salary  

60% Receive signing Bonus, which averages $30k 

Boasts 600 Elite Recruiting Partners 

HBS 2020 Recruiting Report 


The Case Method 

HBS prides itself on its unique teaching style, the case method. In most traditional classrooms, professors serve as a lecturer teaching material from a textbook based in theory. In the HBS case based classroom, students read cases, real business situations about real companies and corporate leaders, before entering class. The professor then serves as an emcee for a discussion on the students’ thoughts and feelings towards the case protagonist's decisions. Instead of learning just from a textbook or lecture, students learn from the lessons in the case, the professor, and, most importantly, their peers. This process is so effective because HBS intentionally brings together an extremely diverse group of individuals. For example, in a case about leadership in a pharmaceutical company, the perspective of students that came to school after being an officer in the military, a strategy consultant, a materials engineering, a nurse, an elected official in local government, and professional athlete will all be very different, but each will have a unique perspective to add that the others will likely not have thought of! 

RC Year

First year students at Harvard Business School are referred to as RCs as the first year is a standard Required Curriculum for all students. 

Fall Semester:

Finance I

Financial Reporting and Control (FRC)

Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD)


Technology and Operations Management (TOM)

Spring Semester

Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE)


The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM)

Finance II

Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA)


FIELD Global Immersion is a semester-long course that requires students to build on what they’ve learned so far and apply it to real-world business problems. Students are paired with a Global Partner (GP) company with a product or service challenge for students to address. The course culminates in a one-week immersion at the company’s location during which students meet with their GP and local consumers.

(From the HBS Website) 

EC Year 

The second year students are given the opportunity to choose from over 100 different courses in ten subject areas as well as field-based learning opportunities—including immersion experiences—to gain a more concentrated expertise in the industries, functions, and ideas that interest them most. This allows students to gain depth, breadth, or both! Additionally, cross registration enables students to take classes at other select graduate programs during their EC year.

Cost & Scholarships

The cost of tuition at Harvard Business School is $73,440 for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. With the cost of living in Boston on campus, HBS estimates a total expense of $111,542 for unmarried students without children.

Merit Based Acceptances, Need Based Financial Aid 

All scholarships at HBS are need-based. This is in the belief that all HBS students add equal value to the community and should pay the portion they can afford calculated based on their savings, last 3 years of income, and corporate sponsorships. Approximately 50% of the class receives an award, and the average scholarship is $42,000 per year, or $84,000 total.


Social Enterprise Loan Assistance: Special program aimed to reduce the educational debt repayment burden for alumni serving in managerial positions in the nonprofit and public sectors

Leadership Fellows: HBS graduates are placed in high ranking leadership roles in non-profit pr public organizations and given a salary of $50,000 from the organization and $50,000 from HBS. 

Non-HBS Specific Scholarships 

Harvard also encourages students with need to seek funding outside of HBS-specific scholarships, especially those students looking into going into specific fields such as working for non-profit or public sector roles after graduation. 


Located on the Charles River in Boston, MA, Harvard Business School sits on its own campus separate from HBS. Small enough to walk across in less than 15 minutes, but with everything you need in one place, this picturesque red brick school encourages you to get extremely close with those around you, building a strong network that will last a lifetime. A quick walk, bike, or boat ride away to downtown Boston or Cambridge, Harvard Business school gives you all the benefits of a campus school and a city school in one. 

With over 95 clubs and 200 leadership positions within the student association, students never lack for communities of those with common interests. By nature of the case method, HBS pride itself on being a school that fosters collaboration, team work, and community building in all aspects of campus life. 

Harvard Business School MBA Review: Final Thoughts

As a top ranked program, HBS fulfills the needs of many students and attracts thousands of applicants every year. Harvard offers a rigorous academic curriculum with customization built in as well as networking opportunities to make lifelong connections. It’s commitment to innovation, intellectual curiosity and impact distinguish it from other MBA programs while it provides a multitude of interest-specific resources to achieve your personal and professional goals. 

For those interested in learning more about Harvard’s MBA program and how to best prepare your best application, schedule an appointment with Chad today!

How can EarlyAdmit help you?

As additional guidance, here’s how we at EA have been helping many prospective HBS applicants like you throughout the application journey:

Personalized school-specific coaching across overall application strategy as well as specific aspects like interview guidance

Free content in the form of blogs, podcasts, and newsletters

We also offer a one-of-a-kind customized mentorship package that gives you access to all EA products and unlimited access to a preferred coach

Feel free to reach out to any of the EarlyAdmit coaches for any insights / guidance

Interested in learning about other top programs? Check out our blogs on Wharton, Darden, Booth, and Sloan

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