How to get admission in Harvard Business School for Indian students

Harvard Business School Admission

Harvard Business School (HBS) is undeniably one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. With its illustrious history, the institution has sculpted many leaders and visionaries. For an Indian student, being admitted into HBS is not only an academic accomplishment but also a significant milestone. In this blog by EuroSchool, we delve into the steps and nuances of securing admission into Harvard Business School from India.

Also Read: TOEFL: Meaning, Preparation, Practice, Test

How can an Indian student get admission in Harvard Business School

Here’s how can an Indian student get into Harvard Business School

1. Understand the Requirements

The first step is to familiarise oneself with the admission prerequisites. Like most business schools, HBS looks for:

Academic Excellence: Strong grades in undergraduate (and if applicable, postgraduate) courses.

GMAT or GRE Scores: Competitive scores, typically on the higher end.

Work Experience: 3-5 years of meaningful professional experience is usually preferred.

Letters of Recommendation: Usually two, which speak to your potential and accomplishments.

Essays: Essays allow applicants to showcase their personal journey, goals, and fit for HBS.

English Proficiency: All candidates who received their bachelor’s degree and any graduate degrees from a university or universities where English is not the sole language of instruction are required to take an English language test such as TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson Test of English (PTE), or Duolingo English Test.

2. Academic Preparation

A robust academic background forms the cornerstone of the application. Indian students often hail from diverse undergraduate disciplines – from engineering to arts. Ensure you’ve consistently performed well in your chosen field. If there are any academic hiccups, be ready to explain them in the application or interview.

3. Competitive Test Scores

For the GMAT, a score around 730 or higher is considered competitive for HBS, although scores both lower and higher are represented in the student body. While the GRE doesn’t have a benchmark score, presenting your best is vital. Remember, the goal is not just to meet the average but to showcase your aptitude.

Also Read: GMAT: Meaning, Preparation, Practice, Test

4. Meaningful Work Experience

HBS prefers candidates with a solid work record. This doesn’t necessarily mean working in top-tier companies, but rather the impact you’ve made wherever you are. Indian students often come from diverse sectors like IT, consulting, entrepreneurship, or NGOs. The focus should be on leadership potential, achievements, and the learnings from your journey.

5. Crafting Your Story through Essays

HBS’s essay prompt is broad: “As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA programme?” This open-ended question is your canvas. As an Indian student, you can draw from your unique experiences, cultural nuances, challenges faced, and visions for the future. The essay is less about grand achievements and more about introspection and authenticity.

Also Read: GRE: Meaning, Preparation, Practice, Test

6. Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

Choose recommenders who know you well and can vouch for your abilities, rather than going for titles. An LOR from your immediate supervisor at a mid-tier company where you’ve demonstrated significant impact can be more potent than a generic letter from a CEO.

7. Preparing for the Interview

If your application is shortlisted, you’ll be invited for an interview. At HBS, interviews are detailed and conversational. Be ready to discuss your experiences, decisions, and aspirations. Indian students can leverage unique perspectives shaped by their socio-cultural and professional background.

8. Building a Network

Engage with current HBS students or alumni, especially those from India. Their insights can be invaluable in understanding the school’s culture and expectations. Attend HBS information sessions or webinars tailored for prospective students.

Also Read: All you need to know about cracking international exams

9. Financing Your MBA

Harvard Business School is a significant investment. Fortunately, as an Indian student, you can explore various financing options:

Scholarships: Both HBS-specific and external scholarships.

Education Loans: Indian banks and global lenders offer loans for studying abroad. Some institutions even provide loan without collateral.

Assistantships: While less common in the first year, you can explore research or teaching assistant roles in the second year.

10. Showcasing the ‘Extra’ in Extracurriculars

HBS values holistic development. Your extracurricular engagements, be it in sports, arts, community service, or entrepreneurship, can differentiate you. The depth of involvement matters more than the breadth.

11. Remember the ‘Fit’

Finally, while grades and scores are crucial, HBS is also looking for students who fit into its ethos. Emphasise why you believe HBS is the right place for you and how you will contribute to its diverse community.

12. Transcripts

For the application process, when you’re uploading transcripts, ensure that all course names are presented in English. You can provide an unofficial translation at the start of your application. However, should you receive admission into Harvard Business School, it becomes mandatory to send an original language paper transcript, from each educational institution you attended, directly to World Education Services (WES) – a third-party verification agency. Along with this, an official verbatim English translation of the transcript is also required. Please note that any inconsistencies between your preliminary unofficial translation and either the official original language transcript or the formal English translation could lead the School to reconsider and potentially rescind an admission offer.

Also Read: IELTS Benefits: Meaning, Preparation, Practice, Test

For Indian students, gaining admission into Harvard Business School is a rigorous yet rewarding journey. The process requires meticulous planning, self-awareness, and persistence. While the competition is fierce, the unique experiences and perspectives that Indian students bring can be a potent differentiator.

Remember, every year numerous Indian students make it to HBS. With dedication, introspection, and a genuine passion for your future goals, you can join this elite group. Best of luck!

EuroSchool emphasises global curriculum, cultural understanding, critical thinking, language proficiency, and experiential learning, priming students for international academic pursuits.

The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only. We highly recommend that students and other readers always refer to the official website of the respective college or institution for the most current and accurate details. Decisions made based on the information provided in this blog are at the reader’s discretion only.



Admission Enquiry