Admitted Students Welcome Review

It’s the final furlong of the recruitment calendar, but how does the HBS Admitted Student Welcome fare for the Class of 2019

 No one told me that my first intellectual challenge at Harvard Business School would be picking the “theme tune which best describes my life” over an ice-breaking lunch with my fellow admits. Panic. What answer would make me sound sufficiently fun, intellectual, and wholly deserving of my place in the class of 2019. Despite accurately describing the HBS application process, I sense that my choice of “Living on a Prayer” fell somewhat short on all counts. Lesson One: Jon Bon Jovi (sadly) is not the answer to everything.


So, ice broken and theme-song judgements made, we got down to the important business of ASW – no, not forgetting people’s names – the actual point of ASW: getting a glimpse into the place we would call home for the next 2 years. Admit events are the “try before you buy” of the MBA world and for business schools as an industry, these days are their final chance to persuade their carefully curated class to commit. And with acceptance rate (or yield, if you’re in the industry) one of the most important numbers on the business school balanced scorecard, a lot can ride on these two days.

 Now, I’ll admit I didn’t actually go to any other admit events (bonus points for commitment to #nextstopHBS, but journalistic credibility does suffer), but HBS’s strategy was, maybe unsurprisingly, to be itself. In the two days we got a real preview of what we could expect our MBA to be like: attend a real class, take part in a real (fake) class, eat real canteen food, beer in a real Boston bar, and ask students anything you could think of – the accurate business term is “authentic marketing” according to Dean Nitin Nohria, (Pepsi should take note).

The thing which stood out for admits was how great everyone was. No seriously, it was all everyone could say. It seems the only unknown left was who else would be joining the class. If people wanted anything more from our sneak peek into our MBA experience, it was to spend more time with their new class (perhaps just to make sure everyone was as nice as they first appeared, but more likely to secure those ever important apartment-on-campus roommates).

To seal the deal, Dean Nohria told us that we were definitely “not to come here for the weather”, and I think I can safely say that we will all be returning for the people. (Statistically speaking, about 90%, if you’re counting)…

So, it transpires that the day did leave some questions unanswered – the major mysteries appear to fall into the following broad categories – coming directly from my fellow “RC’s-to-be”. My (unverified) answers provided to clear a few things up:

  1. How many free t-shirts was I supposed to take?

A short poll suggests the answer lies between 1 and 17. And just as an FYI you weren’t supposed to take the long sleeved ones (you know who you are).

  1. Where am I going to live?

Your guess is as good as mine. As with anything worthwhile, I hear you have to wake up at 3am to log onto the internet in order to select a room. How thrilling. Apparently bribery will not help you either. Someone checked.

  1. What should I do for summer?

Apparently the key to success is: Sleep. Hydrate. Repeat. Nothing more.

  1. How cold does it actually get in winter?

Cold enough that once, the sea started to freeze. The Sea.

  1. Does Chipotle deliver?

No idea. You’re just going to have to find out in August like the rest of us.