Harvard MBA 2+2 Program

The Harvard MBA 2+2 Program is a unique opportunity for college seniors, recent college graduates, and working professionals to gain admission to Harvard Business School. The program is designed to provide an accelerated path to an MBA from one of the world’s most prestigious business schools. It offers a two-year deferral period, allowing participants to gain real-world experience, develop professional skills, and take on leadership roles before beginning the MBA program. With the opportunity to learn from renowned faculty, participate in extensive networking events, and gain access to a vast alumni network, the Harvard MBA 2+2 Program is an incredibly valuable opportunity.

Being one of the most sought-after courses, applying for an MBA at Harvard Business School will require a strong academic and professional record along with acing your GMAT exam and providing well-written essays and LORs. Under all these essentials, you will necessarily extensive work experience to ace your application. But what if we tell you that you can apply for a Harvard MBA directly after graduating? Well, Harvard’s exclusive MBA 2+2 programme makes that possible.

The MBA 2+2 program at Harvard Business School offers business and management students the opportunity to spend half of the program pursuing the best work opportunities while also gaining the knowledge and expertise coming with an MBA degree. Read this blog to know all about the eligibility, application process and details pertaining to how hard it is to get into Harvard MBA 2+2 program.

What is Harvard’s MBA 2+2 Programme?

The MBA 2+2 programme is a deferred enrollment programme offered by the Harvard Business School. Under this programme, students in their last year of undergraduate study or those who are enrolled in a master’s programme could apply for admission into Harvard’s MBA programme on a deferred basis. What it means is that this programme is divided into two parts. The first two years (maximum 4) after getting admission would be spent gaining full-time work experience and the last two years would be dedicated to academic pursuits. Thus, by opting for this course, you are reserving a seat for yourself in the future batch of Harvard’s MBA programme. 

Eligibility Criteria

Harvard’s 2+2 MBA programme is open to students from all disciplines but you must qualify the following criteria if you wish to get enrolled in it. 

  1. You can apply for the current admission cycle if you complete your graduation before the deadline.
    • Students pursuing an undergraduate degree and are in their final year of study could apply.
    • Master’s degree level students are also eligible to apply. But they must not have held a full-time working position between their bachelor’s and masters. 
  2. The applicant must have cleared GMAT or GRE.  
    Note: Because of the ongoing pandemic situation, for the cohort of 2022 online versions GMAT and GRE exams are acceptable. 
  3. If you are an international student who has studied at a non-English university then you need to qualify for any of the English language proficiency tests. 
  4. You would be given more preference if:
    • If you plan on working in an operating company (related to production and manufacturing) during the first two years.
    • The candidate belongs to lower socio-economic background.
Harvard Acceptance Rate

Application Details

The application procedure is similar to the regular Harvard MBA programme and the entire procedure will be conducted online. All the eligible candidates could apply through the official website of Harvard Business School. Here are the things you must know while applying for Harvard MBA 2+2 MBA program:

  1. Application fee – 100$
  2. You could apply for a fee waiver in case of financial constraints while filling out the application form. 
  3. The candidates will have to go through an interview round before getting into the Harvard MBA 2+2 programme. 

Documents Required

Here is a document checklist for gearing up your application for Harvard MBA 2+2 program:

  1. Academic transcripts of the bachelor’s and master’s programmes. 
  2. Letters of Recommendation.
  3. GMAT or GRE scorecards.
  4. Proof showing that you have cleared IELTS, TOEFL or PTE (if applicable).
  5. Statement of Purpose consisting of any essay which clearly mentions why you wish to pursue the 2+2 MBA programme.
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Pros and Cons of the Harvard 2+2 Program

The following are the pros and cons of the Harvard 2+2 Program:

A Guaranteed Spot & A Flexible Timeline

The Harvard 2+2 program’s most important perk is its guarantee of deferred enrollment at Harvard, provided you work for at least two years following your acceptance. Your future career plans can be more certain and forward-looking now that you know you have a guaranteed place in a Harvard MBA cohort. Students have the option to follow an MBA path that is very different from the one that is typically followed thanks to this option.

Most MBA candidates must have at least a few years of professional experience in order to be considered for admission to most MBA programs. Most MBA students spend years in the workforce before deciding to pursue an MBA. The Harvard 2+2 program, however, enables you to enter the door much earlier.

Regarding your timeline, the programme is somewhat flexible. If you need it, you will be granted more time to dedicate to the work portion of the program, as long as you can be ready to start your MBA within four years.

A Professional Work Opportunity

Prior to the start of their MBA courses, students should consider their employment as an opportunity for professional development. Throughout the initial two to four-year period of the Harvard 2+2 program, students are not left on their own. All Harvard 2+2 participants regularly communicate with Dee Leopold, managing director of MBA admissions at Harvard.

She sends regular emails that include recommendations for relevant books, podcasts, and websites that will help prepare students ahead of time for the MBA they are working their way toward. Leopold also uses these emails as a chance to introduce the 2+2 participants to the other members of their future cohort.

In addition, exclusive Facebook groups are made for admitted students to interact with one another, and social gatherings are occasionally planned. This way, admitted students can get to know one another by networking and forging the kinds of connections that are essential to any MBA experience long before they start their courses at Harvard.

Academic Expectations

When it comes to acceptance rates, the traditional MBA is generally thought to be slightly less competitive than Harvard’s 2+2 program. Recently, the acceptance rate for 2+2 applicants was around 8%. Comparatively, Harvard’s regular MBA programme had an acceptance rate of just over 9%.

Since applicants to the Harvard 2+2 programme lack any full-time work experience to highlight in their applications, it is crucial to take into account the greater emphasis on academic credentials.

As a result, Harvard’s admissions committee looks for students who are at the top of their class and have stellar academic records when deciding who to admit. Additionally, they look for students who have a strong history of leadership and have clear career objectives. With that being said, data shows the median GMAT score and average GPA were exactly the same for 2+2 applicants as it was for regular MBA applicants.

Potential Timing Concerns

There may be some difficulties for you with the timing of the Harvard 2+2 programme application process. Near the end of your undergraduate degree’s final semester is probably when you will apply. The deadlines for the Harvard 2+2 programme are different from those for the standard MBA programme because it is designed for college graduates.

The Harvard 2+2 programme has an application deadline in the late spring, usually at the start of June. By doing this, candidates can find a job after graduation that will impress the admissions committee before applying. On the other hand, it also happens to coincide with the due dates for final papers, exams, and perhaps even thesis submissions.

In spite of the fact that managing an MBA application on top of everything else may be incredibly difficult, you will have the ideal chance to hone your time management and prioritisation skills, which are essential if you want to succeed as a business student.

Level of Competition 

Approximately 8–10% of applicants to Harvard’s 2+2 programme are accepted. Recent data reveals that 129 students were accepted out of 1577 applicants. 65 different undergraduate institutions were represented by these students. At the time of their application, the majority of these students were majoring in either engineering or math/physical sciences, which together made up 29% of the educational background of the committed student pool.

The next most popular degree was a business or commerce degree, which made up 16% of the student population. Economics and social sciences each made up 12% of the student population, and only 2% of the students had a background in the arts or humanities. International applicants made up about 25% of the admitted students, coming from 17 different nations.

The GMAT scores that admitted students submitted ranged from 590 to 790, with a median score of 730. Harvard does not, however, have any minimal GMAT or GRE requirements. The average GPA for these same students was 3.79.

Top Tips on How to Get Into the Harvard 2+2 Program

The following are the top tips on how to get into the Harvard 2+2 program:

Show Off Your Best Side

The admissions committee at Harvard would be well served to learn more about you through your application essay. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a lasting impression so that the committee will remember you among the more than a thousand other applications they will receive.

Focusing on the abilities and traits Harvard values and emphasising those qualities in your application will be the best course of action to make yourself a desirable candidate.

Harvard is known to “appreciate leadership on any scale,” so there should be some key components of your essay that shine some light on your leadership potential. Try to come up with an example of how you challenged yourself while earning your undergraduate degree, or mention an initiative you took to take the reins of a club or organization.

As an alternative, you could describe why you decided to pursue an MBA. If you decide to take this route, try to go beyond an explanation of ambitions that you have for your career, and try to think of how you would like to use your MBA to help positively change the world somehow.

This will position you as a leader on a global scale, and it will definitely get the admissions committee’s attention.

Meet Harvard’s Demands and Expectations

Let the admissions committee know why you are the sort of applicant who will succeed in the programme and that you are aware of the requirements for Harvard students. The case and field-based learning methods at Harvard Business School, which prides itself on being “demanding, fast-paced, and highly verbal,” “depend upon the active participation of prepared students who can assess, analyze, and act upon complex information.”

Collaborative team players who are “eager to share their experiences, support their colleagues, and teach as well as learn from their peers” are valued by Harvard. Show that you are aware of and able to satisfy these criteria. It will be simpler for the admissions committee to picture you fitting into a future cohort if you explain that you will use these expectations as motivation to push yourself to achieve personal goals.

Do Your Research

Showing the Harvard admissions committee that you’ve done some background research on the university and the 2+2 programme is another excellent way to impress them. Use the Harvard website to learn more about the particular courses, extracurricular activities, and faculty members that interest you most. Then, explain why you think these things are worthwhile. Harvard also hosts various events specifically for undergraduate students interested in their MBA, such as their Virtual Peek Experience (VPE).

You can participate in a leadership development session, try out the HBS case method of study, learn about the career flexibility and optionality that an MBA degree offers, and connect with current students to get a sense of the HBS community and the student experience through this program. As an alternative, you can get in touch with Harvard’s admissions office and ask to get in touch with a current or former student or alumni to ask questions about their time at the university. If the admissions committee is aware that you have taken the initiative to go out of your way to familiarize yourself with the school, it will not go unnoticed.

Is it difficult to get into the HBS 2+2 program?

For the HBS 2+2 class of 2022, admission rates were 8%. It is less than the full-time MBA program’s admission rate of 9.4%. Considering how exclusive the 2+2 programme is, it is unquestionably very difficult to be accepted. Additionally, if you have a degree in business-related disciplines, it will be harder for you.

However, you can wow the admissions panel by showcasing your analytical and leadership abilities as well as your desire to advance your knowledge and change the world. That’s a lot of work, isn’t it? To enter this program, you must meet those requirements. You must have a vision for yourself and demonstrate to the HBS admissions committee that you can realise that vision using the knowledge and abilities you have acquired thus far and those you will acquire at HBS.

How to Get into Harvard
Harvard Scholarship

So, we hope that this blog cleared up all your doubts regarding about Harvard MBA 2+2 Program. If you were postponing your plans for an MBA at Harvard because of a lack of experience then this programme is the right choice for you. So, go ahead and reserve a seat for yourself in one of the top MBA schools in the world. And in case you need some guidance regarding the process, our Leverage Edu experts are here to lend you a helping hand. Sign up for a free session with us today!