An Insight Into 2+2 Program at Harvard Business School

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The 2+2 Program is a deferred admission program at Harvard Business School. Upon graduation from an undergraduate or master’s program, admitted 2+2 students spend two years working in a professional, HBS-approved position in the public, private, or nonprofit sector, followed by two years in the HBS MBA Program. For example, if you were graduating in June 2018, you would apply to the 2+2 program during your final year (in either the Fall 2017 semester or the winter 2018 semester). After graduating, you would work for two years, from the last half of 2017 through the first half of 2020. You would then enter the Harvard Business School in fall 2020 as a member of the 2022 graduating class. There are 100-125 seats available in the 2+2 Program each year, and while they accept students from all fields of study, preference is given to applicants from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Roughly half of each accepted cohort will be students with STEM backgrounds.

Pre-MBA Work Experience Requirement :

Admission into the 2+2 Program does not mean that Harvard guarantees you a job during the interim before you begin your MBA. You are responsible for securing your own employment for at least two years after graduating from your undergraduate institution, and HBS expects you to leverage the career services offered at your undergraduate institution as a primary resource.

Once you have secured employment, you must contact HBS to ensure that your position is approved, but there is no list of approved or recommended companies to work for. Admitted students have the flexibility to explore career options in a multitude of industries, ranging from traditional companies to start-ups, as long as their positions help develop their professional and leadership skills. Historically, the variety of full-time positions that admitted 2+2 students pursue have been similar to the diversity of industries and function areas that are represented in the traditional MBA program.

Eligibility Requirements :

You are eligible to apply to the 2+2 Program if you are in your final year of study in:

  1. A bachelor’s degree program
  2. A joint bachelor/graduate degree program
  3. A graduate degree program if you have not held a full-time work position. To be eligible for the 2+2 Program, candidates need to have gone directly from undergraduate to graduate school.

Application Steps :

To be considered for admission to the 2+2 Program, you must complete the following:

A) Take the GMAT or GRE prior to submitting your application.

B) Decide when to apply

There are three rounds in which to apply to the 2+2 Program. While you must apply at some point during your final year of study, all rounds are considered equal. An applicant who applies at the end of Round 3 is given the same consideration as an applicant who applies at the beginning of Round 1, so don’t apply until you are ready.

  1. Round 1: Application Deadline – Early September (Notification: December)
  2. Round 2: Application Deadline – Early January (Notification: March)
  3. Round 3: Application Deadline – Early April (Notification: May)

C) Complete the application

The application for the 2+2 Program is generally the same as the written application for the traditional MBA program. All applications and recommendations are submitted online. The application requires two letters of recommendation. Recommenders should be individuals who know you well and can relate specific and relevant details about your abilities and performance. Supervisors from an internship or part-time work experience, professors, advisors, and mentors can all serve as equally good recommenders. The Admissions Board discourages recommendations from peers.

D) Prepare for an interview

Not all applicants are invited to interview. The MBA Admissions Board chooses which applicants to offer interviews to, and if you are invited to interview, you must participate in order to complete the application process. Although an interview does not guarantee admission, no applicant is admitted without one. Thus, if you are invited to interview, you are still being considered for admission. If you are not invited to interview, you will not be admitted.

For more information about Harvard’s 2+2 Program, visit: http://www.hbs.edu/mba

Bidyut Dutta,

SVP & Head-Admissions,

[email protected]


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