How to Write Harvard MBA Essay: Expert Guide With Examples 2023

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Are you dreaming of getting into Harvard Business School (HBS) and earning your Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree?

The admission process can be highly competitive, with thousands of applicants vying for a limited number of spots.

One crucial element that can make or break your application is the Harvard MBA essay.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to craft a winning Harvard MBA essay that unleashes your success and helps you stand out from the competition.

Why Harvard MBA Essay Matters

As one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, Harvard Business School offers unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The Harvard MBA program is known for its rigorous curriculum, distinguished faculty, and extensive network of alumni.

A Harvard MBA can open doors to lucrative job opportunities, entrepreneurial ventures, and global leadership roles.

The Harvard MBA essay holds immense significance in the admission process.

It provides the admissions committee with insights into your personality, aspirations, and fit with the school’s values.

It is your chance to showcase your unique qualities, experiences, and achievements that make you stand out from other applicants.

A well-written MBA essay can make a compelling case for your admission and increase your chances of acceptance.

Crafting a Winning Harvard MBA Essay

Writing a winning Harvard MBA essay requires careful planning, research, and attention to detail. Here are some essential steps to craft a compelling essay:

Understanding Essay Prompts

Before you start writing your Harvard MBA essay, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the essay prompts.

The prompts may change from year to year, but they generally revolve around your personal and professional experiences, achievements, goals, and fit with Harvard’s values.

Make sure to read and analyse the prompts carefully and identify the key themes and expectations.

Researching and Tailoring Your Essay

Once you have a clear understanding of the essay prompts, it’s time to research and gather relevant information that aligns with the prompts.

Reflect on your experiences, achievements, and aspirations and choose

the ones that best illustrate your strengths, values, and passions.

Tailor your essay to reflect your genuine self and your fit with Harvard’s culture and values.

Using a Storytelling Approach

One of the most effective ways to make your Harvard MBA essay engaging and emotional is by using a storytelling approach.

Narrate a compelling story that illustrates your experiences, challenges, and accomplishments.

Use vivid descriptions, sensory details, and emotional language to bring your story to life.

A well-crafted story can captivate the reader’s attention, evoke emotions, and leave a lasting impression.

Infusing Emotion and Passion into Your Essay

To make your Harvard MBA essay stand out, infuse it with emotion and passion.

Share your genuine emotions, motivations, and dreams. Express your excitement, enthusiasm, and determination to pursue an MBA from Harvard.

Use powerful and emotive language to convey your sincerity and passion.

Remember, emotions are what connect people, and a heartfelt essay can resonate with the reader and make your application memorable.

Highlighting Your Unique Qualities

Another key element of a winning Harvard MBA essay is showcasing your unique qualities.

Highlight your strengths, skills, and accomplishments that set you apart from other applicants. Emphasize what makes you unique and valuable to the Harvard community.

Whether it’s your diverse background, exceptional achievements, or innovative ideas, make sure to highlight them in your essay to leave a lasting impression on the reader.

Showcasing Your Fit with Harvard’s Values

Harvard Business School has its unique values and culture, and it’s essential to demonstrate your fit with these values in your MBA essay.

Research and understand Harvard’s core values, such as leadership, integrity, and community, and showcase how your experiences and beliefs align with these values.

This will show the admissions committee that you are a good fit for Harvard and are likely to contribute positively to its community.

Demonstrating Leadership and Impact

Leadership is a key quality that Harvard Business School looks for in its MBA candidates.

In your essay, demonstrate your leadership skills and experiences.

Share examples of how you have led teams, initiated positive change, and made a meaningful impact in your personal or professional life.

Highlight your ability to inspire and influence others, and show how you can be a future leader in your chosen field.

Incorporating Your Future Goals

Harvard Business School is interested in knowing your future goals and aspirations.

In your essay, articulate your career aspirations, short-term and long-term goals, and how an MBA from Harvard will help you achieve them.

Be specific and realistic in your goals, and explain how Harvard’s resources, network, and opportunities align with your career vision.

This will show the admissions committee that you have a clear plan and are committed to making a meaningful contribution to your chosen field.

Proofreading and Editing for Perfection

After writing your Harvard MBA essay, it’s crucial to proofread and edit it thoroughly.

Check for grammar and spelling errors, awkward phrasing, and inconsistencies.

Ensure that your essay flows logically, and your ideas are well-organized.

Trim any unnecessary information or repetitive content to keep your essay concise and focused.

Consider seeking feedback from trusted friends, mentors, or professional editors to get a fresh perspective and make your essay flawless.

Tips for Writing an Emotional and Engaging Harvard MBA Essay

Writing an emotional and engaging Harvard MBA essay requires careful consideration of the tone, language, and style.

Here are some tips to make your essay truly captivating:

Connecting with the Reader on an Emotional Level

To create an emotional connection with the reader, share your personal stories, experiences, and emotions.

Be vulnerable and authentic in your writing, and express your thoughts and feelings genuinely.

Showcasing your vulnerabilities, challenges, and triumphs can make your essay relatable and memorable.

Vivid and Sensory Language

Use vivid and sensory language to create a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.

Describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures to evoke emotions and make your essay more engaging.

For example, instead of saying “I was nervous,” you can say “My heart pounded, and my palms turned clammy with nerves.”

Engaging the Reader with Personal Pronouns and Rhetorical Questions

Using personal pronouns such as “I” and “you” can create a sense of intimacy and connection with the reader.

Address the reader directly and involve them in your story.

Similarly, rhetorical questions can engage the reader and encourage them to reflect on the topic.

For instance, you can ask “Have you ever felt the thrill of taking risks and chasing your dreams?”

Keeping the Language Simple and Conversational

Avoid using jargon or complex language that can make your essay difficult to understand.

Keep your language simple, conversational, and relatable.

Imagine that you are having a conversation with the reader, and try to write in a tone that is friendly, approachable, and easy to comprehend.

This will make your essay more accessible and enjoyable to read.

Using the Active Voice and Keeping It Brief

Using the active voice can make your writing more dynamic and engaging.

Instead of passive sentences like “Mistakes were made,” use active sentences like “I made mistakes.”

Also, keep your sentences and paragraphs concise and to the point.

Avoid lengthy and convoluted sentences that can lose the reader’s attention. Shorter sentences and paragraphs are easier to read and have a greater impact.

Incorporating Analogies and Metaphors

Analogies and metaphors are powerful rhetorical tools that can make your writing more vivid and memorable.

Use them to simplify complex concepts, create visual images, and evoke emotions.

For example, you can say “My dreams were like a beacon of light guiding me through the darkness of uncertainty.”


Your Harvard MBA essay is an opportunity to showcase your unique qualities, emotions, and aspirations.

By infusing emotion, passion, and authenticity into your writing, you can create an engaging and compelling essay that leaves a lasting impression on the admissions committee. Remember to connect with the reader on an emotional level, use vivid and sensory language, engage them with personal pronouns and rhetorical questions, keep your language simple and conversational, use the active voice, keep it brief, and incorporate analogies and metaphors.

With these tips, you can craft a powerful Harvard MBA essay that stands out and increases your chances of admission.


Q: Can I use examples from my personal life in my Harvard MBA essay?

A: Yes, incorporating personal anecdotes and stories can make your essay more emotional and engaging.

Q: Should I mention my weaknesses in my Harvard MBA essay?

A: While it’s not necessary to highlight your weaknesses, you can share challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them, showing your resilience and determination.

Q: How long should my Harvard MBA essay be?

A: Harvard Business School has a word limit for its essays. It’s important to stay within the specified word limit and make every word count.

Q: Can I seek help from others in writing my Harvard MBA essay?

A: While it’s acceptable to seek feedback and advice from trusted mentors, friends, or editors, make sure that the final essay is your own authentic work.

Q: How important is emotion in my Harvard MBA essay?

A: Emotion can be a powerful tool in your essay, as it helps create a personal connection with the reader and makes your essay more memorable.

However, it’s important to be genuine and not force emotions in your writing.