Rob Self (MBA 2021): Applying to HBS
The following is an computer-generated summary of the video transcript.
I'm a second year E c student at Harvard Business School, and I'm coming to you from the beautiful Baker Lawn on what is a very warm November day here in Boston. Uh, today I want to talk to you a little bit about my application journey and what I was thinking about when I applied to HBs and, more specifically, what you should think about when you're applying to HBs. So the process for me began a couple of years before I actually applied, and I thought more specifically about how an MBA fit into my career trajectory. I knew I wanted to make a difference in the world beyond just, uh, you know, the job that I was working in at the time, and I thought pretty seriously about how an MBA could help me achieve my longer term goals in my career and for me personally. When I started to think about this, I thought specifically about you know, I'm an engineer. One of the things that is important to me is, you know, sustainability overall and the impact that I can have on climate change. I thought, you know what? What is my experience? That can kind of help give credibility to my ability to do that. Um, you know, I worked in the transportation industry, and I was looking to really get a better understanding of the business side of how companies operate and how I could potentially leverage some of my engineering understanding, as you know, to the technical solutions that could help solve the problem and think more seriously about how could I think about the business side of making these solutions makes sense. So I really wanted that to shine through my application. Um, you know, I'd encourage all of you to kind of ask yourselves the same question of, you know, why am I getting an MBA on? Think pretty seriously about it, because I think it's a really important question to ask yourself if you're gonna be honest and authentic in your application. Um, and then you want to think more seriously about what our stories in my life that can bring to color some some perspective of maybe why I think this way or some stories that give perspective about where I think my future career could go. I tied in some stories of situations that had occurred to me throughout my life of as evidence basically of why, you know, this was important to me and, you know, as evidence to my abilities as a leader and how it was credible that, you know, in my future career, I could I could make these kind of impacts in a company that I worked in. Um, I also talked about a startup I had been working on that was kind of in the same area and talk more specifically about how HBs entrepreneurial, uh, tools would kind of let me build out that entrepreneurial side of my interest and get a better understanding of, you know, as a as a younger person. How do I start a company that is a company poised to be successful on? That's, you know, very much a part of, I think, my future career path. So after kind of thinking through, you know, how I wanted to build my application tying stories that were authentic and true to myself, I wanted to also consider, uh, you know how to tie that to the future of my career. So I discussed you know, my career ambitions and how I thought HBs would be, you know, a key part of being able to leverage bypassed what I learned here. I would say the biggest piece of advice I could give someone on. You know, applying to HBs would be make sure that you are authentic and make sure that you recognize your unique perspective. I really think that people have this idea that HBs admissions, uh, admissions. You know, people have a specific persona that they're looking for a specific type of person that they're looking to admit. I don't have any inside edge on the application process, But I will say that HBs is a place of unique and diverse people with unique and diverse backgrounds and perspectives and experiences. I encourage you to figure out what is the unique perspective that you bring to the table. How will you diversify the MBA experience at Harvard Business School and stay true to that? There's no reason to dilute down who you are as a person, because you don't think it's the message that HBs admissions wants to hear. You're doing yourself a disservice if you're not taking advantage of what makes you unique and showing the HBs and Admissions Committee how you plan to make a difference in the world. The final thing I would kind of bring back to, um is that you should really think about the mission statement of the school, which is educating business leaders who make a difference in the world. And I think that is something that rings true of everyone at the school that each person I meet really does look to genuinely make an impact in the world in some way. Where is that place that you want to make an impact? Add credibility to that story through previous experiences that you've had in leadership opportunities that you've you've taken advantage of, and until the admissions committee, how you plan to leverage the phenomenal opportunity and experience here with a diverse group of classmates, uh, to to be able to go and make that difference you see in the world. So my next videos, I'm gonna talk a little bit about uh, some surprises of the HBs community when I got here on. I also want to give you a little tour of what's class, like at HBs. What's the you know, daily experience, like when when you go into class, albeit it's a little bit different during the pandemic, but I am excited to kind of share that with you guys.