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Harvard MBA Class Profile | Breakdown

Find out which MBA students get accepted into Harvard Business School with our Harvard MBA Class Profile Breakdown

Tue Oct 3 2023

BusinessBecause
Ivy League giant Harvard Business School (HBS) is consistently ranked among the best business schools in the world. Currently occupying joint fourth place in the 2023 Financial Times MBA rankings, the Harvard MBA program is renowned for bringing together some of the best young minds in business. 

In the Harvard MBA class of 2025, you’ll find professionals from the world of financial services, consulting, technology, and manufacturing rubbing shoulders with those from healthcare, the nonprofit sector, and the arts.

If you envision yourself joining the ranks of HBS’ notable alumni, our Harvard MBA Class Profile Breakdown* will help you understand what kind of candidates get accepted into the program and maximize your own chances of joining HBS.


Harvard MBA | Class of 2025 Overview


The Harvard MBA program received 8,149 applications in the 2022-2023 academic year, a little lower than for the year before. In the end, 938 students enrolled at the school, which is roughly on par with their typical student count (930).

Most of the class (61%) hailed from the United States. Within this, half of the class are US minorities. Despite the large proportion of Americans on the course, HBS did increase its percentage of international students compared with last year, from 37% to 39%. 

45% of the class of 2025 are women. This is also up from the class of 2022 and puts Harvard Business School above the average for US MBA programs. 


Harvard MBA | GMAT & GRE Scores


The GMAT is consistently the most popular entrance exam to HBS, with 69% of the class submitting GMAT scores compared to 34% who submitted scores from the GRE. This means that to earn your place at the school, you should start preparing to take the test

Looking at average GMAT scores can tell you a rough score to aim for. The median GMAT for the HBS MBA class of 2025 is 740, which is higher than in previous years. Achieving a score of 740 or higher on the GMAT puts you in the top 3% of GMAT examinees, so a median score this high shows that most HBS MBAs are achieving exceptional GMAT scores.

However, if you're unlikely to reach this score on the GMAT, don't panic. The HBS MBA class has a GMAT score range of 500 to 790. This proves that a sky-high GMAT score isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to your business school application. Exceptional candidates without a top GMAT score can still find a place at HBS.

To maximize your chances, continue to focus on other areas of your application, ensuring that your passion, personality, and academic rigor shine through.

For GRE takers, verbal and quantitative scores range from 146-170. The overall median verbal score is 163, while the median quantitative is 164.


Harvard MBA | Undergraduate Majors & GPA


An MBA class made up of a diverse community of learners enables students to contemplate business issues from various perspectives.

The 938 enrolled students come from a wide variety of undergraduate educational backgrounds including economics, business, engineering, and math. It’s not all business-related subjects though—4% of the class have an arts or humanities background, while 12% studied social sciences.

With the diverse range of academic backgrounds in the class, having a non-business undergraduate major shouldn't deter you from entering the Harvard MBA program. Harvard wants to educate future leaders of the world, and those who switch their academic route are likely to be invested in change.  

You’ll need to be at the top of your game though. Among the HBS MBA class of 2025, students were some of the best in their undergraduate departments—the average GPA among students of the HBS MBA is 3.73.


Harvard MBA | Pre-MBA Industry


Business schools strive for a classroom that mirrors the realities of the business world. To achieve this, top schools enroll experienced students from diverse industries who bring with them a variety of approaches to problem-solving. Harvard’s case method thrives on this diversity of thought.

The average student in the class of 2025 has 4.9 years of work experience behind them. The most common pre-MBA industries are consulting and venture capital/ private equity, each accounting for 17% of students in the HBS MBA. Technology is the next most common field at 13%, followed by financial services and consumer products (10% each), manufacturing, industrial, and energy sectors (9%), and healthcare/ biotech (7%).

Although the traditional MBA industries of consulting, finance, and tech are well-represented on the Harvard MBA program, you'll also find students from less conventional backgrounds. The military accounts for 6% of the class, as do nonprofit, government, and education sectors. Meanwhile, 3% of students come from careers in media, entertainment, or travel.  


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Harvard MBA | Student Stories


Think that MBAs are a pack of money-oriented wolves of Wall Street? Think again. For many HBS students, diversity and social impact factor high up the agenda.

Amy Hernandez Turcios—Latinx leader and former Wall Street banker—joined the HBS MBA in a bid to boost her confidence, public speaking, and assertiveness through an MBA. As a first-generation student, she recognized that these skills would help her advocate for diversity in the corporate sector. 

Now a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Amy (pictured below) intends to use the leadership skills that she strengthened in her MBA to elevate other leaders of color.

“I hope it will help me take this high-level problem around the lack of Latinx representation in leadership positions, break it down, and figure out how to tackle it,” she says. 


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The MBA can also be a catalyst for entrepreneurial thinking. Four HBS graduates founded LivelyHood—a COVID-19 relief initiative set up to combat inequalities within society by matching volunteers with vulnerable community members. Co-founder Justin Lee says that he and his fellow co-founders apply finance, entrepreneurial, and leadership competencies that they learned in their MBA to guide their startup’s successful running.

Looking to follow in these graduates’ footsteps? Find out how one MBA grad aced the HBS application.


Who is the Harvard MBA for?


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On the HBS MBA you’ll learn among an academically gifted class, typically with strong GMAT scores and GPAs. But this isn’t the defining feature of the class of 2025.

Although selective, the diversity figures from the incoming class show us that HBS actively seeks out difference with a mix of undergraduate majors, nationalities, and near gender parity in the MBA class.

What do you need to get into Harvard? HBS MBA admissions director Chad Losee confirms that your diverse background is valuable to the school.  And you don’t have to be outstanding in every category to join HBS. 

Chad explains that his team approaches the candidate review process holistically, considering your impact, work experience, as well as your academic scores.

For Harvard Business School, the future leaders of the world are a dynamic group of students invested in altering their academic and industry paths and the world around them.

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*The data in this article is based on the Harvard MBA Class Profile / this article was updated on October 3rd, 2023 to reflect the new HBS MBA class. 

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