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How to Get Into the Harvard Business PhD Program

by Jen Saunders, studioD

If you want to enroll in the Ph.D. program through Harvard Business School, you must be diligent in putting together your application materials and effectively market yourself. Harvard Business School's Ph.D. program is one of the most competitive degree programs in the world, and brilliant minds are turned down every year. However, there are certain steps you can take prior to and during the application process to make yourself more marketable before the eyes of the admissions panel.


According to Harvard Business School's doctoral admissions requirements, students must submit a resume. Your resume will attest to your top qualities and provide members of the admissions board a glimpse into your educational and work experience. Harvard Business School states that applicants to their Ph.D. program come from diverse cross sections of society and from various economic and ethnic backgrounds. The school's admission page also boasts that applicants who have a passion for academia find programs that closely match their individual needs. You can strengthen your resume by highlighting experiences in which your unique culture is a factor in your academic pursuits -- a point you can further emphasize in your statement of purpose.

Statement of Purpose

Also known as an application essay, your statement of purpose gives the admissions board a more personal insight into your identity and is a required item in your Harvard Business School application packet. According to "U.S. News & World Report," a good statement of purpose letter for Harvard Business School will convey your voice in a loud and clear manner, but it should never be "over the top." "U.S. News & World Report" reminds readers that the statement of purpose letter should not be written in the context of an essay-writing contest, but instead something that just allows the panel to get to know the applicant. Be honest, enthusiastic and be sure you state personal goals that reflect the school's own.


Harvard School of Business sends doctoral representatives all over the country to visit colleges and universities with the goal of sharing more detailed information about their degree programs, admissions and student life. A Harvard Business School representative can typically be found at a graduate school fair and at various off-campus information sessions. If you meet any current professors, your goal should be to get them to remember your name. Research the professors’ published work, familiarize yourself with it, and talk about their work with great enthusiasm while expressing your desire to study the same academic area. When the applications pile in, they will be more likely to remember your name and might feel inclined to "put in a good word."


According to "U.S. News & World Report," Harvard Business School does not have a minimum score required for the Graduate Management Admission Test and Graduate Record Examination. However, they stress that Harvard finds them useful in "confirming quantitative/analytical competence when viewed in conjunction with work experience and course work." There are several things you can do to boost your test scores. Some students enroll in special classes designed to raise GMAT and GRE scores, while other students invest in various study books that teach test-taking skills and provide practice tests to simulate the real deal.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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