Customer comments on this Youngstown Ohio Book
Nice to Have
Although I do recommend this book for MBA hopefuls looking to get into top 30 schools - not just HBS, I want to add that this is a "nice to have" for the prospective MBA student. It is not a "must have." The sample essays here will inspire you in that, you will see that to get admitted, you don't actually have to be all that great of a writer. In fact, you might read this and wonder just HOW some of these essays led to admission. But I think this shows what I read one admissions officer say about getting in - those who are admitted to top b-schools typically show how they did seemingly ordinary things in an extraordinary way. What I also like about this book of essays is that it shows you how some "broke the mold" and were creative in their approach - yet still ultimately successful. There are some "cookie cutter" essays here, but there are actually some that are very creative and engaging.
A few words of advice if you buy this - one, make sure you pair this with a more comprehensive book on MBA admissions, such as Richard Montauk's,"How to Get Into the Top MBA Programs." Two, remember that you don't have all of the information to evaluate the candidates whose essays are featured. Three, take a look at this book AFTER you've drafted your essays. I know it's tempting to want to see examples when you are having a hard time drafting your own work, but I'd advise only looking at example essays after you've done the hard (and sometimes frustrating) work of completing an entire set of your own essays. This will help to ensure that you are crafting your essays in your voice and in your own unique way. Look at these examples as one way to help you drive your revisions. Four, after you read an essay in this book - do your own analysis of the essay first - before you read the analysis that comes after the essay. Then compare your analysis with the analysis in the book.
Basically, do some really hard work - don't read these before drafting your essays. Do your own analysis of the featured essays. What I believe is that this type of hard work will strengthen your own candidacy and application more than trying to read the samples first and then have what you read influence and drive your first drafts.
Good Samples & Analysis
Different from other essay collection books, it straightly starts with real sample essays & analysis, and both sample and analysis are great. What I like most of this essay, it removes the boring parts of some general direction on "how to write essays." Instead it has analysis of each essay, and it helps me to design my essay greatly. However, if someone needs the guideline of writing essay by each topic, he or she may need one more book.
Thoughts about this book
This book shows you application essays of people who have been accepted to HBS. The editors also comment each essay.
Overall, I'd say the book offers a pretty good overview, it may trigger some thoughts and give indications as to 1) what the application office might be looking for, 2) the characteristics of a typical HBS student. I like the fact that the editors comment both strengths and weaknesses of each essay.
1. The book is created by the Harbus news corporation, an independent nonprofit entity, not the Harvard Business School. Since the essays were not chosen/commented by the admissions office, the sample may not properly represent typical entries (perhaps only the 'best ones', perhaps only ones by students/friends who the editor personally knows etc), nor the factors that actually determine admission (for sure they show factors that _the editors BELIEVE_ are important for admission).
2. You will not see any examples of how NOT to write your essay. Such a contrasting view would have been useful for figuring out exactly what the admission office is looking for, what they want to learn about you as an applicant/potential member of the community.
3. You will not see examples of essays of ppl who were accepted to other comparable schools, hence it is difficult to figure out exactly what make HBS students different from typical students at i.e. at Kellogg, Stanford, Wharton.
Usuage: I'd have a look at this book before writing my HBS apps, then contrast my impression of HBS students and the HBS community with what I have learned about the students and community of other schools, following which I'd use this knowledge to properly design essays that match my impression of what the adm office wants to learn about me. With some drafts at hand, I'd show my essays to an alumni/discuss with him/her how to go about/tweak the application.