01 Jun 2013
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A Case For Fellowships

Managing Director of HBS MBA Admissions talks about how fellowships enable HBS to choose the best and most promising candidates

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At HBS we often say that fellowships are the lifeblood of the School. During my 20-plus years serving on the MBA Admissions Board—and the last 7 as its director—I have witnessed firsthand the truth of that statement.

Fellowships, which are funded by gifts from alumni and friends, ensure that Harvard Business School attracts a wide-ranging group of men and women who share one common trait: a capacity for leadership. Our promise to our faculty and to every student is to deliver the most diverse class—on multiple dimensions—as we possibly can. Peer-to-peer learning plays an essential role in our classrooms; our offerings are only as good as our students.

Because of fellowship support, we are able to adhere to a need-blind admissions policy, accepting students based on their talents and aspirations without regard to their financial means. A look at the MBA Class of 2014 illustrates the point. Members of the class come from 68 countries, 13 percent of the class are the first in their families to graduate from college, 34 percent come from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) backgrounds, 20 percent have founded or cofounded their own business, and 57 percent have worked outside their home country for three months or longer. In addition to ensuring that our doors are open to qualified candidates from all backgrounds, the fellowship program allows our graduates to pursue careers driven by interest and impact rather than debt. This is a crucial component of the School's ability to help solve society's most complex problems.

This academic year, generous donors enabled the School to award some $26 million in need-based fellowships, supporting nearly half of our students. As the community of fellowship supporters grows, so too does our capacity to deliver on our promise of educating leaders who make a difference in the world.

Dee Leopold (MBA 1980)
Managing Director, MBA Admissions and Financial Aid

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1980, Section D

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