Changing of the Guard for MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School |

Changing of the Guard for MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School

By Tim Dhoul

Updated June 28, 2019 Updated June 28, 2019

One MBA alumnus of Harvard Business School (HBS) is to replace another as head of admissions to the school’s prestigious program.

Having graduated with an HBS MBA as recently as 2013, Chad Losee is to take over from Dee Leopold, who has headed the school’s MBA admissions process for the past decade and is herself a graduate of the program.

The importance and scale of MBA admissions at HBS

The role – officially titled here as managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid - is one of huge significance for any business school, especially one with Harvard Business School’s cachet and reputation for attracting some of the world’s most talented prospective MBA students.

“Admissions is one of the most important positions at any university because you are selecting a class. In doing that, at the core of the position is working with an admissions board to spot talent,” Angela Q Crispi, the school’s executive dean of administration (and, again, an alumna of its MBA) told student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, adding that no changes to the HBS MBA admissions process are anticipated with this appointment.

The incumbent, Leopold, will step down in June as the school’s class of 2016 graduates but, from an admissions perspective, her final class is really the one which will graduate in 2018. The third and final application round to join that class falls early next month, with decisions announced in May. Today, meanwhile, is decision day for application round two, when some will win admittance, while others will receive notification of ‘release’ and others still will be among around 100 who join the waitlist.

Sifting through applications is no mean feat at a school like HBS, either. Last year’s cycle of MBA admissions yielded close to 10,000 applications, of which 11% were admitted by Leopold’s team. Of those admitted to the class of 2017, 91% ultimately enrolled in the two-year program that began last fall. Two-thirds of this latest cohort hold US citizenship, with 14 and 9% hailing from Asian and European countries, respectively. These students signed up for their MBA at an average age of 27 and with an average GMAT score of 730.

“Deep understanding” of Harvard Business School helped secure role

The executive director of the MBA program at Harvard Business School, Jana Pompadur Kierstead, referenced the exposure Losee has already had to both the school and its MBA admissions process in explaining its decision to name him as Leopold’s successor:

“He has a deep understanding of HBS and its pedagogy and mission; superb interpersonal, analytical, and strategic skills; and a passion for admissions.”

Indeed, after two years of the MBA experience at HBS, Losee stayed a year more, as a fellow attached to the dean’s office, during which time he was able to observe the MBA admissions board in action, as well as to work on Harvard Business School’s online education initiatives, HBX and CORe. His interest in higher education leadership can also be seen in his choice of summer internship while enrolled as an MBA student – Losee worked at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the office of its president (until last year), Kim Clark, who is also a former dean of HBS.

“The experience of a two-year, full-time MBA at HBS continues to have a great impact on me personally and as a leader,” says Losee, who returned to his pre-MBA employer, Bain & Co., a year after graduating from the school. When he takes up his new position with the school, Leopold will move on to become director for its 2+2 program, a means by which full-time college (bachelor’s) or master’s students can secure a deferred spot on the MBA before they start their professional working lives. They commence their MBA after two years of work experience in what the school describes as “HBS-approved” positions.

This article was originally published in March 2016 . It was last updated in June 2019

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Written by

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).


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