For years it has been common knowledge that Harvard prefers relatively younger candidates, with 2-3 years of professional experience, but an article on the site Poets & Quants analyzes the new data and shows that this attitude might be changing.
The profile of the class embarking on its Harvard MBA studies this month shows that the percentage of students who completed their BA within the last two years decreased by 48% from 118 to 58 this year. This, despite the effect of the 2+2 program that was designed to attract younger candidates. When comparing the data with the numbers from two years ago the trend is even more obvious- the number of students with 2-3 years of professional experience alone declined to 31.6% while the number of students with 5 years of professional experience or more rose 51.7% since 2010. The number of students who finished their degrees 8-10 years ago rose by 226% since 2012, mainly due to the fact that Harvard has a specific preference for veterans, who tend to be older.
Another surprising finding was the relatively low effect of the 2+2 program on the age of the class. This year Harvard expected the program’s second class. They had been accepted two years ago and deferred their studies by two years, but it turns out that most of them requested an additional deferral since they had found a job they loved.
The majority of students in the entering class- 547 of 919- around 60%, finished their BA degrees in the years 2007-2009, meaning they have 3-5 years of professional experience.