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Harvard Business School has formalised its plans to target the brightest undergraduate students for its MBA programme.

The scheme, mooted last autumn, is to guarantee a place on its MBA to a handful of undergraduates provided that they work for two years between graduating from their first degrees and starting their MBA. The HBS 2+2 deferred admissions programme is designed to reach those students who may not typically consider business as a career.

Young people have a wide of educational and career options says Carl Kester, deputy dean for academic affairs at HBS. “With this programme, we want to reach a new group of applicants and encourage them to see the versatility, value, and opportunity provided by a Harvard MBA degree.”

This scheme will give undergraduates a guaranteed place in a future HBS MBA class provided that they graduate from college and complete two years of approved work experience. Companies such as Google and Teach for America have signed up as recruiting partners to employ these students for the work experience component of the programme.

Undergraduates will be able to apply to the HBS 2+2 programme by July 1 2008, after the conclusion of their junior year of college. They will be notified of HBS’s decision in September of their senior year.

Successful applicants will participate in on-campus summer academic programmes at Harvard and each will be allocated a career coach and have access to strategic career advice through Harvard’s self-assessment on-line tool CareerLeader-College. They will also have access to a dedicated website to connect with both current and future HBS students.

The school anticipates that the 2+2 programme will grow to between 5 and 10 per cent of the 900 Harvard MBA class over the next few years.


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