One aspect of the HBS application that causes some of my clients some anxiety is the HBS Post-Interview Reflection Essay. Whether you are working on the reflection completely by yourself (which is what HBS states they expect on their website), or you decide to get some light feedback to improve it, these tips will help you get started.
Here are 3 tips for writing a high-impact post-interview reflection as well as how you can work with me to get it done.
1. It’s not like your other essays. According to HBS, it’s more like an email.
First, this means that you want the piece to be succinct. I recommend that you aim for your reflection to be between 250-400 words. Secondly, you want your reflection to be well-formatted. Nobody wants to read an email that looks like an epic block of text. Break up your reflection into blocks of short paragraphs. Don’t use paragraph indentations (since no one does that in email). You can start the reflection off with a little bit of introduction, but just as you would with an email to a busy person, get to your main points quickly, and then expand on them once you’ve let the person know the main ideas. I feel especially awesome about helping my clients with the reflection essay, since I was hired twice while still an MBA student at HBS to teach my fellow MBA students my networking skills, including my “outreach email that always works.”
2. Make sure you actually reflect.
Reflecting does not mean rehash every moment of the interview. Reflection is when we examine something that happened and look for what went well, what could have gone better, and what we wish had gone differently. It’s your chance to have the last word, to make sure you let them know everything you wanted them to know about you. It’s not a time to pile on more accomplishments; it’s a time to give the AdCom further insight into how you think, make decisions, and evaluate your performance.
3. Stay positive.
The reflection essay is not a time to make apologies (unless something very egregious happened in your interview such as you somehow visibly offending the interviewer). It is not a time to wallow in regret. For the things you wish had gone better or differently, focus on how you think you could have improved and highlight anything within the area you wish had gone better that you think went well. You could even discuss what you plan to do and what resources you plan to use to improve whatever you think could have gone better in your interview. And if you feel that your overall interview was very positive, you don’t have to dig around for anything you wish had gone better. I walked out of my HBS interview like,”That went great! I’m getting in!” If that’s how you feel, make sure you aren’t being overly confident, and if a reality and ego check still say it went great, then great!
How to work with me on your HBS Post-Interview Reflection:
I’m offering 40-minute coaching calls via Skype or phone open to anyone who needs to write an HBS Post-Interview Reflection.
What happens during the call:
During the call, I will live edit your reflection. I can help you make it more concise, impactful, and get it into the word limit (even if it’s really long). I’ll also answer any lingering questions you have, and debrief your interview with you to see what to include and not include in your reflection. You need to come to the meeting with a draft written for your reflection.
Steps to sign up:
1. Click here to sign up for the 40-minute HBS Post-Interview Reflection coaching call.
2. Then, send an email to email@example.com with days and times that work for you to hold your call. Calls are usually held from 10 am – 5 pm CST but some exceptions can be made depending on your schedule. Do not wait until you’ve completed your interview to reach out for help as my calendar fills up quickly. If you already have been invited to interview and you know you want to work me on the reflection, go ahead and purchase and book your call now.
Refund & Reschedule Policy:
There are no refunds for coaching calls. Coaching calls can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice. Missed coaching calls count as a forfeited appointment, so be sure to be clear on the day and time of your call.
What is self reflection?
Self reflection is like looking into a mirror and describing what you see. It is a way of assessing yourself, your ways of working and how you study. To put it simply ‘reflection’ means to think about something. Reflecting and composing a piece of self reflective writing is becoming an increasingly important element to any form of study or learning.
Why is self reflection important?
Reflecting helps you to develop your skills and review their effectiveness, rather than just carry on doing things as you have always done them. It is about questioning, in a positive way, what you do and why you do it and then deciding whether there is a better, or more efficient, way of doing it in the future.
In any role, whether at home or at work, reflection is an important part of learning. You wouldn’t use a recipe a second time around if the dish didn’t work the first time would you? You would either adjust the recipe or find a new and, hopefully, better one. When we learn we can become stuck in a routine that may not be working effectively. Thinking about your own skills can help you identify changes you might need to make.
Reflective questions to ask yourself:
- Strengths – What are my strengths? For example, am I well organised? Do I remember things?
- Weaknesses – What are my weaknesses? For example, am I easily distracted? Do I need more practise with a particular skill?
- Skills – What skills do I have and what am I good at?
- Problems – What problems are there at work/home that may affect me? For example, responsibilities or distractions that may impact on study or work.
- Achievements – What have I achieved?
- Happiness – Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about? What makes me happy?
- Solutions – What could I do to improve in these areas?
Although self reflection can seem difficult at first, or even selfish or embarrassing, as it does not come naturally. you will find it becomes easier with practise and the end result could be a happier and more efficient you.