Harvard University

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  www.harvard.edu
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Harvard University Reviews

Updated July 27, 2014
Updated July 27, 2014
488 Reviews
4.0
488 Reviews
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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
223 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • For administrative positions, the work/life balance is decent because staff are unionized (in 44 reviews)

  • Lots of freedom, interesting work, great benefits, unbelievable resources (in 48 reviews)


Cons
  • bad work/life balance, low pay, minimal training unless actively sought out (in 14 reviews)

  • low pay, ceiling/plateau for researchers, no clear path for researches in public health, isolating environment (in 13 reviews)

More Highlights

15 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Keep your head down and mouth shut

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant III  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant III in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Great health insurance and benefits.

    Cons

    Minimal training and no mentorship provided. Extreme levels of compartmentalization where you are unable to pursue any work outside of your job description. You will be yelled at if you have any academic or work interests outside of your job description as well. Lots of behind-the-back talk among employees and no direct feedback is ever provided. Unless you are faculty or you have your doctorate, you are unable to provide feedback or have your own opinion about the way things are run.

    Remember that Harvard has outgrown its status as a university. It is a factory which prides itself on intellect and innovation, yet this could not be any further from the truth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide actual training programs instead of throwing people into the fire right away. Bring people to campus to interview instead of relying on Skype to cut down on costs. Encourage employees to be direct with each other instead of condoning passive-aggressive behavior that occurs in most departments. Provide employees with a good way to express their opinions and frustrations.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    PostDoc at Harvard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Postdoctoral Fellow in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The only long term benefit might be the brand name to help find a job and advance in your career later.

    Cons

    Harvard pays a very low salary. The work condition and the equipment is mostly old and miserable.
    The work environment is horrifying.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Review of Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - PhD Candidate  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - PhD Candidate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    After you graduate, people will think that you are smart and it will be (hopefully) easy to get a job.

    Cons

    - While the professors do great research (on their own), they do not want to teach students, and are therefore terrible teachers
    - The staff is incredibly unprofessional and will insult and intimidate students
    - Many students were not paid at least once or twice during their time at Harvard
    - Students are required to be teaching assistants for free, even if they are externally funded
    - All absences relating to personal illnesses or family crises/illnesses/death are treated as failure to show with regard to the written qualifying exams (you will not be told this in advance!)
    - The classes are pretty low level and poorly taught. Expect to learn everything you need to know off the internet or from textbooks

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire people who want to teach and don't hate students

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Terrible. A Career Killer.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Everything built by you in house means you gain many engineering skills

    Cons

    The lab is severely mismanaged. The day to day activity is micromanaged. Work goes unpublished. No conference travel.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    Over educated babies with no interpersonal skills - makes working there difficult.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Staff Assistant in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Connections. There are so many alums.

    Cons

    Selfish, arrogant people in all staffing levels - who don't know how nor really want to do work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7.  

    Most political place you'll ever worked at...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - 4 weeks vacations + 1 week winter break
    - good health benefits
    - work load = ok

    o Harvard does have very good benefits, they try to give you a good work/life balance.

    Cons

    - extremely political environment
    - people are all about themselves
    - team-work non-existence
    - many incompetent and condescending management

    o It depends on which department you work in, but most department have incompetent leadership. Most department are extremely conservative with close minded people as leader. Since it's non-profit, majority of the management are unprofessional, often condescending and some are even racist. Overall, not a healthy environment to work in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Need to take a closer look at management and should get rid of people regardless of their age and status.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Greed, incompetence, and socially dysfunctional describe the management at Media Technology Service

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Harvard Media Technology Services, Audio and Visual Technician  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Harvard Media Technology Services, Audio and Visual Technician in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    A lot of down time! If you like being able to do what ever you want while getting paid then this is the job for you! 80% of the time you are there you get to do what ever you want on your email. Free rental a lot of audio and video equipment. BEWARE this is all completely over weighed by the cons.

    Cons

    Not only is the management the most socially awkward and mean spirited people i have ever had the misfortune of working with, but these people love to treat their part time employees like mindless workers instead of human beings. I am not the only employee with this experience.
    While working here I was lied to about hours. I had multiple emails confirming my hours and schedules, but when the semester rolled around the management decided to give 75% of my hours to unpaid interns. Keep in mind I have a graduates degree! Also, take into consideration that I am not the only person this was done to. I found out later on, that the only reason they gave my hours to unpaid interns was so that the management could receive bonuses for rolling back expenses. This made my life very stressful for about a month while I found another job to fill these hours, considering I was relying on these hours.
    I was also treated very unfairly for multiple jobs that were never explained to me. Something that in a normal work environment would be treated as a learning experience. DO NOT WORK HERE.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start treating employees like people, instead of objects you can stab in the back.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9.  

    Worthy of a Harvard Business School Case Study

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Business Analyst  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Business Analyst in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University as a contractor for more than a year

    Pros

    Looks great on your resume! People very nice...initially.

    Cons

    Management disorganized. Data silos. Customers inaccessible. Little direction, if any, from lower level management. Very long time frames for any decision, including project timelines.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Figure out how to eliminate the politics, especially among the IT staff. It's not a contest...it's a team. I've worked in multiple Harvard schools/departments, and have the same advice for each.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work at Harvard to take advantage of the educational benefits (TAP), not for professional/career development

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University full-time

    Pros

    Tuition assistance program is excellent.

    Cons

    The enormous wealth of the institution of Harvard does not translate into support or reasonable pay for the staff.

    Pay is extremely low compared to positions of comparable workload, demand, expectations, and stress within the private sector. Zero raise and incentive structure; no bonus system based on merit and accomplishments. You can work extremely hard and for long hours every day, doing top-notch work above and beyond expectations, but you won't be compensated for it. No professional mentoring at all. No professional training beyond what is needed to move to another job within Harvard itself. Management are mostly professors who are not at all invested and have no stake in providing professional development opportunities or challenges for the staff. Therefore, there is very little opportunity to develop as a professional here, and no exposure to private sector opportunities.

    All of Harvard's resources cater to the needs and the schedules of the students; staff are not even considered in the decisions that effect the entire community.

    Harvard is decentralized at even the lowest level, and thus an extremely inefficient bureaucracy. Like the University offices and departments, the staff themselves are isolated from one another; no networking, advocacy, or social opportunities. Advocacy is stifled.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    educational

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Lander, WY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lander, WY

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    access to public transportation and diverse customer base

    Cons

    environment suffers from a greatly inflated sense of its own importance;

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    go work in the trenches of the working class for one year; confine yourselves to a working class salary for one year in Boston; live within the means of a working class family in Boston for one year and then take a look at Harvard; good luck..

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