Harvard University

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Harvard University Reviews

Updated Jun 23, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.9 466 reviews

91% Approve of the CEO

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust

(216 ratings)

84% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • For administrative positions, the work/life balance is decent because staff are unionized(in 43 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)

28 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    postdoc in biology

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Proschallenging project, you can learn a lot in academic research

    Consno promotion; low salary; hard to find a job

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Tough culture for one of the finest higher ed institutions

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsWorking with my clients and colleagues was a very enjoyable experience, most of the time. There are definitely people here who like to throw around titles to get what they want, but I would say in the entry level and mid-management positions the people are great.

    ConsThe leadership at the Law School supports a culture in which managers are right regardless of the situation. This makes it difficult for those of us who are great at what we do, but have a manager who is in the leadership position because of time served, but not necessarily ability to manage and lead. My manager seems to be a good person, but is a terrible manager. He does not listen to others when he does not agree with them, he is afraid to make tough decisions, and he plays favorites. From what I hear from my colleagues, in other departments, they have managers who are the same, but even when going to HR for support, you are basically told to deal with it.

    In addition to the above, there are plenty of people who are just not good at their jobs, but they have been here forever and no one makes them do what they need to so they can have the necessary skills to carry out their roles. People like this are protected, while high-performers are forced to pick up the slack until they eventually tire of doing everyone else's job and leave.

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou have alot of very talented people at the Law School, but your inability to hold managers accountable for leadership development for themselves and staff development for their employees will drive all of the good people away. There does not have to be an "us versus them", but senior leadership has allowed the culture to become this way because you allow managers to take on roles they are not fully prepared to embrace.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Bad

    Postdoctoral Fellow (Current Employee) Boston, MA

    Prosno a single one. No one cares about anything outside the lab

    ConsAll the narcissist PI's with delusions of time

    Advice to Senior Managementget trained

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Culture & Values
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    Hard to Work For Insecure Manager

    Harvard Media Technology Services, Audio and Visual Technician (Former Employee) Cambridge, MA

    ProsThe pay is great (even better with benefits). You're working on exciting and innovative material that you know may have the potential to influence education.

    Consas a new department, the leadership was all over the place. One of the person in charge was a rather insecure person who only valued their own opinions.
    They created an uncomfortable work environment by forcing an open plan work space despite the objections of the employees who would have to use it (they had a separate office).

    HR is also unhelpful in resolving conflict.

    Advice to Senior ManagementDo a better job of training your supervisors. Don't hire people who know nothing about the field AND are unwilling to to learn from those who do.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    • Approves of CEO

     

    Slow-paced and low expectations

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee) Cambridge, MA

    ProsCo-workers were nice - some of the managers were good. Pay was very competitive and good benefits.

    ConsVery low workload, emphasized in interview what a challenging and interesting job it would be but it was not. Almost everyone there was much older and things moved very slowly.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide more training and support to staff. Make sure you actually have a job for people to do before you hire them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    lots of variability in treatment

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee) Boston, MA

    ProsIf you're interested in working with smart people, this is the place to be. First place I've been where I didn't have to worry about threatening people with ideas.
    Great benefits, if you get a chance to use them; e.g. too busy to vacation

    ConsHuge politics depending on where in the organizational hierarchy you fit. There is great variability in the "happiness index" depending on who your direct supervisor is. And again, highly variable to the department you work in, you might be on call all the time, as to be answering emails at 11pm at night and have a full inbox by 8 am anyway.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGive more than lip service to work/life balance.
    Actually do something about supervisors who do not allow for sick days and vacation time that does not require checking in throughout the day.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    You're lucky to be employed here

    Assistant Professor (Current Employee) Boston, MA

    ProsExcellent salary, excellent benefits. There is a lot of prestige to working here, especially to people who know little beyond the name. Launches you very well for your next job somewhere else.

    ConsAdministration doesn't care about you and treats you as if you are the least important thing at the University. You are totally replaceable no matter who you are and they let you know it at every opportunity.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Experiences here vary widely

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsThis is an endlessly interesting institution where high value is placed on learning, professional development, and taking advantage of the intellectual and cultural resources that Harvard offers. Excellent vacation, sick, and personal time.

    ConsAs an enormous institution, professional experiences can vary widely. Be very careful about the specific environment you join there. I worked in a department that allowed an assistant vice president to treat staff disrespectfully and harshly, despite several legitimate concerns voiced to Human Resources and other senior leaders about this manager's demeaning behavior. In addition to this unfortunate staffing dynamic, the office in question (the central Development department) is not well-coordinated and strategic priorities/plans are ambiguous at best. This office could learn a lot from some of its peers in terms of running a more modern, efficient and respectful fundraising enterprise.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake employees' concerns with senior management seriously.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Educational in understanding the challenges of political abitions as well as mon

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsHarvard pays pretty well and your working at Harvard!! The richest University in the world and they know it.

    ConsPolitics run the show. Even to the point they do not feel they need to follow regulations locally, state or federally. They have run things the same way for years and everything is slow to change there, if at all.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Harvard Grad. School of Education

    Research Assistant (Former Employee)

    ProsOpportunity to meet great people, pay is generous, location is nice

    ConsBureaucracy dominates, payroll is extremely disorganized and checks are always cut late, very difficult to communicate with upper-level employees, budget for research studies is not managed properly

    Advice to Senior ManagementYou need to take the time to communicate with lower-tier employees who are actually out in the field doing research in schools. Most of you are completely out of touch with what really goes on and what needs to be changed.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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