Harvard University Reviews

Updated August 6, 2014
Updated August 6, 2014
478 Reviews

4.0
478 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
220 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

208 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    World-class personnel and resources housed in a profit machine

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Harvard is extremely good at staffing itself with talented, hard-working, supremely competent people who take pride in that they do. The healthcare plan is excellent, as are many "perk"-like benefits that are a bit hidden, but great once you know where they are. (Check out Innings & Outings)

    Cons

    The university itself can feel a bit like a meat-grinder. Also, make no mistake, if there are pennies that can be wrung from you, Harvard will wring you dry.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Bountiful career development resources, powerful community of leaders that create leaders.

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

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

    Pros

    Benefits, work/life balance, sponsored continued education, endless amount of skill building resources and networking events. Great place to seek personal and profession growth. Best part of working at Harvard was having access to the Harvard Center for Workplace Development - a structured mini-school for employees to pick up or brush up on their skills. If there's a skill that you are lacking or need to improve, there's a training course on that. I took a few courses to learn how to work some job specific tools and was able to become fully proficient in just a few sessions. The instructors are very invested in helping you learn and succeed at your job.

    Cons

    Competitive, can be an isolating sort of environment at times. Not necessarily the best place for someone who does not have a clear idea of how they want to develop their career. With so many resources at your disposal, if you don't have a clear career path in mind, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the options. Some of the schools have a substantially smaller working budget which limits the pool of opportunities; this can be quite frustrating.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    A valuable experience where I was able to pick up job training.

    • 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 part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Very professional attitudes when in the work place. I felt as if my performance was noted. If I had stayed on, I feel as if I could have easily transitioned to more roles.

    Cons

    Payroll was not properly integrated, and it took weeks for changes to be made. Luckily I had other sources of income.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Intellectually stimulating environment with many layers of bureaucracy

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Executive Assistant
    Current Employee - Executive Assistant

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time

    Pros

    Harvard provides incredible benefits. A Harvard employee can take a class at Harvard Extension School for only $40! Harvard also has a variety of unions, including HUCTW, that work relentlessly to make sure that staff are treated fairly. Employees have access to limitless libraries and incredible speaking engagements.

    Cons

    Personal growth is limited, internal candidates are not valued. Employee retention is not their strong point, and many staff are stretched incredibly thin. Layers of bureaucracy and out-dated processes can make simple procedures daunting.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Improve employee retention by providing more management development trainings.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    The best place for doing research

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Excellent faculty team and students; lots of oppotunies to interact with top scholars in the field. The environment is absolutely inspiring

    Cons

    low paid salary for postdocs or those not on tenure-track

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    more perks and benefits to postdocs

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    I have a great English supercomputing boss.

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I have a rugged looking Englishman as a boss. He laughs a lot and uses strange slang from something called 'Blighty'. Adds a great atmosphere around the computing lab.
    He lets me toy around with a lot of hardware putting it in racks. The lights blink a lot and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

    Cons

    I believe I've been told I've been going pear-shaped. I thought this was an insult on my hips but I think it has something to do with his slang terms.
    Even though he laughs a lot he looks like firemarshall Bill from In Living Color when he does that.

    The UPS system makes funny sounds and sometimes smells like battery acid.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I think you should consider cloud computing approaches or maybe something with hadoop.

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Mixed - day to day experience often a function of immediate work group which can change a lot

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Interesting people, vibrant setting, anything is possible

    Cons

    It really depends on the immediate working group - some are incredible, some less so. While anything is possible, getting things done can be like pulling teeth because it sometimes feels like everyone has to have or wants to have an opinion even when they don't really need to; this can be tiresome. There are sometimes trust issues, 2nd guessing etc....

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Experience

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

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

    Pros

    Gained experience from working professionals in a very elite environment

    Cons

    Due to the academia of it all, the wages were pretty low... considering the HUGE endowment and all.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Fantastic!

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

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

    Pros

    You meet the most intellectual groups of people in the world. You may work on serious projects with industry.

    Cons

    Too many snobs. Takes too much time to publish papers, usually starting publishing only after first year for most disciplines.

  11.  

    I had an opportunity to work with very smart people.

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

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

    Pros

    good facilities, smart people, nice campus

    Cons

    hard to balance life and work
    tough and competitive

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    no advice

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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