Harvard University

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Harvard University Reviews in Cambridge, MA

Updated September 17, 2014
Updated September 17, 2014
486 Reviews
4.0
486 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

222 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Harvard is a complicated, but great, place to work

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Competitive pay, amazing benefits, flexibility in schedule

    Cons

    Dealing with elitist personalities, academics who don't know how to manage properly

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more attention to the staff who supports what everyone does - they are the lifeline!

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Very intellectual and international community

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Working with very dedicated and motivated people. Very good benefits. Opportunity for taking classes for free.

    Cons

    These are only cautions not really cons. It is a very demanding environment. It is typical for an institute at that level. A research assistant may need to work extra hours on many days to keep a good progress.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It varies from lab to lab. Research assistances should be more included in post-doc/graduate student seminars.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    10+ Years at Harvard...

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Intellectual atmosphere...mission driven...innovative people (depending on which part of Harvard you're working in...)...Promote from within...good job opportunity and security...great benefits...

    Cons

    Challenging environment for someone who is highly ambitious - which is funny since it is a place full of ambitious people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    As you climb the ladder it becomes very challenging to compete with the "authority" that faculty have, which is understandable since it is a university. But - if they want to retain more ambitious administrators that have strong content knowledge then there needs to be more room on the ladder for them to climb.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Harvard has been a great place for me to start my career

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

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

    Pros

    health care, special benefits, PTO, internal development, retirement, work/life balance, location, training

    Cons

    salary, limited budget, bureaucracy, space issues

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Offer more competitive salaries

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    Excellent Experience

    Current Employee - Student Computing Technician  in  Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Student Computing Technician in Cambridge, MA

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

    Pros

    Best Job on Campus
    Laid Back
    Great Opportunity to Learn

    Cons

    Sometimes it gets a little disorganized
    Competitive School

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep the Great Atmosphere

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Great benefits, flexible hours vs. low pay, hard to advance

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Great health insurance (so far). As a staff member you are part of a union which, while not perfect, gives you additional protection and assurance that you can have a say in your workplace and be treated fairly. Harvard classes are virtually free to take--I have saved tens of thousands of dollars on Harvard Extension School classes over the years, which, along with the 4 weeks (starting) vacation and generous sick time, need to be factored in to the base salary. Staff have access to many Harvard activities, discounts and perks. The library has a vast selection of periodicals and books of all kinds, popular and scholarly.

    Many of my colleagues are highly educated and/or just plain interesting people and very dedicated to the work they do. People here value a "non-corporate" workplace culture. They really do care about the library and want to see it continue to be a great place, a "peerless institution".

    Cons

    The Harvard Library, where I work, has a very dysfunctional management structure. There has been an ongoing period of restructuring and budget-cuts over the last few years which has hurt morale and generally been run very poorly. The "non-corporate" workplace culture I mentioned in the Pros section has been one of the things to suffer during this period.

    It is difficult to find paths for career development, and the "ambitious", career-minded people move on after a few years (understandably). Others stay, and get stuck in a rut working the same low salary-grade job for decades. While this is largely their own responsibility, it remains the case that the organization mostly pays mere lip-service to career development, and sometimes actively discourages and punishes ambition (unless you are able to ingratiate yourself to the right manager).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Involve the whole library in planning and reorganization discussions BEFORE deciding on sweeping changes. Don't assume that "disruptive" change (the latest fad) is necessarily good change. Don't assume that staff, faculty and other community members who challenge some of the library leadership's ideas are merely "afraid of change". Actually listen to what they have to tell you about the work that they do and care deeply about (and know best). Spend more time assembling the expertise you need to actually come up with a concrete and sustainable future for the library, rather than relying on vague generalities and rushed timetables.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    Great School

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

    I have been working at Harvard University as an intern for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Awesome resources. You can do pretty much anything if you can write a convincing statement why you want to do it.

    Cons

    Although there are boundless resources, there are also pockets were the offerings are weak or inexistent (such as certain things in the arts)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    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
  10.  

    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
  11.  

    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

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