Harvard University Reviews

Updated March 20, 2015
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4.1
587 Reviews
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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
252 Ratings

Pros
  • For administrative positions, the work/life balance is decent because staff are unionized (in 47 reviews)

  • Lots of freedom, interesting work, great benefits, unbelievable resources (in 51 reviews)

Cons
  • bad work/life balance, low pay, minimal training unless actively sought out (in 18 reviews)

  • low pay, ceiling/plateau for researchers, no clear path for researches in public health, isolating environment (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

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  1. The best job

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

    I worked at Harvard University

    Pros

    Everyone is so nice and willing to help

    Cons

    Gets dull and you stop learning

  2. postdoc research fellow

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    A good place to do research.

    Cons

    almost no Cons to complain about.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    no

    Recommends
  3. It was a rewarding experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Video Manager
    Former Employee - Video Manager

    I worked at Harvard University

    Pros

    Get to interact with bright students, staff, and faculty.

    Cons

    There are no big cons I can think of!

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Great Place To Work

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

    I have been working at Harvard University (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    Harvard is a large institution, so, if you want to, you can move within the institution.
    Benefits are good.
    Colleagues are bright and engaged.

    Cons

    As with any place, your own individual manager can be great or difficult.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  6. Have a feeling you can change the world....?

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Wonderful opportunities to enhance your learning.

    Cons

    Child care resources are not that great.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Increase the flexibility and resources for working families with children, especially single-parent households.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. Amazing experience

    Former Employee - Producer in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Producer in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University part-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Student jobs are great, compensation is great, get to work with the management and people much higher up than you right from the beginning

    Cons

    Working while a student is difficult because of time management. Beyond that, I have no complaints and everything is awesome

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful

    Harvard University Information Technology

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

    I worked at Harvard University

    Pros

    Lots of vacation days. Ability to take classes for short money. Limited evening and weekend hours. Access to athletic facilities. Public transportation subsidies.

    Cons

    Working in HUIT long-term will kill your soul. You will waste your career doing the equivalent of begging higher-ups to pick up their socks when you are not entreating them to stop withholding one small piece of information or another that you need to do your job.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  9. It's a big place and it can be very different depending on where you in it.

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

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

    Pros

    Great benefits, lots of potential for lateral movement.

    Cons

    Not much upward growth potential. I am sure this depends on your job track, but raises are generally capped, and at least for me, there isn't a way to become more senior to improve salary.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Experience will vary based on department and supervisor, but mine exhibited good funding and intellectual autonomy

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    The funding of my department was very generous. Again, there is a lot of variability in funding levels, but, for the most part, on average, Harvard is one of the best-funded institutions out there.

    Status-wise, Harvard is at the top. This, practically speaking, can be useful for one's resume and can open up job opportunities just by the nature of how evaluators use heuristics to make quicker judgments (e.g., "Harvard? Oh, cool. Moved higher up the pile"), for better or worse. For better, I guess, if you're on the benefitting end of the heuristic.

    Intellectual autonomy is also a key positive of working at Harvard. There is little oversight, and there is a lot of freedom to research what one wants to research. And if you are the sort of person who is intellectually curious, you may benefit from this autonomy.

    Cons

    The flip-side of autonomy is that there may not be much guidance. That is, one's supervisor/ adviser can be hard to reach at times or provide somewhat abstract "advice" rather than clear guidance. This can be a con if you are the kind of person who really prefers to be relatively closely instructed, but it is a pro if you are extremely "entrepreneurial", which is the culturally favored word to describe the kind of person who tends to succeed in the context of limited-guidance.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Well, what can I say? Realistically speaking, Drew Faust or other top management can do little to improve the particular con of lack of guidance. Sure, they could exhort that supervisors meet with their direct reports individually to discuss and agree upon the optimal balance of structure and autonomy for a given dyadic relationship, but, frankly, I don't think that's going to do much. I guess it could be worth a try.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 2 people found this helpful

    Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT)

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

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

    Pros

    20 days paid vacation per year
    3 personal days
    $40 Harvard Extension School classes
    $50 Yearly gym membership
    5% Salary Match

    Cons

    Salaries considerably below market rate
    Weak pay raises @ 2-3% per year for excellent performance reviews
    You pay to park at work $2048/year
    Little to no bonuses and no pay-for-performance incentives
    Major cuts to health insurance in 2015
    Expectation is for you to work and be available 24x7
    No offices - cubes or open floor plans

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Too many managers, project managers, and micro-managers, this coupled with a lack of strong leadership at the top burns out a lot of smart IT engineers, architects, and admins.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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