Harvard University

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Harvard University Reviews

Updated March 1, 2015
Updated March 1, 2015
573 Reviews
4.1
573 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
248 Ratings

Review Highlights

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 Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    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
  2.  

    Graphic Designer, Multimedia designer

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

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

    Pros

    The benefits for Harvard employees include medical benefits, tuition assistance, access to academic resources, athletic facilities, generous vacation, and retirement contributions.

    Cons

    The leadership skill can vary from department to department.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  3.  

    Great place to work

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    The best environment possible. The people are amazing and helpful to work with, they take care of you, teach you and help you grow.

    Cons

    Learning curve can be hard at first.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    Great Institution for research

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Supervisions provide good mentoring and all involved are brilliant. Everyone is so interesting and is doing incredible research. There was a lot of research funding in my department, which made work significantly less worrysome

    Cons

    In bigger labs, there is less direct communication between members

  6.  

    Overall a positive experience

    • 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

    Harvard University attracts the best and the brightest. As a result, working at Harvard can be both challenging and rewarding. Harvard certainly motivates you to reach your full potential.

    Cons

    Harvard University is a meritocracy. That is, you're recognized by your academic credentials and contributions. Some may see this as a con and I would tend to agree that this philosophy comes with certain trade-offs e.g., occasionally excluding more qualified individuals.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I would create more open floor plans, especially in the software development communities. I believe that the artificial barriers imposed by offices and cubicles impedes productivity.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Work with amazing, ambitious people in an under-organized environment

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

    I worked at Harvard University as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I've never worked with such talented, hard-working, and ambitious people. That's by far the biggest benefit and it's impossible to overstate the impact that this can have on your own expectations and opportunities.

    Cons

    It depends on where you work, but my experience was that some departments can be poorly organized. Faculty are divas and not always present.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work. Hire faculty who care about others and not only their own careers.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Fantastic experience! Lots of fun experiments!

    • 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

    Sky is the limit! Great people to work with!

    Cons

    Little money is given to post docs!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It would be great to give more financial support to the people with lots of love in their hearts to science and research!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great benefits

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Great opportunities for professional development. HR is very engaged, and wants to keep their people.

    Cons

    Lots of time off offered, but responsibilities leave little time for taking it.

  10.  

    Great benefits, flexible working conditions.

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Pros

    Harvard University has generous benefits, including good vacation and sick day allowances. Working on campus brings along a lot of additional benefits that accompany a major university.

    Cons

    Like many private universities, Harvard is careful to protect its name, reputation, and faculty. While this makes sense at some levels, it also tends to add excessive layers of admin.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let professional staff be P.I.s on grants.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11.  

    Great!

    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Grader in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Grader in Cambridge, MA

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

    Pros

    good pay and hours. work wasn't too hard.

    Cons

    work was a little boring. submitting time-sheets became a pain.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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