Harvard University Reviews

Updated June 29, 2015
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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
258 Ratings

Pros
  • Good opportunity for work-life balance (in 47 reviews)

  • Harvard University have a wide array of great benefits such as retirement plan and subsidized education at several Harvard coursed (in 51 reviews)

Cons
  • Finding a work-life balance can be tough (in 18 reviews)

  • low pay per hour (considering Boston is such a high-cost place) (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

613 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    If you need prestige over happiness.

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

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Decent benefits. The association with 'the name' can open doors. Very impressive museums. The Carpenter Center is a selling point. Opportunity to study.

    Cons

    Exceedingly insular culture ; abusive dynamics required for success. Racist and sexist systems for every part of the advancement process. Difficult to find true mentors or those in whom to confide.

    Advice to Management

    Examine the purpose of the University.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Keep your head down and mouth shut

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great health insurance and benefits.

    Cons

    Minimal training and no mentorship provided. Extreme levels of compartmentalization where you are unable to pursue any work outside of your job description. You will be yelled at if you have any academic or work interests outside of your job description as well. Lots of behind-the-back talk among employees and no direct feedback is ever provided. Unless you are faculty or you have your doctorate, you are unable to provide feedback or have your own opinion about the way things are run.

    Remember that Harvard has outgrown its status as a university. It is a factory which prides itself on intellect and innovation, yet this could not be any further from the truth.

    Advice to Management

    Provide actual training programs instead of throwing people into the fire right away. Bring people to campus to interview instead of relying on Skype to cut down on costs. Encourage employees to be direct with each other instead of condoning passive-aggressive behavior that occurs in most departments. Provide employees with a good way to express their opinions and frustrations.


  3. Helpful (1)

    PostDoc at Harvard

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The only long term benefit might be the brand name to help find a job and advance in your career later.

    Cons

    Harvard pays a very low salary. The work condition and the equipment is mostly old and miserable.
    The work environment is horrifying.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Review of Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    After you graduate, people will think that you are smart and it will be (hopefully) easy to get a job.

    Cons

    - While the professors do great research (on their own), they do not want to teach students, and are therefore terrible teachers
    - The staff is incredibly unprofessional and will insult and intimidate students
    - Many students were not paid at least once or twice during their time at Harvard
    - Students are required to be teaching assistants for free, even if they are externally funded
    - All absences relating to personal illnesses or family crises/illnesses/death are treated as failure to show with regard to the written qualifying exams (you will not be told this in advance!)
    - The classes are pretty low level and poorly taught. Expect to learn everything you need to know off the internet or from textbooks

    Advice to Management

    Hire people who want to teach and don't hate students


  6. Terrible. A Career Killer.

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Everything built by you in house means you gain many engineering skills

    Cons

    The lab is severely mismanaged. The day to day activity is micromanaged. Work goes unpublished. No conference travel.


  7. Over educated babies with no interpersonal skills - makes working there difficult.

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Connections. There are so many alums.

    Cons

    Selfish, arrogant people in all staffing levels - who don't know how nor really want to do work.

    Advice to Management

    Leave.


  8. Most political place you'll ever worked at...

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - 4 weeks vacations + 1 week winter break
    - good health benefits
    - work load = ok

    o Harvard does have very good benefits, they try to give you a good work/life balance.

    Cons

    - extremely political environment
    - people are all about themselves
    - team-work non-existence
    - many incompetent and condescending management

    o It depends on which department you work in, but most department have incompetent leadership. Most department are extremely conservative with close minded people as leader. Since it's non-profit, majority of the management are unprofessional, often condescending and some are even racist. Overall, not a healthy environment to work in.

    Advice to Management

    Need to take a closer look at management and should get rid of people regardless of their age and status.


  9. Greed, incompetence, and socially dysfunctional describe the management at Media Technology Service

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Harvard Media Technology Services, Audio and Visual Technician in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Harvard Media Technology Services, Audio and Visual Technician in Cambridge, MA

    I worked at Harvard University part-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A lot of down time! If you like being able to do what ever you want while getting paid then this is the job for you! 80% of the time you are there you get to do what ever you want on your email. Free rental a lot of audio and video equipment. BEWARE this is all completely over weighed by the cons.

    Cons

    Not only is the management the most socially awkward and mean spirited people i have ever had the misfortune of working with, but these people love to treat their part time employees like mindless workers instead of human beings. I am not the only employee with this experience.
    While working here I was lied to about hours. I had multiple emails confirming my hours and schedules, but when the semester rolled around the management decided to give 75% of my hours to unpaid interns. Keep in mind I have a graduates degree! Also, take into consideration that I am not the only person this was done to. I found out later on, that the only reason they gave my hours to unpaid interns was so that the management could receive bonuses for rolling back expenses. This made my life very stressful for about a month while I found another job to fill these hours, considering I was relying on these hours.
    I was also treated very unfairly for multiple jobs that were never explained to me. Something that in a normal work environment would be treated as a learning experience. DO NOT WORK HERE.

    Advice to Management

    Start treating employees like people, instead of objects you can stab in the back.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Work at Harvard to take advantage of the educational benefits (TAP), not for professional/career development

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

    I worked at Harvard University full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Tuition assistance program is excellent.

    Cons

    The enormous wealth of the institution of Harvard does not translate into support or reasonable pay for the staff.

    Pay is extremely low compared to positions of comparable workload, demand, expectations, and stress within the private sector. Zero raise and incentive structure; no bonus system based on merit and accomplishments. You can work extremely hard and for long hours every day, doing top-notch work above and beyond expectations, but you won't be compensated for it. No professional mentoring at all. No professional training beyond what is needed to move to another job within Harvard itself. Management are mostly professors who are not at all invested and have no stake in providing professional development opportunities or challenges for the staff. Therefore, there is very little opportunity to develop as a professional here, and no exposure to private sector opportunities.

    All of Harvard's resources cater to the needs and the schedules of the students; staff are not even considered in the decisions that effect the entire community.

    Harvard is decentralized at even the lowest level, and thus an extremely inefficient bureaucracy. Like the University offices and departments, the staff themselves are isolated from one another; no networking, advocacy, or social opportunities. Advocacy is stifled.


  11. Helpful (1)

    It depends on which school you end up at

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Analyst
    Current Employee - Research Analyst

    I have been working at Harvard University

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Some schools treat their employees with respect, pay competitive wages, and stress a work/life balance.

    Cons

    I don't work at one of those schools. I make at least $30K less than I would be if I went federal or to another university. The demands are psychotic, and the sense of entitlement in this hierarchical hellhole is severe. I would not recommend working here to anyone. The turnover is frighteningly high, there are NO opportunities to professional development due to budgetary constraints, and your manager will be just as stressed out as you-and will take it out on you. The level of disorganization here is horrific.

    Advice to Management

    There is a massive, clear divide between upper management and everyone else. We support you. We make you look good. Pay attention to our needs, pay us a living wage, and don't make absurd demands-unless you want the rest of your staff to depart as nearly half has in the last year.



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