Harvard University Reviews in Cambridge, MA | Glassdoor

Harvard University Cambridge Reviews

Updated October 10, 2017
481 reviews

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Cambridge, MA

4.2
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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
230 Ratings

481 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Excellent benefits and work life balance (in 83 reviews)

  • Plus it has the best pay out of all the colleges/universities in the area and great benefits (in 122 reviews)

Cons
  • Workplace culture does not value work-life balance (in 45 reviews)

  • relatively low pay compared to industry (in 28 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Harvard Museusm of Science and Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Harvard Museums of Science and Culture in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Harvard Museums of Science and Culture in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Harvard University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I felt appreciated every day and loved the close-knit atmosphere where everyone truly lifted eacheother up. No office politics, no gossip, no bad boss, no bad co-workers, and no one taking false credit. A wonderful place with wonderful and brilliant people who focus on the big picture with big minds and big ideas.

    Cons

    Maybe the pay? But it's honestly totally worth it.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the fantastic work. You guys are grounded and supportive, and treat even the lowest on the ladder with immense dignity and respect. I felt like I could achieve anything with you guys at my back.


  2. "Research assistant Safra Center"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Research Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Harvard University part-time

    Pros

    Gained experience in the health care industry by working with a professor as a research assistant in the Safra Center

    Cons

    Low salary and many working hours

  3. "Database Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Student in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Worked at a small fundraising office with some incredibly talented fundraising directors. You will see the inner workings of how big buildings are paid for!

    Cons

    Working with some very dated systems can be annoying, but hey it well worth the beer money.


  4. "Systems engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Intern - IT Systems Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Intern - IT Systems Engineer in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at Harvard University as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    great learning experience, people here are very accommodating and nice. It is a great opportunity to network

    Cons

    Sometimes there is not enough work to do, if you want to stay busy you have to ask people who work here to give you work to do

    Advice to Management

    I do not have advice to management, they know what they are doing and I repect their grind and hustle


  5. "Staff Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    The benefits are amazing and being able to take classes at the Harvard Extension School for virtually nothing was incredible. While at time challenging, being a Staff Assistant greatly prepares your for the working world.

    Cons

    There is a lot of bureaucracy and my office was very reluctant to making changes-- big or small--that would increase efficiency and improve the overall work environment. There was also a ton of staff turnover, especially amongst Staff Assistants, who in my office, usually worked harder than their managers (skipping lunch, staying late even when managers have left), despite being underpaid and valued.

    Advice to Management

    Give Staff Assistants the ability to engage and opportunities for ownership over projects. Realise how much staff turnover is costing you and figure out how to do more to make Harvard a place where staff want to stay.


  6. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are a lot of reasons to not only get a job at Harvard, but remain here. The benefits are incredible, including reduced tuition at the Extension School for anyone seeking to advance their education. There are so many operating units that even if you aren't fully satisfied with your position, after some time, it's fairly easy to move into a new position.

    Cons

    Although the University has really tried to tout the "One Harvard" line for the past couple of years, most programs and offices are really compartmentalized in their approach and not every system works the same across the board. Harvard could do work on creating a more uniform approach to it's administrative systems

    Advice to Management

    Focus on career development for your administrators, not just the academics. The admin teams keep the university afloat, and you need to reward them for that.


  7. "Great Minds Make Great Employers"

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

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

    Pros

    - Access to leading scholars and artists
    - Reasonable -to - Generous pay for college research assistants
    - Opportunity to substantially contribute to one of many fields
    - Perks include free meals, cool events, and possibility for summer extension of academic year position
    - Work on close-knit team with your fellow, and if the fellow lives local, you have the opportunity to stay with her or him longer term

    Cons

    - Not all fellows entrust their assistants with rewarding work

    Advice to Management

    You might want to devise a more thorough mid-year review for the work your assistants are doing. That said, I had a life-changing experience, and my only negative feedback comes secondhand from peers in the program.

  8. "Benefits are good"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Cambridge, MA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good vacation and health benefits.

    Cons

    Interview and hiring process took over 3 months.


  9. "Experience is highly dependent on lab and department environment"

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

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Access to resources and collaborations that would be almost impossible to find anywhere else . Great science, great people and great mentors can be found here (this is specific for science PhDs).

    Cons

    Some departments and labs contain unpleasant environments. Students can be taken advantage of.

    Advice to Management

    Work on culture.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Good for some people for a short amount of time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    For me personally:
    - benefits, such as health insurance. I am a young healthy 20-something and I have never used any portion of the health plan, but it kept be from having to buy it through the exchanges.
    - The next best benefit is that a gym membership is $30/year and you get half price MBTA passes.
    - Extremely low stress, easy work for money that seems like too much. Though the monotony and tedious nature of the work somewhat justifies it.
    - You can tell people you work at Harvard.
    - Some good training courses available at Center for Workforce Development.

    Cons

    - I don't know what this position is preparing me to do in the future. It's easy and you get paid pretty well, but I fear that while it's good as a single 20 something now, I will potentially lack the skills and real experience that would allow me to make a lot more money later when it matters more (with a family for example).
    - Merit is not really a thing here. Union members get automatic increases. It doesn't matter if you're any good or not. Almost no incentive to do anything more than necessary to stay on your manager's good side.
    - Different rules for staff vs managers. Gets frustrating. Mind you, not on paper, but in practice.
    - I don't know anyone outside of my narrow little department. There isn't really a feeling that we all work for the same thing.
    - No clear direction.
    - In theory, tons of awesome educational benefits, especially the ability to get degrees for 90% off or $40 / class at Extension School. But who has time for this?? Don't let stuff like this trick you.
    - Good to get in for a few years and then get out.
    - Very little sense of purpose.
    - High turnover.
    - Harvard overall is a monoculture. The assumption is that your personal beliefs are secular and progressive. You will not want to say much anything if you don't fit into those categories. It's very common for these things to be assumed when others start conversations with you.


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