Harvard University Reviews | Glassdoor

Harvard University Reviews

Updated May 16, 2017
30 reviews

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Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
7 Ratings

30 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work life balance and benefits (in 79 reviews)

  • Plus it has the best pay out of all the colleges/universities in the area and great benefits (in 115 reviews)

Cons
  • Work/Life Balance is like most other top institutions (in 42 reviews)

  • relatively low pay compared to industry (in 27 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Program Coordinator - Harvard Chan School"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Holiday pay/time, low health insurance costs, MBTA subsidy

    Cons

    Zero autonomy or flexibility for front desk staff down to having to send managers drafts before sending out even the most mundane emails. Hierarchical resulting in more tenured staff having assistants or programs coordinators file folders or make copies for them just because they seemingly can. Workflow can be dependent on what managers want to delegate to you on any given day - some roles have no defined set of duties or tasks built in. Managers promoted to that level without a management background or it being determined that they can manage people. Strict on the 9-5 schedule for some but not others with no rhyme or reason associated with it (not based on actual staffing or student needs).

    Advice to Management

    Hire people with actual management skills or capabilities. Before posting new positions think about whether you actually need someone in a full-time role for a particular department. Require managers to post job descriptions that accurately reflect what the job is including dotted line managers, workflow, etc. Revisit job titles - one school cannot possibly have this many 'deputy' and 'assistant' directors.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Hostile and Toxic Environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Senior Project Manager in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Benefits and compensation are competitive

    Cons

    Senior management will manipulate and lie. Employees have no support or protection against this institutional beast. HR takes the lead in this discriminatory environment with zero accountability at the highest levels of the institution. Their misconduct is hidden behind the curtain of the venerable Harvard name.

    Advice to Management

    Overhaul your HR departments across the institution, starting with the leadership level.

  3. "No management structure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - IT Support Associate in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - IT Support Associate in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Harvard University (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Not many it was a basic 9 - 5 job with no perks or benefits only good thing I could think of was the facility was nice

    Cons

    Very isolated not much teamwork there all the veteran techs really stayed to themselves and did there own thing and this includes management


  4. Helpful (2)

    "HUIT Harvard University IT"

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

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

    Pros

    They used to have great benefits a decade ago, but companies nowadays have comparable if not better benefits. Very easy paycheck, and no stress outside of work.

    Cons

    My immediate manager is awful here. You don't get rewarded for good work and hence institutionalizing everyone. This is an organizational issue that stems from the top of the chain. If you have a group of overachievers, the managers cannot give each individual high reviews because HR wants everyone to be just mediocre.

    The execs hire and promote their own friends and people that will do whatever they want to hear, and have absolutely no strategy.

    Advice to Management

    Fix the whole review process. Trim middle management instead of hiring more. Reward the workers and stop stripping out their benefits.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Crimson Curtain"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Research Fellow/Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Former Employee - Research Fellow/Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Harvard University (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If everything works out then Harvard is wonderful on your resume. Some researchers were able to succeed under the demands and pressures of their professors, but very few. Several other postdocs had to leave research as a career because of poor mentoring and career development.

    Cons

    If something does not work out, then Harvard will haunt you for the rest of your career. In the Boston area, Harvard on your resume does not have as much weight as you would think. Everyone in Boston is from MIT or Harvard.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Phd"

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

    Pros

    Free time and a great time handing around departments trying to get free food. Some great conversations with Nobel winners.

    Cons

    No money. No natural light ever seen. Lots of work on research that will never have your name. Lots of personal disappointment in the dating domain.

    Advice to Management

    pay more your students


  7. "Worst Pre-Orientation Job"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Contractor - Dorm Crew Worker in Cambridge, MA
    Former Contractor - Dorm Crew Worker in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Harvard University as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Pay is relatively good (about $350 for a week of work during the Fall Clean-Up period). There is also an opportunity to continue as a term-time worker with flexible hours.

    Cons

    Contrary to the advertisements for this program, the work is hot, dirty, and very tiring. Expect to work 8-hour days during the Fall Clean-Up period. There is no time to get to know fellow students or become acquainted with the campus. You will be exhausted at the end of each day.

    Advice to Management

    Eliminate the deceptive advertising and have Fall Clean-Up handled by professionals, not students.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "Staff Assistant"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Work Life Balance
    Salary
    Healthcare
    Technology

    Cons

    Lack of growth
    Lack of parking

    Advice to Management

    invest in young employees


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Keep your head down and mouth shut"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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

    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.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "PostDoc at Harvard"

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

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

    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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