Harvard University Reviews | Glassdoor

Harvard University Reviews

Updated December 5, 2017
65 reviews

Filter

Filter


2.0
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
19 Ratings

65 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
  • Excellent benefits and work life balance (in 85 reviews)

  • Plus it has the best pay out of all the colleges/universities in the area and great benefits (in 125 reviews)

Cons
  • Workplace culture does not value work-life balance (in 47 reviews)

  • I agreed to work for a low pay rate because of the prestige of the position (in 31 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Competitive, judgmental work environment with few benefits and many drawbacks"

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

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

    Pros

    Healthcare and benefits for staff are good

    Cons

    This review pertains to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

    Job Work/Life Balance and Job Culture:

    * Stressful, competitive, judgmental work environment.
    * People evaluate each other based on how many hours per day they can see each other at the office or lab, which makes no sense for academic researchers.
    * Success is discounted, failure is emphasized. Peers are excessively critical and not supportive. They would rather establish superiority over one another than work together.
    * Tenured professors can act however they want, with minimal accountability.
    * Toxic behaviors like smoking and binge drinking are prevalent.

    Compensation/Benefits:

    * Salaries are low but typical for academia.
    * Healthcare benefits are good.
    * HSPH preaches the importance of fitness and physical activity, but doesn’t provide fitness facilities for their employees. There is no yoga room. There are no stationary bikes. They do provide partial reimbursement for gym memberships, but there are few options to keep yourself active during the work day.

    Job Security/Advancement:

    * Grant funding can come and go.
    * Opportunities for advancement are limited.
    * Employees can be fired simply because an administrator above them in the hierarchy doesn’t like them.

    Management:

    * Bloated, inefficient Harvard hierarchy and bureaucracy.
    * It is very difficult to change anything, because the convoluted network of complacent administrators would prefer not to be challenged.
    * Harvard is now known as “The Stanford of the East” because they have failed to evolve and innovate.
    * HSPH attempts to engage in basic research, but does not have adequate infrastructure for basic research labs.
    * HSPH’s facilities are architecturally awkward and outdated. They have four buildings that don't go together and aren't connected well, and the rooms are not well designed. They put a tremendous amount of money into retrofitting their facilities, when they should just be torn down and rebuilt.
    * IT support is poor.


  2. "Deceptive pay practices"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Harvard University part-time

    Pros

    Great community of colleagues and campus

    Cons

    Deceptive pay practices, no transparency

  3. "research at Harvard"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Research Associate in Boston, MA
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    smart people, prestige, top-notch research facilities

    Cons

    Research is focused on publishing in top three journals and getting grants. It is very competitive in a negative way, encouraging superficial flashy topics over serious long-term projects. Employment is grant-dependent.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on long-term potential of PIs and labs, rather than short-term publishing and grant goals


  4. Helpful (4)

    "AA&D: Avoid, Avert & Dodge"

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

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

    Pros

    As everyone and their mother has mentioned on here, the benefits. They are great. There were so many Harvard-related offerings I wanted to take advantage of, and yet I soon found myself asking the question with dismay: WITH WHAT TIME OR ENERGY?!

    Cons

    I spent less than a year in Alumni Affairs & Development aka AA&D (because here, even names of people are reduced to acronyms in an effort to save time, which is as precious and fugitive as the Golden Snitch). I barely escaped with my mental health. Everyone here is stressed out of their ever-loving minds. Worse yet is the culture of sorority-esque chipperness, phony facades smiling and excessively thanking (This is an honor for me/ No, it’s a greater honor for me / No, a greater honor for ME / And you must be Don Francisco’s sister / No, YOU must be Don Francisco’s sister) rather than bear the great shame of confessing to feeling overwhelmed. The sorority description is apt, if I do say, because the office of 300-400 or whatever is just about as diverse as one. In fact, you may look around and wonder if you ever left college at all! This is what Harvard loves to do: hire bright-eyed, unsuspecting, VERY recent college grads to fill promising-sounding Staff Assistant positions, while actually tricking them into performing the function of an EXECUTIVE Assistant (nay, two Executive Assistants) because it’s cheaper than hiring appropriately. The turnover rate is staggering, and this is why. HR knows this is why, but they are only there to serve the managers, not the lowly assistants. Granted, some Staff Assistant roles are doable, maybe even enjoyable, which is great for those people, but a gigantic injustice to the ones who have the same title and salary and yet are treated like Dobby the house elf. If you want to move up the ladder, have fun as a Coordinator!

    There are so many convoluted procedures in this office, so many “training” sessions to attend while you are also expected to jump into your role and keep on top of things, so much pressure to never make a mistake, to not take a real lunch, to utilize every single second of the day in proactive productivity so help you God. Corporate culture has thoroughly infiltrated. I got a look inside the belly of the beast, and it left me rather disgusted and disappointed.

    Advice to Management

    Address your glaring problem and hire appropriately.


  5. "Choose the right mentor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Well known Univ. Great seminars. Amazing post doc office. Nice campus. Loads of undergrads

    Cons

    Work life balance can be a challenge. Choose your advisor carefully if you need mentoring....


  6. "..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at Harvard University part-time

    Pros

    Reputation, Helping people, beautiful building

    Cons

    Small place, Shortage of staff


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Take advantage of the opportunity and then go somewhere else."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant
    Current Employee - Staff Assistant
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    If you are lucky enough to be employed at Harvard, you will enjoy the work-life balance and the salary is better than other University in Boston. Vacation is pretty generous, depending on your manager. Education benefits and working with brilliant, influential people is always a plus as well. Union raise every year too!

    Cons

    It seems like Harvard doesn't factor in interpersonal skills when hiring. Just throw a bunch of people together and hope for the best? Role mobility is not that easy unless you work your bum off in the same position for what may seem like an eternity. If you aren't doing something you love and something you are passionate about, this will probably get your foot in the door somewhere else (because apparently working at Harvard is a great look). I wouldn't recommend staying at Harvard unless you truly love the work you are doing and you want to take advantage of their awesome employee benefits. But after you get what you need, run, because you will get sucked in and be in the same pay grade for like 10 years, all for the love of "stability." Every section of Harvard is different, but I think the overall culture of Harvard in terms of their employees is that appearance is everything. Even if the staff are unhappy, as long as "we" look good, that's all that matters.

    Advice to Management

    Staff need REAL support.

  8. "Reason to work there"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Harvard University full-time

    Pros

    Great salary and location and friendly coworkers

    Cons

    Turn blind eyes to lower management


  9. "Go for the Benefits"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jersey City, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Jersey City, NJ

    I worked at Harvard University (More than a year)

    Pros

    -The benefits are good
    -The work ends by 5

    Cons

    -Depending on where you are there is no room or mobility
    -The staff is slow to adopt technology


  10. "High pressure environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Harvard University full-time

    Pros

    Looks good on a resume
    Lots of resources for research
    Lots of speakers and interesting people to talk to
    Many opportunities for fellowships and undergrad research environment

    Cons

    It's a high pressure environment
    Often the PIs have little time to properly manage the people in their lab, so you kind of get put by the wayside

    Advice to Management

    Give better management training to PIs, they have no idea how to manage a lab when they come in and will often treat employees poorly due to incompetence


Showing 65 of 1,391 reviews
Reset Filters