Harvard University Reviews | Glassdoor

Harvard University Reviews

Updated July 24, 2017
1,190 reviews

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

1,190 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 116 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 (5)

    "Working at Harvard is not what you think it is..."

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

    Pros

    Status and recognition from outsiders

    Cons

    A significant proportion of the resources are expended in keeping Harvard's image pristine. There is very little freedom of expression, and fostering creativity among staff is very low. A culture of fear reigns behind the Potemkin Village facade of Harvard's image.

    Advice to Management

    Senior Management needs to recognize how much energy is expended in image maintenance at Harvard. Because of its feudal power structures (unit heads possess a great deal of authoritarian autonomy), Harvard is not a place that fosters innovation or creative thinking among staff.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "It's a great place for faculty and no one else"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Dean in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Dean in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Prestige, prestige, prestige, location (if you like winter), lots of intelligent people, lots of great talks and dinners, and the students, undergraduates and gradutes, are wonderful.

    Cons

    Terrible management, terrible decision-making, terrible money management, completely demoralizing, people are unappreciated, work very, very hard with no recognition, all are treated poorly except faculty. The place is saturated with arrogant people who have little compassion for non-tenured people.

    Advice to Management

    Try understanding life from a non-tenured perspective. Let people who have expertise in decision-making and management get things on course. Stop shooting from the hip.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Read before applying at HMS!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Benefits, paid week off from Christmas to New Years, and 35 hour work week.

    Cons

    low salary, no opportunities for promotion, over worked, unfair treatment among co-workers from Management, unfair work loads, sexist treatment, and poor communication.

    Advice to Management

    Even out the work load among everyone, less tolerance of time stealing, and less favoring to those who have their heads shoved so far up your a$$ it is impossible to tell where you end and the employee begins.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "no growth"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Engineer in Cambridge, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    you can brag that you work for Harvard, vacation time good

    Cons

    salaries below market
    benefits they brag about ..just comparable to any company
    bonuses nill
    hardwork .. a lot
    more input- less output

    Advice to Management

    some people are happy abouut slow and growth with good cvacation time nd so..
    I am not


  5. "educational"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lander, WY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lander, WY

    Pros

    access to public transportation and diverse customer base

    Cons

    environment suffers from a greatly inflated sense of its own importance;

    Advice to Management

    go work in the trenches of the working class for one year; confine yourselves to a working class salary for one year in Boston; live within the means of a working class family in Boston for one year and then take a look at Harvard; good luck..


  6. Helpful (1)

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Harvard University full-time

    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.


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

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

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

    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.

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

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

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

    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. Helpful (2)

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

    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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    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.


  10. "Terrible. A Career Killer."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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

    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.


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