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Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School Rating: 4.0/5 (6 votes)


Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, features several graduate schools, along with its undergraduate college. One of these, Harvard Business School, was originally situated in Harvard Yard when it was founded in 1908. It was moved to its current locale, on the Boston side of the Charles River, in 1927.

As historic as the New England area it calls home, the business school opened with 33 regular and 47 special students. The doctoral program was established in 1922, and the first executive education program was held in 1945.

When not attending classes on the historic campus, students can attend a performance of the Boston Symphony or visit one of the city’s many museums and other cultural exhibits. Sports fans can take in a Boston Bruins hockey game or a Boston Celtics basketball game, or visit historic Fenway Park for some Boston Red Sox baseball. Football fans can watch the New England Patriots play in nearby Foxborough.

Students who want to get away from the city can take a short trip to the beach at Cape Cod, the shores of Maine, or the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont.


Harvard University holds a reputation for top-tier academics that prepare both undergraduate and graduate students to enter the workforce, and Harvard Business School is a prime example. In 2010, 77 percent of the school’s students had accepted job offers by graduation, and 90 percent had found employment within three months.

Harvard University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Harvard Business School offers a challenging, two-year residential MBA program, nine doctoral programs, and more than 60 executive education programs. The MBA program was the first of its kind when it was established in 1908. It remains one of the largest and most well-reputed business schools in the world. Nitin Nohria was named dean in 2010.

The school’s doctoral programs include DBA degrees in Accounting, Management, Marketing, Strategy, and Technology and Operations Management, as well as Ph.D. programs in Business Economics, Health Policy Management, and Organizational Behavior. The Ph.D. programs are a joint endeavor between the business school and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The Executive Education program is for current business executives who are striving to achieve new levels of leadership within their businesses or career fields. The program covers such topics as talent management, negotiation and strategy and also touches on global subjects, including business strategies in such locales as China, India, and Latin America.

The business school’s international focus is underscored by its seven global research centers, established in key sectors of the world to aid in faculty research and international case development. These centers can be found in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Europe, Latin America, India and California, but Harvard Business School researchers may be working in any of 40 countries at any given time.


Admission into Harvard Business School’s MBA program is exclusive, with an acceptance rate of 11 percent. Applicants to the school’s MBA program must have completed a degree program at an accredited, four-year undergraduate college or university. Applicants will need to submit transcripts from that university, along with an online application and GMAT or GRE test scores from a test taken on or after January 1, 2006. Students who attended a non-English speaking undergraduate institution need to submit internet-based TOEFL or IELT scores from a test taken on or after January 1, 2009. Round 1 applications must be submitted by the beginning of October, with Round 2 applications due by mid-January and Round 3 applications due at the end of March.

There is no minimum work experience required for admission to the MBA program. Instead, Harvard Business School chooses applicants who exhibit strength in leadership, community citizenship, and intellectual growth.

To be considered for entry into one of the business school’s doctoral programs, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree and submit an online application, a resume, a statement of purpose, GMAT or GRE scores, and transcripts for all college and university degrees. Self-submitted transcripts are acceptable for DBA programs, but Ph.D. program applicants must have official transcripts sent. In addition, applicants must upload copies of transcripts to the online application system. Three letters of recommendation, including one from an academic source, must be submitted online as well. International applicants should submit TOEFL scores. Applicants to the Executive Education programs should be sponsored or nominated by their current employers. Additionally, applicants to the Advanced Management Program, General Management Program, Program for Leadership Development, High Potential Leadership Program, and Leadership Reflections and Insights Program will be asked to submit a sponsoring statement.

Applications should be submitted at least four weeks in advance of the start date of a specific program. The Admissions Committee generally begins considering applications to the Executive Education programs four months in advance, and candidates are admitted on a rolling basis. Spaces are limited and the application process is competitive, so early application is recommended.

Financial Aid

Harvard Business School does not consider students’ ability to pay when evaluating applicants. With the stringent requirements of the school, it is difficult for students to be employed, but financial aid may be awarded based on students’ individual needs. Once admitted, students with financial need have several assistance options, including loans and school-sponsored fellowships that may cover the entire cost of the program.

After admission, a series of financial aid applications, including the FAFSA form, will be available to students via the Harvard Business School intranet. After filling out those applications, students with financial need should look into fellowships available from both the business school and Harvard University. Among the fellowships that may be awarded by the business school are the Robert S. Kaplan Life Sciences Fellowship, open to students pursuing careers in science-related fields; the Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship, for students who demonstrate non-profit leadership; and the John H. McArthur Canadian Fellowship, for Canadian MBA students.

Harvard University offers general scholarships, as well as fellowships such as the Zuckerman Fellows Program for U.S. citizens who are seeking graduate degrees in business, law, or medicine and wish to earn another degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, Graduate School of Education, or the School of Public Health.

Federal assistance, such as Stafford or Perkins loans, are available for qualifying grad students, as are private loans or outside grants or scholarships.


Residential Life

Hugged by a gentle bend of the Charles River, Harvard Business School affords a beautiful view of tree-lined walks and open courtyards, dotted with 33 red-brick buildings. The campus, located on the Boston side of the river, was dedicated in 1927 and makes HBS the only top-rated business school in the country to feature a self-contained, residential campus.

The great majority of business school students choose to live on-campus, with more than a third located in one of five dormitory-style residence halls. Halls are equipped with high-speed internet, common lounges with televisions, and laundry facilities. Most have private baths. Residence halls are limited to single students.

Married students, or those who simply choose to live outside the business school campus, can take advantage of Harvard University apartments. Rent includes utilities and, in some locations, internet service.


HBS strives to create a warm environment for partners and families of students, and to do so, the school sponsors the MBA Partner Program. This program is designed to help students’ significant others make a smooth transition into the business school community. The Partners’ Club is a social and cultural organization that helps members make friends and adjust to life as part of the Harvard Business School community.

Harvard Business School students, whether married or single, have several facilities available right on-campus to meet their varying needs. Students can visit the Class of 1959 Chapel for a few moments of quiet, study using the vast collection of resources at the Baker Library/Bloomberg Center, get fit at Shad Hall, or relax by the fire with a snack at Spangler Center.

The school also offers more than 70 student clubs and activities, including the art society, the wine and cuisine society, and several sports clubs. The HBS show is a musical theater production written, produced and staged entirely by business school students.

Business school students publish a newspaper, The Harbus, which has recently put out the 2011 Unofficial Harvard Business School Interview Guide. The Harvard Business Review is the business school’s own magazine, but students interested in university-wide information can read the Harvard Crimson student newspaper or its offshoot, the humor publication Harvard Lampoon. Harvard Magazine is also available for perusal, and WHRB, the university radio station, broadcasts at 95.3 FM.


The Harvard Business School offers several intramural athletic teams to its MBA students. These are the Basketball Club, Boat Club, Cricket Club, Golf Club, Rugby Football Club, Soccer Club, Squash and Tennis Club and Volleyball Club. These club teams compete against each other, as well as outside schools.

Additionally, HBS offers the Outdoors Club for students who want to take advantage of New England’s many hiking, skiing, rafting, and biking opportunities. The Running, Triathlon and Multi-Sport Club is for students who enjoy testing the limits of their endurance.

As part of Harvard University, the business school also includes the university’s sports teams, known as the Crimson. The university features 20 men’s sports teams and 19 women’s sports teams, including a football team that features a famed and long-standing rivalry with Yale University, a fellow Ivy League school.


  • Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Web. 6 May 2011. http://www.hbs.edu/.
  • John A. Byrne. “Harvard’s puritanical guide to the MBA interview.” Fortune. 23 Feb. 2011. Print.
  • Staff Reports. “Harvard Business School names new dean.” Boston Herald. 4 May 2010. Print.

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