MBA Snapshot: Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School is clearly one of the best known business schools in the world.  With more than 900 students in each year’s graduating class, it’s also one of the largest, not to mention one of the oldest (founded in 1908).  Here’s the top three reasons why HBS is so renowned…

1)      Tradition

The ivy league tradition is steeped in prestige, and Harvard leads the way.  As a graduate-school only business institution, HBS adds to the mystique, since the only way to major in business at Harvard is to come back for an MBA there.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being a Harvard MBA, and respect for the degree is given the world over. Alumni refer to telling someone you are a graduate of HBS as “dropping the H Bomb.”  So while not nuclear, it still makes quite an impression, even after 110 years.  From students running their own businesses in their second year, to countless success stories of the alumni, it’s hard to imagine a bigger stalwart of business education.  The 100 pound Gorilla is indeed difficult to budge, and Harvard wears the title of best business school with great pride---whether they actually come in at #1 in the rankings or not.

2)      Funding

HBS is one of the richest b-schools in the world with a current endowment approaching $4B.  What is an endowment?  Basically, it’s the school’s net worth in cash, not including its capital assets, such as buildings and land.  Endowment funds are not spent, but rather, are invested in the market across a variety of diverse asset classes.  It's a portion of the proceeds from these investments that are spent by the school each year, and $4 billion throws off a lot of distributions.  The rest keeps on growing.  HBS is one of the richest in terms of facilities as well.  While most b-schools are confined to one building on campus, Harvard’s b-school has 34 separate buildings if you include five on-campus housing facilities and executive education buildings.  That’s like a small city compared to the average school.

3)      Leadership

If there’s one thing HBS is known for above all else, it has to be leadership.  While it’s debatable which came first, leadership education or leadership results, the modern HBS has both in spades.  Not only is the curriculum steeped in leadership training and the admissions process focused on admitting applicants with leadership experience and potential, but also its alumni ranks are filled with world famous leaders.  In fact, a recent study by US News reported that Harvard Business School has four times as many chief executives of Fortune 500 companies than Stanford and three times as many as Wharton.  Let’s just agree that such results are probably a combination of nature and nurture at HBS, and leadership seems to be the key.

Of course there are other things HBS is known for, such as the case method and a world-class faculty, but these three areas are what essentially make Harvard what it has become known for, and what continues to attract over ten thousand applicants each year.  Are you Harvard material?  Let us help you answer that question.

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