Harvard MBA - Class Profile, Salary & Curriculum

Harvard MBAHarvard Full-time MBA is a 24-month program with the latest class enrolling 913 students in the Boston Campus. The full-time MBA is a residential program with a focus on hands-on experience through the Case Study Method and FIELD projects. By encouraging students to exercise their knowledge on real-world problems, Harvard Business Schools has created a learning environment that encourages Entrepreneurship and leadership. Even though the class size is huge compared to other top MBA programs, the school leadership has set up small learning groups of 80-90, to  mimic the efficiency of lean teams.

Harvard MBA Curriculum

The Harvard MBA Curriculum is divided into Year One Spring & Fall, and Year Two Spring & Fall schedules. During Year One Fall, HBS MBA students follow a common curriculum - Finance 1, Financial Reporting and Control, Marketing, Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD), Technology and Operations Management, FIELD Foundation in Leadership and Field 2: Global Intelligence.

Year One - Fall

Finance 1 is the classic Finance course that teaches MBA students how organizations create value through informed Finance decisions.

Financial Reporting and Control familiarizes students with the vocabulary of accounting and teaches them to communicate in the language of accounting.

Marketing course enables students to think about marketing from the context of General Management and teaches them to control the marketing mix: pricing, distribution, and product.

Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD): is the classic Harvard MBA course that teaches students how to transform from a Manager to a Leader by understanding group dynamics, motivations, and professional relationships.

Technology and Operations Management: With the course, students get an in-depth understanding of how operations and technology contribute in the timely release of products, and satisfactory delivery of services.

FIELD Foundations(Leadership): The foundation course on leadership that divides the MBA class to small flexible teams called “hives,” and pushes them to think beyond the obvious, and transform themselves to self-aware leaders with a deeper emotional intelligence.

Field 2 (Global Intelligence): The first real-world experience for Harvard MBA students happen through Field 2 course where they are required to develop solutions for Global partners.

The required curriculum extends to Year one – spring. The schedule includes Strategy and Entrepreneurship courses with course that offer a deeper study of Leadership and Finance.

Year One – Spring

Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE): Instead of looking at Businesses as isolated entities, Harvard MBA students will learn how politics, exchange rate, international trade laws, balance of payment and FDI impact Businesses, and their profit forecast.

Strategy: Students will learn to formulate strategies that sustain competitive advantage for their companies by understanding risks from uncertain market conditions, predicting competitor’s behavior, and studying industries with the latest analytics tool.

The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM): HBS MBA students will get the first glimpse of Entrepreneurship through the TEM Course that teaches them to spot opportunities, turn them into viable organizations, manage and grow them into sustainable enterprises.

Finance 2: develops on the Foundation created with the Finance 1 course by focusing on developing skills for operating financial analysis tools, understanding complexities of deals and financial transactions, and make financial policy decisions based on the health and competitive advantage of the company.

Leadership and Corporate Accountability (LCA):
demonstrates how personal values can play a major role in leadership and culture of the company. The course familiarizes students with the complexities of leadership decisions from three contexts: legal, ethical and economic.

FIELD 3 Integrative: The first two FIELD courses gave the students the real-world experience required to develop competitive solutions. With the FIELD 3 Integrative intelligence course, students must leverage the first-year learning experience, and start their microbusinesses.

Year Two – Fall & Spring

To develop the expertise in a chosen field, HBS MBA students can take up to 5 courses per semester from 120 course in 10 subject areas: Accounting and Management, Business, Government & the International Economy, Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, General Management, Marketing, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets, Organizational Behavior, Strategy, and Technology & Operations Management.

As part of the 2nd year schedule, students can cross-register for up to two courses for the graduate program at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and the Sloan School of Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

HBS Case Method

Harvard Business School has transformed the case study method by presenting real scenarios, supported by data about markets, competitors, limitations, and timeline. Students have to read, reflect on the case, and discuss the problem statement before the actual class begins. In the class, students lead 85% of the conversation while the professor steers the conversation by making occasional observations. By moving away from a traditional lecture-based learning system, HBS Case Method leverages the diverse experience of the HBS class. With 50% of student’s grade depending on the quality of class participation, the incentive to contribute in the class is high.

Harvard MBA Class profile

For the Class of 2016, Harvard Full-time MBA program received 9,543 applications but admitted only 936 students – a 12% acceptance rate. The program has maintained high barrier of entry academically with the GMAT median for the class at 730 and average GPA at 3.67. Women found an increasing representation in the class with 41%. International students found 35% representation in the class with Asians constituting the highest representation at 14% followed by Europeans at 9%.

The 41% representation of MBAs with Business/Economics background might be a reversal in trends from the traditional majority of Humanities and Social Science students, whose representation fell to 19%. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Management) MBAs maintained the 2nd position with 40% representation in the class.

17% of the MBA class had experience in Venture Capital and Private Equity and 14% in financial services, taking the total percentage of the class with Pre-MBA experience in Finance to 31% - a representation much higher than Consulting (18%) and High-Tech (13%). This might be one reason why post-MBA, 42% accepted offer in Financial Services Industry and the highest percentage were placed in a Finance Job Function (26%).

Harvard MBA Expense

The total cost for a Harvard MBA student varies depending on the number of co-dependents.  For a single student, the cost is approximately $190,000, while, for a couple, it is $221,800. The total cost can go up to $262,000 for a Married couple with 2 Children. This is a rough estimate. The annual Tuition Fee for the Class of 2016 was $58,875 with Room & Utilities costing $1,283/month, and other personal expense including food budgeted at $1,551/month.

Harvard MBA Salary

For the Class of 2013, the median Base Salary was $120,000 with the lowest 25% of the class earning a median salary of $100,000 and highest 25% earning $135,000. Consulting industry attracted the best pay package at $135,000 median base salary, followed by Finance Services at $125,000. The lowest pay was cited by MBAs joining the non-profit with $90,000 median base salary. When you compare the job functions – consulting leads at $135,000 while Finance takes the second position with $125,000 median base salary.

The best data point to measure the impact of a top MBA program is the salary by location. For Harvard MBAs, International location fetched only $3000 less than the median Base Salary received in the United States – a trend that reduces the pressure for International HBS MBA students to find employment in the US. Interestingly, from the 35% International class, only 17% returned back to the host country. For the HBS Class of 2013, the majority (20%) found job opportunities in New York City and California Bay Area (16%).

Next Step

To learn more about Harvard MBA Program and how it compares with other top MBA programs Download Comprehensive MBA Research Guide

For tips on how to write Harvard MBA Essays for 2014-15, Download our Winning MBA Essay Guide

For Harvard MBA Interview Tips, Download our MBA Admission Interview Guide

Getting into Harvard MBA is Not Like Catching a Shooting Star

Most applicants have this strange notion that you cannot get into Harvard MBA program without climbing Mount Everest, or leading a start-up to an IPO. 

Trust us, we evaluated a few Harvard MBA Admits. They are like you, but with one difference.

They are Masters at Personal Branding.

We will teach you:

1) How you should start the essay knowing that extroversion and passion are valued in Harvard MBA?

2) How you should demonstrate Active Learning?

3) How you should demonstrate confidence in decision-making?

4) How you should demonstrate your succinct communication skills?

5) How you should demonstrate your potential as an effective FIELD team member?

Also Included in the Essay Guide:

1) Six positioning tips that you should consider for your essay.

2) Two Sample Essays

Download F1GMAT's Harvard MBA Essay Guide 2016-17

2020 MBA Research Guide - Choose your MBA

"I attended three MBA Tours in US and Canada. I could just scratch the surface compared to what the guide has included. Thank you guys for the amazing book"

F1GMAT's Comprehensive MBA Research Guide will teach you how to select MBA programs through a bottom-up approach. 

Articulating your Post-MBA Goals and Career Path is the FIRST step. Which program will give you that hike in Salary, Switch in Career, Change in Location or Job Satisfaction?

We cover them all through our extensive analysis. 

Pages: 506

+ How to Choose the Best MBA Program: Factors to Consider
Define Post-MBA Goals
Pick your Path: Generalize or Specialize
Use Moral Algebra Method 
Use Multi-Attribute Utility Theory
Understand the Top 5 Risks
Measure MBA Career Service Team's Effectiveness
Use Bookending to Calculate MBA Admission Chance
Use Net Present Value to Calculate MBA Return on Investment
Don't Fall for the Mere Exposure Effect
Best Practices to find the truth in MBA Information Session or MBA Tour

Comprehensive MBA Research Guide:
Top MBA Programs by 19 Specializations:
+ General Management
+ Finance
+ Consulting
+ Marketing
+ Strategy
+ Operations Management
+ Supply Chain Management
+ Luxury Management
+ Information Systems
+ Hospitality Management
+ Accounting
+ Energy
+ Non-Profit
+ Wine
+ Sports
+ Sustainability
+ Leadership Development
+ Military &
+ International

+ Top MBA Program Ranking
Top 20 MBA Programs - Tuition Fee  
Top 31 MBA Programs in United States – Total Cost & Salary

Top 60 MBA – GMAT and GPA (Average & Median)
Top 20 European MBA Programs - Tuition Fee, Total Cost & Salary    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Based on Actual Salary Increase)    
Top 20 European MBA Programs (Short-term return on investment)    
Top 20 Affordable European MBA Programs    
Top 10 MBA in UK – Salary & Fee   
Top MBA Destinations Based on Happiness Index    
Top MBA Destinations based on Innovation Index    
Top 10 MBA Job Markets based on Cost of living and Purchasing Power    
Top MBA Destination: By Economy    

+Comparisons - Top MBA Programs
Wharton vs. Columbia MBA
MIT vs. Stanford MBA  
Haas vs. Ross MBA    

Kellogg vs Ross MBA    
Booth vs Wharton MBA    
MIT Sloan vs Tuck MBA    

IIMA vs. ISB   

Harvard vs. Stanford MBA

+ MBA in France (2018)
Top Industries in France   
Top MBA Programs in France  

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in France
External Funding 

+ MBA in the UK (2018)
Top Industries in the UK   
Top MBA Programs in the UK

  Class Profile   
  Post-MBA Salary

Scholarships in the UK
External Funding 

New Visa Rules: Post-Brexit

+ Germany: Industry Trends, Post MBA Jobs and Salaries (2020) (NEW!)
  • Manufacturing  
  • IoT and IIOT   
  • Technology   
  • FinTech   
  • Management Consulting   
  • Post-MBA industries (German Top Schools)   

Download F1GMAT's MBA Research Guide (2020)

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

F1GMAT's Books

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

MBA Recommendation Letter

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter