Harvard Business School — also called HBS — is really garnering quite a bit of attention in the news lately. Not only is its MBA program top-notch and world-renowned, but it is, hands down, the most prestigious business school in the country. More books, tell-alls, and how-tos have been written about this school than all of the other business schools combined. But why?
What makes this school stand out above the rest, and what don’t we know about America’s favorite ivy?
1. George W. Bush is an HBS grad
Did you know that the 43rd president of the U.S. – George W. Bush – once walked the hallowed grounds of Harvard Business School as a student? He graduated in 1975 from the program after receiving his undergrad from the school’s rival, Yale University. Other notable alumni include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, astronaut Jim Lovell, record executive L.A. Reid, Rent the Runway CEO Jennifer Hyman, author Stanley Marcus, and Steven R. Covey. Harvard has a reputation for producing more CEOs, political figures, founders, and people of prominence than any other business school.
2. HBS approaches learning differently
So what is it about what Harvard Business School offers that fires people up and has everyone flocking to it like children to a candy shop? This particular program does not offer any majors. The first year of study encompasses general management education and has one of the most rigid curriculums in the industry. In the second year, students can choose to go in different directions with their coursework but those who succeed will ultimately graduate with the same degree. This ensures that all students are receiving the same base knowledge, and then a variety of options later to help them develop a perspective for their individual endeavors.
Aside from all of that, Harvard Business School is one of two sought-after MBA programs to use a 100 percent case method teaching strategy in the classroom. This gives students access to over 500 cases over their two-year program to get as close to real-life scenarios as possible and exercise critical thinking and problem solving well before they graduate.
3. HBS is its own microcosm with many activities to choose from
Perhaps as a direct result of not having individualized programs like many other universities, Harvard Business School currently offers over 90 clubs and activities to its students. Groups like Real Estate Club, Management Consulting Club, Finance Club, and more cater to specific career paths and give students insight into – and advantages over others for – life after graduation. Groups like Canadian Club, Jewish Students Association, PRIDE, Latter-day Saint Student Association, and Islamic Society make it easy to find people who share your cultural background and belief systems, while Outdoors Club, Improv Club, Brew Club, and more help students develop long-standing hobbies, stay healthy, and perhaps build on their knowledge for the working world.
4. HBS hires only the best
With a reputation like Harvard, they have the autonomy to pick and choose industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators to teach their classes. They are allowed to be incredibly selective, and the growth options once you are a professor are said to be very strict and competitive. These teachers have learned from some of the greatest minds and are the greatest minds, so it is easy for them to hold their audience captive and to be able to siphon off additional real-world wisdom to really put their students ahead of the game.
5. HBS grads are top earners
Harvard Business School graduates are top earners in their fields. There is no surprise here, as many enter the business school having held positions at Fortune 500 companies, reputable organizations, and standout businesses. To be accepted into the program is to be a high achieving individual since the program itself is designed to seek out the best. Graduates operate well into 6 figures — the median salary of a new graduate is currently around $172k with some incomes soaring above that — and almost all graduates reported yearly and signing bonuses that would make your heart flutter.