Do to others what you want them to do to you

6 Sep 2011

Academic promotions at Harvard

I recently participated in a seminar on HBS Case Teaching at the Warwick Business School, which was run by Grier Palmer who is Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning at the school. He had recently gone to Harvard for a short course and was sharing his experiences.

One of the interesting things he shared among others, was an insight into promotions of academics at Harvard.

In most Universities, the most important criteria for academic promotions are publications. I have had several academics telling me that the secret to success in an academic career all boils down to how many papers you have published in high ranking journals.

One academic even told me that it does not even matter if your teaching "sucks" as long as you have regular publications in top ranking journals. Apparently, in Harvard it is slightly different. The most important criteria is getting publications out but over there they are more interested in case studies. Not surprising as case studies are a major source of income for the Harvard Business School and the University ultimately.

Another criteria were the student evaluations (so if you suck, you are out) which I guess should be the case as people pay huge sums of money to get into business schools and expect to receive a good teaching and learning experience.

 Finally, another important criteria for academic promotions was based on linkages with alumni and businesses. That does really make business sense. In other words, you really have to be an all rounder if you want to rise in Harvard. No wonder they are at top - at least among business schools.