MBA Admissions: Harvard Business School & Finance

Harvard Business School

HBS ranks in first place.

A quick glance at Harvard Business School: HBS currently ranks in first place (tied with Stanford) as the best business school, according to US News & World Report (March 2012). It was ranked as seventh for finance.  

Harvard Business School Class of 2014 Profile

8,963 people applied to Harvard Business School in 2012; 13% were admitted and 925 enrolled.

The Harvard class of 2014 students have an average age of 27 and a median GMAT score of 730. 43% of students have educational backgrounds in economics and business. 12% (or 112 students) worked in financial services prior to attending b-school.

HBS Academics Related to Finance

The Harvard Business School curriculum is divided into two parts: the required curriculum (RC) and the elective curriculum (EC). Students spend their first year taking RC courses which cover fundamental business practices, as well as FIELD courses, smaller, hands-on projects that complement the case-method style used in the RC courses.

Term 1 Required Courses:

  • Finance 1
  • Financial Reporting and Control
  • Leadership and Organizational Behavior
  • Marketing
  • Technology and Operations Management

Term 2 Required Courses:

  • Business, Government, and the International Economy
  • Strategy
  • The Entrepreneurial Manager
  • Finance 2
  • Leadership and Corporate Accountability

Elective courses in the second year enable students to delve deeper into the subject areas that most interest them.

Finance Courses:

Course Title Faculty Name Credits
Behavioral and Value Investing Robin Greenwood 3.0
Business at the Base of the Pyramid (also listed under Marketing ) Shawn ColeMichael Chu 3.03.0
Corporate Financial Management Lucy White, Yuhai Xuan 3.0
Creating Value in Business and Government (HKS-HBS Joint Degree Seminar) W. Carl Kester, John D. Donahue 3.0
Creating Value Through Corporate Restructuring Stuart Gilson, Bo Becker 3.0
Dynamic Markets Joshua D. Coval 3.0
Entrepreneurial Finance (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management) William Sahlman, Joseph Lassiter, Ramana Nanda 3.0
Field Course: Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management) Richard S. RubackRoyce Yudkoff 3.0
Field Course: Housing in the United States Nicolas Retsinas 3.0
Field Course: Impact Investing and Social Commercial Models(also listed under Marketing) V. Kasturi RanganMichael ChuShawn Cole 3.0
Field Course: Stock Pitching Lauren Cohen, Christopher J. Malloy 3.0
Financial Management of Smaller Firms (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management ) Richard S. RubackRoyce Yudkoff 3.0
Introduction to Financial Institutions (also listed under General Management) Robert C. Pozen 3.0
Investment Strategies Lauren Cohen, Christopher J. Malloy 3.0
Management of Real Estate Investment Portfolios: Q3 Nori Gerardo Lietz 1.5
Management of Real Estate Investment Portfolios: Q3Q4 Nori Gerardo Lietz 3.0
Private Equity Finance Paul A. Gompers, Victoria Ivashina 3.0
Real Asset Finance Andre F. Perold 1.5
Real Estate Development, Design, and Construction John Macomber, Christopher GordonA. Eugene Kohn 1.5
Real Estate in Frontier Markets Nicolas Retsinas 3.0
Real Property Arthur Segel 3.0
Sustainable Cities; Urbanization, Infrastructure, and Finance John D. Macomber 1.5
Venture Capital and Private Equity (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management) Matthew Rhodes-Kropf, Alexander Ljungqvist 3.0
Venture Capital in Historical Perspective (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management) Tom Nicholas, G. Felda Hardymon 1.5
Venture Capital in Historical Perspective: Research Component (also listed under Entrepreneurial Management) Tom Nicholas, G. Felda Hardymon 1.5

Clubs for HBS Finance Students

Financial Services Employment Stats at Harvard Business School

35% of the class of 2012 graduates received jobs in the finance industry. See chart for sub-categories and salary details:

Class of 2012 Salary by Industry Destinations % 25th % Base Salary Median Base Salary 75th % Base Salary Median Signing Bonus % Receiving Signing Bonus
Financial Services 35% $100,000 $125,000 $150,000 $40,000 62%
Commercial Banking <1% * * * * *
Diversified/Insurance <1% * * * * *
Hedge Fund 5% $125,000 $142,500 $150,000 $27,500 50%
I-Banking 7% $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $40,000 97%
I-Management 4% $110,000 $115,000 $125,000 $32,500 95%
Private Equity/LBO 15% $133,750 $150,000 $200,000 $30,000 43%
Venture Capital <1% * * * * *
Other Financial Services 2% $97,500 $100,000 $115,000 * *

And by function:

Class of 2012 Salary by Functional Destinations % 25th % Base Salary Median Base Salary 75th % Base Salary Median Signing Bonus % Receiving Signing Bonus
Finance 36% $100,000 $125,000 $150,000 $35,000 63%
Accounting/Auditing <1% * * * * *
Corporate Finance <1% * * * * *
Investment Banking 6% $100,000 $100,000 $100,000 $40,000 96%
Investment Management/Hedge Fund 9% $110,000 $125,000 $150,000 $30,000 71%
Sales & Trading <1% * * * * *
VC/Private Equity/LBO 16% $127,500 $150,000 $200,000 $25,000 42%
Other Finance 4% $100,000 $107,500 $115,000 $20,000 73%

Historically by industry:

  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Financial Services 41% 28% 31% 36% 42% 44% 45% 31% 34% 39%
  Investment Banking 13% 7% 6% 7% 10% 11% 9% 6% 10% 10%
  Investment Management 9% 7% 7% 10% 10% 12% 10% 8% 9% 12%
  Private Equity / LBO 9% 6% 9% 9% 13% 12% 17% 11% 9% 14%
  Venture Capital 3% 2% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 2% 3% 1%
  Other Finance 7% 6% 7% 7% 6% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2%

Historically by function:

  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Finance – Corporate 3% 10% 6% 7% 6% 8% 2% 2% 2% 1%
Finance – Professional Services 32% 18% 25% 30% 34% 37% 43% 30% 32% 38%

(These statistics – and more – can be found on HBS’s Employment Statistics page.)

A Few Finance Recruiters at HBS

  • Goldman Sachs
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Credit Suisse
  • Citigroup
  • Bain Capital, Inc.
  • Fidelity Investments
  • UBS Investment Bank
  • The World Bank Group

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