Walking to the HBS campus can be a little bit hazardous. I requires carefully gliding over footpaths covered with ice and snow and trying to avoid other students walking on the same narrow footpaths who are not paying any attention to where they are going as they are continuously looking at their phones. And I admit that I have also become one of these distracted students, as I often check course information on my phone on my daily walk to campus. An overview of HBS technology:
HBS has a couple of very effective web-based systems in place that help students navigate through their 2-year MBA at HBS. My.HBS.edu (only accessible for HBS students) groups all kind of practical information and gives access to other systems such as the Harvard billling system, opening hours of the gym as well as the cafeteria menus. It is also the platform where some of the latest updates on what’s going on at school are being shared.
Another important HBS platform is called the learning hub. Often critiqued by students for its messy feel and look, I find the learning hub an indispensable tool to manage your coursework. It features information and assigned readings for all of my classes. On top of that, it has a very useful calendar-functionality that summarizes my schedule for the week – a schedule that is being interfaced with my personal calendar on my PC and smartphone. The learning hub also provides a digital version of the syllabus for each course. Finally, it hosts the seating chart for the different classes – seating arrangements at HBS are fixed per semester. The learning hub is a tool used on a daily basis by most students.
Another interesting piece of software is the career hub, a source of career management tools but mostly of tons of available jobs. The career hub literally hosts thousands of job openings, ranging from summer internships to post-MBA career opportunities. Hundreds of firms are represented – multinationals, start-ups, consulting firms and hedge funds alike propose HBS students with future opportunities and application requirements. Students apply for these jobs by sending in a CV and an application letter and then wait to hear back from the company to be invited for an interview.
But the career hub has some weird features to it. As an example, students get 1000 bidding points a year that they can use to bid on different job openings. After all bids have been made, an algorithm assigns remaining interview spots to the highest bidders. This means that some people still can get an interview with a company EVEN THOUGH THAT COMPANY HAD DECIDED NOT TO INVITE THEM FOR AN INTERVIEW BASED ON THEIR RESUME/COVER LETTER. I never quite understood the point of this – and never understood why companies would bother allowing this bidding system.
Another useful HBS webtool is the classcard system, summarizing each student’s details. Classcards are an invaluable source of information on your classmates’ careers and lives – consider them an internal HBS LinkedIn sytem (find an example of a classcard HERE). The most enriching of tools are probably those linked to the Baker Library site, which hosts access to a whole lot of information databases on companies and countries alike.
And then, finally, there are all different kind of online checklists – an HBS darling. Even before starting at HBS, students are confronted with HBS’ love for these checklists. The Prematriculation website consisted of no less than 34 items to complete before being allowed on campus. The checklist contains items such as ‘tutorial to complete’ or ‘bill to pay’ and they all feature detailed deadlines and instructions. Besides the prematriculation checklist, I had checklists for the FIELD2 program, for recruiting activities, for EC class selection and probably some others that I currently can’t quite remember. Today, the checklist I need to work on is the one preparing for commencement (graduation)… probably my final HBS one…
Most of the HBS web-platforms are also available in a mobile format, so they can easily by used on phones or other mobile device. I love these IT tools – they have contributed heavily to my overall well-being at HBS. I wonder how things are at other business schools and if they are a real differentiator between schools
Blog post about HBS IT infrastructure – CHECK!