Class of 2020’s Diplomas to Be Available Only in Blockchain Format

Faculty says decision aligns with new all-virtual strategy.

As HBS students have watched most of what they know and love about the HBS experience—such as classes, section events, Shad workout classes, and graduation—move from the physical world to the virtual world, ECs recently learned that, in lieu of distributing paper diplomas, the administration will simply be keeping track of virtual diplomas by leveraging blockchain. 

“This move just makes sense,” Jan Rivkin explained. “In RC Strategy, we stress the importance of aligning your organization’s decisions around a common strategy. As HBS pivots from the physical, in-person learning experience, we felt that it made sense to do the same with diplomas. My colleagues in computer science from across the river have been raving about blockchain, and we feel that having a distributed, decentralized, and public ledger of diplomas is not only more scalable but also more secure than the old paper diplomas.” 

At the time of this article’s publication, the team was still waiting to hear back from Barbara Siegfriedt and Mike Murphy in SAS on this reporter’s requests to continue to virtualize other important parts of the HBS experience, such as the ability to FaceTime with the Spangler therapy dogs or receive a burrito from Felipe’s via email.