Club Spotlight: HBS Rugby Football Club

Each year a new class of students enters Harvard Business School, along with Harvard’s other graduate schools. All of these students and their partners are eligible to join the HBS Rugby Football Club. Each year 50% of HBS Rugby’s team also graduates, making room for new players right from the start of the first match in early September. What makes HBS Rugby special is its athletic, social and travel agenda, allowing busy students a venue to train, tour and have fun throughout the academic year. The HBS Rugby Club consists of players with vastly differing levels of experience. All are welcome, even those who have never played before. Each year many students start playing rugby for the first time at HBS! Those with serious Rugby experience help guide new and returning players to immediate Club and match enjoyment.

HBS Rugby competes in the New England Rugby Football Union, and is governed on the field and off by their qualified USA Rugby referees and administrators. Every April, upwards of 25 MBA schools gather at Duke University in North Carolina to compete for the MBA Rugby World Championship trophy. The majority of the spring season is spent playing and training in preparation for this prestigious tournament.

It should be mentioned that HBS does not have a women’s Rugby team – yet. It is rumored among several women currently attending HBS that a 7’s team might be formed – a women’s team has been fielded in the past when there has been enough interest. Last year’s MBA Rugby World Championships featured 4 teams competing in the women’s tournament.

Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:15 to 5:00 PM, players gather next to Harvard Football stadium or inside Shad to train, in preparation for Saturday’s weekly match. Typically, many players miss training or matches due to weddings, job interviews and critical scholastic priorities. Because typically 55+ players join the club, there are generally 30-35 available to train, tour and play at any given time. This squad system means that one can play up to 8-9 matches in the fall, and 4-5 matches in the spring.

HBS Rugby arranges 2-3 tours per year, including the annual MBA Rugby World Championships in April. Major tours to Europe, South America and the Caribbean (among other destinations) are arranged, along with minor tours to Montreal, New York City or other MBA schools. Tours coincide with 1st and 2nd year holidays and long weekends. Tours last 3-4 days with travel, and usually there is no Rugby planned during Dec-Jan or over Spring break. On tour, local matches are played, corporate contacts are invited, and international games are attended. For example in 2001 HBS played in Ireland and also watched the Ireland vs. France 6 Nations game. In 2002, HBS toured the Bahamas during a long weekend in February.

During Saturday home matches, HBS Rugby enjoys a vibrant social agenda in Cambridge and Boston. Matches are free to watch, take place steps across the road from the HBS campus, and all are welcome to come enjoy them. Typical attendees include those fans personally invited (or bribed, married to a player, etc.), faculty, and corporate sponsor representatives. Post-match festivities are arranged for by the club’s Social Director.

Being part of an athletic team has three major benefits. Rugby players stay in great physical shape throughout the year, find themselves eating well each week, and feel less fatigued during classes. Rugby is a great way to exhaust academic stress and frustration while allowing many enjoyable breaks from the weekly grind. Many club members also form small groups for additional workouts, to help train and motivate each other throughout the season.

HBS Rugby is partially funded by external corporate sponsors each year, a responsibility shared by every Club member. Sponsors are usually firms interested in recruiting exposure at HBS and/or the MBA community as a whole. Sponsor leads most often come from Club members who make contact with previous employers. Other sponsors include local companies who provide discounted goods and services to club members.

Above all, the friendships made beyond your section are especially rewarding during both 1st and 2nd years at HBS. The glory of playing and touring the globe with HBS Rugby teammates will be among the fondest memories of your grad school career. Each fall, nearly 100 gather for the HBS Old Boys Match, where they compete in a full weekend of HBS Rugby reunion games and other festivities in Boston. Make your plans to join the HBS Rugby Football Club, and play the game they play in heaven.

For more information, visit the HBS Rugby website: // or email