Intro to the HBS Community Standards

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does it mean to be a member of the HBS community?”

When you first arrive, being a member of this community will allow you to meet exciting people from around the world, learn from some of the preeminent business thinkers, and work out in a fabulous spa! However, after you have been here awhile and have interacted with the students, faculty, and staff, you will sense that there is something special about this community.

At some level, all of the members of the HBS community believe that the “mission of Harvard Business School is to develop outstanding business leaders who contribute to the well-being of society”-an ambitious vision-at once daunting, challenging and inspiring.

To achieve this mission, the HBS community believes that it is essential to build an environment of trust and mutual respect that promotes free expression and inquiry. To that end, the students, faculty, and staff worked together to create the HBS Community Standards Document, which is based on three fundamental principles:

  • Respect for the rights and dignity of others
  • Honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the HBS community
  • Accountability for personal behavior

    If you talk to the old-timers, you will hear that these principles have always been a part of the HBS community. However, the Community Standards Document is a relatively new codification of these beliefs.

    Unveiled in August 1998, it now hangs in every classroom and building to remind members of their commitment to the HBS community and these principles. As a new member of this community, you will be asked to sign a statement indicating your acceptance of, and agreement to abide by, these principles.

    Most of us are used to living in societies held together by rules. And although there are certain rules and regulations that provide the framework for daily existence at HBS, the community is united by the principles outlined in the Community Standards.

    We encourage you to think about what it means to live a principled life, specifically, what are your responsibilities to others and to yourself. Our genuine hope is that you will internalize these principles over the course of your two-year experience at HBS and take them with you when you venture forth.

    You can find out more information on HBS’s standards, policies and procedures by reading the material here. In addition, your section-elected Community Standards Representative will act as liaison between your section and the larger community on issues concerning the Standards.

    Again, welcome to the HBS Community!