What does PRIMO stand for?

PRIMO stands for the Program for Research in Markets and Organizations.

Why is the Program being offered?

PRIMO has been developed as a collaboration between Harvard Business School and Harvard College, applying the model for summer undergraduate research that inspired the Program for Research in Science and Engineering (PRISE).

This program has been designed to enable motivated undergraduates to pursue summer business research in a defined project and also participate in a social network that will enhance the experience.

Who is eligible for PRIMO?

Any continuing Harvard undergraduate (current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) in good standing conducting research in a PRIMO-designated research project with HBS faculty over the summer is eligible to apply for the Program.

Does this mean anyone?

Yes, as long as the applicant is in good standing in the College.

Is the Program limited to specific concentrations?

No, applicants may be enrolled in any concentration. However, the Program is designed to cultivate a community of business scholars; thus, applicants must demonstrate how the research activity they are engaged in will contribute to their development as a researcher, as indicated in the selected PRIMO-affiliated research projects. Any Harvard undergraduate is eligible as long s/he is committed to participating in the program and conducting research in one of the PRIMO-affiliated research projects.

How important is academic achievement?

PRIMO seeks to attract all undergraduates who are motivated to pursue business research during the summer. The only specific criteria with respect to academic achievement are good academic standing and coursework and/or experience that would prepare one for research.

Is financial need a factor in selecting PRIMO Fellows?

Selection of PRIMO Fellows will be need blind. Fellows who are required to accrue savings to satisfy a requirement for financial aid eligibility ("summer savings requirement") will receive a term-bill credit in the amount determined by the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid recipients are encouraged to apply.

What is the selection committee looking for?

Since a primary goal of PRIMO is to develop a diverse residential community of undergraduate researchers, the selection committee is looking for individuals who are likely to contribute and gain from participation in such a community. Selection will be based on applicant responses to the essay questions and comments in letters of reference that the applicant is strongly suited for a successful summer enrichment experience. In addition, the application should reveal an eagerness to conduct research in one of the designated projects, and articulate how that experience would enhance the applicant's academic trajectory.

What does "...who are also interested in community, diversity, and the advancement of women and minority scholars" mean?

One of the goals of PRIMO is to generate interest and enthusiasm for the development and preservation of stimulating undergraduate communities in research. Because women and minorities in many disciplines are comparatively underrepresented by significant margins in business school disciplines, there is an ongoing interest and commitment in the College to foster substantive and enriching opportunities that inspire these students to pursue their emerging academic and professional goals in those fields. In addition, the Program aspires to identify and assist individuals who may not have the opportunity to explore their research interests because of a need to work during the summer.

Do I have to be in one of those populations to be eligible?

No. The Program is designed to attract any continuing undergraduate who is interested in and can contribute to the principles of diverse community involvement and social science research.

What are the benefits of participating in PRIMO?

PRIMO is an emerging, prestigious program, and the first cohort of PRIMO Fellows will participate in one of the College's high-profile initiatives to support undergraduate research.

In addition to free housing and meals for a 10-week portion of the summer, PRIMO will be beneficial in a number of ways:

  1. Significant interactions with HBS and HBS faculty will allow students to gain an appreciation for research in fields that are typically not available for Harvard undergraduates. The professional development series will allow students access to research resources and individuals on cutting edge areas in business research.
  2. The residential community of researchers will allow Fellows to cultivate an interdisciplinary network of peers with whom they can communicate and collaborate outside the research environment. Many undergraduates do not have the opportunity to participate in this kind of community until much later in their careers.
  3. The Program will allow Fellows to delve into topical and critical aspects of becoming researchers through evening seminars and activities.
  4. The Program will foster and encourage Fellows to explore the many exciting pathways and professional opportunities open to those considering a career in the frontiers of business research.
Will PRIMO help me get into graduate school?

Obviously, we cannot guarantee that PRIMO will have any impact on any graduate school admissions panel. However, PRIMO is a high-profile program that supports summer research, and PRIMO Fellows will benefit from the opportunity to develop an interdisciplinary network of peers. Many undergraduates do not have the opportunity to participate in this kind of community until much later in their careers. In addition, prominent faculty will participate in activities with the Fellows throughout the Program.

Where can I do my research and participate in PRIMO?

PRIMO applicants must apply to one of the faculty-initiated research projects. Applicants will be given the opportunity to indicate their first, second, and third preferences. To the extent possible, individuals selected to participate in PRIMO will be paired with their first-choice preferences.

Are there any limitations to the kind of research I can do and still be eligible for PRIMO?

You may only participate in one of the PRIMO-designated research projects.

Can I get housing but not participate in the evening activities?

No. Since a key component of the Program is contribution to the community and professional development, participants must be willing and available to attend enrichment activities and events during non-research work hours.

May I live off-campus?

No. All participants will live together in the designated Harvard College House.

Instead of the meals offered at Dudley House, could I get a stipend and cook myself?

Unfortunately, no. Due to existing programs and refurbishing activities across campus during the summer, the Program is limited to the facilities of assigned Harvard College House as well as Dudley House. Please also note that weekend meals are not included in the Program and very limited cooking facilities are available.

Is this research funding?

No. PRIMO is participation in a residential community of researchers.

If I participate in PRIMO, may I also get a grant or other award?

Additional funding is not required, as a modest stipend will be provided.

Does the Program pay for health insurance?

As a continuing Harvard College undergraduate, you are covered by your regular Harvard health insurance during the summer.

I am planning to travel during the month of August. Could I miss the last two weeks of the Program?

No. Individuals who are selected for PRIMO must commit to the entire ten-week Program.

Is there a strategy for choosing my references?

Two references are required for PRIMO.

The first letter is from a residential staff member of your current living community (House or Yard), such as a Dean, Master, Tutor, Proctor, etc., who knows you well. This letter should comment in detail about your contribution and participation in daily residential activities, and the likelihood that PRIMO as a diverse residential community of researchers will, in their opinion, enhance your academic life and possible professional trajectory.

The second letter should be written by someone in the Harvard community who can comment on character, initiative, and interest in pursuing academic excellence. This letter should include brief but noteworthy examples demonstrating that the applicant will benefit from participation in and contribute to PRIMO activities. Freshmen may consider obtaining a letter from someone who knows them well academically or in a research context from before their arrival at Harvard.

How does the application cycle work?

Project descriptions will be available in late January. Application instructions are available beginning 1 February. Complete applications must be uploaded electronically on CARAT before 5:00 p.m. on 24 February 2014. Applicants will be notified of results before the beginning of April. After an applicant has been selected, s/he must re-verify their intention to participate, and commit to the schedule and activities for the full duration of PRIMO (9 June - 14 August 2014).  Housing will be available beginning on 5 June, as PRIMO fellows are encouraged to participate in the summer undergraduate research village orientation activities. 

If your questions haven't been answered above, please reach out to Margaret Lias for further information.