The MBA Experience

Rock Accelerator

With a singular focus to accelerate the development of high impact new venture ideas, the Rock Accelerator supports both HBS student entrepreneurs and HBS investment-minded students ready to solve market, economic, and social problems.

The Rock Accelerator has two opportunities for students:

  • Apply as a founding team with a high impact idea
  • Apply as an investor with an interest in selecting & supporting student teams (Rock Venture Partners

About the Founder Teams:


The Rock Accelerator supports 15-20 student teams with financial support (btwn $5,000 - $8,000), dedicated expert mentorship, peer resources & advocates, bi-weekly topic seminars & peer exchange councils throughout the academic year.

The program is segmented into three phases:

  • Design & Develop
  • Test & Build & Test
  • Pitch

The majority of Rock Accelerator Teams will be selected mid October. Additional slots may become available in December if space permits. There will be a separate application process for these additional slots. This application will be posted by late fall.
Teams will have to pitch for money throughout the year to fund their continued development and testing. Financial support for teams will vary in amount based on assessment of need and progress.

Teams may drop or be removed throughout the year if they are not making progress or their test results suggest they should discontinue.

The Rock Accelerator culminates in late spring with a Demo Day for all remaining teams.

Founder Team Eligibility


  • EC students deeply committed to launching a new venture & have completed significant customer discovery (past Rock Accelerator participants are not eligible)
  • HBS MBA on founding team (outside team members welcomed & encouraged)
  • If selected as a semi-finalist, available for semi-finalist interviews between October 1st - October 8th
  • If selected as a finalist, available for finalist interviews on October 8th (btwn 3:30-5:30pm) or October 9th (btwn 4:00-6:00pm)
  • Willing to commit to key dates, deliverables and role requirements for the academic year

Founder Team Key Steps


  1. Read all info and instructions detailed on this page
  2. Access the application here and poll here
  3. Attend Rock Accelerator Info Session on September 9th, from 4-5:30pm in Aldrich 009. Please let us know you are coming. Register here
  4. Check that your course and extracurricular schedule allow you to attend key Rock Accelerator Dates. See Key Dates listed below
  5. Submit application by September 22nd @ 5pm via f6s
  6. Attend semi-finalist interviews during October 1st- October 7th (If selected as a semi-finalist)
  7. Attend finalist interviews on October 8th (3:30-5:30pm), October 9th (4:00-6:00pm) (If selected as a finalist)

Founder Team Key Dates
*many winter dates TBD and will be built into calendar early October

Rock Accelerator & RVP Info Session September 9th
October Cohort Application Due September 22nd @ 5pm (online via f6s)
Semi-finalist Interviews October 1st - October 7th
Finalist Interviews October 8th, 9th
October Cohort Rock Accelerator Teams Notified ~October 10th
Rock Accelerator Kickoff October 14th
Content Clinics October 27th, Winter/Spring Dates TBD
Mentor Match November 5th
Peer Exchange Clinics October 21st, November 12th, November 24th
Investment Committee Meetings November 5th, November 13th, November 17th, December 2nd
Final Fall Evaluation Meeting December 4th
Pitch Clinic January 29th
Demo Day April 16th


About Rock Venture Partners

The Rock Venture Partners (RVP) is a small group of investment-minded students who will serve to help select and support the entrepreneurial teams participating in the Rock Accelerator program. It is also a great way to both develop your career as an investment professional and also engage with the HBS community of entrepreneurs. In addition, as a RVP, you will meet people who will be future professional contacts, both as investors and entrepreneurs. As a Rock Venture Partner, you will:
  • Vet and make recommendations and selections of teams to the Rock Commitments Committee
  • Serve as an advocate and resource for at least one Rock Accelerator team
  • Participate in a robust learning agenda that includes attending bi-weekly Rock Accelerator meetings, sessions with experienced venture investors and commit to an end-of-year deliverable. IP credit will be granted

*Note: As the IP deadline will have passed, 1.5 credits for the fall semester will be carried over to spring semester. Therefore, there will be a total of 3 credits attributed in spring semester.

RVP Eligibility

  • EC only (opportunity for selected RCs to join in the winter)
  • Strong career interest in early stage investing
  • Background or experience in start-ups, venture investing, or product management is a plus
  • Willing to commit to key dates, deliverables and role requirements for the academic year

RVP Key Steps


  1. Please read all the info and instructions detailed on this page
  2. Access the application here
  3. Attend the Rock Accelerator & Rock Venture Partner Info Session on September 9th, from 4-5pm in Aldrich 009. Please let us know you are coming. Register here
  4. Check that your course and extracurricular schedule allows you to attend key dates - see below
  5. Submit your application by September 15th @ 9am. Completed applications need to be emailed to the Rock Center. You will receive a confirmation reply email if your application has successfully made it into the evaluation pool. Knowing that technical difficulties always arise, we recommend you not wait until the last minute

RVP Key Dates *many winter dates TBD and will be built into calendar early October

Rock Accelerator & Rock Venture Partner Info Session September 9th
RVP Application Due September 15th @ 9am
RVP Selection & Notification September 19th
RVP Kickoff - Part I Meeting September 23rd
RVP Kickoff - Part II Meeting September 26th
RA Team Finalist Interviews October 8th-9th
Rock Accelerator Kickoff October 14th
Investment Committee Meetings November 5th, November 13th, November 17th, December 2nd
Final Fall Evaluation Meeting December 4th
Pitch Clinic January 29th
Demo Day April 16th