Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) offer a joint degree program which confers an MBA from HBS and a Master of Science (MS) in Engineering Sciences from SEAS. The program is completed in four semesters over two years, augmented by summer and January term coursework amounting to three-quarters of a fifth semester. Designed to train future leaders of technology ventures, the MS/MBA program will provide a strong foundation in general management, build design skills, and extend students’ understanding of engineering.

The program seeks to enroll about 30 students annually, whose undergraduate training in engineering or computer science combined with their work experience put them on track to lead teams that make “how to build it” decisions in technology ventures. Upon completion of the program, graduates will also be prepared to make “what to build” decisions, which are the province of startup founders and product managers, general managers, and CEOs in mature technology companies.

Successful technology ventures are able to meet customers’ needs, leverage technology for advantage, and have a viable business model. Leaders of those ventures must be trained as designers—of products, business models, and organizations. To achieve these goals, the MS/MBA conveys concepts and builds skills in engineering, design, and innovation management.

Curriculum Overview

MS/MBA students complete degree requirements in four semesters over two years, augmented by coursework during August at the beginning of the program and during both January terms. Students have the summer free between Year 1 and Year 2 to work on their own startup concept or pursue an internship at a technology company.

Most of Year 1 is spent at HBS completing the MBA Required Curriculum (RC), although MS/MBA students start the program as a cohort at SEAS in August, taking the System Engineering course. They also meet periodically as a cohort at SEAS during Year 1 in the Engineering, Design & Innovation Management Seminar, and complete the Technology Venture Immersion course together during the January term.

During Year 2, MS/MBA students split their time between SEAS and HBS, enrolling in electives at each school. As a cohort, they also take the Integrated Design course during the fall term, and, during the January and spring terms, complete the Capstone course, in which they work in a small team to build and launch a new product.

  • HBS & SEAS

    HBX CORe

    As with all MBA candidates, MS/MBA students take a short test to determine whether they are required to complete HBX CORe prior to matriculating in August of Year 1. CORe, an online program requiring about 150 hours of work over roughly ten weeks, covers basic business analytics, microeconomics for managers, and financial accounting.

    System Engineering

    As a cohort during August of Year 1, MS/MBA students take System Engineering, a SEAS course that emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing complex systems and designing products within such systems. In System Engineering, students use mathematical methods to model systems and predict performance. They learn to situate designs within systems, managing within constraints imposed by value chain partners, financial performance requirements, and legal and ethical considerations.

    HBS Required Curriculum Fall Term

    MS/MBA students are dispersed across HBS’s ten first-year MBA sections and complete the RC’s five fall term case-based courses: Finance 1; Financial Reporting & Control; Leadership & Organizational Behavior; Marketing; and Technology & Operations Management. During the fall term, they also take FIELD Foundations, which offers hands-on leadership practice and immersive team experiences.

    More on the Required Curriculum

    Engineering, Design & Innovation Management Seminar

    Every 3 weeks during Year 1 of their program, MS/MBA students meet as a cohort at SEAS in an afternoon seminar jointly run by SEAS and HBS faculty. Seminars revolve around, among other topics, talks by alumni leaders of technology ventures; research presentations by faculty from SEAS and HBS; and student updates on venture concepts they are developing.

    Technology Venture Immersion

    During the January term of Year 1, MS/MBA students complete Technology Venture Immersion, a two-week course jointly taught by HBS and SEAS faculty. Modeled on the HBS Startup Bootcamp, the Technology Venture Immersion employs a learning-by-doing approach, with students working in teams on their own startup concepts and on problems provided by instructors to build skills with human-centered design and lean experimentation methods.

    HBS Required Curriculum Spring Term

    MS/MBA students continue with their RC section, completing the RC’s five spring term case-based courses: Business, Government & the International Economy; Finance 2; Leadership & Corporate Accountability; Strategy; and The Entrepreneurial Manager, along with FIELD Global Immersion, in which student teams travel abroad to design a product for a sponsoring organization.

    More on the Required Curriculum

    Summer

    During the summer between Year 1 and Year 2, most MS/MBA students either work on their own startup concept or as an intern in a technology venture; they are matched in either case with alumni mentors and may apply for a summer fellowship grant from the HBS Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. In 2017, 80 HBS MBA students received Rock Summer Fellowship grants averaging $6,000 apiece.

  • SEAS & HBS

    Integrated Design

    As a cohort, MS/MBA students take Integrated Design, a required course in the fall term of Year 2, taught jointly by SEAS and HBS faculty. Through lectures, skill-building workshops, and team-based projects, Integrated Design builds deeper expertise with human-centered design techniques and teaches principles of user interaction design, rapid prototyping, data visualization techniques, project management, and communicating across disciplines, among other topics.

    Capstone/Thesis Project

    MS/MBA students complete a required capstone project equivalent to two full courses, in which small teams build and launch a product. Work on the capstone project starts with an immersive January term course, and then continues with a spring term course.

    Fall and Spring Term Electives

    During the fall and spring terms of Year 2, students take three graduate (i.e., 200-level) engineering electives at SEAS and four MBA Elective Curriculum (EC) courses. Through SEAS electives, students can focus their work on a specific set of technologies, for example, data science, robotics, micro/nano devices, or neuroengineering.

Faculty

Year 1 Required Curriculum (RC) courses and Year 2 Elective Curriculum (EC) courses at HBS and Year 2 SEAS electives will be taught by many different members of the HBS and SEAS faculties, respectively. Four of the program’s core courses—the Engineering, Design & Innovation Management Seminar; Technology Venture Immersion; Integrated Design; and the Capstone Course—will be jointly taught by the following MS/MBA Program core faculty members from SEAS and HBS, among others:


Listen to an Interview with the Faculty

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Admissions

The program seeks a diverse group of outstanding students who: 1) aspire to lead technology ventures; 2) have undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, or a related technical field with a record of academic excellence; 3) have at least two years of full-time work experience, ideally designing and/or developing technology-intensive products; and 4) meet the other criteria for admission to HBS’s MBA Program.

To enroll in the MS/MBA program, candidates must apply to and be accepted by HBS and by the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences/SEAS. To simplify the process, required elements to apply to both the MBA and the Master of Science will be hosted in the HBS application system.

Step 1: Written Application

  • Create an HBS account and start an application here. This HBS account will be the single source of communication and repository for materials throughout the application process.
  • Indicate your interest in the MS/MBA by checking the appropriate box on the application.
  • Choose an HBS application round in which to apply. Note: MS/MBA applicants must apply in either Round 1 or Round 2 (Round 1 deadline: September 6, 2017; Round 2 deadline: January 3, 2018); they cannot apply in Round 3.
  • Submit all materials required for both the MBA and Master of Science applications.
     
    • Required for MBA: application form, resume, official transcript(s), essay, official standardized test scores, two recommendations, acceptance of policies, and application fee. More details here.
    • Required for Master of Science: all materials required for the MBA application, plus one supplemental essay. All materials submitted for the MBA application will be shared with SEAS for use in review of the Master of Science application.

Step 2: Interview

  • IF YOU ARE NOT INVITED TO INTERVIEW AT HBS: Your candidacy is not moving forward and you will receive a “deny” notification.
  • IF YOU ARE INVITED TO INTERVIEW AT HBS: Invitations are issued in October (Round 1) and February (Round 2); please follow the instructions below.
  • Interviewed candidates must submit one additional recommendation for the Master of Science portion of the application. The recommender form will be made available to you with instructions via email at the time you are invited to interview. The recommender should speak to your technical capabilities and experience.

Step 3: Decision Notification

  • HBS and the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will release admissions decisions in mid-December (Round 1) and March (Round 2). You may be:
     
    • Admitted to the MS/MBA program
    • Admitted to the MBA program only
    • Denied by the MBA and Master of Science programs
    • Note: It is not possible to be admitted to the Master of Science program only

SPECIAL NOTE TO COLLEGE SENIOR APPLICANTS

  • College seniors may apply for deferred admission for the MS/MBA via the 2+2 program.
  • Information about designated deadlines for college seniors is available here. College seniors may apply only in the HBS April 2+2 deadline. Applications will be considered and decisions rendered as described in the above instructions.
  • 2+2 admission to the MS/MBA is a deferred admission contingent upon at least two years, and a maximum of four years, of work experience before matriculation. No students will be allowed to enroll directly from an undergraduate program.

Tuition and Financial Aid

During both years of the program, MS/MBA students will be charged tuition that equals the annual tuition paid by standalone MBA candidates (currently $72,000 for the Class of 2019) plus the cost of the additional courses taken by MS/MBA students.

MS/MBA students will be eligible to apply for need-based HBS Fellowships and student loans in both years of the program.

FAQ

What is the mission of the program?

The program aims to educate future leaders of technology ventures by providing a strong foundation in general management, building design skills, and deepening students’ understanding of engineering.

How is the new Harvard MS/MBA program distinctive?

The Harvard MS/MBA program has a balanced emphasis on engineering, design, and business fundamentals—all of which are crucial for success when leading technology ventures. To succeed, a technology venture must meet customers’ needs, leverage technology for advantage, and have a viable business model. By extension, leaders of technology ventures must be trained as designers—of products, business models, and organizations. The Harvard MS/MBA program conveys concepts and builds skills across three domains: engineering, design, and management.

What are typical students’ backgrounds?

MS/MBA students aspire to lead technology ventures. They have undergraduate degrees in engineering, computer science, or a related field, with a record of academic excellence. They have at least two years of full-time work experience, ideally in designing and/or developing technology-intensive products.

What are typical students’ career objectives?

Most MS/MBA students aim to found technology-intensive startups. Others aspire to lead new ventures in established technology companies. Immediately upon graduation, MS/MBAs who do not pursue their own startup should be well qualified for positions as product managers, managers of engineering teams (i.e., “tech leads“), and consultants in firms that design new products.

Will students have academic advisors?

Students will be advised by the program’s two faculty co-chairs, who are tenured professors at SEAS and HBS.

Will students have access to Harvard resources and extracurricular programs aimed at aspiring student entrepreneurs?

Yes. Relevant resources include the Harvard Business School Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and the Harvard Innovation Lab (i-lab).

How do students typically spend their summers?

During the summer between Year 1 and Year 2, MS/MBA students either work on their own startup concept or as an intern in a technology venture. They are matched in either case with alumni mentors and may apply for a Rock Summer Fellowship, which averaged $6,000 in 2017.

How do I apply?

Candidates for the MS/MBA program can apply in Round 1 (September 6, 2017 application submission deadline) or Round 2 (January 3, 2018 deadline) to matriculate with the first cohort in August 2018. “2+2” candidates must apply in April (April 10, 2018 deadline).

Can I switch to a single program after I start?

No. The MS/MBA program been designed to provide students with an opportunity to earn two degrees in two years as a cohort. To graduate, a student is expected to meet requirements at both schools.

How can I get more information?

For answers to any questions, please email msmba@hbs.edu.