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, and is a part of the Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Village. 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 interested in a PRIMO-designated research project with HBS faculty over the summer is eligible to apply for the Program. Returning undergraduate students in good academic standing are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to individuals who have not yet participated in another Research Village 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?

Financial aid recipients are encouraged to apply. 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.

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 research areas.

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 a prestigious program that enables fellows to get exposure to management and business research on cutting-edge topics.

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.

How can I do my research and participate in PRIMO?

PRIMO applicants must indicate three research areas of interest and 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 the dining hall, 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 a dining hall. 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 being on campus for the entire ten-week Program, from June 10 - August 16, 2019. Any questions about this should be directed to Daria Wright.

Is there a strategy for choosing my references?

One letter of reference is required for PRIMO.

This 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.

Applicants do NOT need to seek a residential letter of recommendation. House recommendations will be solicited directly from URAF for all Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Village applicants. If you have a community-based reference who is not in your House community (e.g., coach), please contact your House Fellowship Advisor (HFA) so that they can be in touch with that individual to get feedback for your application.

How does the application cycle work?

Applications must be submitted through the CARAT system, which will be available in January.  In the meantime, applicants can review application requirements here. Complete applications must be uploaded electronically on CARAT before 5:00 p.m. on February 12. Applicants will be notified of results in 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 (June 10 - August 16, 2019).  Housing will be available beginning on 1 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 Daria Wright for further information.