“Each of us who has the privilege of belonging to the HBS community also has a responsibility to sustain that community, and the values it represents, for those who will follow us. That responsibility extends to every interaction, with everyone, every day, everywhere.”
Matthew C. Weinzierl

Senior Associate Dean, Chair, MBA Program
Joseph and Jacqueline Elbling Professor of Business Administration

Established in 1908, Harvard Business School was the first graduate business program to offer the MBA degree. Today, HBS comprises tens of thousands of students, faculty, staff, and alumni across a range of educational programs and activities, and in countries around the world – individuals who embrace and advance the School’s mission and, in so doing, embody the School’s Community Values.

Through hard work, with humility, for humanity, the HBS community can accomplish anything. But a prerequisite for achieving our mission is a shared commitment, by all members of our community, to the Community Values described below.

Our Community Values

The mission of Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. Achieving this mission requires an environment of trust and mutual respect, free expression and inquiry, and a commitment to truth, excellence, and lifelong learning.

Students, program participants, faculty, staff, and alumni accept these principles when they join this community. In doing so, they agree to abide by the following Community Values:

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

HBS can and should be a living model of these values. To this end, community members have a personal responsibility to integrate these values into every aspect of their experience here. Through our personal commitment to these values, we can create an environment in which all can achieve their full potential.

MBA Honor Code

The MBA Program at HBS educates leaders through a learning model in which students and faculty teach and learn from one another. This process of active participation and shared learning – crucial in any academic community, and the very foundation on which the HBS MBA Program rests – depends on:

  • Individual preparation of all materials.
  • Small-group discussions to explore and expand on this initial work.
  • Consistent class attendance.
  • Full engagement in class discussions.
  • Post-class reflection.

The Honor Code supplements the School’s Community Values and reflects the commitment students and faculty make as members of the community to participate in, foster, and uphold this learning model. Any activity that violates the spirit or letter of this learning model is a violation of the Honor Code and HBS Community Values.

The Honor Code is a commitment of the students, individually and collectively, to:

  • Prepare for and participate fully in classroom and academic activities.
  • Refrain from giving or receiving unauthorized aid in class preparation or classwork, during exams, or in any other work to be used by an instructor as part of a course or as a basis of grading.
  • Act as stewards of the Honor Code in upholding its spirit and letter, and encouraging others to do so as well.

The Honor Code is a commitment of the faculty, individually and collectively, to:

  • Demonstrate confidence in the honor of their students.
  • Act as stewards of the Honor Code in upholding its spirit and letter, while encouraging others to do so as well.

Additionally, while the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.

Role of Community Values Representatives

Early in the fall semester, each new MBA section elects a Community Values Representative as a vital member of the section leadership team. The CV Representative’s primary role within their section is to help shape an inclusive and respectful section culture. To do so, among other activities, they help facilitate the creation of section norms, solicit feedback about classroom climate, and initiate dialogue to ensure a productive environment for all section members. They acknowledge and encourage everyday examples of our community values in action, and they educate and inform to ensure continued awareness and understanding. They also act as liaisons with the Associate Director of Community Standards and other staff and faculty members who administer the MBA program.

Role of the Ombuds

HBS Ombuds provide an impartial and objective resource independent of any existing administrative or academic structures at HBS. If a student is involved in a situation that requires support or intervention, or if they simply want to consult with an impartial person who can help put a situation in context and determine next steps, the Ombuds are available as confidential, compassionate resources. On average during an academic year, six students will reach out to Ombuds and consult with them over the course of several visits or calls. Cynthia Churchwell and Vai Schierholtz, two members of the HBS staff, currently serve as Ombuds, and they are available to talk anytime:

  • Cynthia Churchwell – Manager of Public Services, Curriculum & Learning Services, Baker Library; cchurchwell@hbs.edu; 617-495-6533
  • Vai Schierholtz – Director, Marketing, MBA Admissions; vschierholtz@hbs.edu; 617-495-3525

Community Values and Compliance

Every student is responsible for upholding our Community Values and consistently acting in accordance with them. The School is committed to addressing violations of these values and conduct that contravenes them through processes that emphasize fairness, accountability, and privacy. We also seek opportunities for these situations to foster personal growth and development.

Although some matters are dealt with by the MBA Program administration, others may require review by the Conduct Review Board (CRB). The CRB is currently chaired by Professor Sandra Sucher and includes two additional faculty members, three students, and one senior staff member. The Associate Director of Community Standards acts as a liaison with students and supports the CRB’s work by presenting complaints, conducting investigations, and keeping records of the process.

While the details of individual cases brought before the Conduct Review Board are kept strictly confidential, in the spirit of transparency, we are providing below a summary of compliance and related disciplinary actions over the past five years (presented as a percent or as an average number of cases for the five-year period):

Community Values Cases (2018 - 2023)*
% of Issues by Cohort
RC 35%
EC 65%
Reviewing Organization
MBA Administrative Resolution 14.2
Conduct Review Board Resolution 3.4
Warning 12.2
Probation 4.2
Suspension 1
Expulsion 0
Degree Revocation 1
Violation Type
Honor Code Violation 7.2
Conduct/Community Values 8.6
Substance Use 1.8

*Community Values incidents related to COVID-19 have been excluded.