The MBA disciplinary process reflects and safeguards the HBS Community Values. It is designed to be fair and transparent to all students involved.


Allegations of minor infractions will be handled by the MBA Program. Allegations of more serious conduct will be handled by the Conduct Review Board (CRB). Separate procedures apply for allegations under the Sexual Harassment or Other Sexual Misconduct policies and the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Bullying policies, as reflected in those sections of the Handbook.

Notification of Possible Violation

Students who wish to report possible violations of the HBS Community Values, MBA Honor Code, or another HBS policy should contact the Associate Director, Community Standards and Program Services (AD CS) in the MBA Program Office. Possible violations also may be reported by a number of different sources including, for example: faculty, staff, students, other members of the Harvard community, and the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).

Where allegations are brought against a student, the student will be notified as soon as practical unless it is determined that the claims are without merit or where there is a concern that relevant information could be destroyed.

Students who are notified of allegations that they have violated the HBS Community Values, MBA Honor Code, or another HBS policy, then will meet with the AD CS who will describe the disciplinary process.

Initial Review of Possible Violation

As a first step, both the individual raising allegations and the person against whom the allegations are brought ordinarily will meet with a member of the MBA Program staff, usually the AD CS, to provide information and answer any additional questions. Depending on the circumstances, the MBA Program staff may interview others who have pertinent information. Based on what is learned, the MBA Program Chair and Managing Director, Student & Academic Services then will determine the severity of the infraction and whether the violation will be treated as minor or more serious.

At the discretion of the MBA Program, if it is determined that the situation involves special circumstances (for example, a severe alleged violation or a risk to the safety of the community), then a student's activities may be limited, up to and including suspension from the School until the matter is resolved.

Minor Infractions

For minor infractions, the MBA Program Chair and Managing Director, Student & Academic Services determine the appropriate sanctions such as warning letters, temporary notations on student transcripts, probation, and community service. A student has the right to appeal the Program’s decision to the Chair of MBA Community Standards (CCS) if there is new evidence that was not considered in the original investigation or if the student thinks the sanctions are too severe.

Serious Infractions and CRB Process

When a possible violation is determined to be more serious, it is referred to the Conduct Review Board (CRB). Cases involving allegations of sexual and gender-based harassment are handled in accordance with the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment Policies. Cases involving allegations of discrimination and bullying are handled in accordance with the University’s Discrimination and Anti-Bullying Policies. In all other cases, the Chair of MBA Community Standards (CCS) oversees the process, including the investigation. In the steps outlined below, the person raising the allegation is the complainant and the person against whom the allegations are brought is the respondent. In some cases, such as plagiarism, the School may be the complainant.

  1. Investigation
    The CRB process begins with a formal investigation. The complainant may provide any evidence or names of witnesses with direct knowledge of the situation to the AD CS for consideration during the investigation. The AD CS then may act as a fact-finder or may appoint one or more independent fact-finders. Fact-finders will be Harvard administrators or faculty members drawn from Harvard Business School or elsewhere. Fact-finders may also be independent contractors engaged by Harvard. Based on the initial review and follow-up interviews with individuals who may have pertinent information, the fact-finder will prepare an "Initial Fact-Finding Report" to share with the respondent and the CRB. After receiving the Initial Report, the respondent has the opportunity to submit a written response that will be shared with the CRB.
  2. CRB Meeting

    The CRB meets in a closed session to review the Initial Report and written response(s), and then interviews the respondent individually to ask any follow-up questions. When the respondent attends their meeting with the CRB, they may bring one member of the HBS community for support as a non-speaking observer.

    The CRB may also ask others with knowledge of the situation, such as the MBA Program Chair, to meet with the Board and answer questions.

    If the CRB receives information supporting further allegations against the respondent that were not previously disclosed, the respondent will be informed and offered another opportunity to submit a written response or, at the discretion of the CRB, invited to another closed session to discuss the additional information.

    The CRB will vote to determine whether a violation occurred and what, if any, sanctions should be applied. The CRB applies a “preponderance of evidence” standard, meaning that the CRB will decide whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the School’s policies. The CRB’s decisions are made based on a majority vote, with the Chair of Community Standards voting only in the case of a tie.

  3. CRB Determination & Sanctioning

    When it is determined that a violation occurred, the AD CS will share a "Draft Findings Report," describing the violation(s) and sanctions, with the respondent on behalf of the CRB. The respondent may submit a written response within three days. The CRB will consider the respondent’s written response, if any, and then issue a "Final Determination Report" that states its conclusion on violations and any sanctions that should apply. The potential sanctions that may be imposed by the CRB are set forth in Section 2.5 Disciplinary Outcomes & Sanctions.

  4. Appeal

    The respondent has the right to appeal the CRB findings on two grounds: (1) if there is new evidence that was not considered in the original investigation; or (2) if the student thinks the sanctions are too severe. Disagreement with the findings or decision of the CRB is not, by itself, grounds for appeal. Appeals are submitted to the Dean and their decision is final. If the violations or sanctions are not upheld, the Dean will determine next steps or new sanctions.

Protection of Privacy

The MBA Program and CRB will treat information they receive with appropriate sensitivity. In addition to the CRB members, the MBA Program Chair and Managing Director, Student & Academic Services will receive copies of all reports. Students who are witnesses in an investigation are also asked to treat information appropriately and are given only the context and information needed so that they can answer the questions.

Throughout the disciplinary process, appropriate HBS faculty and staff members, as well as other officers of Harvard including the University’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), may be informed of the case and its progress.

Observation of a Possible Violation

When a possible violation of Community Values, Honor Code, or another HBS policy is observed, it is not always easy to know what to do. However, all members of the community are encouraged to report a possible violation.

Support through the Disciplinary Process

The two primary HBS sources of support are the Ombuds and MBA Support Services. MBA Support Services can also refer you to resources available outside of Harvard.

The Ombuds is a neutral and confidential third party who can support a student in the following ways if they are involved in a disciplinary process:

  • help the student understand the disciplinary process and the options available
  • provide a sounding board as the student considers and develops their response

MBA Support Services
The MBA Support Services team provides support, coaching, and advising to HBS students facing a wide range of challenges, including the disciplinary process.

Duration of Disciplinary Process

Cases are ordinarily considered as quickly as is reasonably possible, given the need to investigate matters carefully. The length of the process depends on the complexity of the case, the number of interviews that are necessary and scheduling availability. If the case is referred to the CRB, the AD CS will work to schedule the meeting as soon as reasonably possible given member availability.

Members of the Conduct Review Board (CRB)

For each case, the CRB is comprised of three faculty (including the CCS), three students, and one senior staff member. The individuals who serve in these roles may change from case to case as there are more standing members of the CRB available. This allows for flexibility to avoid conflicts and schedule as quickly as possible. Students that serve on the CRB may include RC, EC, Doctoral, and Joint Degree students.

The following individuals oversee or have roles in the formal HBS disciplinary process:

Chair, MBA Community Standards (CCS)
Professor Sandra Sucher, 617-496-0177,

  • Oversees the Community Values Program
  • Oversees the disciplinary process, including:
    • Managing the work of the Associate Director, Community Standards and Program Services (AD CS) as it relates to the CRB
    • Serving as chair of the Conduct Review Board

Associate Director, Community Standards and Program Services (AD CS)
Benjamin Longstreth, 617-495-7635,

  • Serves as initial contact regarding student violations
  • Manages information for the CCS and CRB
  • Monitors student compliance with sanctions and petitions to return to HBS