Startups are exciting to HBS MBA students for many reasons, including the opportunity for impact, exposure to multiple functions, and the ability to practice skills they are learning at HBS. But, why should a startup hire an HBS MBA?


Students offer deep general management and leadership skills

Students gain exposure to a diverse set of industries and functions through the case method, which makes them a great addition to startups where working across functions is part of the environment. In the first year, the HBS curriculum focuses on business fundamentals such as finance, marketing, leadership, negotiation, operations, strategy, and more. In the second year, a student may focus on a particular area to deepen their knowledge of that space.

Students can help complete short-term projects

Not sure how an MBA fits into your organization? Hire a summer intern to see the skillset they can add. Sample projects might include:

  • Competitive/Pricing Analysis
  • Market Analysis & Segmentation
  • Business Partner Evaluations
  • Due diligence & ROI analysis
  • New Business Development

It is not uncommon for second years who worked at a startup over the summer to continue their work with the organization through an independent project. This allows the student to get course credit for the work they complete during the school year, and the startup retains HBS talent beyond the summer.


Startups cannot afford to hire an MBA

For many startups hiring an MBA full-time is a challenge due to funding. For those that can swing it, a full-time MBA can help set structure and think through many growing pains you may encounter. For those that cannot hire someone full-time, hiring a summer intern is a great way to accomplish short-term projects that require a business lens without breaking the bank. The median base salary for an HBS summer intern at a startup was $7,000 per month in 2023.

Startups need a recruiting budget and must go through a formal recruiting process

All of HBS's recruiting resources are free to organizations. Very few startups come to campus for formal recruiting activities because there are tons of ways to engage virtually. HBS resume books, the job board, and virtual events are great ways to connect with students. We encourage you to access the tools that make the most sense to you. To see a full list of our recruiting resources, check out our recruiting guide.

Job descriptions need to be formal

Job descriptions can feel time-consuming to write if you do not have a clear scope of the position, but they do not have to be. You can outline a project or opportunity in 4-5 sentences and provide us with information like Application Method, U.S. Work Authorization, Company Location, and Required Qualifications. Startups will sometimes collect applications then work with the selected candidate to see where their skills align with the organization’s needs.

If you think an HBS MBA is the right fit for your organization, please reach out to our office. We would love to learn more about your recruiting needs and help connect you with students who are a good fit.