Does a masters from Harvard Extension School come with the same perks, open the same doors as regular Harvard? I’m guessing there’s always going to be a difference but seems like a good deal (it’s cheaper than some state schools) with a semi-prestigious datapoint to add to the resume? Would love to hear from folks who’ve done it.

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No, the extension school is viewed as kind of a joke, rightly or wrongly. But maybe you can pull a fast one on a hiring manager. As far as the quality of the education, if you pick the classes right you can sometimes get the regular FAS professors teaching a cross referenced class. So if you are doing it for a few classes and not a degree it could definitely be worth it if you choose carefully

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So you think it’s better to go to say U of Illinois in a core program than HES?

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Not even close unfortunately. A lot of the value of a Harvard degree comes from the networking opportunities and credibility it gives you, and unfortunately most Harvard alums look down on the extension school so they’re much less likely to engage with you than if you have a “real” Harvard degree. You’re much better off going to a different school where the same money will get you a degree from one of their core programs.

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Most Harvard alums "look down upon you". The truth always leaks out. The smugness of the 'elite' is abhorrent

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No. There are no recruiting perks. You cannot recruit for HBS jobs for instance.

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It’s all in the context. If you talk about the experience like you wanted to upskill out of intellectual curiosity or conviction on certain emerging demands, it’s respected. If you use it to somehow act like a Harvard graduate, it will have a negative impact. I have a masters degree from a top tier university’s professional studies department. I’m active in the alum community and have gotten a great deal of ROI, but I make sure not to oversell it or pretend like I’m from their more prestigious programs.

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Some of my vet friends are doing that using the GI Bill they so well deserve. I think upskilling that way is always good as long as the ROI makes sense.

I’m a Harvard alum and have met several Extension School alums over the years as I live in Boston. I’ve seen it advertised it on the T and it seems like usually working professionals trying to better themselves.

From what I’ve gathered, I think a lot of the bad reputation comes from their less rigorous programs, like Management, which seems to be a breeding ground for dishonest people who pretend they went to HBS.

With that exception, I’ve taken a couple random classes while working over the years (not at the Extension School) and know how challenging it is, so I’d be just as happy to talk to an Extension School alum who managed to successfully complete the degree program while working as any other alum who reaches out.

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Don’t get extension; you better working at Deloitte than extension school. I studied at one of the top schools and people used to view the extension or professional school worse the worse public schools

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Yea, you can put Harvard in your LI profile 😂

If you’re doing it for prestige you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. You should go into any Masters program with the intent that it furthers your knowledge in a particular area. Might it open a door or two a little wider here or there, maybe, sure.

The extension school degree is a Harvard University degree as it’s one of several degree-granting institutions that make up the university. It does have a career services team and alumni from HES are in the same alumni association as grads from every other school. Instructors will be a mix of visiting profs and Harvard profs and some classes will be virtual and others will be on campus, so you’d have to structure your program to suit your situation.

That all said, no one ever wants to feel like they’ve been bamboozled. HES is meant to deliver a high quality education for a reasonable cost in a format and schedule that fits most working adults schedules. It’s the only way for adults who can’t take significant time off of work to attend Harvard, and so it’s actually one of their largest and fastest-growing schools. It is not “looked down upon” broadly or on spec as some have suggested (and if it is, then it’s by a minority of purists who no one should be concerned with anyhow). What is looked down upon is misrepresenting your education, but this would be true no matter where you went to school.

Go into it for the right reasons and you’ll come out of it having met those expectations: A great education, a “real” Harvard University degree (contrary to some beliefs here), membership in the Harvard alumni association, and lifelong friends. Just don’t go into it for the sole purpose of draping yourself in Harvard gear and telling everyone at the bar you went to Harvard. No one likes that guy. Even HES students.

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