Harvard Business School’s ‘Peek’ Aims to Attract Women


Harvard Business School has created a recruitment program specifically targeting women’s colleges in an effort to increase the enrollment of women at the institution.

The program, called Peek, looks to recruit juniors, seniors and recent graduates of women’s colleges by offering them the opportunity to participate in a class taught by HBS faculty members.  Students in the class will look at four HBS case studies and have the chance to meet and converse with students and alumnae.  The school believes this will offer prospective students a more active and engaging on-campus experience than a traditional tour could give them, writes Clinton Nguyen for BostInno.

The class, which will take place one weekend in June, will hold 50-70 prospective students and come with a price tag of $500.

“It’s literally a peek into being a student here,” said Dee Leopold, the school’s head of MBA admissions and financial aid. “While prospective students have always been welcome to come and sit in a class, watching doesn’t come close to participating in a case method class.” Harvard’s unique case study experiences allow students to put themselves in the role of a protagonist facing a challenging business situation.

In 1985, women accounted for just 25% of the graduating class.  Today, that number has risen to 41%, the highest ever seen at the school.  Despite women accounting for 56-57% of all college enrollment in the US, there has yet to be a top business school to reach 50%.

Not everyone is happy with the price that accompanies the program, no matter how good the intentions, reports Emily Peck for The Washington Post.

“The fact that HBS, a school with the largest endowment of any in the world, would charge women for the privilege of coming to campus rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,” said Byrne, a former executive editor of BusinessWeek.

However, Leopold maintains the cost is merely to cover room and board for the weekend and does not begin to cover the cost of the program itself.  She added that financial aid and fellowships will be made available.

In 2009, two HBS students turned a Silicon Valley Immersion field trip to CloudFlare, a billion-dollar company.  Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn co-founded the company which now boasts over 2 million customers, handling 5% of all Web traffic and over 500 billion page views each month.