Campus News

Health and Wellness Survey Results, Harvard Business School

By Meg McGuire, HBS '17

By Meg McGuire, HBS ’17

Last spring, ~75% of students completed a comprehensive health and wellness survey, the first ever to be administered to the HBS student body. Each student who completed the survey received a S’well bottle as a thank you for their participation. RCs may notice the prevalence of these bottles among ECs across campus, nestled in the side pockets of students’ backpacks or sitting atop the Aldrich desks.

MBA Student & Academic Services (SAS) and the administration wanted to share the highlights of the survey results with students in appreciation for their participation.  The results are generally in line or better than national averages for a similar demographic, and are important to review for a few reasons:

    1. We are not in a bubble: When walking around campus it can be easy to feel like we have walked into a utopia where the health problems of the general population do not plague the seemingly happy, healthy, and gregarious student population.  It can be a helpful reminder to see the relatively common occurrence of health concerns that on any given day affect our school.  For those who are having a positive experience at HBS, it reminds us of the importance of compassion. For those who are having a tougher experience while at HBS, it can be a helpful reminder that you are not alone.  


  • Students experience challenges, but also have vast resources at their disposal: Even though results are in line with national averages, this does not diminish the struggles and concerns faced by students, or the changes in health many could be experiencing.  The results highlight the vastly different experiences students can have at HBS – some noting vast improvements in health and some noting significant detriments.  Please seek help if you need it: Stop by Spangler 2nd floor, the Student & Academic Services Counter, and request a meeting, or email  Last year, 43.5% of students sought help from MBA Student & Academic Services.  


  1. The consequences of alcohol: It is no secret that whether you drink or not, the high prevalence of drinking may have impacted your experience at HBS in some way.  I do not think we can make a judgment about the ideal amount or frequency of drinking, but the survey reminds us that alcohol can have significant consequences to individuals and those around them.  

So please take the time to review the results below and assess your own health and wellness experience while at school; if it is not where you want it to be please consider availing yourself of the resources to help you change it.

Overall Mental Health
  • 51% of students ranked their emotional health as very good or excellent
  • 37% of students experienced a month or longer when they were nervous, edgy, anxious or worried most of the time (the NIH reports that on average 18% of Americans present with anxiety and 7% with depression)
  • 1% of students seriously considered suicide
Overall Physical Health
  • 54% of respondents ranked their overall physical health has very good to excellent (1% said poor)
Eating Habits
  • 12% of students are very satisfied with existing eating habits (55% of students are somewhat satisfied)
  • 43% say their eating habits are less healthy than before school
  • 91% of students are exercising at least 1 day a week
  • 51% of students say they are trying to lose weight (30% of students say they are somewhat overweight to very overweight)
  • 12% of students experienced an unwanted sexual advance as a result of another student’s drinking during the school year
  • 90% of students drank during the last 30 days
  • 61% of students got drunk over the last 30 days at least once
  • 55% of students are drinking more than before coming to school
  • 53% of students are sleeping more than 7 hours a night on average (35% sleeping 6 hours)
  • 41% of students said their habits are worse than before school (31% say they are sleeping more at school than before)


If you have questions regarding the survey please contact Suzy Conway, Director, Student and Academic Services, at



November 15, 2016
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