harvard goals

Harvard Study


Harvard University 3

A Harvard study on a graduating MBA class.


conduct (3) study (2) between
graduate (2) MBA program
set clear/clarity write/wrote/written
goals plan make
accomplish turn it turned out
aside find/found average
purpose direction move
strong energy effective
confident competent yourself
ability every step
increase believe/belief achieve
inborn potential extraordinary


Audio Recording


Harvard Study (1979-1989)

Mark McCormack, in his book “What they don’t Teach you at Harvard Business School”, tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989.

In 1979, the graduates of the MBA program at Harvard were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future, and made plans to accomplish them?”

3% 13% 84%

It turned out that only 3% of the graduates had written goals and plans. Thirteen percent had goals, but they were not in writing.

Fully 84% had no specific goals at all, aside from getting out of school and enjoying the summer.

Twice as Much

Ten years later in 1989, they interviewed the members of that class again. They found that the 13% who had goals, but which were not in writing, were earning, on average, TWICE as much as the 84% of students who had had no goals at all.

TEN Times

But most surprisingly, they found that the 3% of graduates who had clear written goals when they left Harvard, were earning on average, TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% of graduates all together.

The only difference between the groups was the clarity of the goals they had for themselves when they started out.

Meaning, Purpose, Direction

Goals give you a sense of meaning and purpose. Goals give you a sense of direction.

As you move towards your goals, you feel happier and stronger. You feel more energized and effective. You feel more confident and competent in yourself and your abilities.

Every step you take towards your goals increases your belief that you can set and achieve even bigger goals in the future.

Your inborn potential is extraordinary.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. What comes to mind when you think of Harvard University? What do you associate with Harvard University?

2. The main idea of this talk was about Harvard University. True or false?

3. What question did the researchers ask the graduating class?

4. The categories of the students were ……………

5. What time frame was the study?

6. What were the results? How did the 84% of students with no goals compare with the 13% of students who had goals but not in writing?

7. Describe the 3% of students.

8. What is the lesson or moral of the study?

9. Why do you think this is so? What are some reasons?
A. What are some of your main goals in life?


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