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Harvard MBA Indicator


The Harvard MBA Indicator is a long-term stock market predictor created by Roy Soifer, a Harvard Business School alumnus. It is based on the percentage of Harvard Business School graduates that accept job offers in the investment banking or brokerage industry. A high percentage of grads entering these fields typically signals a market peak, while a low percentage signals a trough, indicating the stock market’s future direction.


Here is the phonetic breakdown of the keyword, “Harvard MBA Indicator”:Harvard: /ˈhɑrvərd/MBA: /ˈɛm bi ˈeɪ/Indicator: /ˈɪndɪˌkeɪtər/Now combining them together, the phrase “Harvard MBA Indicator” phonetically sounds like:/ˈhɑrvərd ˈɛm bi ˈeɪ ˈɪndɪˌkeɪtər/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Harvard MBA Indicator is a long-term stock market predictor that was designed by Harvard Business School graduate Roy Soifer in the 1980s.
  2. This indicator uses the percentage of Harvard MBA graduates who choose careers in finance and management consulting as a gauge for the overall market environment. A higher percentage of graduates entering these fields is seen as a signal for an overheated market and a potential downturn.
  3. While the Harvard MBA Indicator has accurately predicted some historical market events, it should be considered as one of many indicators for investors to analyze, rather than a foolproof method for predicting market trends.


The Harvard MBA Indicator is important because it is a contrarian stock market indicator developed by Roy Soifer, a Harvard Business School alumnus, which offers valuable insights into potential stock market trends and investor sentiment. By analyzing the percentage of Harvard Business School graduates who choose careers in the investment industry, such as investment banking or hedge funds, this indicator suggests that when a high proportion of these well-educated professionals enter the market, the market may be at or nearing its peak, whereas a low proportion could signify an undervalued market. This unconventional indicator helps investors stay vigilant and make informed decisions, providing a unique perspective on potential market turning points while serving as a strategic tool for varied investment strategies.


The Harvard MBA Indicator is an unconventional, yet interesting, tool employed by finance professionals to gauge the health of equity markets and predict upcoming trends. It is based on the employment choices made by Harvard Business School MBA graduates which serve as a contrarian market barometer. The indicator’s purpose lies in tracking the percentage of these graduates who accept job offers in investment banking, private equity, venture capital, or leveraged buyout firms. A higher percentage may indicate a possible overheating of financial markets, while a lower percentage can suggest a subdued or sluggish market environment. By observing the shift in career interests among Harvard MBAs, market pundits assess the willingness of these candidates to invest their time and human capital in a particular market segment. It is believed that these graduates tend to flock to lucrative or robust sectors, and as such, their choices can act as aggregate signals of market sentiment. The Harvard MBA Indicator is not a standalone predictive tool, but rather, it is used in conjunction with other metrics and qualitative analyses to provide a clearer picture of the market dynamics. As such, it is an alternative means of tapping into market psychology and can complement conventional market analysis methodologies.


The Harvard MBA Indicator (or “HMI”) is a market timing indicator that suggests that when MBA graduates from Harvard Business School tend to accept more “market sensitive” jobs, the stock market is at or near a peak, warning investors of a possible bear market, and vice versa. The idea behind it is that as the students’ decisions on job preferences could be correlated to stock market conditions. Here are three real-world examples of how the Harvard MBA Indicator was used or played out: 1. Dotcom Bubble (2000): In the late 1990s, the Internet boom drew many Harvard MBA graduates to accept positions in technology or market-driven companies. A large portion of them took high-paying jobs with dotcom and technology startups, often receiving stock options as part of their compensation. The HMI indicated a potential market peak, which turned out to be correct as the dotcom bubble burst, and the market plummeted, leading to many tech companies going bankrupt and significant losses for investors. 2. Global Financial Crisis (2008): In the mid-2000s, many Harvard MBA graduates took positions in the financial services sector, particularly investment banks and hedge funds. The HMI reached its peak in 2007, indicating an overvalued stock market. This coincided with the subprime mortgage crisis, which eventually led to the 2008 financial crisis. Again, the Harvard MBA Indicator had warned investors about the upcoming bear market. 3. Post-Great Recession Job Distribution (2012-2013): After the 2008 financial crisis, the HMI showed a noticeable shift in Harvard MBA graduates’ job preferences. There was a decrease in the percentage of graduates joining finance-sector jobs, and an increase in those joining traditionally less market-sensitive positions in consulting, healthcare, and technology sectors. The HMI’s lower reading suggested a more considerable value in the stock market, and it turned out to be a good time to invest as the market continued to recover.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Harvard MBA Indicator?
The Harvard MBA Indicator is a long-term stock market indicator developed by Roy Soifer, a Harvard Business School alumnus. It measures the percentage of Harvard Business School graduates accepting jobs in the financial sector, such as investment banking and securities trading, as a predictor of future trends in the stock market.
How does the Harvard MBA Indicator work?
The premise behind the Harvard MBA Indicator is that a high percentage of HBS graduates opting for careers in finance suggests an overvaluation of the market, which may eventually lead to a market downturn. Conversely, a low percentage indicates that the market may be undervalued, leading to potential growth.
Is the Harvard MBA Indicator a reliable predictor of market trends?
While the indicator has shown a correlation with market trends in the past, it is important to note that it is a long-term stock market indicator and should not be solely relied upon for investment decisions. It’s best used in conjunction with a variety of other market analysis tools to make well-informed financial decisions.
How often is the Harvard MBA Indicator updated?
The indicator is updated annually as new graduates from Harvard Business School enter the job market and make their career choices. It helps to track trends over time to better assess its efficacy as a market predictor.
Where can I find historical data on the Harvard MBA Indicator?
Historical data on the Harvard MBA Indicator can be found in publications by Roy Soifer himself or through various financial news articles and websites.
Can the Harvard MBA Indicator be applied to other business schools?
While the indicator is specific to Harvard Business School graduates, a similar approach could be taken by looking at the percentage of graduates from other top business schools entering the financial sector. However, the effectiveness and correlation with market trends might not be the same as with the Harvard MBA Indicator.
How should I use the Harvard MBA Indicator in my investment strategy?
The Harvard MBA Indicator should be viewed as a supplemental tool for market analysis. It’s best used in conjunction with other market indicators, technical analysis, and fundamental research to form a holistic view of the overall market condition. Remember, relying on any single market indicator may lead to an incomplete understanding of market fluctuations and is not recommended.

Related Finance Terms

  • Stock Market Sentiment
  • Harvard Business School Graduates
  • Market Overvaluation
  • Investment Banking
  • Contrarian Indicator

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