HBS-Accion Program: Frequently Asked Questions

After a two-year hiatus, we’re very excited that the HBS-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance is taking place in-person this April at Harvard’s campus in Cambridge. Despite the continuation of the global pandemic, HBS fully intends to operate the program in-person. The HBS team has already begun operating in-person executive training courses similar to the HBS-Accion program, and HBS has adapted all their services to ensure a safe and effective learning environment.

On this page

  • Applications
  • Payments & Scholarships
  • Logistics & Schedule
  • Visas
  • COVID-19

Applications

Will the application period for the 2022 program reopen for new applicants?
As of January 19, 2022, the application to join the 2022 program is now open. We review applications on a rolling basis until the limited number of open spots are filled. The deadline to submit an application is 11:59 PM ET on February 2, 2022.

Payments & Scholarships

Are there scholarships available to pay for the full cost of the program?
Thanks to the generous support of the Citi Foundation, there are a limited number of partial scholarships that will be made available to participants who otherwise could not attend because of the cost. Please note that we are unable to offer scholarships to all applicants who apply. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please indicate so in the application.

What’s included in the program cost?
The program cost includes all housing and meals during the program as well as administrative fees. The tuition does not include airfare, incidentals, and meals outside of the program dates or off the Harvard campus. If you have questions, please contact us at hbsaccion@accion.org.

Are refunds available?
Participants who are unable to attend the program due to COVID-related travel disruptions or a positive COVID test may be eligible for a refund. Please note that in the event of travel disruptions or if you contract COVID-19 right before the program, we may be able to accommodate your participation virtually on a case-by-case basis.

Logistics & Schedule

When should I plan to arrive and depart?
Please plan to arrive on campus by 1:00 pm ET on Sunday, April 3. Harvard Business School will be conducting COVID-19 tests for every participant and arriving before this time ensures your test result will be available by the following day. If you are unable to arrive by this time, please contact us at hbsaccion@accion.org.

The program ends at 12:00 pm ET Friday, April 8, so you may plan to leave that evening or anytime there after.

Can I come for part of the program?
The HBS and Accion policy is to accept participants who can attend the entire program. The program design builds lessons based on each case study, discussion group, and classroom discussion. Therefore, the goals of the program are best achieved through full participation by all participants.

Can I stay off-campus?
The program is designed to create an atmosphere of strong engagement and relationship building among the participants and HBS staff. The policy requires all participants to stay on campus.

Can I bring someone with me, e.g., a spouse or friend?
Due to the nature of the program and the single-occupancy accommodation, spouses and/or friends are not allowed to stay on campus with participants.

What are the accommodations while I attend the program?
Single-occupancy rooms located on-campus are included in the program tuition fee. Each room is equipped with high-speed internet access, with wired and wireless access. Each room also has a private bathroom with toiletries included. HBS encourages participants from outside the USA to bring an adapter that can accommodate 120 volts.

What is the dress code?
HBS requests business casual dress for classes and meals during the program.  Since dress codes and terminology vary widely among companies and countries, here are a few examples of what is considered business casual attire: open-necked and collared shirts or blouses and sweaters, khakis, pressed pants, skirts, or dresses, leather shoes or casual walking shoes.

What airport should I fly to for the program?
Harvard Business School is located in Boston, Massachusetts. We recommend flying into Boston Logan International Airport.

How do I prepare for the program?
Once you’ve been accepted into the program and remitted payment, HBS will send you log-in credentials for the online program portal. All logistical information and pre-reading/assignment requirements can be found on that portal.

What happens when the course is over?
After the program, you will receive an invitation to join the HBS-Accion Program Alumni LinkedIn page. You will also receive a one-year subscription to the Harvard Business Review, a photo of the HBS-Accion class, and a certificate of completion.

Accion will also contact program alumni for a program review, quotes to include on our website, as well as referrals for future programs. We also appreciate hearing from alumni regarding what they have learned in the course as it relates to their professional careers.

Visas

Do I need a visa to attend the program?
If you are located outside of the US and are not a US citizen, you will need to obtain a visa to enter the US for the HBS-Accion program.

What type of visa do I need to attend the program?
You must apply for a temporary B-1 visa. This is a temporary visitor visa that aligns with the invitation letter that HBS will send if you are accepted in the program. See details about the B-1 visa here: B-1 Temporary Business Visitor | USCIS

Please note, program participants are not enrolled at Harvard University, and therefore, you should not apply for a student visa.

How long does it take to obtain a visa?
The wait time for a visa varies based on the type of visa and the country from which you are applying. Please visit the U.S. State Department website to learn the expected timeframe.

Who provides an invitation letter for the visa process?
HBS will send an invitation letter to all the accepted participants who require a visa. This invitation letter can be used for the visa process to validate an applicant’s request. If you need a visa to attend the program, please reach out to hbsaccion@accion.org with any questions.

The visa letter I received has the incorrect employer listed as a sponsor. What should I do?
If the invitation letter you received has the incorrect sponsor listed, please inform Accion. We will ask HBS to update the information and resend to your email address. This typically takes a few days to process, so please review the materials for accuracy as soon as receive them.

How much does it cost to obtain a visa to enter the United States?
The cost to obtain a US visa will vary depending on the country in which you currently reside. Please check with your local embassy.

Where can I find additional information about US visas?
Please review the U.S. State Department website to learn additional information about the U.S. visa process and options available. While we are not technical experts on the visa process, we can answer a limited range of questions.

Are there certain restrictions?
Yes, HBS does recognize certain restrictions enacted by the U.S. Government. If you are concerned about your ability to attend the program due to any country restriction, please contact us and we will check any applicable restrictions.

COVID-19

Are any changes anticipated due to COVID-19?
Harvard Business School fully expects to operate the program in-person April 3-8, 2022. In the event of travel disruptions or if you contract COVID-19 right before the program, we may be able to accommodate your participation virtually on a case-by-case basis.

What COVID-19 safety protocols are in place for the HBS-Accion Program?
HBS requires all participants to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by a vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) prior to participating in the HBS-Accion Program. In addition, every participant will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival to campus.

For more details and the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 protocols, please bookmark the HBS Health & Safety Protocols webpage and check it routinely.

What will happen if COVID-19 cases rise closer to the program start date?
The HBS-Accion Program Team is committed to maintaining a safe, enriching program for all staff and participants. Safety is our priority, and while we are mindful that the COVID-19 situation may change, we are monitoring the situation closely and will be providing updates as necessary.

What if I test positive for COVID-19 while at the HBS-Accion Program?
If a participant tests positive for COVID-19 during the program, they will be able to complete the program virtually from their on-campus room while they complete their self-isolation period. Participants will be provided with meals and technology to attend the rest of the program online comfortably and safely.