Education, Financial Officers, Higher Education

Chief Financial Officer

  • Harvard Student Agencies
  • Cambridge, MA
About Harvard Student Agencies

HSA was founded in 1957 on the ideal of financing education through student employment. With Harvard’s tuition on the rise, members of the Financial Aid Office were concerned that the increased cost of higher education would adversely affect the social and economic make-up of those applying to Harvard. At the same time, some ambitious students were running small-scale businesses out of their dorm rooms. By using Harvard’s facilities to operate their businesses, these entrepreneurs jeopardized the university’s nonprofit tax exemption. John Munro ’35, Dean of Financial Aid, assigned Dustin M. Burke ’52, Director of Student Employment, to investigate student businesses as a possible source of financial aid and to begin developing the idea that would become Harvard Student Agencies.

Later that spring, a meeting with student managers revealed considerable interest in the idea of a corporation, and more concrete plans began to emerge. With an initial capital investment of $7,000 and the acquisition of the rights to provide the weekly linen service traditionally offered by the university, HSA was equipped to carry its corporate overhead. The remaining pieces quickly fell into place. In August 1957, the papers authorizing a new company were filed. On September 10, the new corporation’s first meeting was held. On December 13, 1957, the charter was signed recognizing the six original incorporators: John Munro, Dustin Burke, Greg Stone, John Giannetti, Theodore Elliot, and Harold Rosenwald.

Since 1957, HSA has experienced astronomical growth. Today, HSA employs more than 60 student managers, 700 undergraduates as team members, runs nine agencies, and is having a record-breaking year with more than $10 million in revenue. 

While the emphasis for the management team has shifted from an entrepreneurial experience to a more managerial mindset, new HSA programs are continually conceived and implemented to help foster the innovative and creative spirit so many Harvard students possess. HSA has remained dedicated to financing education through student employment while, at the same time, ensuring the quality of the jobs offered at HSA. Each of the nine agencies is run by a team of student managers who are responsible for the budgeting, sales, and everyday operation of their agencies. The permanent staff gives advice and assistance in managing the corporation.

HSA’s Mission is to educate, empower, and inspire Harvard College students with meaningful employment opportunities and hands-on business experience.

To learn more about Harvard Student Agencies, go to

The Opportunity

Harvard Student Agencies (HSA) seeks a pragmatic and hard-working finance expert to serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). This is a hands-on leadership role that requires a level of flexibility and pragmatism attuned to near and long-term goals of the organization.

The CFO will be part of HSA’s leadership team and will help guide the organization at this pivotal time in its history. Reporting to the CEO/General Manager, the CFO will lead finance to support HSA’s continued growth coming out of the pandemic. The CFO will lead and oversee staff members responsible for finance to enable growth and improve efficiency. The CFO will serve as a strategic thought partner to the CEO/GM and student leadership. The CFO has the overall responsibility to manage capacity needs and internal workflows to achieve programmatic, operational, and financial goals. This is an outstanding opportunity for a seasoned leader who is aligned with HSA’s mission and has extensive administrative leadership experience, particularly in finance, higher education, and operations. The ideal candidate will be comfortable managing full time staff members and mentoring students, while also rolling up their sleeves to get work done.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have a record of successful and progressively responsible financial management, administrative, and business roles within large, complex organizations. As a successful leader, the CFO will bring a demonstrated record of success in building relationships and communicating with confidence across organizations and agencies with a variety of constituents, including University administration, staff, faculty, students, and external partners. In leading HSA’s finances, the ideal candidate will utilize sound business judgment and an analytical mindset to navigate complex financial situations and develop innovative strategies for solving any issues that arise.

A bachelor’s degree plus relevant financial leadership and extensive management experience is required. An advanced degree such as an MBA, JD, or other advanced degrees and/or certification in the fields of accounting (e.g., CPA), business, finance, or management is preferred.

Previous experience in higher education is preferred, however, finance and business leaders with a variety of experiences with a passion for the mission and values are encouraged to apply.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Financial Expertise and Administrative Management

The ideal candidate will utilize deep knowledge of financial planning, analysis, and management to develop and implement strategies, policies, and business practices that improve measurable outcomes and align with broader organizational strategy. The CFO will have experience using technology solutions to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of resources to better assess, prioritize and operationalize solutions. Serving as an expert resource in these areas for the Board, CEO/GM, and Student Leadership, the CFO will draw upon keen quantitative reasoning and analysis skills and data evidence to provide thoughtful insight on projects and lead HSA forward with a focused and pragmatic strategy.

Strategic and Entrepreneurial Leadership

In overseeing a broad portfolio, the CFO will act as a change agent and remain flexible in adapting to emerging and developing needs of the Agency. Working in partnership with the CEO/GM, the CFO will be able to successfully develop and implement clear, action-oriented, and innovative strategies to grow organizational capacity and improve service across a variety of functions within the Agency. This leader will inspire high performance and enhance morale to build, nurture, and retain a strong team of professionals and students that is focused on excellence, accountability, and efficiency. The CFO will be a strategic, results-driven leader with demonstrated success in similarly complex roles with increasing responsibility.

The CFO will possess a high level of business acumen and judgment, with the ability to make practical, realistic, data driven, and timely decisions. This individual will understand, analyze, and interpret complex problems and achieve sustainable solutions with the sophistication, creativity, and openness needed to identify and implement new strategies to ‘get things done.’ This leader will be nimble, strategic, and collaborative at incorporating perspectives while informing decisions based on best practices of a shared governance model.

Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The ideal candidate will bring demonstrated success in developing, cultivating, leveraging, and managing major relationships and partnerships. The CFO will collaborate closely with the CEO/GM in developing strong working relationships across all administrative functions. Using strong facilitation and negotiation skills, the CFO will employ clear and concise communication to share information with a diverse range of constituents, including the Board, University leaders, the CEO/GM, Student Leaders, staff, students, and external stakeholders. Leading with transparency, the ideal candidate will effectively provide senior leaders and direct reports alike with relevant, updated information related to overall financial and administrative matters and coalesce the community around a common path forward.

Passion for the Mission

The ideal candidate will have a passion and commitment for Harvard Student Agencies unique mission, history, and its work and draw inspiration from the Harvard community. As a member of the senior leadership team, the CFO will be able to clearly envision how their role contributes to the greater agencies mission of cultivating and sustaining a positive experience for students, staff, and fellow leaders in the University’s administration. Reflecting HSA’s values, the CFO will embody unquestioned integrity and ethics and inspire others to lead with respect and empathy. In alignment with the HSA’s mission, this leader will bring a demonstrated record of supporting and driving initiatives to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging to continue enhancing the experience of every member of this community.

Qualifications and Preferred Experience

While no one candidate will possess every quality outlined for this position, a successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal attributes: 

  • This position requires candidates to possess a minimum of 8 years’ financial management executive experience within a complex enterprise, preferably within higher education or a highly regulated industry such as financial services.
  • An undergraduate degree in finance, accounting, or other business discipline is required with an advanced degree (MBA, MS, Law) strongly preferred as is a CPA and/or CISA designation.
  • A working knowledge of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, as well as payroll platform ADP.
  • A proven track record in providing effective leadership within a large, complex organization with sophisticated business processes, an understanding of governance and reporting guidelines.
  • An executive with a track record of leading transformational change within diversified, multi-market, multi-business organizations and financial functions, as well as within a rapidly shifting marketplace.
  • An experienced and operationally sound executive who is committed to improving financial performance through talent, technology, process, policies, and procedures, while ensuring use of best practices in regulatory and compliance efforts.
  • Sterling leadership credentials and qualities portending the ability to manage largely professional and credentialed staff and gain the trust and confidence of HSA leadership, students, and the Board.
  • A poised and confident persona with exceptional and highly developed communication skills. This individual must bring the savvy, poise and gravitas that will instantly evoke confidence and allow effective interactions with all interactions – students, leadership, University leaders, and other senior stakeholders.
Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position is between $125,000 – $150,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Harvard Student Agencies is deeply committed to being a diverse, inclusive, and equitable place to work. We encourage people with a wide range of backgrounds, experience, and perspective to apply.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Liz Lombard and Angie Sessoms of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Angie directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Harvard Student Agencies is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit

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