By the time the HBS community has returned from its Spring Break hijinks, outgoing SA Presidents Sarah Arora and Jordan Strebeck will have handed the reins to their successors – Linda Li and Nonso Maduka. We sat down with Linda and Nonso to chat about their vision for the coming year, the role of the SA in student life, and how not to get hit by a car.
DS: From your perspective, what are the most important elements of the “HBS experience”?
LL & NM: The great thing about HBS is that there is no one “HBS experience” for all of the students on campus. It is the combination of our varied and amazing experiences – whether it’s meeting a professor for coffee or breaking it down on the dance floor at Cure – that have the opportunity to bring about lasting friendships with classmates, strong mentoring relationships with faculty and administrators, and a shared focus on impacting the world in a meaningful way.
DS: What role do you think the SA should play in the lives of students?
LL & NM: The SA represents the entire MBA student body at HBS. The SA is here to enrich student life outside of the academic curriculum, and to ensure that student opinions and suggestions are heard. The SA Executive Team, in particular, acts as the main interface between the student body and the faculty and administration of the MBA Program, to jointly shape student life both now and in the future.
DS: What motivated you to run for the SA Presidency?
LL & NM: We were motivated by a shared desire to have a positive impact at HBS. This school is filled with incredible people and we believe that the SA, through its vision and programming, has the ability to strengthen the bonds between these individuals and create a platform for growth. We are incredibly humbled and excited to direct this mission and do what we can to enhance everyone’s experience in the community.
DS: What is your vision for the coming year? What are your top priorities?
LL & NM: Our vision is to make HBS an exciting and memorable place to be! We hope to create an
environment and culture that allows us to grow individually and as a community. We will be present,
proactive, and responsive to everyone’s needs. Specifically, we want to increase the accessibility and affordability of events, continue to increase the level of communication and transparency between the SA and student body, and expand the variety of events that have the potential to have a long-term positive impact on student life at HBS.
DS: What’s your secret talent?
NM: Being able to find anyone I want when I’m in a crowded room.
LL: Figuring out new ways to appear tall when I’m next to Nonso. DS: What’s your biggest fear?
NM: In high school, I had an irrational fear of heights. No, I wasn’t afraid of being on top of a tall
building; I just thought I would never stop growing. My basketball skills dictated that life as a
professional probably wasn’t in my future and so I feared that I would keep growing taller and wouldn’t have anything to do with the extra height. Luckily I stopped but in the back of my head I still have a little fear that another growth spurt is around the corner.
LL: That the ominous orange palm at the other end of the pedestrian crosswalk will stop blinking and become still while I’m crossing the road! I have been hit by cars twice in my life — in Hong Kong and Hanoi — so I’m a vigilant, yet still unconscionably bold, pedestrian. I think, in FIN 2, we would call that “calculated risk-taking.”
DS: If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
NM: That’s an easy one: A honeybadger! No explanation needed.
LL: Anything, as long as it’s Sec-C, of course!