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Exclusive: Your Candidates for SA Co-President Share Their Vision

[stag_dropcap font_size=”50px” style=”normal”]W[/stag_dropcap]ith the campaign period for the election of the next Co-Presidents of the SA upon us, The Harbus spoke with the two tickets of candidates, Lynn ElHarake & Aziz Albahar, and Anya Hayden & Brad Minkow. We asked them the same handful of questions, with word limits to ensure an equal voice. Our aim was to get beneath the candidates’ position papers and into the substance of their candidacy. You can read their unedited responses below.

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Anya Hayden & Brad Minkow

SA Pres 1

Tell us a little about yourselves: home town and country, undergrad university, previous job.

Anya: 11 US states before age 18; Northwestern University; data analytics & strategy at e-commerce startup, investment banking at Morgan Stanley, and consulting at Deloitte

Brad: Chicago, IL USA; University of Missouri; marketing & strategy at PepsiCo and consulting at BCG

Tell us something about each of you that isn’t on your class card (figuratively or literally)? (50 words)

Brad: My incredible yet mischievous 10 year-old brother finds it hilarious to call me “dad” in public. That’s why my section fondly (?) calls me “Dad Brad.”

Anya: I’m about to be the proud holder of a non-US passport; my mother is first generation Polish.

In one sentence, what is your vision for the SA?

Our vision is to make HBS a true HOME to all students, which we will accomplish through specific measures underscoring mental Health and wellness, Openness and diversity, personal and career Mentorship, and on-campus Engagement.

You’ve seen the other ticket’s position paper. What makes your vision unique? What makes you uniquely qualified? (100 words)

Our vision (HOME) uniquely provides students with the resources and community engagements to become the most happy, successful, and complete versions of themselves.

Our rich diversity of experiences will help us best represent HBS: from varied career paths, small towns to big cities, comfort of home to unfamiliarity of living/working abroad, gainful employment to loan financing, overcoming severe family trials to forming new friendships.

This diversity, our strong leadership experience (including Section G President and an Executive Board serving 1,500 students), and an even stronger desire to serve our peers will enable us to successfully execute our vision.

What would you change about the SA’s budgeted revenues and expenditures? (100 words)

Our first goal is increased budget transparency so students can understand how their contributions (33% of revenue) are allocated. This starts with regular breakdowns and feedback collection.

With more transparency we can work together toward further inclusivity — whether via new events or easier access to current ones — funded through tweaks to both sides of the equation. On the revenue side, increase ‘Corporate Sponsorships’ from its current 3% of revenues. On the cost side, tackle ‘Other’. ‘Products and Services’ represents a sizable piece of both revenue and cost at 32% and 30%, respectively, potentially big impact and thus warranting high prioritization.

What has this year’s leadership team done best? What is something you would have done differently? (100 words)

Linda and Nonso are true servant leaders, empowering their team to independently own projects with high visibility.

We have designed several great initiatives but also recognize that we don’t have all the answers. If elected, we’ll be the most inclusive leadership team, frequently soliciting YOUR feedback and advice. It’s your school, and you deserve a say in how it’s run.

Next year, we’ll place greater focus on mental health & wellness. Moreover, we’ll engage diversity and social issues on a more intimate level through themed MyTakes and by embracing discussions and debates on controversial domestic and international current events.

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Lynn ElHarake & Aziz Albahar

SA Pres 2Tell us a little about yourselves: home town and country, undergrad university, previous job

Aziz: Kuwait; Mechanical Engineering at MIT; consulting and sales at Halliburton in the Middle East and Houston, Texas.

Lynn: Beckley, West Virginia; Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke; Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tell us something about each of you that isn’t on your class card (figuratively or literally)? (50 words)

Lynn: I have an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter and would love to write a memoir about my close relationship with my parents one day.

Aziz: I am (perhaps surprisingly) the proud owner of a Stetson cowboy hat and wear my cowboy boots around the HBS campus…voluntarily.

In one sentence, what is your vision for the SA?

As your SA Co-Presidents, we would be committed to building a strong community centered on the intersection of you (the individual members of this community), our lives at HBS, and our collective experiences beyond this campus, both during and after our MBA years.

You’ve seen the other ticket’s position paper. What makes your vision unique? What makes you uniquely qualified? (100 words)

We recognize that there is much room for personal and professional growth for all of us here at HBS, and as Co-Presidents we will build a platform to foster that growth. But more than just that, we believe in cultivating a strong and lasting commitment to HBS that will extend beyond our lives on campus to impact our local community and our world. We want to spearhead initiatives that provide all students with the resources they need to explore and understand what it means to be a part of HBS not just during our time here, but for life.

What would you change about the SA’s budgeted revenues and expenditures? (100 words)

The underlying goal of each of our objectives is to ensure that our HBS dollars go further. We will introduce a new set of partnerships in campus-themed products to bring in more revenue. Additionally, we will commit more resources to community programming at HBS and off-campus, especially those that encourage the arts and service initiatives. On the expense side, we will dedicate funds to tangible improvements that make a difference in your day-to-day lives here on campus (e.g. improving dining options and operations, expanding availability of study/work spaces, providing more transparency and access to professional and academic resources, and more).

What has this year’s leadership team done best? What is something you would have done differently? (100 words)

We commend the current leadership team’s concerted efforts to promote more affordable events for students, and for offering service opportunities for the student body to connect with its community. As Co-Presidents, we will continue to build on these initiatives, and do more. We will also foster increased transparency between the executive team and the student body, and work to ensure that student needs are heard and communicated to the faculty, administration, and wider HBS community, specifically by:

–    Conducting periodic personal visits throughout the year to sections and student groups,

–    Upholding a true and consistent open-door policy, and

–    Leveraging a variety of creative communication methods to connect with students.

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February 19, 2015
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