Academics, Campus News, On Campus

In Their Own Words: Meet the New SA Co-Presidents

Triston Francis, Contributor

Sana Mohammed, Contributor

Triston, what three words would you use to describe Sana?

Proactive, Compassionate, and Purposeful

Proactive: When I first met Sana, I was immediately impressed with how she strives to quickly turn ideas into actions. As I spent time with her in group settings, I noticed that she would listen intently during conversations and then would voluntarily send thoughtful follow-ups offering up introductions, relevant articles, etc.

Compassionate: Of all the personal anecdotes that Sana has shared with me, the one that resonated with me most deeply was her willingness to turn down her acceptance at UT Austin, her dream college, and instead attend the University of Houston so that she could live at home and continue to care for her younger brother.

Purposeful: When Sana and I first talked about running for SA Co-President together, she started the conversation with five things she wanted in a running mate: (1) vision, (2) complementary working style, (3) values, (4) admiration, and (5) friendship. In addition to having a clear vision of what she felt would make us a great team, it was also apparent to me that Sana puts tremendous thought into how she spends her time. Everything she does is purposefully connected to her values and aspirations.

Sana, what three words would you use to describe Triston?

Collaborative, Excellence, Trustworthy

Collaborative: From the moment we started working together, no goal was “mine” or “his” anymore; it was “ours.” We became a team from the get-go because Triston embodies “strong opinions loosely held.” By that, I mean he thinks deeply about his decisions and has a strong point of view, yet he’s comfortable with being challenged, and he thoughtfully changes his mind. Because of this, we’re able to build upon each other’s ideas quickly, and we always come to a better solution than what either of us initially proposed.

Excellence: I admire Triston’s desire to ensure excellence in every initiative that he undertakes, no matter how small. He has an incredible eye for detail, and even though it meant that we often worked until the middle of the night during the campaign process, his drive for excellence ensured that we thoughtfully prepared every aspect of how we want to improve HBS.

Trustworthy: Triston and I met at a small cross-section gathering at his home. The purpose was to help classmates get to know each other on a deeper level. Each of us read aloud[BP1]  our HBS personal statements, and I appreciated Triston’s desire to create this platform that enables openness. A few months later, when we spoke about running together, he was upfront about the impact he wanted to have on the HBS community and how he would personally benefit from the role. His openness and transparency in these instances earned my trust, which has only grown since we’ve been working together.

Why did you personally decide to run?

Triston: Firstly, I love HBS. This is the only business school that I applied to and I want to be connected to this institution for the rest of my life. I aspire to become a senior lecturer at HBS for a course like FIELD or LEAD one day. Dean Nohria, please tell your successor to tell his or her successor to be on the lookout for my resume in about 20 years!

Secondly, I am a first-generation college student, and my family means the world to me. Making them proud is one of my key motivators. Attending college, working at Morgan Stanley, and being admitted to HBS all accomplished this goal. I figured being elected President of our class would make them proud once again.

Finally, I feel strongly about some ideas that I feel will positively impact the HBS experience for not only the Class of 2019, but for many years to come. Given the large class sizes at HBS, it can sometimes feel difficult to meet and really get to know classmates outside our usual circles that we spend time with on campus. I am passionate about creating forums that will help classmates get to know one another on a deeper level, beyond simply where we worked before business school and where we would like to work afterwards. Serving as the Student Association Co-President is the ideal seat for me to act on these ideas.

Sana: Similar to Triston, I am driven by a desire to improve the student experience at HBS. I’m incredibly grateful that HBS has opened the doors of an entirely new world for me with amazing friends, faculty and opportunities for personal and professional growth. My favorite moments at HBS have been when I’m supporting my classmates by sharing opportunities and resources or facilitating connections. I believe this culture of collaboration can be strengthened, and I aspire to create a more cohesive and collaborative community across sections and class years.

Also, I find fulfillment from helping others and being a part of a mission greater than myself. In college, I taught Sunday school and served as the President of my professional fraternity. After graduating, I co-founded the Women’s Leadership Group at BP and served on the board for Muslim Urban Professionals, a global non-profit dedicated to the advancement of Muslim professionals. I missed the joy I found through these various service-oriented leadership roles. Serving as the Student Association Co-President enables me to enact change that I’m passionate about and simultaneously serve the student body.

What is your vision?

We aspire to foster a more collaborative environment that enables classmates to develop lifelong friendships and fulfilling careers. We’ve developed several initiatives, from Bond by Giving Back to HBS TED Talks, that that we believe will help actualize this vision. We are also gathering input from our classmates to ensure we address the varying needs of the student body as a whole, so if you are reading this and have an idea you are passionate about implementing or feedback on what will improve your HBS experience, please reach out to us!

How can the student body get in touch with you?

Approach us in the halls and in the lunch line. Call, text, or email us. We want to hear from you!


March 20, 2018
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