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Face in the Crowd: Chris Howard (NK)

This article can’t afford to waste words-recounting the experiences and qualifications of 32 year-old Dr. Chistopher B. Howard in a Harbus capsulet is a task akin to summarizing War and Peace in a sentence. His resume stretches to three closely type-written pages with a dense thicket of superlatives and commendations clamoring for attention.

Chris entered the US Air Force Academy to study Political Science in 1987, was Class President in all three years and a running back for their Football team, which beat Ohio State to win the Liberty Bowl. In addition to collecting too many awards to count, including the Playboy magazine Anson Mount Scholar-Athlete of the Year, he collected a Rhodes Scholarship, and set off to England in 1991.

At Oxford Chris studied Politics, and having some time on his hands before returning to the US for flight school, he extended his stay to three years, enabling him to pick up his doctorate in politics, concentrating on US foreign policy and the use of force in policy making. He was elected president of the graduate and post-graduate students at St. Anne’s college and was Vice President of the Strategic Studies forum.
He met his wife, Barbara, while on a fact- (and wife-) finding trip to South Africa, and they now have two sons-Cohen (8) and Joshua (4).
During his Summer holidays he has interned at the State Department, House Armed Services Committee, RAND, NATO, the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as the more hands-on stuff-jump school with the UK’s tough-as-nails Para regiment.

Returning to the US in 1994, he trained to become a helicopter pilot, and was then transferred to military intelligence and special operations command, serving active duty in Bosnia (details vague…) and as a military advisor to then Secretary of Defense William Cohen during a tour of South Africa. (The Secretary loved the fact that Chris named his eldest son after him.)

In 1999 he left the Air Force at the rank of Captain, (though he is still in the reserves) and joined the fast-track of Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he was the International Project Manager for their pathbreaking $100 million AIDS program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year, aware that his HBS essays were coming up and he’d had nothing to write about, he established a non-profit designed to provide access to travel and education scholarships to children from South Africa. He hopes this program-aimed to “impact young lives” iylfoundation.org will one day develop into something like the Rhodes Scholarship that he in turn benefited from. Among other things, Chris is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the London based International Institute of Strategic Studies. BGIE, one senses, will be his bailiwick.

He has found HBS to be an “amazing” place-particularly the relevance of the learning model to real life, and the depth of the people around him. Looking forward, he plans to stay with the Bristol-Myers program for now, and will focus his energy on improving the lot of his family, his country, and the African American community.

Email “Face in the Crowd” ideas to Harbus_Features@mba2002.hbs.edu

October 15, 2001
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