Since you left HBS last week, Matt, things have not been the same. We cannot find you studying in Spangler, having lunch in the Grille, hanging around in Harvard Square. And your seat sits empty in Aldrich.
Clearly, some of us cannot understand your departure. After all, you seemed happy at HBS, had many friends, a great social life, tremendous summer opportunities, and an amazingly successful career to come. What more could you have asked for? Isn’t there a huge risk in leaving behind this expensive ticket for the lottery of your dreams? Why did you sacrifice the “perfect life” you were living for the frightening adventure of exploring new paths?
Perhaps you felt the time passing by and not bringing meaning to your life. Perhaps you felt the powerful appeal of other opportunities. As you wrote in The Harbus, “Mirrors don’t take bribes.” Leaving now may very well be the price you pay today to be proud of the reflection you see in the years to come. But don’t we all struggle with these issues?
Some may argue that HBS is all about becoming a Baker scholar and obtaining a high-paying Wall Street job or consulting internship. Some may even be secretly happy to see one of their strongest competitors forfeit. Others may say, to the contrary, that HBS is about taking risks to do the right thing, about inspiring others through courageous decisions, about pursuing goals greater than oneself, and that by leaving you embody the conviction in each of us.
Personally, I judge people by who they are, not by the decisions they make or the degrees they achieve. I just hope that you find happiness and fulfilment wherever you go. As you did at HBS, I hope you keep the perspective, the tri-dimensional view that comes only from looking at the same landscape from a different mountain. Always keep in mind that you have friends here with whom to share your defeats as well as your triumphs.
As you are on your way to your new home, never forget how intensely we respect your choice. And we’ll be here for you. A true relationship is like pure energy: its form may change, but never its substance.
Good luck, Matt. We’ll miss you and we wish you well.
“Since it is away that your heart will better beat,
Since we love you too much to cool down your own heat,
May you keep the memories of this farewell.
And from your exile may you learn to come back well…”