A little over a week ago, I had dinner with a sectionmate. As we dined in a Brazilian steak house, sipping iced cold beers and consuming an abundance of grilled steaks, steamed vegetables, and traditional Brazilian beans and rice, the topic of politics and policy came up. Our descent into the conversation was admittedly slow, considering that our previous conversations had been about the freshness of the food and the beauty of the human form in Brazil. Nevertheless, the conversation turned political and I started peppering my sectionmate with questions regarding his political ideology. I wasn’t so much interested in which political party he tended to vote for. Instead, I was interested in which political theories he supported. Was he in favor of a representative democracy, unabridged capitalism, outsourcing, or did he believe in the effectiveness of trickle-down economics? Graciously he shared his ideas as best he could considering my frequent interruptions to ask another string of probing questions.
In less than one hour of discussing my sectionmate’s views, I had learned as much about him as I had learned in our previous nine months of in-and-out of class conversations. Because of his willingness to open-up and share his viewpoints with me, I was able to learn more about him than simply what he planned to do this weekend or what cases he liked or disliked. We moved beyond the typical business school banter and for a brief moment dug deep into the person who sat across the classroom and two rows up from me.
The purpose of the the Harbus’ Viewpoints section is to provide a forum to accompish exactly what my sectionmate and I accomplished over dinner, but just on a wider scale. The Viewpoints section provides an outlet to share ideas, thoughts, reflections, and points of view with the entire HBS population. The Viewpoints section is not just for political or social rants, although they are strongly encouraged and welcomed, but also for sharing your views on whatever you feel passionately about at the moment. Your contribution to Viewpoints can be about your last vacation, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, life at HBS, the current election, or your future plans – the possibilities are endless.
I believe strongly that anyone who takes the time to jot down just a few short reflections, will be amazed by how much as few as 400 words can reveal about ourselves to our classmates. If one of the reasons you came to HBS was to get to know people and for people to know you, then making use of the Harbus Viewpoints section in conjuction with your daily interactions will go a long way towards helping you accomplish that goal.
Editor’s Note: Hurricanes in Florida couldn’t keep this author from making his deadline – though they may be keeping him stuck in Brazil (and forced to type on a Portuguese computer). That’s how much he wants to hear your opinions, rants, and random thoughts. Please send your Viewpoints contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.