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Faces of Analytics

August 2008

“You will work hard.”

This statement keynoted the welcome address for 220 members of the incoming Class of 2010 reporting early for “Analytics.” Analytics is a two-week program in August that provides students with non-traditional backgrounds familiarity with Accounting, Finance and Quantitative Methods before the school year begins in earnest.

Who comes to Analytics? What is a student with a non-traditional background? It turns out that about one third of the Analytics students were required to attend, one third were recommended, and the remainder campaigned for a spot. These highly coveted seats yielded the following behavioral change: the mean average sleep of an Analytics student before the program was 7.6 hours per night, 5.8 once case study began. The range of sleep is 4-8 hours per night, which also appears to be a surrogate for the amount of time spent on case preparation.

Maki Carmona comes from Venezuela. She was a brand manager for Kraft in Caracas and came to HBS to broaden her horizons. She particularly likes the general management focus, but her decision to come to HBS was cemented when she visited campus for her interview. “The environment appealed to me instantly. The decision to come here was an emotional one. I put a lot of thought and effort into the business school application process and traveled all across the United States. All of the top schools, they’re good, but it was obvious when I came here that this was the right place for me.” You’re excited about HBS! What about the Analytics program? “I am impressed. This has everything that I need. It is a lot of work, but it is worth it.”

Carter Williams is an entrepreneur from Michigan. “I am going to continue to be an entrepreneur. It’s so exciting to create something. I will learn skills here that will better enable my decision-making. I will start as many companies as possible.” Did you have any difficulties in the move, or transitioning back to school? “I had a curious experience with my mover. I found him on Craigslist. After he finished unloading the truck he said his company didn’t offer per diem – could he spend the night on the couch? We found a mutually beneficial alternative.” Do you have any advice for people who participate in future Analytics programs? “Get your rest before you come. It’s terrific. I’m tired.”

Rie Yano is Japanese and worked for Mitsubishi Corporation before coming to HBS. “HBS is the only business school I applied to in the United States. In fact, I was prepared to go to Spain for my studies; I did not think too seriously about coming to HBS initially in part because I didn’t think I would be accepted.” You were evidently accepted, so what made you change you mind and come to HBS? “This was a very important decision to make and when I weighed all the options, it was apparent that HBS was the best choice possible. For many reasons. I wanted to challenge my own preexisting norms. This school will challenge me and will provide me with unparalleled opportunities across borders after graduation.” How do you plan to use the skills you learn at HBS? “I am passionate about Social Enterprise. I want to explore opportunities in rural Japan – there is a need to provide incentive to maintain our cultural heritage.” Any thoughts on Analytics? “After this program I feel better able to contribute when classes begin. Coming to HBS has been the best choice. I have no regrets. I am so happy.”

Aspiring businessmen and women had the opportunity to showcase their growing expertise with data analysis by giving class presentations near the end of Analytics. Merely novices a few weeks ago, we can now say with “significance” that: countries wishing to improve the future performance of their Olympic teams should reduce the number of colors on their nation’s flag (odd but there is an actual correlation); it is cheaper to bring your car to Cambridge than to use public transportation (the factor of parking tickets might alter this conclusion); and the EMV of attending Harvard Business School is… positive. Is that close enough? As we have learned, it is not the answer that counts, but the thought process behind the answer.

It has been a great two weeks of summer school, and the participants of Analytics have the pleasure of saying to their incoming 2010 classmates: “Welcome to HBS.”

September 2, 2008
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