Dear HBS Family,
To the Class of 2010 – congratulations on starting a fantastic journey! And to the Class of 2009, welcome back to what is sure to be one of the best years of our lives! We’re excited to be back and to see friendly faces, both old and new. As we embark on the 101st year of Harvard Business School we wanted to share with you what we think are some key facets of life at HBS and to specifically focus on the experiences of the group we are proud to represent – the MBA Students of Harvard Business School.
In our time at HBS, it is clear to both of us that, by far, the most rewarding part of our HBS experience has come from our interactions with the entire HBS community:
First, the students. We are humbled to have met and interacted with such phenomenal people. Through the past year we have learned about the cultures and backgrounds of our classmates, helped each other through family ordeals and celebrated in major life events together. A particularly poignant moment in Section E was when the military alumni in the section took time to inform the group about their experiences, triumphs and struggles. As many in the class were moved to tears, this conversation allowed us to view our classmates in a new light and set the stage for all of us to be more open about our successes and hardships with each other. The deep relationships we have formed have, at minimum, enhanced the quality of our classroom discussions and, at maximum, changed our lives forever. Whether you are starting or continuing your time at HBS, we hope you will continue to appreciate the different backgrounds of your classmates. We encourage you to reach out to someone that on the surface may seem to be the complete opposite of you, whether by education, employment, family, culture or viewpoint, and grab a quick dinner at Spangler, coffee at Starbucks, or beer at Daedalus. Such small interactions are invaluable in broadening our world views and in our education to become global leaders.
Second, the faculty. We are thankful for the faculty that takes countless hours of their time to educate us and aid in our growth as business leaders, and more importantly, as people. One instance that comes to mind was in an early LEAD class. The professor, Tom Delong, took a moment at the end of class to acknowledge a special guest that had been waiting outside. As Maria, the custodian, walked in, he introduced her to the section and led in an ovation for her daily work in cleaning the boards. Since that day Maria was part of Section D, wearing the section t-shirt and posing in pictures. Through this small example Professor Delong brought to life the true value of acknowledging co-workers and appreciating those that support you throughout your career. In this example, Tom not only bettered us as leaders, but as people. In the coming year, we encourage you all to reach out to your professors, after class, in office hours or via email and to be open in learning lessons that you may have never have thought you wanted to know. Through their open hearts and varied views, our professors may just quite be the best untapped resources at HBS.
Third, the staff and administration, who truly keep the campus running. Although as MBA students we spend two years here, there are hundreds of people who have kept HBS going for much longer. As emphasized in April’s Centennial celebration we strongly believe that each of these individuals deserves our recognition and gratitude for being the backbone of this wonderful institution. We hope that each you take the time this year to recognize the service of the individuals that particularly affect your HBS experience. Whether it is a simple thank you after your daily spicy tuna roll or having patience when there’s a line for a Shad locker, your gratitude will reflect well on the entire student body and ensure that generations of MBAs to come are served by the same caliber of individuals that we are.
And finally, the community and the greater world that we will one day have the honor to lead. Undoubtedly, many of the EC’s most memorable experiences over the past year involved travel to destinations both near and far. One notable cause that the SA was proud to support was the New Orleans Immersion. As the only student-led immersion, multiple MBAs leveraged the resources of HBS and the skills they had honed to both define and plan the experience. In turn, hundreds in the New Orleans area benefited from their work, which ranged from developing plans to improve public education to rebuilding affordable housing. To lend a helping hand a bit further away, the SA also supported the efforts of the PRC Chinese Students of HBS in their fundraising efforts to help those affected by snowstorm disasters in China. Seeing efforts like these, including ongoing initiatives such as the section charity auctions, underline how much change we as HBS students can effect in the world. We hope that in your time at HBS each of you take a moment to think and act on how you personally can leverage your strengths and education to make an impact on the world.
This year, we are all fortunate to be on campus during an important milestone in HBS’s life, its Centennial Birthday. Each and every one of us deserves to be proud to be a part of this institution and to celebrate in its honor. We wanted to inform you of the upcoming Business Summit from October 12-14, 2008, which includes speeches from notables such as Bill Gates, Megan Whitman, Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Immelt. Although this was originally an alumni-only event, we are happy to announce that we have secured a number of spots for students at half the alumni cost. This event promises to be a great avenue for discussion between alumni and students and a fantastic place to truly realize what amazing leaders HBS can help to develop. We are deeply proud to be a part of such a historic institution, and hope that through our actions today we contribute to HBS’s continued legacy in the future.
Finally, as the leaders of the Student Association, we want to make sure you are aware of what the SA plans to do to improve your experiences at HBS. For those who may not know, the SA is the main interface between the MBA Student Body and the HBS faculty and administration. We hope to serve needs varying from social outlets to academic issues to program changes and strive to make each MBA student’s experience as rewarding as possible. Bottom line, we’re here to help you make your time at HBS the best that it can be. Many of the ECs may remember the Student Initiatives Poll from the end of the year. In that, the top 3 initiatives that emerged were increasing the frequency of TGIFs, shortening the length of RC cases and providing wireless access in SFP/OWA. The SA has incorporated these into its plan for the upcoming year and we hope to provide you with visible results soon. We also wanted to thank all the respondents for their participation, but especially EC Section G for their 93% response rate. It is only with feedback like this that the SA can make sure to focus on the initiatives that truly matter to the MBA students at HBS. In this vein, we want to encourage you to reach out to your section Senator or either of us (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) with any concerns, ideas, or offers for help!
Thank you for your time. We are looking forward to a fantastic year!
Jyoti Agarwal and Fred Smith
Co-Presidents, Student Association