Reflections by Brett Gibson and Justine Lelchuk, Outgoing SA Co-Presidents
Last year at this time an article was published in The Harbus questioning, “Where have all the leaders gone?” We were excited to step into an opportunity to boldly reply to the question. To the HBS Classes of 2011 and 2012, we’re explicitly telling you that last year’s article must have been referring to a different school, on a different campus, in a different Cambridge, because we know for a fact that the men and women that pass us daily are making a difference in this world.
We would be remiss if you didn’t question how we knew this, so we would like to share our reflections on HBS over the past year and you will hopefully come to the same conclusion that we did.
The beginning of the school year met RCs on the open sea during the Boat Cruise and ECs under water at the Aquarium – both events completely organized by your own classmates over the summer to ensure that you started the school year with energy and enthusiasm. Leadership is putting others before self.
As the leaves started to fall, RCs and ECs alike took the time to look off campus for a moment and recognize the Boston community surrounding our school. EC Mentors trained RC Community Leaders to enter the class rooms of seventh graders in two local public middle schools which resulted in stimulation, inspiration and motivation for all sets of scholars. Although the Impact Initiative was started this year, it is a project we know will be continued after we leave. We know this because faculty, staff and RCs alike have already begun the planning for how we can improve it for next year. Leadership is building the community you live in.
Amidst the TOM simulation and EC recruiting cycle, Ekta and Sankofa, and multiple club co-sponsored TGIFs there was never a dull moment occurring on any of the outdoor fields as the HBS-SA Cup flag football tournament was well underway. Students could read about the weekly war stories in The Harbus, but wouldn’t truly understand the honor and glory until seeing OI win the final match in a night game under the lights. The year-long athletic competition amongst RC and EC sections was something each of us could partake in at the end of a many mentally-intensive days. Leadership is creating a team on and off the playing field.
As a school, we learned how to dine to the nines at the Business Etiquette dinners and tear the rug at the Halloween and Holidazzle soirees, all the while laughing with and at each other. We cheered at the Harvard-Yale tailgate (and game); easily eyeing the HBS students by the red and white striped scarves sold the day before. Just prior to leaving on holiday, our community was stunned by the intrusion of an outsider onto our campus, hurting one of our classmates. The administration, and students, acted with alacrity, respect and transparency fostering a healthy dialogue regarding security on campus. Leadership is not making the same mistake twice.
The second semester was marked with moments of excellence and periods of rebuilding and supporting a community in need. During the early part of the semester we were joined by Grammy-winning movie director, Charles Ferguson, for a school-wide showing of “Inside Job.” The film taught us to think critically about the ways in which business can contribute to or mitigate the risk of crisis in the financial system. The audience had a healthy discussion with the director on the responsibility and accountability that business leaders should exercise on Wall Street. The showing was timely as many students were considering next steps in their careers. Leadership is thinking critically about the world’s toughest problems.
Conferences are a trademark of our experience at HBS. In the winter, our school hosted the Social Enterprise Conference, Africa Business Conference, Dynamic Women in Business Conference and many others. Through the generosity of the few, many guests and students learned and grew as a result. Leadership is sharing with the world what we’ve learned at HBS.
Building on traditions started last year and during the first semester this year, the Student Association continued to create opportunities for students to interact with local HBS alumni, HBS staff and our new Dean. Both the Alumni Dinner Series and the Breakfast with the Dean Series were oversubscribed every time they were offered. Students enjoyed and appreciated the transparency and willingness of both our alumni and Dean to share time with us. Leadership is making time for what’s most important.
During the home stretch of the winter term, HBS embraced a community in need. The Asia Business Club, in conjunction with some of our Japanese students, raised over $1,200 during a voluntary donation collection at the HBS Talent Show. The generosity of students was shown in their willingness to contribute to a student community during a time of extreme challenge. Leadership is dealing in hope.
As we reflect on the past year we hope you join us in feeling excited about what we’ve accomplished and hopeful for the success of Jon and Funa, along with their 2011-2012 SA Executive team. Thank you HBS MBA Classes of 2011 and 2012 for an unbelievable year.