Cold calls. Your professors love them. You fear them. Your ed rep crushes them. We think it’s about time that this HBS staple gets the rebranding it deserves. Each week, The Harbus will chat with a randomly-selected member of the student body. For this first Cold Call of the school year, Patrick Erker chatted with an old friend, incoming RC Molly Rhodes, about funemployment, back to school, and growing up.
CPE: As you’ve probably already heard from school administrators, alumni, and family, your life is about to change pretty dramatically. What are you most looking forward to about RC year?
Molly: I absolutely loved being at a start up, but the environment can be consuming and if I wasn’t working, I was probably thinking about work. What I’m most looking forward to is having a little more diversity in my week. What I miss about being in school is juggling a bunch of different types of activities and responsibilities and so far it sounds like business school gives you plenty of opportunities for that.
CPE: Let’s look backward a bit. Since graduating from Duke, you’ve worked in consulting in Chicago and most recently in the start-up world at Warby Parker. Now that you’re making the transition, what will you miss most about the working life?
Molly: I’ll miss most my friends at Warby, as well as the day to day excitement of an e-commerce company — never knowing what press piece was going to come out, or who was going to visit the showroom, or if something was going to break. I’ll miss the sense of accomplishment and the camaraderie that results from dealing with the unexpected ups and downs in the start-up life.
CPE: Time in business school is a funny thing. On the one hand, there’s a lot of it at your disposal, and you have a lot of flexibility with how you use it. On the other hand, with cases to read, clubs to join, and costumes to arrange, the calendar fills up quickly. Are there two or three things you plan to prioritize this year to stay sane?
Molly: This is a hard one. I really haven’t thought about how to stay sane yet. I’m excited to learn about opportunities available at HBS. I’m living off campus and brought my car, so I’m looking forward to taking day trips to explore the Northeast and Boston. I’m focused now on looking at the opportunities out there.
CPE: Are there any clubs that should expect you at their table at the club fair?
Molly: I’m most interested in the Entrepreneurship and Retail and Luxury Goods clubs. I’ve heard a lot about them, and have been focused on retail and the customer experience in my career so far. I’m looking forward to learning about more, but those are two that are on my mind.
CPE: Any of the fall semester courses speak to you? Any of the classes look scarier than the others?
Molly: Much of my role at Warby was operations focused, so I’m excited for TOM as well as LEAD. More curious about what classes I should be scared of, though none jump out at me.
CPE: I actually think that TOM is one of the scarier ones, so it looks like you’re in good shape. What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about starting business school? Care to share it with the rest of your class?
Molly: I’ve been warned, and heard people talk about how time in business school is precious. I’ve heard you should focus on what you enjoy and what you want get out of the experience. You don’t have to do everything.
CPE: Have you gotten the travel bug? Any cool trips before school? Do you have any grand travel plans for this year? I can’t promise that your answer will impact the FIELD algorithm, but, hey, it can’t hurt.
Molly: I stopped working last week, so haven’t been able to travel before school. But I’ve had the travel bug since the first time I went abroad. Hoping to travel a couple times, not sure I’ll do a three-day trip to Iceland or anything, but looking to take advantage of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and FIELD. I went to China for the first time for work last year and am looking forward to getting back to Asia to really explore and learn more.
CPE: Do you know where you ‘d like to go for FIELD?
Molly: I’d like to know when I find out where I’ll go!
CPE: Give me the one-sentence here’s what Molly is hoping to get out of her two years at HBS.
Molly: I’m hoping to expand my network and have some decompression time, that not being in the working world gives me the chance to take in new ideas, and meet people with backgrounds and perspectives I may have never otherwise had the chance to understand.
CPE: And last, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Molly: I hope I never stop asking that question. Something I’ve been focused on is understanding where I get the most energy. For me it’s something where I’ve been creating or building something and am challenged. I hope to always be doing something like that, and hope there’s never one title associated with it.