From Silicon Valley to HBS: An HBS Partner’s Perspective

Claudia Lara
By Claudia Lara

I am a firm believer in seizing the opportunities that life presents, and at Harvard Business School, amazing opportunities are abundant. Whether you are a future business leader enrolled at HBS or one of the wonderful partners that supports them, you are sure to have an inspiring two years. I happen to be the latter and, as a partner, it has truly been a remarkable and stimulating experience. I love meeting people and forming friendships, and when I realized that HBS was super welcoming to partners, I decided to enjoy and leverage every opportunity I could get my hands on. Fortunately, both my job and HBS have been supportive in allowing me to surround and submerge myself in the HBS community. I say with confidence that HBS is a transformative experience, not only for students but for partners as well.

Unlike many other schools HBS partners are welcome to join, and even take on leadership roles with, any of the campus clubs (there are more than 70). They are invited to attend events, visit classes whenever a case interests them, seek professional advice from the school’s career center, work and volunteer on campus, and even publish stories in the business newspaper. Despite having a full-time job at Cisco Systems, I have been able to be a part of so many unique experiences. These include Yacht Week before the school year even began, performing at the Ekta Show, being a part of the leadership board for the Social Enterprise Conference, holding a leadership position with the Business Analytics and (Big) Data Club, and helping the Energy and Environment club with their conference and their monthly wine night. I have also had the pleasure to sit it on classes. It has been almost an entire semester and I still vividly remember the discussion about Rob Parson in Professor Bernstein’s LEAD class because it was such an enriching experience. While this list is long, it is by no means exhaustive of the scope of experiences I have had.

But the level of involvement for partners does not end with resume-building opportunities. The social environment is also incredibly dynamic and welcoming. Whether running a section event or participating in a unique trek, HBS provides an abundance of opportunities to make new friends and important memories. My section experience has been more welcoming and inclusive than I could have imagined. I have shared memories with some amazing people that include section retreats in Vermont, weekend trips to Cape Cod, trips to Peru and Iceland, and soon, a trek to Japan and India (for an epic wedding). These experiences, and many others, have been life changing and have given me so much exposure to lifelong friendships.

Thank you Brandon for bringing me along with you, what a great experience it has been to move across country to support you in your MBA journey. And thank you HBS for providing the opportunity to engage with a dynamic and impressive network of HBS partners and for making partners’ engagement and happiness a priority. I know these two years will provide memories that will last a lifetime.  

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Claudia Lara is a NC Partner to Brandon Reeves, and currently works at Cisco Systems within Supply Chain Operations helping power T-mobile, Verizon and Vodafone.


 Established in 1937, The Harbus News Corporation is the independent student news publisher of Harvard Business School.