Congratulations to the Class of 2020
It’s that bittersweet month of the year, when we are caught between goodbyes and new beginnings. The RCs are wrapping up their first (roller coaster ride of a) year at HBS and hopefully planning to take a few weeks of break before their (virtual) internships over the summer. While understandably disappointed that their time at Aldrich was cut short, the ECs are hopefully excited about stepping back into the real world and becoming “leaders who make a difference in the world.”
The COVID-19 crisis has brought an unprecedented level of challenge and confusion to our lives: a bleak job market, uncertainty over the format of Fall classes, and constant health risks for us and our loved ones, to name just a few. However, if there is anything that our FIN1 and FIN2 classes have taught us, it is that risks are an inherent part of the world, and our true value is determined by our performance over a very long-term horizon (not just a few odd years).
This issue presents many uplifting stories that make us see the silver linings from the crisis. Poorvi Vijay reports on the acts of leadership from HBS students to help the community around them deal with the crisis. Asha Tanwar shares insights from HBS alum and Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss on how graduating into a recession provided several of her classmates with the catalyst to their entrepreneurial pursuits. Tanishq Bhalla and Chuck Nadd explore different perspectives leading to the same conclusion: the crisis presents an incredible opportunity for us to become better leaders.
Lastly, this issue is special because it presents the final column from Professor Kevin Sharer. As Professor Sharer notes in his final column, writing over 50 columns for the Harbus was among the highlights of his time at HBS. Thank you, Professor Sharer, for educating and inspiring the community through your words over the years.
We also want to thank our predecessor team, led by Gabriel Ellsworth and Ryo Takahashi, for exemplifying what the Harbus stands for: quality, integrity, teamwork, and openness to new ideas. The real world will definitely be a better place with these leaders.
Going back to my point on long-term vision and perseverance, I leave you with Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
he darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Congratulations, MBA Class of 2020!
Upoma Dutta (MBA ’21) came to HBS after spending roughly four years in the media and entertainment industry in New York, where she helped two media companies (HBO and Disney) transition into the streaming era and build on new strategic growth opportunities. Originally from Bangladesh, she also worked for the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) early on in her career to promote financial inclusion and financial sector stability in South Asia.