Choices and Chances That Will Determine Our Future
I am writing this Editor’s note with the realization that the world might look very different by the time you read this month’s issue. The U.S. election results might be announced by then, and more countries and cities might be heading into pandemic lockdowns. The future indeed seems to be full of uncertainty, and it might feel stressful to have our individual lives, dreams, hopes, and plans impacted so much by things beyond our control.
However, the unifying theme in many of the stories of this month’s issue is that our future and shot at happiness do not have to be determined by others. We need to take charge of our future. This issue pays tribute to people taking charge of their lives and the problems around them: from Mike Kelly’s story on Brian Hollins (a member of the MBA Class of 2021 who has taken a leave of absence this fall) who founded The Takeoff Institute to address the lack of mentorship opportunities for Black undergraduate students, to Noelia Lombardo’s story on two RCs who launched a new podcast to bridge the gender gap in venture capital. As Morgan Sheil and Raquel Schreiber passionately argue in their article, even beyond the pandemic, we need leaders with an urgent drive to tackle some of the most pressing challenges (such as climate change) faced by the world.
Our stories also emphasize the importance of reflection and gratitude despite the noise around us. Professor Trevor Fetter encourages students to spend time to find answers to four critical questions related to their post-MBA career choice. Anja Do and Samara Sone share their introspective conversations with several HBS students on the sacrifices made by their partners, reminding us to not forget those who helped pave our path to HBS.
Finally, our future is determined not just by choices we make but also by chances we take. While things may not always go as planned, it is not a reason to shy away from placing our bets on the future, as Kevin Mayer (former TikTok CEO) reflects in his interview. Instead, it is perhaps better to focus on building our own track records and the friendships forged in the HBS community and lean back on them when things do not go as planned.
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.