Starting the New Decade, with Hopes and Reflections
As we stepped into the new decade, I couldn’t help but think of last fall’s welcome address to RCs from HBS faculty. We were reminded that our time at HBS was not just an opportunity to gain the insights and skills to lead in the year of 2021 but also in the year of 2050. At that time, 2050 seemed so far ahead for us to even contemplate it, but the arrival of the new decade has helped to shift perspectives. If you think the 1990s were just “yesterday,” 2050 should now feel very close.
For many of us, the incredible brevity of time was also reaffirmed by the loss of two members of our HBS community: Anisha Atluri (MBA ’21) and Professor Clayton Christensen (MBA ’79).
Some of you might know that Anisha, along with Mimi DiSipio (MBA ’20), co-launched “The Harbus Culture Flash” column for our last edition in December. Her proactiveness in starting this initiative, on behalf of the HBS Student Association, was just another reflection of her passion for the arts scene on campus.
On the other hand, Professor Christensen helped shape our perspectives on business strategy, and his ubiquitous book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, presented a glimpse of the exemplary thought leadership we would experience at HBS, long before we even applied for admissions. More importantly, he taught us the importance of having strong moral values and sticking to them. “It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time,” he had remarked.
A similarity between Anisha and Professor Christensen was that both used words to connect with the HBS community and to inspire others with their ideas. As a fitting tribute, I leave you with a few words from the community to encapsulate the lasting impact they had on our lives.
Mimi DiSipio (MBA ’20)
“I am so grateful to have connected with Anisha over our shared passion for the arts through our small but mighty committee of two, thinking up ways to expand opportunities through our roles with the Student Association Arts and Culture Committee. Though I knew Anisha only for a few short months, her impact will last for many years to come. She radiated promise. Her enthusiasm was infectious. She listened intently and spoke with purpose. She reminded me to say what you mean, say it often—and back it up with action.”
Mindy Huynh (MBA ’21)
“Anisha was the first person to reach out to me with words of encouragement and inspiration after I gave my MyTake in section early in the semester. She also led our Evolve group discussions on sensitive topics by volunteering to be vulnerable and sharing her personal stories first. She always thanked us for our courage, humility, and strength, but in reality, it is she who embodies these characteristics. Our section is so lucky and blessed to have Anisha; she will forever be our source of pride and inspiration.”
Erin Livesey (MBA ’21)
“Anisha knew her own worth, but made sure that I knew my own as well. She looked me square in the eyes and said: ‘Repeat after me. You are a badass.’”
Monica Rex (MBA ’21)
“I once said to Anisha, ‘I love how you have such incredible and deep passions!’ She said, ‘We all have our unique passions and interests!’ She inspired me to explore and pursue my diverse passions.”
Liz Calder (MBA ’21)
“As a person of faith, Professor Christensen inspired (and continues to inspire) me to bring my whole self to work and school. In our society where the expectation is to check our faith at the door, he demonstrated powerfully that we can integrate our faith into all parts of life. Since coming to HBS and observing Professor Christensen, I have felt empowered to be my authentic self, faith included.”
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 in her career to promote financial inclusion and financial sector stability in South Asia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from The Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.