When I conducted my business school research, I asked many alumni if they regretted going to business school. The answer among HBS graduates was a resounding ‘no.’ Two months in, I agree. I often stop and think I’m incredibly lucky to be in this magical place, where I feel like the world is my oyster. These are my three favourite aspects of HBS so far:
Exposure to top business personalities
Imagine you are reading a case about Chobhani, a Greek yoghurt manufacturer that has taken the US by storm, reaching 18 per cent market share of the total US yoghurt market in four years. Achieving success, the company now enters stabilisation phase, with innovation or geographical expansion essential to achieve further growth. As you debate what would you do as the chief executive, the actual, real-life, chief executive and founder enters and gives you his perspective. And he brings his employees, who freely share their management philosophies.
Business personalities visit HBS daily to shed a light on cases. Whether that’s Mitt Romney talking about business / public life transition, Alex Ferguson on sports management, or an employee of Bridgewater Associates on investment company culture, roughly every two to three days, we have a guest who helps to unpack discussions and share their subsequent decisions.
In addition, every day after class there is an opportunity to hear from the finest business minds. In September, I enjoyed Peter Thiel’s talk promoting his book Zero to One, while this week I heard from the chief executive of real estate website Zillow, on management of technology businesses. Familiarising myself with how people I respect make decisions and behave helps me to become a better professional and enhances my understanding of the material.
Projects to get involved in
You have to try really hard to be bored at HBS as it is a place full of big and small projects. I am interested in learning more about technology, particularly in consumer health, so I attended a focus group organised by NextGen Jane, an exciting women’s health start-up. The company allows women to get tested for often asymptomatic sexually transmitted diseases and other illnesses in the privacy of their homes, and have results delivered to them via a phone app. The founder is currently researching women’s willingness to pay for such a device so that she can raise funding and I really enjoyed sharing views on the product with her and other women.
As an example of a bigger project, over the last three weeks, myself and a fellow MBA student have been working on an analysis of the “uberisation” trend for a New York-based venture capital firm. I have extremely enjoyed brainstorming what factors make on-demand companies successful and I have learnt a lot about US-based websites and trends that are yet to make their way to Europe, such as UrbanSitter or Postmates.
Whenever I host friends, I joke to them that HBS feels like a country club or a golf resort. In the mornings, when I pass through the red brick buildings that bask in the autumnal sun, I am incredibly grateful to be able to be learning among such beautiful architecture. I enjoy running around the stunning Charles River and studying or reading in wooden-panelled alcoves of the grandiose Baker Library. When I go back to Europe I will miss the space, the weather, and the beauty of Boston.