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Student Profiles
Rawiah Abdallah, MBA 2012

It's not about functions in isolation; it's how they interact, the overall strategic view.
Home region

Cairo, Egypt
Undergraduate education

American University in Cairo, BA Business Administration/Journalism & Communications, 2005

Previous experience

Boston Consulting Group; LOGIC Management Consulting; Raya Holding

HBS activities

Volunteers Club co-president, Venture Capital & Private Equity Club, Middle East North Africa Club, Social Enterprise Club, South Africa IXP

At the American University in Cairo (AUC), Rawiah Abdallah intended to study Arabic and comparative
literature and develop her skills as a writer. She served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, but when it came time to initiate her career, journalism was out of the question. "There were too many restrictions on freedom of expression," says Rawiah, "To be true to your principles was risky." Yet her volunteer work suggested an alternative direction. In high school, Rawiah tutored non-Arabic speaking students in Arabic and the Koran. At AUC, she "led a grassroots campaign that engaged students with Cairo's slum communities." One objective was to build a bridge between the privileged students and their less-fortunate neighbors. "The other goal was to develop the community, to improve lives," Rawiah says. Together, the students and community members administered health services, microfinance loans, and vocational training. They taught English and computer skills. "I became very passionate about development," says Rawiah. "But I saw a lot of inefficiencies in NGOs and nonprofits. I felt I needed business skills to lead development efforts in the future." After graduation, Rawiah assumed ever-greater responsibilities in a sequence of jobs at Raya Holding, LOGIC Management Consulting, and the Dubai office of Boston Consulting Group.
Power of stories

"The truth is," Rawiah says, "HBS had been on mind even before I graduated." A campus presentation introduced her to the school, the case method, and the Social Enterprise Initiative, which especially impressed her. "My friends at NGOs felt they weren't getting much professional development in their organizations," says Rawiah. "I saw I could get that development myself at HBS." "The case method is a good match to my learning style," Rawiah says. "I learn better through stories. And I like the way HBS approaches management. At most business schools, you study management by function. But at HBS, you often forget which class you're in because the cases always include multiple issues finance, entrepreneurship, government policy like the real world. It's not about functions in isolation; it's how they interact, the overall strategic view. You see how different forces relate to each other. And you discuss leadership in every course." Rawiah got to experience a different region of her home continent when she participated in the South Africa IXP during January term. In addition to meeting "entrepreneurs, government officials, and business leaders," she and her fellow MBAs worked with local students on various projects. "We consulted with a solar heating system provider on how to differentiate themselves and get brand recognition," Rawiah says.
Returning to Africa

For both her summer internship and her first post-MBA job, Rawiah is looking for something "in impact investing or working with small businesses in Africa. I'm very optimistic. After democracy prevails in North Africa and the Middle East, there will be great growth."

Jonathan Bailey, MBA 2012

The things I am learning at HBS will help me not just during my first job after graduation, but for many years to come
Home region

London, UK
Undergraduate education

Oxford University (St. Catherine's), BA History, 2006

Previous experience

The Office of Tony Blair; McKinsey & Company; Office of Senator Edward Kennedy
HBS activities

Africa Business Club, Wine & Cuisine Society, Art Society, Business, Industry and Government Club, Social Enterprise Club, Rwanda IXP

In the summer of 2006, visitors to the late Senator Edward Kennedy's office might have been somewhat
puzzled to find themselves guided around the Capitol building by a young man with an accent distinctly not of Boston or of the U.S. at all. "I think," says Jonathan Bailey of his experience, "that they were quite delighted and amused to get their tour from a Brit." Giving tours was the entertaining side of serious Senate business, "writing memos," Jonathan says, "for senior staff on the Senator's positions." Jonathan obtained his internship through an English/U.S.

exchange program and had earned it by being a champion debater at Oxford and by helping found a nonprofit that paired college mentors with high school students. For a person deeply interested in "the roles of government and business in progressive global change," the internship provided a key leadership lesson as well. "The Senator's senior team was very impressive," Jonathan says. "I learned the difference that having top talent on your team can make to your cause."
Combining improved public governance with private sector growth

After nearly two years at McKinsey & Co. in London, where Jonathan had a chance to "build core skills in business and management" and work on the firm's Climate Change Special Initiative, he worked with Tony Blair in establishing the former Prime Minister's Africa Governance Initiative in Rwanda. "Mr. Blair would serve as a confidante or advisor to the president," says Jonathan, "while I lived in Kigali training senior Rwandan staff on policy design and implementation." "The overwhelming thing I found in Rwanda," he says, "is that we needed to work on improving goverance and building the capacity of the private sector at the same time. Few people seemed to understand both sides." Seeking a career "bridging both perspectives," Jonathan entered the joint HBS/Harvard Kennedy School MBA/MPP program. "The rigor and the longer-term perspective really distinguish HBS from other business schools," Jonathan believes. "The school sets a higher bar. It's not easy and requires considerable thought and preparation. There's a great deal of attention to bringing different subjects and skills together: finance plus leadership plus accounting plus macro economics. You're always looking at problems, not as an analyst, but as a manager who must put them in the context of ongoing leadership."
Expanding his reach

Ultimately, Jonathan says, "I think the things I am learning at HBS will help me not just during my first job after graduation, but for many years to come." For Jonathan, that future involves bringing the best of his past forward. Having spent his last summer at the World Bank working on infrastructure investment in Kenya, for his HBS internship he will work at Vice President Al Gore's sustainable investment fund, Generation Investment Management. "It will give me a great opportunity to connect the hard skills that I've been learning at HBS with the sustainability and development expertise that I have built up professionally," Jonathan says. When he completes his joint degree, Jonathan sees himself returning to Britain and "continuing to find ways to build a more progressive global economy." In time, he suspects, it may mean "working in British government."

Sparsh Bhargava, MBA 2012

The case method exposes you to different business models, different ways of approaching problems.
Home region

Acton, MA
Undergraduate education

Cornell University, BSE Chemical Engineering, 2007

Previous experience

Procter & Gamble

HBS activities

Entrepreneurship Club, TechMedia Club, Social Enterprise Club, Energy & Environment Club, Outdoors Club, South Asia Business Association, India IXP

In his junior year as a chemical engineering major at Cornell, Sparsh Bhargava got an internship with
Dow Corning in Carrollton, Kentucky, population 3,846, and, by virtue of his presence, "increased the Asian population by twenty-five percent." The experience was as novel for Sparsh as his presence was to the citizens of Carrollton. "Most of my education was theoretical," he says. "This was the first time I could get hands-on experience, see things I had learned about, like distillation columns and reactors." Specifically, Sparsh and his colleagues tackled wastewater and emissions treatment at the silicone processing facility.

"Before, they did a lot quality testing," Sparsh says. "We found that they could use a simple equation to balance inputs and outputs that would arrive at accurate emissions' estimates. Through this simple technique, they learned that they had been overestimating emissions by thirty to forty percent. As a result, they realized they had room for future expansion within regulatory guidelines." After Cornell, Sparsh assumed various roles at Procter & Gamble, developing a reputation as an engineer and project manager that took him from cosmetic plants in Maryland to operations in Iowa City and Puerto Rico.
Step back, think, and grow

"At P&G," says Sparsh, "most of my work was about execution; I wanted to learn more about entrepreneurship. Getting an MBA would give me time to step away from work and think about larger ideas. It would also give me functional skills in areas I didn't know much about, like marketing and sales." HBS' reputation in general management appealed to Sparsh. "For entrepreneurship, management skills would be really valuable," he says. Now that he's on campus, he believes that "the case method exposes you to different business models, different ways of approaching problems. And you can't overlook the caliber of faculty and students. I learn a lot, not just in class, but outside. There are many areas in which I don't have any background but my friends have." Other extracurricular activities include participation in the Arthur Rock Center speaker series and the January term India IXP in microfinance. "About twenty of us worked on consulting projects with the top microfinance companies." Sparsh was one of three students working with a company interested in launching a dairy business. "Milk is in short supply in parts of India," he says. "It's actually a great opportunity for a microfinance company to leverage its strengths in a different application."
Cool ideas

Sparsh is keeping an open mind regarding his upcoming internship and his post-MBA career. For the summer, "I'm looking at something in technology or social enterprise," he says. After graduation, "I want to learn how to learn how to launch and grow a business, something innovative, something built around cool ideas."

Lauren Booker, MBA 2012

You gain increased confidence from the very first time you open your mouth and ninety people look back at you.

Home region

Galloway, NJ
Undergraduate education

Yale University, BA Political Science/Government, 2006

Previous experience

Goldman Sachs
HBS activities

AASU co-president, Section C Leadership and Values Rep, Finance Club, Social Enterprise Club, Global Business Club, China IXP

've always been a 'save-the-worlder,'" Lauren Booker says about herself with a laugh. She grew up in a family with "a long, sustained history of service and civil rights activity;" her grandfather, the late Carl Nichols, led the New Jersey chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and '70s. At Yale, Lauren exhibited the family traits of social activism and leadership, becoming the head of the Black Student Alliance and co-founding a magazine entitled Sphere, "focused on global citizenship awareness." As an Urban Fellow, she did project work with the New Haven Economic Development Corporation and in her junior year, she studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, awakening "an interest in development within emerging markets," says Lauren, "specifically regarding collaboration across the private and public sectors to achieve a broader impact on society." A scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation introduced her to Goldman Sachs, her scholarship sponsor. The relationship turned into an internship opportunity, which in turn became a full-time job where she worked on compliance and regulatory issues for various businesses across the firm for four years. "I

loved the way the work supplemented what I learned in the classroom with the fundamentals from the corporate world," Lauren says. "It was a phenomenal training ground for acquiring transferable skills like communications, data analysis, project management, and supervising people."
Transitioning into investing and economic development

While her work at Goldman was satisfying, Lauren "wanted to transition within financial services to investment banking and ultimately into economic development." An MBA would balance her previous experience with "formal training in finance, marketing, strategy, and operations." HBS became her top choice after a campus visit in which she "felt the magic happen in the classroom people from all over the world contemplating the most exciting, intriguing, and complex business challenges." Of her HBS experience, Lauren notes that "to date, we've covered over two hundred cases across ten different disciplines. For the first five to six weeks, I had butterflies you have to say something substantive. But you gain increased confidence from the very first time you open your mouth and ninety people look back at you. With every case, you look at problems through the lens of the C-level executive; you get comprehensive insight into what leadership, judgment, and decision-making look like you're always challenged to push yourself out of your comfort zone."
Living a growth story

Lauren visited Asia for the first time through the January "Growing Pains on the Mainland" China IXP. "We gained direct exposure to the economic growth story," Lauren says. "We explored what's happening in the country, why it's posed as the next economic superpower, and how the political and social landscapes play into the picture. When I returned to HBS, I found that I could incorporate my experience into classroom discussions and provide my section mates with a unique perspective on China." When Lauren returns to Goldman for her summer internship, she will do so within a new capacity: investment banking, an area she'd like to pursue after graduation. "HBS has helped me explore my career options," she says, "with so many opportunities for cultivating my passions and strengths. My long-term vision is to invest in viable and sustainable business models that impact underprivileged communities around the world."

Michael O. Braimah, MBA 2012

We're not naturally inclined to take the 30,000 foot view of the effect of our actions on the world as a whole.
Home region

Abuja, Nigeria
Undergraduate education

Howard University, BS Chemical Engineering, 2007

Previous experience

Kaizen Venture Partners; Amal Sale Association; UBS

HBS activities

Soccer Club, Catholic Students Association, Investment Club, Africa Business Club co-president

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Michael Braimah chose to major in chemical engineering at Howard
University for his undergraduate education. "It was a pragmatic choice. Oil was and is still the dominant economic factor in Nigeria and hence at the time, seemed like the most viable way I'd make a living in my home country." Through a research internship, he realized engineering was not his calling, yet found that the discipline did provide important lessons. "In chemical engineering, the focus isn't on the solution, but on how you arrive at it. The key thing is the importance of problem solving." A natural affinity for commerce, coupled with friendships with Howard peers pursuing careers in finance, inspired Michael to seek an internship with Credit Suisse on Wall Street in the summer of 2006. Just as the first cracks began to appear in the financial industry, Michael joined UBS after graduating in 2007 and

stayed for two years. "In an industry that's upside down," he says, "you're forced to draw on inner strengths."
Teaching others, learning about himself

After two years, "moving at ninety miles per hour," Michael slowed down and considered other pathways, taking four months to teach English in Rabat, Morocco through the Amal Sale Association. "The center taught commercially viable crafts, like sewing and pottery, to help women become self-sustainable," Michael says. "The women saw English as a tool to help improve their marketability." After Amal Sale, Michael reached out to an HBS contact he met a few years earlier at the Africa Business Conference, joining him at his private equity firm, Kaizen Venture Partners. There, Michael was part of a small team of analysts investing in small- and medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. His work there led to his next move toward an MBA. "We're not naturally inclined to take the 30,000 foot view of the effect of our actions on the world as a whole," says Michael. "I liked HBS' focus on leadership and holistic perspective on the world." "I've had to relearn the concept of leadership," Michael says of his experience thus far. "Before, I saw it as being at the front: the leader makes decisions and expects everyone to conform. HBS has exposed me to leadership by advocacy, of ensuring that everyone's voice is heard. Great leaders recognize multiple points of view and acknowledge them in their decisions. This is the thing that jumps out at you in cases, in interactions with your peers and faculty: we're all high-achievers, but HBS ingrains in you a respect for multiple perspectives."
Little gestures are a big deal

"The notion of 'changing the world' is doctrine here," Michael says. "But it doesn't mean you have to do it in a grand manner. I've come to understand that you can make a difference with little gestures, by doing many small things that are significant to those around you." Despite this respect for small things, Michael's ambitions remain large. For his summer internship, and for his future career, he's exploring capital markets in Africa. "When you look at regions that have managed to significantly raise their average standard of living in a relatively short period of time, you see a high correlation between well-functioning capital markets and this positive movement. I believe Africa is capable of something similar, and I want to play an active role."

Sebastien D'Incau, MBA 2012

A Harvard MBA is not just a privilege, but a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world.
Home region

Montreal, Canada
Undergraduate education

University of Montreal, BBA Finance, 2008

Previous experience

Procter & Gamble; Transperfect Translations

HBS activities

Section J president, Le Club des Francophones president, Marketing & CPG Club, Canadian Club, China IXP

Chances are (and metaphorically speaking), Sebastien D'Incau has been in your home. As a marketing
strategist and planner with Procter & Gamble, Sebastien worked on a number or products familiar to consumers worldwide, including the Herbal Essences and Aussie lines of shampoos. "I love the fact they're tangible products everyone uses," says Sebastien, a native-born Frenchman who grew up in Geneva and went to college in Montreal. "I could go to the most remote place in Canada, the tiniest town on Earth, and find P&G products. When you work with P&G, you know the products you manage are ultimately touching lives."

The people-centric aspect of consumer product goods is what attracted Sebastien to business in the first place. "I have a math and numbers background," he says. "But I wanted to get beyond that. What I love about business is understanding people."
An accidental visit that turned into a calling

In his senior year of college, Sebastien happened to be visiting friends in Boston when, on a whim, he signed up online to visit a class at HBS. "Truth be told," he says, "After a business undergraduate degree, I was really skeptical about the value of a business education. To me, it meant a lot of money to read books and listen to teachers talk not a ton of value." "But I was absolutely thrilled by what I found at HBS: ninety people, full of energy and from all parts of the world debating ideas and really learning from each other. There was arguing, but with respect. Conflict, but also clapping and cheering. And the conflicts led to better ideas. By the end of the day, that was it for me. I knew I wanted to go to HBS." He applied and was accepted with a two-year deferral. "You would never imagine you could get so close to so many people in one year," Sebastien says of the section experience. "At first, it's a bit daunting to be surrounded by so many smart people who have achieved so much. But everyone wants to know each other on a deeper level. We do two or three cases a day, we debate, argue, study and travel together it creates a special bond." "Here, I love the emphasis on creating value in the world," says Sebastien. "Not about creating value for ourselves, but for something bigger than ourselves. A Harvard MBA is not just a privilege, but a responsibility to make a positive difference in the world. Not necessarily a big difference leading a large company, but maybe a little difference helping in your community."
From China to Toronto

With its "Consuming China" theme, January's China IXP hit the sweet spot for Sebastien. "We got to contrast three different cities," he says, "and I got to interview Chinese consumers to help a sports apparel brand refine its global strategy." Back-to-back visits to Google China and Baidu were also a lesson in contrasts. "Baidu was a Chinese lead company hoping to conquer the West in the next years. But Google was the search provider truly engaged in Western business practices." After completing his RC year, Sebastien will spend his summer with Boston Consulting Group in Toronto, focusing his consulting on consumer goods. Looking past graduation, he sees himself returning to consulting with "a mix of CPG and other industries. I want to broaden my horizons."

Michelle Giguere, MBA 2012

If you can defend your ideas to ninety smart people you respect, you're well-prepared for any meeting you might have later on.
Home region

San Francisco, CA
Undergraduate education

University of Georgia, BA Political Science, BBA Marketing, 2005

Previous experience

Gap Inc.
HBS activities

Retail & Luxury Goods Club, Marketing & CPG Club, Canadian Club, Impact Initiative, China IXP

In high school, Michelle Giguere, "fell" into the Gap and never left, working part-time at the apparel
retailer throughout college and returning full-time after graduation. "I loved the mix of fashion with the energy of customer service," Michelle says. The attraction was mutual. After completing a nine-month Retail Manager Program of rotations in San Francisco, Michelle acquired merchandising responsibilities for menswear, infant clothing and, ultimately "the entire toddler boys and girls product assortment for all Gap Outlet stores. As the merchandiser, I was the voice of the customer in any meeting a nice blend of analytical skills and marketing."
Challenging herself to lead

After several years at Gap, Michelle realized "If I wanted to be a leader, I needed a more well-rounded perspective on business as a whole. An MBA would help me balance the depth of experience I had in marketing with a breadth of new abilities in finance and management." The case study method sold her on HBS. "I was drawn to the level of participation it requires," Michelle says. "I see it as a way to challenge myself to be more vocal with my opinions. If you can defend your ideas to ninety smart people you respect, you're well-prepared for any meeting you might have later on. What can someone throw at you once you've experienced that on a daily basis?" About student life, Michelle observes that "Everyone is not just genuinely interesting, but interested. When you have so many people coming together with so many different experiences, you learn as much from your classmates as you do from the content of the cases themselves."
Reaffirming her direction

In January, the China IXP gave Michelle an opportunity to see "the inherent differences between running a brand in China versus running one in the United States." Overall, Michelle's HBS experience to date has given her renewed perspective on her career. "Realizing how many options there are can be overwhelming," she says. "The school forces me to define what's really important to me. It's allowed me to stop and think about what I love about retail; if I go back, it will be with renewed passion and excitement because I'll know it's what I truly want to do." With an upcoming internship with American Express in New York, Michelle will have a chance to "experience consumer marketing from a different angle. My post-graduation plans are still a question mark. I just want to see what happens this summer and next fall and take it from there."

Ryu Kawano, MBA 2012

This is exactly the right moment to take risks.

Home region

Japan and Indonesia

Undergraduate education

Claremont McKenna College, BA Economics, 2006

Previous experience

TPG Capital; Lazard Freres & Co., LLC

HBS activities

Asia Business Club, Sales Club, General Management & Operations Club, Family Business Club

As a Japanese citizen who grew up in Indonesia, Ryu Kawano is certainly no stranger to multicultural
diversity. But when it was time to get a college education, he came to the United States to experience even greater variety. And despite a family-owned business that was open to him. Ryu deliberately choose a more challenging pathway. "I wanted to make a mark for myself," says Ryu, "to establish myself as a professional before I considered returning to Indonesia." He took on an analyst position with Lazard Frere & Co. where he, "learned how to evaluate company financials and determine wherevalue is derived from." After a year, he accepted a position with TPG Capital in Tokyo. "Part of what attracted me was the opportunity to work in my home country I hadn't lived or worked there before," Ryu explains. "And it was a chance to work in private equity in a country where it is still a relatively new industry."
An unexpected shift in interest

After almost three years with TPG and with the encouragement of his colleagues, Ryu decided that, "an MBA would be the next milestone before embarking on my own," and applied to HBS. "I wanted to experience the east coast," Ryu says. "Plus HBS is recognized internationally, which should help open doors." In his first year at HBS, Ryu opened an unexpected door himself. His participation in the India IXP, a twoweek program in which Ryu and his colleagues were directly engaged in working projects, "inspired an interest in social enterprise that I hadn't had before." Specifically, Ryu spent a week consulting for one of the largest microfinance organizations in India serving a rural population. "We assessed a decentralization program that shifted authority and decision-making from headquarters to local offices. After interviewing people in the pilot office, it became clear that not only was it working, it was a

necessary step for such a rapidly growing organization they simply couldn't grow by controlling everything from one office." The experience proved so rewarding that Ryu, with two HBS colleagues, submitted an entry in the social venture track to the annual Business Plan Competition in April. "We want to create a microfinancing organization in Indonesia that's focused on housing loans," he says. "There is nothing like it in the market right now we want to create a loan product that is larger and longer in repayment periods than the usual microfinance loans."
Building on HBS connections

To develop his ideas and find supporters, Ryu has found assistance from numerous HBS faculty who introduced him to housing and microfinance leaders, as well as people from Habitat for Humanity. Furthermore, "the Rock Center," Ryu notes, "hosts Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) available for consultation. I've been encouraged by many of the EIRs to take risks and follow an entrepreneurial path." Putting his money and time where his mouth is, Ryu will use the summer to pursue his microfinance venture. "This is exactly the right moment to take risks I'm doing it now." Long-term, Ryu plans on owning a business that will tie together interests in Indonesia, Japan, and the United States. "I want to be the bridge," says Ryu. "My long-term aspirations are to bring people and business ideas from the three countries together."

Maliha Khan, MBA 2012

When I got to the factory floor, I found that the women there would never make progress unless they got the necessary education.
Home region

Karachi, Pakistan
Undergraduate education

Smith College, AB Political Science/Government, 2008

Previous experience

International Textile Limited

HBS activities

Retail and Luxury Goods Club, South Asian Business Association, Wine & Cuisine Society, Entrepreneurship Club, Section C Womens Student Association Rep

In college, Maliha Khan kept her family's textile business at arm's length, preferring to follow a path that
would lead to a PhD in political science. But as she approached graduation, the business changed dramatically. "Pakistan dropped its export quotas," Maliha says. "My family had built up its manufacturing business in anticipation of the new law, doubling our capacity in just one and a half years." Through growth and acquisitions, the business jumped in scale to revenues of $90 million a year with 3,500 employees. "I decided that this was a huge opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility at a young age," says Maliha. "Academia can be slow and laborious; suddenly, I found myself in something very fast and actionoriented where I could see results immediately." But as she directed the operation of three factories, she saw something that troubled her. "When I got to the factory floor, I found that the women there would never make progress they could never advance in their jobs unless they got the necessary education." Most of them, in fact were illiterate. Maliha was concerned, but she faced another challenge as well: she was young and the only female manager out of 3,500 employees, making it difficult for her to be taken seriously.
Changing course in order to lead

Maliha's initial plans for a literacy program met stiff resistance. "My colleagues said, 'We're a business, not a charity.' I had to make a business case for the program." She found it in the high employee turnover rates. "I repositioned the program as a way to reduce attrition, to save money on hiring and training new workers." An initial six-month pilot program proved a huge success. Turnover dropped, not just among the participants, but among the workers who heard about the program. "Attrition rates plummeted from around twenty percent to just six or seven percent," Maliha says.

After a couple of years with the company, Maliha believed she had, "maxed-out what I could learn there" and turned to HBS for her MBA, making her the fifth person in her extended family to attend the school. "I wanted a school that stresses general management," says Maliha. "HBS also stands out for building leadership, right from the first semester. The entire curriculum forces you to focus on leadership from the outset: what would you do if you were the CEO or the CFO?"
Building relationships at HBS and beyond

Before her first semester began, Maliha participated in the pre-MBA program for international students. "I never expected that you could build such close relationships in just three weeks," she says. "They're like family to me. When I moved into my section, it was a little disconcerting, but after a semester, I'm as close to them as my friends in the summer program." Maliha's summer internship will be at a major US retailer, working on an internal strategy project. After she completes her MBA, she sees herself working in the United States for a few years before returning to Pakistan. She may go back to the family business, but is also thinking about, "starting something of my own in the private education sector in Pakistan."

Andrew Kinard, JD/MBA 2013

The section experience is a forcing mechanism that expands your understanding of the world.
Home region

Spartanburg, SC
Undergraduate education

U.S. Naval Academy, BS Mechanical Engineering, 2005

Previous experience

Jones Day; Office of Senator Lindsey O. Graham; U.S. Marine Corps

HBS activities

Student Armed Forces Alumni Association

It's not uncommon for HBS students to attribute their interest in business to a turning point in their lives.
But in Andrew Kinard's case, that point was as precise as it was violent: a blast from a roadside bomb in Iraq that left him without the use of both legs. "Before, as a graduate of the Naval Academy, I strongly considered a life as a career officer and possibly a law degree to go with it," Andrew says. "How do you wake up from a coma and say, my legs are gone, what do I do now? I knew I had the best job I'd ever have leading Marines. But looking forward, where would I go next?" Much of that immediate future was occupied by seventy-five surgeries and eighteen months of rehabilitation. While recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, however, a chance encounter opened new possibilities. "I was approached by a man who said he worked for the Department of Defense (DOD). We struck up a conversation; I mentioned I was interested in law school and he gave me his card. I didn't think much of it at first, but when I showed the card to a friend, he got all excited. General Counsel? That means he's the boss!' That man was Jim Haynes and I went to work for him for six months." Recognizing Andrew's potential, Jim Haynes recommended Harvard Law School. "Growing up in the South, Harvard wasn't part of my vocabulary," Andrew says. But he took the plunge.
Not just how, but why

"Law school is a terrific place to strengthen one's mind the academic rigor is unparalleled," says Andrew. "But I found myself in contracts class last year wanting to know why the parties wanted to come to an agreement in the first place. Remedies and interpretation are important, but I also wanted to understand the underlying economics of the deal."

Andrew applied for the joint JD/MBA program and a new kind of career path emerged. "Lawyers play an important role," he says, "but I want to focus my efforts in creating value, in putting something tangible together, like a product or an organization." Just midway through his first year at HBS, Andrew has already experienced the impact of his business education. Long involved with the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that "helps veterans recover in mind, body and spirit," Andrew had been elevated to the board of directors. At a recent meeting, "I saw an immediate improvement in my ability to understand and contribute. The summer before, I had participated in the Analytics program. Just a month later, I'm helping set the annual budget. I was able to understand the cash flow statements and how they connected to our balance sheets and income statements. What had once been elusive to me had become an everyday exercise as a business school student." "Looking back," Andrew says, "I can see that the beauty of the section experience is that you get to know people you wouldn't have met before, you're exposed to cultures you wouldn't have seen. In my section of ninety people, forty-two different countries are represented. The section experience is a forcing mechanism that expands your understanding of the world." "It's no accident we're accepting of conflicting opinions," Andrew explains. "We literally had classes on how to take classes. HBS places a large emphasis on setting common values with respect to differing opinions, on developing acceptable norms about how to promote discussions. That emphasis is invaluable having a breadth of experiences has been both professionally and personally enriching."
The next, next

In addition to leading Marines, working in the DOD, and volunteering for Wounded Warrior, Andrew has gained legal experience with an internship at Jones Day and has served "as an assistant in military legislative matters" in the office of Senator Lindsey O. Graham. For his HBS summer internship, he plans to join the Fortress Investment Group in New York where, "I want to continue my exploration of how the world works. Fortress is a global hedge fund with a strategy that involves the macro-economic forces shaping the world." Beyond his joint degree, Andrew says, "I don't know exactly where I'm going yet. But I'll continue with the Wounded Warrior Project, and I know that I want to serve in both the private and public sectors. Working with my fellow veterans has reinforced my desire for public service."

Evgeny Koudryavtsev, MBA 2012

I would encourage international students to bring their partners.

Home region

Novosibirsk, Russia
Undergraduate education

Higher School of Economics, BA Economics, 2001

Previous experience

Texas Pacific Group (TPG Capital); J.P. Morgan; United Financial Group (UFG)/Deutsche Bank
HBS activities

Investment Management Club, Venture Capital & Private Equity Club, Eastern European Association, Soccer Club, China IXP

In Novosibirsk, Evgeny Koudryavtsev was inspired "by a wonderful teacher who engaged students to
learn more about economics and finance." After completing his undergraduate education in Moscow, Evgeny obtained his first position with the J.P. Morgan investment banking team in London. "Thanks to my great mentors, early on I got a lot of responsibility and worked on a few landmark transactions," he says, "including the world's fifth-largest IPO." Seeking more buy-side experience, Evgeny was one of the few people hired for the newly opened office of TPG Capital in Moscow in 2008. "It was a super exciting time," Evgeny says. "I loved the entrepreneurial environment in the office and learned a lot from the exceptionally smart people I worked with. As TPG was the only large cap private equity firm with presence in Russia and Eastern Europe, many successful entrepreneurs came to talk to us about bringing their businesses to the next level. I was struck by how much room for development most of the businesses had in terms of topline growth and operational improvements." His experience also coincided with the financial crisis. "Early in 2009, understanding what the financial crisis meant for the future of economies in emerging Europe was absolutely critical" says Evgeny. "I spent

a few weeks on macroeconomic analysis, so that TPG could get comfortable investing in businesses, many of which were desperate for primary capital at the time. In the fall, TPG closed its first deal in Russia."
International perspective

Evgeny decided to invest time in an MBA to learn the best practices in general management. "In investing it is important to evaluate the quality of management teams and the way businesses are run," he says. "Due to globalization, these skills in emerging markets are becoming more valuable since industries are getting competitive and companies mature more quickly. When you've worked in finance, general management perspective is something you lack." Evgeny chose HBS since it "fits my aspiration best given the school's focus on developing general management skills and has the strongest reputation internationally." "I also appreciate the focus on leadership and case-based learning," says Evgeny. "After doing more than two hundred cases in my first year, I feel I've learned a lot about companies from different industries and countries. Despite the fact that all of the companies had specific business issues, the case method pushes you to observe historical patterns and develop a common framework for finding solutions. This is something that I believe will be valuable in my future career."
Life on campus

In addition to his enthusiasm for the Soccer Club (Evgeny plays forward for the HBS team) and the China IXP "that helped me understand the political and social aspects of China's success story," Evgeny has special praise for the way his wife, Anya, has been made welcome at Harvard. She lives with Evgeny on campus and studies at the Harvard Extension School. "Anya's taking marketing courses," Evgeny says, "and she sees many of the same cases I've seen at HBS. It's helped her become part of the HBS experience." Anya is the section partner representative and a member of the Partners Club where "she has made many friends." After years of work, Evgeny says that studying at Harvard "has been a great opportunity for us to spend time together and find new friends. I would encourage international students to bring their partners." This summer, Evgeny will go to London where he will intern with Warburg Pincus, a large cap private equity firm. After graduation, Evgeny's goal is "to help bring companies in developing markets to new levels. I see a lot of entrepreneurs who need help; Western practices and perspectives adjusted to local business and cultural specifics can lift companies into greater profitability."

Marie Kyle, MBA 2012

What I love about HBS is the wealth of resources available for learning about social investment.
Home region

Toronto, Canada
Undergraduate education

Northwestern University, BSE Mechanical Engineering, 2004

Previous experience

Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, The Bridgespan Group, Bain & Company

HBS activities

African Business Club, Social Enterprise Club, Outdoors Club, Canadian Club, Pitch for Change coorganizer in business plan competition at Social Enterprise Conference

Late in her undergraduate career at Northwestern University, Marie Kyle experienced a dramatic shift in
priorities. Her original enthusiasm for engineering and aerospace design had been tempered by her initial career inquiries. "Most of the available positions were more about manufacturing than design," Marie says. "That wasn't what I wanted to do." After a heart-to-heart conversation with her sailing coach, she realized that she, "loved the problem-solving aspect of engineering," and, with her coach's support, looked at opportunities in consulting. A position at Bain & Co. led to an "externship" with The Bridgespan Group, a consultancy founded by a former HBS professor focused on the unique challenges of the nonprofit world. Within months, an interest that had been a sideline at college Marie was an avid participant in the annual dance marathon that

raised money for local nonprofit organizations became a passion she was determined to pursue. At Bridgespan, Marie developed a new case management system for a Philadelphia family-services provider, collaborated on an internal project to help philanthropists set investment priorities, and worked with a firm helping retirement-age clients find opportunities for community involvement. In turn, Bridgespan led Marie to the Clinton Health Access Initiative where she helped open a new office in Zambia. "My original plan was to stay for one year," says Marie. "But after three months, I knew there was no way I could leave so soon." She took an eighteen-month operations role establishing pediatric HIV testing and treatment programs, then worked for another eighteen months in New York as a strategic assistant to the Initiative's CEO.
Taking a chance on the new

The Clinton Health Access Initiative, "sparked a passion for the development sector," says Marie. But she wasn't satisfied with the standard aid packages she saw in emerging markets. "I wanted to look at ideas outside the traditional foreign aid models and became interested in social investing. But I had gaps to fill in my education, in understanding finance and entrepreneurship. With my MBA, I want to take a chance to learn more about investment I could get behind." With innovation in mind, Marie came to Harvard. "What I love about HBS is the wealth of resources available for learning about social investment. Here, I can take classes with Michael Chu, one of the thought leaders in this field. And I've been surprised by how many students share my interest in social investing; in fact, several of them have already worked in it." Marie has also been, "really struck by how effective the case method is. It's particularly impressive for someone like me who wants to go back to school, but not sit for more passive lectures. I love how engaging the cases are, how we get to solve problems every day. I've been surprised by how many times I've changed my mind, based on input from classmates who looked at the problem in an entirely different way." In fact, the student community is a big part of what makes HBS special, Marie believes. "It really stands out, the way students here are so generous with their time. I want to work internationally and the diversity of the student body here, the breadth of the network, is amazing."
Pitch for Change

Even though Marie is still weighing options for her summer internship, that hasn't stopped her from asserting leadership within the social enterprise community. With a colleague, she organized the Pitch for Change competition for the Social Enterprise Conference, an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to compete for $6,000 in seed capital and three free hours of nonprofit consulting time.

"Ultimately," Marie says about her future plans, "it may be about social investing. This summer will be a good test to see if it's the right fit."

Carol Lauson, MBA 2012

I wanted to set strategic direction versus execute on previously determined directives.

Home region

Boise, ID
Undergraduate education

Boise State University, BBA Finance, 2004

Previous experience

Trimble Navigation; United Agri Products (now Agrium); Albertsons Inc.

HBS activities

Management Consulting Club, General Management and Operations Club, Global Business Club, Brazil IXP

Carol Lauson's father owned his own construction company, an enterprise, she says, "that didn't
necessarily pique my interest in business, but gave me an early exposure to it." As she got older, awareness turned into more direct action, beginning with a 10th grade economics class and Junior

Achievement project, and, in high school, membership in the Business Professionals of America which took her all the way to the nationals in a business exam competition. "I like numbers," Carol says, "so I was naturally attracted to accounting and finance." She made finance her major in college and worked full-time doing accounting for a small business. But by the time she graduated, "I wanted to do more planning and analysis." Her subsequent career took her through a financial rotational program, then corporate development at Albertson's, a major retailer, then into more corporate development as well as mergers and acquisition project lead responsibilities for United Agri Products and Trimble Navigation, a high-tech company that created location-based technologies within industries she had come to know well: construction, engineering, agriculture. "The thing that was great about corporate development," Carol says, "was working on transactions that delivered on the strategic vision. But there came a point where I wanted to set strategic direction versus execute on previously determined directives."
Seeking a holistic vision

Right away, Carol knew she wanted an MBA program "strong on general management. I had a couple of mentors with HBS degrees and was impressed by their perspectives. They had a more holistic view of business that wasn't focused on any one function." A campus visit confirmed her initial impressions. "The classroom dynamic here is distinctive. You go through so many scenarios. You see how other managers have reacted, positively or negatively, and their choices give you better insight into how you might make your own." Midway through her first year, Carol has already experienced a shift in her approach to leadership. "Before," she says, "I asked myself what I would do when I became a general manager. Today I think more about what I can do now to create the building blocks, to make it easier to lead later. Because it's not about what you should do when you have authority. What it's easy to forget what's really important are all the little decisions you make as you move up. These are the stepping stones that set precedents for ethical behavior, that set the tone of the environment in which you can lead."
Global directions

Carol also believes that "there's much room for improvement in our capacity as U.S. citizens to achieve a more global understanding. In the United States, as a business person, a global perspective isn't necessarily required. But as you become more and more senior in your role, that perspective is a necessity. HBS, with its broad base of international students, gives you a great opportunity to absorb and inquire why and how things are different across the globe."

Through participating in the Brazil IXP, Carol saw the complexity of global business firsthand. "There's a lot of promise for Brazil and countries like it," she says. "But they're caught between development stages where do they put their resources for maximum growth with minimal disruption?" For her own growth, Carol sees herself "setting strategic direction and driving next steps for an expanding company." Near term, her summer internship will be an opportunity to "explore consulting and address a variety of critical issues for companies that may not have the internal resources to address them by themselves."

ZiHan Lin, MBA 2012

Without business acumen, you'll never get a product off the R&D shelf and into doctors hands to benefit the patients who need it.
Home region

Fuzhou, China
Undergraduate education

Stanford University, BSE and MS Mechanical Engineering, 2008

Previous experience

CIRTEC Medical Systems; ForSight Labs; Heal Medical, LLC; FoxHollow Technologies
HBS activities

Healthcare Club co-president, 2011 Marketing for Healthcare Conference VP, Hospitality and Travel Industry Club, Sales Club, Greater China Club

Zi Lin's interest in medical devices is the natural consequence of his background. "My mom was an
entrepreneur in China, my father was a medical doctor there," Zi says. "I had an affinity for medicine, but not the patience for medical school. Engineering medical devices combines the hands-on, boy-stuff of the mechanical with the mission of medicine." By the time Zi entered the graduate stage of his education, he had a firm focus "on two concentrations: design methodology and medical devices." In fact, his academic project work evolved into a real business: Heal Medical. In collaboration with three engineering colleagues and a cosmetic surgeon, Zi designed a superior, post-surgery "splint" to improve rhinoplasty recoveries and reduce revision rates. Heal Medical has already moved beyond its provisional patent to the licensing stage. The speed was deliberate. "We made concessions to get the deal done so that we could learn from it. Without business acumen, you'll never get a product off the R&D shelf and into doctors' hands to benefit the patients who need it."
Broadening his thinking

The Heal Medical experience, Zi says, "lifted us out of a provincial, engineering-focused viewpoint. How do we form our company? Where? What's the accounting process and who do we talk to about creating licensing agreements?" By the time Zi completed his engineering masters, he knew he was destined for business school. Two years at CIRTEC Medical Systems confirmed his "innate feeling that my goal was not an engineering goal: I wanted to start my own company." HBS impressed Zi with its healthcare industry depth. In addition to the Healthcare Initiative on campus, "the Healthcare club is 250 people strong that's pretty significant," Z says. His expectations have not gone unmet. "For marketing, ethics, leadership, strategy the cases are simply awesome. Sometimes,

I just sit back and listen. Often, the insights from people outside the healthcare industry are just so on point that really speaks to the quality of the students here." "The alumni network is immense," Zi says. "I found my summer internship almost entirely through networked recruiting. You expect people to be busy, but I'd say I got an eighty percent response rate on the emails I sent."
Hitting specific goals

"My search was specific," says Zi. "I wanted a multinational medical device firm that was ramping up operations in China and/or Southeast Asia." He found that firm in Covidien, a medical device company with a division based in New Haven, Connecticut. For Covidien, Zi will fulfill two weeks of training in New Haven then spend the remaining summer in several countries in Southeast Asia. "I'll be in the endomechanical division supporting commercialization plans of surgical devices for the Southeast Asian market," Zi explains. "My job is to look at ways we can lower the price point to increase market share. I'll be interfacing with surgeons to find out which features are unnecessary what can we de-engineer to lower costs?" Ultimately, Zi is determined to launch his own medical device enterprise. But along the way, he wants to "work at a large company. It's important to see how successful companies execute from product design to market launch."

Richard Lou, MBA 2012

I knew what I didn't know about leadership, and I wanted to explore opportunities that could make a difference.
Home region

Staten Island, NY
Undergraduate education

Cornell University, BS Business Administration/Commerce, 2007

Previous experience

Ketai Realty Corporation; Tishman Hotel & Realty

HBS activities

Hospitality and Travel Industry Club co-president, Real Estate Club, LGBTSA, China IXP

Like many children who grow up with family-owned businesses, Richard Lou was expected to make his
contribution at an early age. With three restaurants in Staten Island and Manhattan, Richard paid his dues, "back of house" with responsibilities like "washing dishes, mopping floors, prepping food." But his story deviates from the usual when Richard moved, as he puts it, "front of house." True, in the beginning that meant waiting on tables and interacting with guests. Within a few years, however, it became something much more ambitious: consolidating the business units and establishing a hotel development arm. "I became the middle-man between my family and key business players, like the bankers and franchisors," says Richard. Part of his job was to translate for his family, but with his education from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, his larger role was to manage the developments themselves. A property in midtown Manhattan became the 20-story Wyndham-branded hotel with 92 rooms; a second property in SoHo became a 120-room Courtyard by Marriott. In between, Richard took on additional development work with Tishman Realty & Construction, one of the largest construction firms in New York City.
An emotional attachment to business cases

With the SoHo hotel project, Richard rose to project manager. "It was a great experience transforming an idea to reality and working with my team to bring out their best," Richard says. But it also pushed him to his limits. "I knew what I didn't know about leadership, and I wanted to explore opportunities that could make a difference. An MBA would push me to the next level." HBS was Richard's top choice from the start. "I had always listened to lectures," he says. "But when I sat in on a couple of HBS classes, it transformed how I thought about learning." As an example, Richard cites a case about Zipcars in The Entrepreneurial Manager (TEM). "The professor was able to draw out an amazing range of opinions on a very technical matter, a kind of multi-perspective approach. HBS is about

learning from those in finance and marketing, but also from people with a background in in education and politics. The opinions are so diverse, yet all of them add value to the learning process." Now that Richard's midway through his first year, he says he is, "experiencing everything I expected and then some. I expected diversity and immense learning, but never expected the emotional attachment I have to cases. Being in the shoes of the protagonist and forced to make decisions makes me more engaged and gives me extra motivation to put thought and effort into my analyses."
Hands-on at HBS and in China

For Richard, leadership is not about learning from a textbook but being able to develop the skills. With colleagues from the Real Estate Club, Richard put together a Real Estate Symposium on campus. "We had excellent speakers and even though it turned out to be a snow day, we still had great turnout. I was especially pleased at how hard everyone worked and how motivated we all were to get it right." In January, Richard participated in the two-week China IXP with Professor Koll. "Eventually, I'd like to do international development work, perhaps in China. Through the IXP, we were exposed to a lot of the political, legal, and business issues in a developing market in a short amount of time a hands-on, onthe-ground experience. I don't know how else I would've done that without HBS." For his summer internship, Richard is taking on something new, a strategy consulting role with Deloitte Consulting in New York. "It's a way to cultivate business fundamentals, to learn more about how businesses grow and adapt to changing competitive landscapes," says Richard. After completing his MBA, Richard expects to continue with consulting as a way to absorb leadership ideas from different industries. After he graduates, he hopes to apply lessons learned from HBS to, "evaluate opportunities from different perspectives and make a difference in his career."

Ann Lucena, MBA 2012

Every day in class someone says something that makes me stop and think.
Home region

San Jose, CA
Undergraduate education

Stanford University, BA Biology, 2008

Previous experience

Triage Consulting Group; Google, Inc.; ABC News

HBS activities

LASO co-president, West Coast Club co-president, HBS Show, Entertainment & Media Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Volunteer Consulting Organization, Turkey IXP

Although Ann Lucena dual-majored in biology and Spanish at Stanford, it was her two undergraduate
internships that set the direction of her future work. At ABC News, Ann "got to work on an hour-long special about the effects of negative stereotypes. "As a person from a Latino background with an interest in psychology, I thought it was a great way to educate an entire nation." Driven by a desire to know "how a world-changing company does what it does," Ann took her second internship at Google, where she worked in the tech giant's human resources department. "A large part of the answer is the people the company brings in and the culture it creates," Ann says. "At Google you could see how much value they place on treating employees well. Creativity and risk-taking are not only valued, but encouraged." After Stanford, Ann worked with Triage Consulting Group, a small consulting firm that helps hospitals negotiate with insurance companies. "It was eye-opening," she says. "I got an insider's perspective on how hospitals function, on how many moving parts there are."
Fulfilling ambitions

At Triage, Ann realized "I had a lot of ambition and drive, but I needed business skills to reach my goals. With my biology and Spanish background, I didn't have the business education I wanted, the skills necessary for future success." HBS stood out among Ann's options because "it offered such a great variety of focuses. I like the Initiatives they support in healthcare and entrepreneurship. The school provides opportunities that help students learn about new areas as they grow."

Most importantly, it's the classroom experience that stands out. "I expected I'd learn a lot from the faculty, but actually, I'm learning just as much from other students," Ann says. "Every day in class someone will say something that makes me stop and think. Many times the comments that make me pause are the most unexpected ones, the ideas in direct opposition to what I had thought." "The process of debating and considering many viewpoints enriches my perspective," says Ann. "If I want to be a good leader, I have to consider all points of view, not just those I initially agree with."
Still exploring

Ann supplements her studies with her involvement in the Volunteer Consulting Organization where she is consulting with the American Society of Addiction Medicine. "I'm helping them create a business plan for software they'd like to launch. It's an exploratory project: Is it feasible? If so, what's the best way to proceed given their limitations in budget and manpower?" The Turkey IXP gave her an additional opportunity to stretch. "I worked with a large retailer that wants to maximize the use of social media and customer relations systems to reach customers more effectively," Ann said. "We learned a lot about how business works in Turkey, and in turn, they learned from us about marketing and business practices across the globe." This summer, Ann will take on investment banking with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. After graduation? "I'm open to many possibilities," she says. "I'm really excited about making a positive impact in a place where I can best use my talents."

Funa Maduka, MBA 2012

Leadership is teaching: you can't be a great leader if you cant share what you know.
Home region

Columbia, MD
Undergraduate education

Cornell University, BA History, 2004

Previous experience

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls; Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative; Goldman Sachs
HBS activities

HBS Student Association co-president

For many ambitious college graduates, an offer from Goldman Sachs would be a dream come true. But
for Funa Maduka, who felt drawn to "alleviating life's inequalities," the opportunity also represented "many sleepless nights. Should I wait for fellowship offers? Should I pursue scholarship offers abroad? Was I selling out my dreams? Or myself?" Finally, after taking the advice of a mentor who told her "to just do the two years and learn," Funa accepted the offer. "In hindsight," she says, "it was the best decision I could've made. The training program, the technical skills you pick up, the daily high-pressure regimen of getting out on the trading floor by five in the morning you absorb all these things when your bottom line is measured. Goldman prepared me very well for the nonprofit experience." After two years with Goldman, the rigors paid off: recruited as an assistant in the Clinton Foundation's HIV/AIDS Caribbean program, Funa found herself responsible for advising ministries on nine islands when her director fell ill. Meanwhile, a chance encounter at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser with Amy Gross, the editor of Oprah Magazine, led to a meeting with Gayle King and another exceptional offer. In September 2006, Funa became coordinator of extracurricular and student life at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip, South Africa, rapidly rising to become Dean of Students for the boarding program.
Importance of educating leaders

"The biggest weakness I saw in nonprofits," Funa says, "was in management education. I saw many managers with good ideas, but not the skills for executing them." Attracted to HBS' leadership development mission, she applied to the school. "I didn't want to be loaded down with new policy ideas, but wanted to learn how to implement them, how to incent others to follow." "The section experience is management in a microcosm," says Funa. "You're in a classroom with people from diverse backgrounds, all intelligent and driven, where you learn to craft arguments succinctly

that's the development point for me. Leadership is teaching: you can't be a great leader if you can't share what you know. Here, we value listening, we favor the act of inquiry over advocacy. Probing deeper, understanding where the other person is coming from it changes your frame of mind, makes you more persuasive."
Homeward bound

Born in Nigeria, Funa grew up with her parents in Maryland where they emigrated when she was four. This summer, she has a chance to return. "I'm going to McKinsey in Lagos," Funa says. "They're doing really diverse work that mingles private initiatives with the public sector. I've never really experienced Nigeria on a day-to-day basis; this gives me a chance to understand the experience." Looking ahead, Funa would like another for-profit opportunity similar to what she had at Goldman Sachs "where I can drill down into strategy or general management." In the long run, "I'm definitely going into the public sector, either nonprofit or government."

Matthew Mariner, MBA 2012

I realized there would come a time when what really matters is management leadership.
Home region

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Undergraduate education

University of Virginia, BS Accounting and Finance, 2006

Previous experience

PricewaterhouseCoopers; Convention, Sports & Leisure (CSL) International; Pharos Capital, LLC
HBS activities

Entrepreneurship Club, Tech Media Club, AASU CFO, Outdoors Club

Negotiation has always been a part of Matthew Mariner's life including his home life. "Growing up, my
dad and I always made deals," Matthew says. "If I got good grades, I could get rewards." Ultimately, many of these agreements had long-term consequences, including, per his father's encouragement, allowing Matthew to "put HBS on his radar." Matthew's first exposure to business came through the LEAD program, a national, minority business initiative that hosts activities throughout the U.S. "I spent four weeks at the Anderson School of Business and it really opened my eyes," says Matthew. "I had a strong interest in math, but I didn't want to be a math major. I realized business could unite my quantitative interests with my desire to interact with people." Matthew's subsequent work career expanded his vision. At Pharos Capital, "I enjoyed talking to entrepreneurs, and I often took the lead in discussions. However, often I wished I was on the other side of the table. I knew that working five to ten years in private equity wouldn't get me there; I needed a different set of skills." A six-month term at a sports consulting firm exposed him to the public sector part of business; a couple of years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, "allowed me to explore a variety of industries and ultimately helped me find my true interest: technology."
The power of synthesis

Facing a crossroads, Matthew wanted an MBA that emphasized general management. "I realized there would come a time when what really matters is management leadership. I've found that to be the toughest part about business; that's what makes or breaks success." From then on, HBS moved off his radar screen and into his life. "At HBS, you're not only able to learn about leadership in the classroom, but you also see how other people do it," Matthew says. "I can't think of any place else where you can have this kind of opportunity. I've learned to accept that there's no one right answer and that you won't be successful if you insist

that there is. Communication is key! Because there's often something to take away from everyone's perspective in reaching the optimal outcome. As smart as I try to be individually, the thing I work on most is bringing the best ideas together."
Crossing to the other side

Once an analyst who evaluated entrepreneurs, Matthew now wants to be an entrepreneur evaluating opportunities. "My summer internship will be either with a start-up or I'll start something myself." With entrepreneurship in mind, Matthew had learned a few coding languages a few years ago. "Now I'm eager to put those skills to work." Next year, he intends to enter the business plan competition, "with something that combines technology with finance and accounting-related functions, an online service for certain consumers and small businesses." The ultimate destination? "I want to make a positive contribution to the world," Matthew says. "That's why I love technology; it offers tremendous benefits to a large number of people at a relatively low cost."

Brendan Mosher, MBA 2012

People care more about the development of the section as a whole than individual grades.
Home region

Rhinebeck, NY
Undergraduate education

U.S. Military Academy (West Point), BS Mechanical Engineering, 2008; Stanford University, MS Mechanical Engineering, 2009
Previous experience

Raytheon Technical Services Company; Brittany Hollow Farm; United States Army
HBS activities

General Management Club co-president; Management & Consulting Club; Energy & Environment Club; Armed Forces Club

As part of a family running a vegetable farm in the Hudson River Valley, Brendan Mosher had dreams of
going to college, playing football, and eventually running his own business. Then 9/11 struck and Brendan felt called to serve his country, making a change in plans that led him to West Point. "It was the best decision of my life," Brendan says. "I liked the values, the traditions, the camaraderie. I really blossomed there and gained a ton of self-confidence." By the second semester of his senior year, Brendan had secured one of the Academy's top fifteen leadership positions, serving as a battalion commander responsible for 540 cadets. But when he decided to branch into aviation hoping to become an Apache helicopter pilot, the required physical exams produced devastating news: Brendan had hemophilia and although its severity was not life-threatening, it was sufficient to end his military career.
Making new plans

"That was a very tough time," Brendan says, "a real shock to the next five to ten years I had planned out." As he considered his options, he launched a flower division for the family farm (which proved exceptionally profitable) and applied to HBS, where he was accepted with a two-year deferral. "The MBA," says Brendan, "would enable me to do well in the private sector so that I'd be better prepared to contribute to the public sector later." During his deferral, Brendan accepted a Department of Defense (DOD) fellowship to Stanford where he concentrated on engineering design and worked on energy reduction optimization for a Nissan factory in Tennessee, as well as an innovative consumer technology that helps improve automobile fuel efficiency. After Stanford, he worked for a year at Raytheon, helping the Transportation Security Administration ramp up the roll-out of whole body imagers in the wake of the attempted "underwear bombing" in Chicago. "In one year," Brendan notes, "the program leapt from ten installations to 450."

At HBS, the most rewarding aspect of Brendan's education is "being forced to make big decisions every day. That's what being a manager is all about analyzing the situation and making effective decisions quickly." The diversity of classroom opinion improves the quality of Brendan's judgment. "In most cases, someone will have direct, firsthand experience of something related to the case. I try to take something from everyone's point of view," he says. "They might completely disagree with me, but they may have a little something that rings true, that makes me revise my thinking." "My biggest worry coming to HBS," says Brendan, "was that everyone would be so competitive. But academically, it's the least competitive school I've seen. People care more about the development of the section as a whole than individual grades."
Life sciences and life ahead

At Corning in Lowell, Massachusetts, Brendan will take on a summer internship where he will "look at the R&D pipeline to figure out which products are close to launch, then examine capacity for manufacturing." After graduation, Brendan plans on taking a general management role in a high-tech or industrial company that allows him to leverage his engineering experience. Eventually, Brendan says, "I want to start my own company or transition to a civilian leadership position in the DOD or the Army."

Frank Mycroft, MBA 2012

The world is full of talented engineers, but the big challenge is long-term planning.
Home region

San Francisco, CA
Undergraduate education

Princeton University, BSE Mechanical Engineering, 2007; Stanford University, MS Aerospace Engineering, MS in Management Science, 2009
Previous experience

The Boeing Company; NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; NASA Kennedy Space Center
HBS activities

Aerospace & Aviation Club founder and co-president

For Frank Mycroft, business management really is rocket science. A self-confessed Star Trek fan, Frank
fell in love with "the final frontier" early in life and fulfilled his obsession with not one, but two advanced degrees from Stanford, and NASA stints at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Early on at Princeton," Frank says, "I got really interested in astrobiology, the study of life on other worlds. If it existed, where would it be and how would it evolve? Are there opportunities for colonizing other worlds, and if we actually did discover life, how would that change societies on earth?" One obstacle, Frank found, is technology. "We're limited by our ability to engineer advanced telescopes and spaceships, tools that can give us more data. Without those, we can't get anywhere." But another obstacle had to do with mindset, the willingness to look beyond tactical issues. "When I was at NASA," Frank explains, "I realized I was personally more geared toward strategic thinking. I didn't want to be the world's leading expert on designing one little widget." His Boeing experience confirmed his changing approach to science. "The world is full of talented engineers, but the big challenge is long-term planning. I would have a greater impact with a business degree than pursuing a traditional, technical path."
Going where you stand out

For a while, Frank considered fulfilling an MBA at business schools commonly associated with technology. "But to learn more," Frank believes, "you have to go where you're not entirely comfortable, where you stand out a bit. You tend to grow more by not going to places where you share a background similar to everyone else." "At HBS, there's such a diversity of industries very different from what I'm used to: finance, consulting, clean energy, health care, etcetera," says Frank. "If I can see how these other industries work, I can bring those lessons back to aerospace." The educational environment itself represents a big change. "I'm definitely challenged. As an engineer, having class participation represent fifty percent of the grade is very new to me. Through the case

method, I'm honing new skills. And if I've learned anything at HBS, it's how nebulous and complex leadership and business really are." "Before I came here," says Frank, "I thought P.E.' meant physical education.' Now I understand what kinds of capital resources are available to entrepreneurs and how the business world works. Before, the idea of starting a business from nothing seemed impossible. The big ah-ha' for me is that you really can build a business from scratch."
New frontiers

As the founder and co-president of the Aerospace and Aviation Club, Frank is bringing the space race and industry leaders such as George Whitesides of Virgin Galactic to HBS. Frank's willingness to start something new reflects his increased comfort with risk. "The school has made me much more excited about the possibility of working with a smaller company or even a start-up in my industry," says Frank. "There are companies, like Virgin Galactic, who are getting involved without government money. I'm more open to working with companies like them because you get more responsibility right off the bat." Looking beyond graduation, Frank sees himself obtaining more consulting and business experience, "but if my skill set could be applied well, I'd seriously consider a start-up environment."

Kwame Owusu-Kesse, MBA/MPP 2012

The problems of the world aren't siloed into separate buckets.

Home region

Undergraduate education

Harvard College, AB Economics, 2006

By his own description, Kwame grew up within challenging circumstances: "a single-parent household,
the child of immigrants from Ghana trying to find their way in America." But he also found drive and purpose at an early age. In high school, he sold t-shirts and t-shirt designs. By his senior year at Harvard, he had formed, with two classmates, a social network called "Triumph" that sponsored social events for young professionals and doubled as a fundraising platform for nonprofit causes. "I've always been passionate about the intersection of private and public sectors," says Kwame. "I got lucky through the generosity of others and gained access to privilege. And with that, a deep responsibility to serve others." In Kwame's third year at Morgan Stanley, he was the one analyst selected for its Ambassador program, in which he served as a direct assistant to Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem Children's Zone (HCF). "They take a holistic approach to services, from cradle to college," Kwame says. "With the Zone, I did a wide range of things from consulting on education policy reform with Mayor Bloomberg to coaching basketball for the kids."
Making progress through greater self-awareness

Through his experience at HCZ, Kwame realized he needed "strong private sector skills I could bring to the nonprofit world skills in business strategy, budget maintenance, fund raising, and communications. The truth is, the problems of the world aren't siloed into separate buckets. To be effective, I need to dig deeper into cross-sector leadership." To be "conversant in both worlds," public and private, Kwame applied for and was accepted into the joint MBA/MPP program offered by HBS and Harvard Kennedy School. "The thing that has most surprised me about HBS," Kwame says, "is that it's less about career advancement than it is about personal growth. The LEAD class, for example, is designed to make you think about leadership holistically; not about what leadership means in an organizational context, but what

it means, period. Our professor, Tom DeLong, always pushes us to think about what type of leaders we'd like to become, about the legacies we want to leave behind, the impact we want to have. Most of that stems from learning about yourself." As part of his self-education, Kwame made an unofficial trip to Ghana during his January Term. "It was a personal journey," he says. "I'd seen my father only once since 2000. We were close when I was young, and there was a lot to catch up on. I met many in my extended family: aunts, uncles, cousins. The experience raised a whole host of emotions: joy, sadness, guilt. Seeing them struggle in difficult circumstances reinforced my desire to open opportunities for those less fortunate than myself."
Open plans

Last summer, Kwame fulfilled his HKS internship as an Education Pioneer Fellow with the NewSchools Venture Fund where he helped develop a for-profit investment strategy for an upcoming fund, plus due diligence on potential portfolio investments. Kwame is still considering options for his HBS internship. "I'm building more of a network than a career interview schedule," he says. "Will I go into a high-performance social enterprise? A traditional nonprofit? I don't know yet, but I do know that whatever I choose, I'll have my hands in something that involves both business creativity and civic leadership."

Shantanu Rege, MBA 2012

Even busy managers and executives are eager to spend a half-hour helping a student figure out his career path.
Home region

Mumbai, India
Undergraduate education

Indian Institute of Technology, BTech Electrical Engineering, 2006

Previous experience

The Blackstone Group Corporate Private Equity; McKinsey & Co.

HBS activities

Investment Club co-president, VC/PE Club

Inclined toward math and physics and eager to learn among "the smartest people," Shantanu Rege went
to the Indian Institute of Technology, "keen on engineering and looking forward to a PhD and a career in academia." In his third year at the Institute, Shantanu says, "I thought it would be a good idea to find out what PhDs actually do." He took a summer research internship in Lausanne and while he had "a great time" during his three-month stint, "I realized that working on one problem for five years didn't suit me." After his early life "midlife crisis," Shantanu joined McKinsey & Co. for a year and a half, then took a deeper dive into finance. "It was 2008 and a lot of U.S. private equity firms were expanding in India," he says. "I saw it as an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is, to take responsibility for my financial advice." Among other deals, he helped place $350 million in an independent power producer. And he gained time to reflect on his career.
Gaining clarity on the global picture

"To be a good investor, you need a global perspective," says Shantanu. "Investors from China, the U.S., Japan, India, and other countries are competing for the same pool of capital. I want to look at the macroeconomic trends, to see how you should allocate capital in a globalized world. An HBS MBA pulls together the quantitative analytical skills I learned from engineering with the business skills developing relationships, building consensus, managing teams I learned as a consultant and financial analyst." At HBS, Shantanu finds himself "surrounded by different geographies, different cultures," and discovers within these differences many new insights on familiar economic issues. "In a textbook, inflation is just a number. But when you have colleagues who've lived through it, you understand its real impact on life, families, and politics. You learn about what it means and how people live through it." "A big part of my motivation is to explore the differences between developed markets and emerging ones," Shantanu explains. "Analyzing a three to five percent growth business within a developed market

is very different from interpreting a fast-growth business in an emerging one. Studying in the United States gives me a clearer understanding of the issues."
New ideas about leadership

After a semester at HBS, Shantanu's ideas about leadership have changed. "Before, I thought of it as achieving success. But now I think in terms of personal satisfaction and making a difference regardless of how the world sees you." Shantanu has experienced the more personal side of leadership in his efforts to contact alumni who could help him find an appropriate summer internship in public market investing. "The Career & Professional Development database had around a hundred names of alumni in public markets. I wrote to all of them; at least sixty or seventy wrote back. Even busy managers and directors are eager to spend a half-hour to help a student figure out his career path." For his own path, Shantanu wants to spend more time in the United States improving his investment skills, then return to India to start his own investment management firm. "With leadership comes responsibility," he says. "You have to know your values in order to stick to your principles with conviction."

Caitlin Reimers, MBA 2012

The case method helps you define your own values within a universe of ideas.
Home region

Boston, MA
Undergraduate education

Princeton University, AB Political Science/Government, 2007

Previous experience

The Parthenon Group, Strategic Value Capital Management LLC

HBS activities

Social Enterprise Club; Business, Industry & Government Club, Club Latino America, India IXP

From its home base in London, the Reimers family traveled the world, instilling curiosity, an interest in
economics, and "a strong service orientation," in Cait and her two sisters. Back in the United States, Cait attended Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs where she studied international development and wrote her thesis on "microfinance and health insurance product integration in Uganda." "When I was graduating," Cait says, "microfinance was just beginning to rise and some new things were beginning to take shape in private/public sector partnerships. There was increasing talk of how the two could work together to address issues, similar to how Novartis worked with the World Health Organization to tackle malaria in developing countries." Cait's academic work, plus the experiences earned in summer internships, sparked an interest in business. "I recognized I needed analytical skills and a deeper understanding of market structures in order to look into workable international development opportunities," says Cait. With a desire to be more "conversant in the language of business," she assumed consulting roles, first at The Parthenon Group, then at Strategic Value Capital Management.
Reaching beyond technical skills

After years of consulting, "I was getting too comfortable and wanted new challenges," says Cait. An MBA would help her transition back to public service by, "accelerating my operations skills and knowledge; it would put some structure on things I'd learned in the workplace." Choosing HBS, "was not a challenging decision. Going to class with a diverse and interesting group of ninety people every day was very appealing." When it comes to leadership to a deep understanding of how peers and colleagues see problems the case method is really powerful," Cait says. "You see three or four problems every day and with them, thirty or forty different approaches to those problems it's the most exciting, most compelling way to learn how to lead. The case method helps you define your own values within a universe of ideas."

"I'm continually surprised by how thoughtful, caring and family-like my section is," says Cait. "Here, people take care of each other inside and outside of the classroom."
Hands-on international development work

In January, Cait had an opportunity to pursue her interests in international development by participating in the India IXP. "A huge benefit of the IXP is that it's project-based," Cait says. "People opt into the work; they're genuinely interested in studying new types of financial models it leads to a very vibrant level of engagement and discussion." Cait worked with three HBS peers on Intellecap, an organization providing banking and consulting services for microfinance institutions. "We looked at ways Intellecap could help investors understand where they should invest," she explains. "The overall goal is to attract more lower-cost capital to microfinance." For the summer, Cait will continue her development track through an internship with I-Dev International in Peru, consulting with social enterprises "building business solutions for addressing poverty." After completing her MBA, Cait wants to explore intersections of business development and government policy. "How do we take financial innovations to scale?" Cait asks. "How can we get governmental support for innovative private sector efforts?" Reflecting on what HBS has taught her about leadership, Cait says, "I'm struck by leaders who combine on-the-ground knowledge with a deep, personal understanding of people. I've learned that integrity means not only understanding your commitments, but not being fearful of acting on them, however challenging they may be."

Sara Roedner, MBA 2012

It's so much more compelling to have Joe Torre talk about teamwork than the usual CEO.
Home region

Chicago, IL
Undergraduate education

University of Michigan, BA Communications/History of Art, 2007

Previous experience

The Boston Consulting Group

HBS activities

Section president; Retail & Luxury Goods Club, 2012 Conference VP, 2011 Conference Director of Operations; Marketing & CPG Club; Womens Student Association

Throughout college, Sara Roedner spent her summers working at Steiner Sports Marketing, where she
saw, "the power of sports to motivate people." Companies came to Steiner asking for athletes who could serve as spokespersons or make motivational speeches. "It really opened my eyes to the ways you can connect with consumers," Sara says. "It's so much more compelling to have Joe Torre talk about teamwork than the usual CEO." After completing her BA, Sara accepted a position at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In addition to being, "a great intellectual opportunity to work with impactful companies," BCG offered a working environment Sara appreciated. "There are fewer post-undergraduate than post-MBA hires," she notes, "so there's less peer conflict. The competition is all internal, a push to do your best."
Competitive, yet supportive

At the three-year point, Sara realized that an MBA would best provide the skills needed for continued success in her career at BCG. "For me," Sara says, "the MBA brings confidence. It's a way of getting the business content clients expect that I haven't had exposure to yet." HBS' emphasis on general management is especially appealing. "The Required Curriculum builds the skills I'll need to feel comfortable as a team leader," Sara says. "As a consultant, I'll have to work across multiple industries. Case study exposes me to new areas and gives me the ability to learn quickly about any given industry I might cover." "My family and friends often ask me if HBS is competitive and the people here, driven. I'm happy to report that it's a challenge everything you expect about intelligence and drive is true. But it's also a very

supportive environment because we have diverse interests and we all want to expand our networks, both professionally and personally."
Luxury goods and leadership

"There are so many opportunities at HBS that stand out," says Sara. "You can challenge yourself in any way you like, but you do have to focus. What do you want most among so many options?" Sara has already tested herself as a leader at HBS. As section president, she notes, "you're navigating a leadership position among your peers, which can be difficult. But it mirrors what will come later." In addition, Sara is Director of Operations of the 2011 Retail & Luxury Goods Club conference and will be one of the conference vice presidents next year. "Managing panelists, speakers, and vendors simulates the situations I'll meet in various consulting scenarios," she says. In between managing classes and activities, Sara maintains a relationship with a boyfriend in Chicago. "I'm often told it's difficult to make a long-distance relationship work while getting an MBA," Sara says. They "try to see each other every month. Having him meet my section mates has helped; knowing what we're doing and who we're friends with helps build mutual understanding." After graduation, Sara will return to BCG where her consulting roles will, "change every two to three years." But for her summer internship, Sara will stick with luxury goods, signing on with an innovative retailer, The Trunk Club, which provides a "curated" shopping experience for stylish men who prefer not to shop. "They're growing rapidly and the business model is constantly changing. I'll help with analyses and strategic questions."

Daniel Serna, MBA 2012

Your functional expertise is not enough. You have to have conversations to get to the best decisions.
Home region

Andover, MA
Undergraduate education

Yale, BA Economics, 2008

Previous experience

AgriMark, Inc.; HP Hood LLC

HBS activities

General Management & Operations Club, Investment Club, Latino Student Organization (LASO)

As a boy, Dan Serna rode in his uncle's pick-up truck over the family's farms in Texas. But what might
have been a cherished pastoral memory instead became an inspiration. In high school, Dan served as an Information Ranger at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, Massachusetts where the Trustees of Reservations demonstrated community-supported agriculture by managing a dairy herd and producing grass-fed beef. "I took an A.P. class in economics," Dan says, "to learn more about the business environment." When he returned to Appleton for college summers, he took on finance and marketing projects. To learn more about agriculture itself, he studied at...Yale. "Most people don't think of Yale as a big 'aggie' school," Dan explains. "But it has a long history in environmental and agricultural economics hybrid corn was first developed in New Haven." Dan made his own contributions to Yale's agricultural legacy by getting involved with, and eventually leading, Food From the Earth, a student advocacy group focused on the university's dining hall options that helped start the Yale Sustainable Food Project. "When I started," says Dan, "only ten percent of the food served could be described as 'sustainable.' By the time I left, we he had lifted it to fifty percent."
Leaving the comfort zone

In the summer of 2007, Dan participated in HBS' Summer Ventures in Management Program. "I wanted to leave my comfort zone and interact with people from all over the world and from other industries." Deeply impressed by the experience, Dan applied to, and was accepted into, the HBS MBA program with a two-year deferred admission. In the interim, Dan worked at H.P. Hood, where he brought a recently acquired milk processing plant up to Hood standards (and resolved the mystery of "missing" milk output it turns out the gallon jugs were 1.5 ounces too big) and at AgriMark, a dairy co-operative of 1,400 farmers where he worked on futures and options trading strategies, global sales and capital budget processes.

At HBS, Dan was initially, "skeptical about how structured the Required Curriculum year is, with fixed classes and assigned seating like preschool. Coming after the freedom of college, it seems restrictive. But it's all worth it, because we get to know each other so deeply." Dan links section bonds to lessons in leadership. "Even in a functional class such as Financial Reporting & Control it's not at all just about accounting. We always talk about the rules in terms of the gray areas, the boundaries. Good answers don't come from knowledge, but through weighing so many options. Your functional expertise is not enough. You have to have conversations to get to the best decisions. You rely on each other to find the best path forward."
Developing others

Dan is looking for a summer internship that combines food, agriculture and finance, "probably in the U.S., but maybe in Latin America." He expects to look for that same combination in his first position after graduation. "I'm interested in a general management role, in responsibilities that help me develop others. Leadership is about empowering others, about making others better as a result of your presence. That's what we live at HBS."

John Smith-Ricco, MBA 2012

The school isn't trying to create functional experts, but managers who understand all business areas and can be flexible leaders.
Home region

New York, NY
Undergraduate education

Carleton College, BA History, 2007

Previous experience

General Mills, Inc.

HBS activities

Student Association senator, African American Student Union (AASU), LGBT Student Association, Social Enterprise Club, Rwanda IXP

In college, John Smith-Ricco did not have business ambitions; instead, he intended to pursue advanced
degrees in history aimed at a career as an academic. But a research fellowship in South Africa changed his perspective. "I was studying how rural isiZulu-speaking people interpreted their constitutional rights, how politics in South Africa has become less ethno-centric, gravitating to a one-party state," says John. As part of his research, John interviewed a number of people; one with an elderly man particularly stood out. "He said, You know, during Apartheid we didnt complain about not having work because we knew why the problem was race. Now we have democracy and a Black government but were still poor. I saw a major disconnect among everyday people between the expectations they once had and what the end of Apartheid really meant for their quality of life. The experience got me thinking about the role of industrialization in economic development. The viability of South Africa depends on that development and the equitable distribution of resources." Eager to learn "how capital is created," John accepted a position at General Mills that offered him an unusual amount of responsibility for profit and loss. Over his four-year tenure there, John helped manage familiar brands such as PopSecret popcorn, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Progresso Soup.
Skills for greater impact

Whether he stayed at General Mills or not, John recognized he needed an MBA in order to advance. More importantly, he says, "I wanted to discover what business could do for the world. If I wanted to have an impact outside of packaged foods, I needed additional skills." Right away, HBS stood out for the case study method and its general management focus. "The school isnt trying to create functional experts," says John, "but managers who understand all business areas and can be flexible leaders." He had expected to find a student body "over-represented by bankers and consultants," yet found himself "surprised by how multi-faceted everyone is here. The business titles

dont really speak to their passions or the ways in which they contribute on campus. At the Social Enterprise Club and Conference, for example, so many different kinds of people participate and are eager to share what theyve learned and experienced."
Sustainable ambitions

During January term, John returned to Africa via the Rwanda IXP focused on "enterprise and nationbuilding in a post-conflict society." John and three other HBS colleagues worked with an umbrella organization providing marketing and sales services to seven or eight coffee cooperatives. "It started as a marketing issue," says John, "but it became clear there were business management issues they really needed to address. We recommended ways to consolidate debt that would benefit their farmers." This summer, John will assume his first consulting position with Bain & Co. in New York, a role "that represents an opportunity to meet people from many different industries and gain skills applicable to all of them." If the experience proves fruitful, John may return to consulting after graduation. His larger ambition, however, remains international in scope. "Im not sure of the role or industry," says John, "but I want to be directly connected to emerging markets in Africa where I can help encourage sustainable democracies with development tied to economic growth and job creation."

Ameel Somani, MBA 2012

You have peers who have worked in emerging economies and can provide invaluable context on what it's really like.
Home region

Calgary, Canada
Undergraduate education

Queen's University, BA and BSc Chemical Engineering/Economics, 2006

Previous experience

Teachers' Private Capital (TPC); CIBC World Markets, Inc.; Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd.
HBS activities

Venture Capital & Private Equity Club; Social Enterprise Club; Canadian Club; India Microfinance IXP; HBS/HKS China Trek

Through his own family history, Ameel Somani has witnessed the complete entrepreneurial cycle from
ambition to success, from loss to renewal. "My grandfather moved to East Africa when he was twelve and built Tanzania's largest chain of hunting stores from nothing," says Ameel. In the 1970s, government nationalization took it all, leaving the family with "nothing." But Ameel's father responded with entrepreneurship in Canada, creating a chain of optical/eye glass shops. "I've always been inspired by my father and grandfather," Ameel says. "I knew I wanted a career in business." After graduating from college, Ameel pursued investment banking. "It was a good fit because it allowed me to think about many different businesses," he says. As an analyst at CIBC, "I learned to think strategically about business combinations and the value that can be created." After two years at CIBC, Ameel became an associate at Teachers' Private Capital where he made principal investments in businesses, most notably, Simmons Bedding Company and Munchkin, an infant products company. "Not only did I have to think about valuation and capital structures," he says, "I had to consider competitive position and how we'd grow going forward."
Combining passions

Despite his satisfaction with investment banking, one important area remained unfulfilled: helping others. "I grew up in a family where giving back is paramount," says Ameel. In the 1990s, for example, his mother helped Central Asians displaced by war find homes in Western Canada. "I saw business school as a chance to take my passion for investing and combine it with a passion for international development," Ameel says. "While working at TPC, I also saw that I didn't have a full understanding of functional areas such as operations and marketing." HBS stood out for a number of reasons. "I felt the case method was a fascinating way to learn. You're in a classroom with ninety individuals and ninety different perspectives and you use all of them to shape

your own." Those individuals stand out for the breadth of their experiences. "You have peers who have worked in emerging economies and can provide invaluable context on what it's really like." In addition, Ameel points to the Social Enterprise Club and the Social Enterprise Initiative as examples of the "resources and infrastructure" that can help him find and follow his development path.
Leveraging life and classroom lessons

"HBS is a chance to reflect on what makes you happy and what you really want," Ameel adds. "When I was working long hours, I didn't have time think about what I wanted. Interacting with professors and classmates gives me insight that helps me move forward." As part of his forward momentum, Ameel is engaging in a two-part summer internship: he'll strengthen his "investing acumen" at Searchlight Capital, a start-up private equity firm in New York, then work with the Aga Khan Development Network on microfinance products in Asia and Africa. "I'll leverage both my past work and the lessons I've learned at HBS," Ameel says, "while getting further exposure to the developing world and the types of investment products that have the greatest impact on the poor." To continue his education, Ameel plans on working in private equity after graduation "ideally for a globally focused fund. Eventually, I'd like to raise a social investment fund, something similar to traditional venture capital and private equity, but invested in social enterprises in the developing world."

Michael Son, MBA 2012

You will learn you have so many blind spots. Hearing many different opinions gives you a broader understanding of an issue.
Home region

Manila, Philippines
Undergraduate education

Ateneo de Manila University, AB Economics, 2006

Previous experience

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

HBS activities

Director of HBS Show, Section J Historian, Entertainment and Media Club, Asia Business Club

Coming from a developing country, Mike Son was eager to learn "what levers could be pulled to hasten
the development of people and resources. I'm very passionate about the Philippines and want to bring change on a large scale." As an undergraduate, he studied economics and "took classes on making change at the community level, on the causes of poverty and how to address them." But in his senior year, the promise of a "free week's vacation" gave him entre to his first real-world business experience. "Shell sponsored a week-long simulation game for fifty seniors from the Asia/Pacific region," he explains. "They wanted to see how we worked, take the measure of our motivation. From my perspective, I was impressed by how much they prized talent." Intrigued by the potential to "really understand how an economy interacts with an important commodity," Mike accepted an engagement with Shell that lasted four years.
Responding to the right challenges

In one of his last, big assignments, Mike was responsible for selling a new road-making product, Instapave, in an important new market, the Philippines. Despite the advantages of an asphalt that could be applied without heating, Mike found market adoption difficult. "Let's just say I faced entrenched interests,'" Mike says warily. "The experience exposed me to the real world of practical things you have to do and their consequences. I felt I was not responding to the right challenges, that maybe selling petroleum was not the right way to change things." Inspired by his father, who completed an HBS Executive Education program in 1981, and enthusiastic about a general management focus that "would allow me to enter other fields and not constrict my options," Mike came to HBS for his MBA. "HBS' guiding principle educating leaders who make a difference in the world is very much aligned with my Jesuit upbringing," Mike says. "Among business schools, it stands out for its focus on leadership rather than hard' business skills."

Reflecting on the HBS experience, he says, "As an Asian, it has been a real struggle for me to speak up among ninety people. At first I was tentative I thought I had to say something perfect. Now I feel comfortable just having an opinion, defending it, and being open to changing it. I've learned to really slug it out' in the classroom. In the end, I know something better will come out of it." "There's a real benefit to having such a large diversity of cultures and backgrounds," Mike says of section life. "You will learn you have so many blind spots. Hearing many different opinions gives you a broader understanding of an issue."
The show goes on

Even as Mike pursued his interests in business, he never completely abandoned his love of singing, acting, and just plain performing. "I'm a huge, huge Broadway musical junkie," Mike says. Not surprisingly, given his talent and experience, Mike has taken the helm of the 2011 HBS Show entitled "Somewhere Over the Footbridge" and won acclaim from the HBS community. For Mike, the real surprise is that his interests in art and business do not have to be mutually exclusive. "On top of using my artistic abilities as the Show's director," says Mike, "I have to apply my marketing skills to attract an audience. And it's training me to become a leader, a manager of people with conflicting priorities and convictions." Encouraged by his HBS Show experience, Mike has accepted a summer internship with the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. "It's a synthesis of two personalities, of the artist and the businessman a great way to bring both together." In the future, Mike would "love to bring the arts management discipline back home to the Philippines to educate children and provide opportunities for growth."

Benjamin Story, MBA 2012

I didn't want a two-year hiatus, but to be challenged by the brightest people in the field.
Home region

San Diego, CA
Undergraduate education

UCLA, BA Theater, 2004

Previous experience

Walt Disney Imagineering

HBS activities

Entertainment & Media Club; Hospitality and Travel Industry Club; Outdoors Club

In Los Angeles, Mickey Mouse casts a long shadow. While majoring in theater at UCLA, Ben Story got a
touch of "Disney magic" when a vice president of the firm helmed "one of the best classes I took," a course in theme entertainment. The course led to an internship at Walt Disney Imagineering, which in turn became Ben's career after college. "It was a departure from theater as an art form," Ben says, "but an extension of my skill sets in production management." Among his responsibilities, Ben served as project coordinator behind the installation of the Buzz Lightyear attraction in Disneyland Paris, and as a producer within Disney's virtual reality technology group. "On one level, we were creating a fully-functioning simulation for a new attraction, the Radiator Springs Racers based on the Cars movie, to demonstrate the ride to stakeholders," says Ben. "But at the same time, we were creating a design tool for review sessions. In the past, the fine tuning would come after construction, which made changes very expensive. With virtual reality, however, you can evaluate and change design choices earlier in the process."
Merging the creative process with business rigor

The MBA had been on Ben's mind since his days at UCLA. "Long term, I wanted to manage a theater company; I needed to understand how theater functions as a business. My undergraduate education touched on some points, but I recognized there was a different education that would enable me to go indepth in the management issues. I wanted to merge the creative process with a rigorous business education."

HBS appealed to Ben for many reasons. "I didn't want to specialize. HBS focuses on general management and produces well-rounded business leaders in all areas." But the learning environment was as important as the focus. "I didn't want a two-year hiatus, but to be challenged by the brightest people in the field." The case method rises to the challenge. "I retain more when I'm engaged in the discussion rather than being told what I should remember," Ben says. "You have to prepare; the experience is based on everyone's collective preparation. I knew this approached worked when it came time for exams. There was no need to cram. If you stay engaged throughout the semester, you're already prepared."
Fitting in

At first, Ben says, "I had no idea how receptive HBS would be to someone with my background. I thought I'd start at a big disadvantage would I be taken seriously?" Not only was Ben welcomed by his colleagues, he was given additional preparation by the school as well. "Summer Analytics was great, I loved it." Eventually, Ben intends to return to southern California for "something in media and entertainment," the focus of his internship search as well. "I don't want to be trapped in something that's either business or art," says Ben. "I want to find a place that combines both interests, both educations."

Matt Thurmond, MBA 2012

I don't measure my progress by compensation or titles, but by what I do to help society.

Home region

Memphis, TN
Undergraduate education

Mississippi State University, BS Industrial Engineering, 2006

Previous experience

RCBG, Inc.; Zacks Investment Research

HBS activities

TechMedia Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Social Enterprise Club, Energy & Environment Club, China IXP

While his high school peers may have been mowing lawns or packing grocery bags, Matt Thurmond
became a serial entrepreneur. "It was a choice between making $5.15 an hour or starting my own business," he says. As a teenager, he started a car detailing business and ran a tutoring service. But he made his mark as an eBay Power Seller. "I sold well over 1,500 items," says Matt. "And I learned a lot about business: high margin versus low margin; not holding too much inventory; and the risk of shrinkage I woke up one morning and found that my dog had chewed up some of my inventory." With solid math skills and a genuine attraction "to the quantitative aspects of engineering," Matt pursued an engineering degree. But in what he calls a "serendipitous moment," he picked up and read Buffett by Roger Lowenstein. Enthralled, he plowed through fifteen to twenty more books on investing. "Investing combined my interest in business with my love of quantitative analysis," says Matt. "And I'm a frugal person; I just wanted more from my money than one percent interest in a savings account." Matt's direction was set, but before he left Mississippi State, he engaged in two formative adventures: leading his fraternity in a turnaround from near-bankruptcy to winning the "overall excellence award" on campus, and leading a group of fifty fellow students on a pilgrimage to Omaha where they met Matt's inspiration, Warren Buffett himself.
Creating a decision-making habit

After college, Matt accrued equity research, analysis, and consulting responsibilities along a path that began as an investment analyst at Zacks and concluded with "hands-on" strategic work in emerging technologies and business models at the boutique firm, RCBG. "I wanted to move from consulting to an operations role in the technology industry," Matt says. "Much of my knowledge was self-taught; I had no formal business education and wanted to take two years to fill the gaps." HBS climbed to the top of his short list. "Its vision aligns with my ideals: leaders who make a

difference in the world. I don't measure my progress by compensation or titles, but by what I do to help society." In addition, "The case method was a system I intuitively understood; it's how I wanted to learn. In every class, you see a specific business situation; you have to apply a multitude of theories and ideas to come to a decision, an action. For me, it means creating a habit of informed decision-making. And it develops my communication skills. That's key you can have great ideas, but you need clear and persuasive communication to drive organization change."
Boston, China and the Bay area

Matt applied his passion for entrepreneurship by attending the Entrepreneurship Conference and then going a step further to chair an ebook panel at the TechMedia Conference. "A powerful experience," Matt says, "We were able to reach out and get key executives across the industry: publishers, device manufacturers, retailers, and start-ups." The China IXP with Professor Elizabeth Koll expanded his reach. Matt gave two presentations there, one on the challenges and opportunities for Chinese entrepreneurship in general, and the other on a specific, powdered-milk initiative. "China was rocked with a baby formula scandal two years ago," says Matt. "We concluded that this would be a tough market for a local Chinese brand; they'd need some kind of independent certification or outside brand partnership to make it work." For the summer, Matt will be interning at Google in the Bay area as a member of their online advertising team. This role is a good stepping stone to his greater ambition: "I want a broader leadership role, either by taking on a new product in a large company, or by founding or working with a start-up that's commercializing a product that makes a difference in the world."

Maxeme Tuchman, MBA/MPP 2012

You can know everything you want about a subject, but unless you know how to navigate the bureaucracy, youre dead in the water.
Home region

Miami, FL
Undergraduate education

New College of Florida, BA Political Science/International Studies, 2004

Previous experience

Mayors Office, City of New York; Teach For America corps member; MTV Networks International
HBS activities

LASO VP of admissions, HBS Show costume designer, HBS/HKS Joint Degree Student Council co-chair

By her junior year in high school, Max Tuchman was a hair's breadth away from dropping out. At issue
were neither her grades nor conditions at home, but her disgust with the "poor quality of the Miami-Dade public schools," says Max. Just when she and her mother were about to sign papers, the school's guidance counselor confronted Max with a blunt question: What do you want to do with your life? "I told her I want to make change in my community," says Max. "That's when the counselor said, Wouldn't you be more effective with a high school degree and going to college?'" Convinced, Max stuck it out. But to improve her remaining high school experience, the counselor offered participating in an off-campus internship for which Max quickly secured a position at MTV, where she served as wardrobe stylist and production manager and remained as a freelancer throughout her college career. After college, and multiple roles in various local issues and political causes, Max joined Teach For America for the "two best and hardest years of my life." In that time, Max lost a student who was mortally shot at a football game, and endured "three hurricanes, plus three different principals in one year." "Teaching in the classroom has a great impact," Max says, but by her second year of teaching "I knew I was made for district management; I could make a bigger difference by stepping up a couple of levels." Nine months in Coro, a nonprofit public affairs leadership program, led to a job serving the first deputy mayor, Patti Harris, in the New York City Mayor's Office, affectionately known as "The Bullpen." Among

the special projects Max tackled were the famed NYC Waterfalls public art project by Olafur Eliasson and creating the NYC Service Office.
Building credibility from both sides

"My family didn't have money or a professional network,'" Max says. "I've always been helped by people who mentored me." Recognizing her ambitions, these mentors recommended HBS. But as she was applying, a friend suggested she look at the Harvard Kennedy School as well "to open doors in government." "At the HKS info session," says Max, "one of the panelists said something that really registered with me: You can know everything you want about a subject, but unless you know how to navigate the bureaucracy, you're dead in the water. I needed credibility on both sides of the equation, public and private." After her HKS internship as an Education Pioneer in the Washington DC public schools' district office, where Max looked at the feasibility of extending the school day, Max began her RC year at HBS. "Coming in as a non-traditional student, it's been a fascinating roller coaster ride," she says. "Even though I often feel so ignorant, I look forward to learning so much there's a whole world I never knew about that I engage every day." "One of the reasons I chose HBS was for the case study method. As an educator, I've long been a believer in differential learning in teaching methods tailored to student needs. The HBS learning model is just right for me: first, I struggle with the material by myself, then I discuss it with my peers and we refine our opinions, and finally, the professor facilitates a discussion that brings out all the things we may have missed. The comments, arguments, and interjections always keep me engaged."
District leadership

Max retains her goal of leading a public school district. In the meantime, she'll be at Danaher for her summer internship "to expand my business operations skills" and hopes to secure a position after graduation that would "apply private sector skills to district-level challenges." But Max doesn't want to become overly obsessed with the interim steps. "One of things I heard from CEO speakers at Coro," she says, "is that it's great to have a goal, but don't become so focused on next steps' that you miss great opportunities that present themselves along the way."

Benjamin Wells, MBA 2012

The section is the safest place to take a risk.

Home region

Somerville, MA
Undergraduate education

Harvard College, AB History, 2004

Previous experience

Roxbury Preparatory Charter School

HBS activities

Social Enterprise Club, Rwanda IXP

By his junior year of college, Ben Wells knew he was destined to teach. Immediately after graduation, he
put his ambitions to the test at Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, "a public school run like a private school," Ben explains. "It's brings a rigorous college-prep education to low-income students." After several years at the school, where Ben served as eighth-grade teacher, English Department chair, and director of a literacy program, he examined the bigger picture. "A lot of people who teach at the school have graduate degrees in education," he says. "But what education really needs now is a sense of how to replicate good schools. We need a fresh perspective on management, on making sure resources are developed and improved. What makes the best schools more effective? How do we repeat what works? And how do we do that in underserved neighborhoods? For me, the personal question was, what kind of degree could I get that would make the biggest difference in education?"
Surrounded by different perspectives

"What makes business school different from education schools," Ben believes, "is that you're not surrounded by one kind of person." This is especially true at HBS. "I want to get diverse perspectives on how organizations run and improve. In a section, ninety people bring a range of experiences you wouldn't

get in a lecture or at any other business school. I'm currently sitting between a woman who served in the Army for four years and a guy who was an auto industry consultant at BCG for the last two years. The entire section is like that." "At HBS, I'm doing things I've never done before, things in finance, operations, analytics. Often, I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. But my section mates are so helpful and enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge. There's no competition for grades everyone helps each other figure out what they don't know. In class, the section is the safest place to take a risk." Ben regards the case study method through the eyes of an education professional. "The first thing that jumps out at me," he says, "is how difficult it is for professors to do. They're masters at soliciting opinions, then circling back forty-five minutes later to ask for elaborations. I'm amazed at their ability to maintain energy and encourage participation. It's made me think about how we teach kids in middle and high schools where they get talked to rather than talked with. It makes me wonder if we should reconsider our learning model."
Confidence in the unknown

The Rwanda IXP, says Ben, "crystallized a lot of what I had learned at HBS." He was part of a team tackling a youth job-training program centered on silk production. "It was about something I had no previous understanding of whatsoever," Ben says. "But it showed me that I could do research, approach the problem in a systematic way and, through teamwork, arrive at a way to figure it out." Ben will faces new challenges in his internship with The Parthenon Group where he will consult on a mix of projects that will include education "and more traditional industries that will deepen my understanding of business." Not surprisingly, Ben's long-term goal remains "managing a school or a teacher training program, particularly in an inner-city district."

Monne Williams, MBA 2012

You hear your classmates' trains of thought, ideas you just can't get from papers or exam answers.
Home region

Newport News, VA
Undergraduate education

Duke University, BA Psychology, 2006

Previous experience

Boston Red Sox

HBS activities

African American Student Union (AASU), LGBTSA, Management Consulting Club, Global Business Club, Rwanda IXP

At Duke, Monne Williams wasn't satisfied with playing rugby or even working in the athletics office on
sponsorships and corporate relations. Curiosity led to questions: "Who do companies sponsor? What's the benefit? What's the return for the team? How do you convince companies to sponsor?" Seeking answers, she landed a college internship with Roush Racing, a NASCAR team based in Charlotte, NC. "I got to see how licensing and merchandising worked from the inside," she says. When she returned to Duke, she aggressively networked and interviewed for a full-time sports position. Then the unlikely happened: "The Boston Red Sox posted a job opening on the Duke website," says Monne. As it turned out, the recruiter had graduated from Duke and was looking for talent outside New England. "In Boston," Monne explains, "they were finding fans, but not necessarily people interested in sponsorships and merchandising." Frankly, Monne's background played a big role in her getting the job. She helped the Red Sox in its purchase of Roush Racing and the creation of a new entity, Roush Fenway Racing. "As a Southerner," she jokes, "I was the only person who knew what a NASCAR race was. It was all about being in the right place in the right time." In subsequent projects, Monne helped create a fellowship program for graduates interested in sports marketing, worked on multiple diversity issues, and spearheaded the baseball team's efforts on a whole new field, social media.

Looking beyond the obvious

Yet while Monne "loved what I was doing in my dream job," she wanted challenges with greater range. "The social media projects were cool," she says, "but we were planning things on a weekly basis, rather than looking ten years out. An MBA would give me the content and skills necessary for transitioning from tactical roles to strategy and long-term planning." A visit to an HBS class made a big impression on Monne. "The class was fascinating, but terrifying because I couldn't see myself talking about all these topics. I really liked that while everyone came prepared, the professor would deliberately ask for something completely different. In real time, students had to think through scenarios where there were no obvious answers." "The most valuable thing I've learned so far is that you can't know where people are coming from just by looking at them. Demographics isn't enough. It's when you find out that someone wrote a policy paper on the issue, or came from a home with immigrant parents, that you begin to understand their perspectives. The case method breaks this fallacy that if we have the same answer we must have arrived there the same way. In our classes, you hear your classmates' trains of thought, ideas you just can't get from papers or exam answers. The exchanges, the things people say that I hadn't considered before, that's what stays with me."
Into the unknown

Even in her Rwanda IXP experience, Monne's journey took a detour into the unexpected. "We worked with a family radio station that wanted to increase advertising revenue," she says. "But as we dug into the issues, we found other areas where we could help: reworking their prospecting, improving their sales process, adding value to their contractual relationships. It wasn't until Rwanda that I realized how much I had learned, how much my thinking in January had changed from my thinking in July." For her summer internship, Monne will consult with McKinsey in Atlanta. After graduation, Monne says simply, "I don't know. But I know the things I'll do next year another IXP, a field study will help me figure it out. I'm getting more and more comfortable not knowing now." Top of Page