On The Road With Harvard MBAs


Holy Road Trip! Harvard Students Travel Across America to Serve Entrepreneurs


Ah, the summer road trip. You can almost picture Clark Griswold, in his jam-packed station wagon, chasing down Kristie Brinkley to the sounds of “Holiday Road.” Wrong turns…Blown tires…Lost wallets.  Road trips were good times, indeed.

This summer, four Harvard MBA candidates — Amaris Singer, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M, Hicham Alaoui, 27, of Casablanca, Morocco, Mike Baker, 27, of Gaithersburg, Md., Casey Gerald, 26, of Dallas — and are taking a road trip of their own. Starting in Detroit, these classmates will drive 8000 miles, hitting eight cities for a week each to help entrepreneurs.

So how could these students afford such a trip? Well, they started by writing companies and Harvard alumni, eventually accumulating $12,000. Instead of huddling together in an RV, they managed to afford a 2004 Honda Accord and a 2002 Audi A4. And they even landed a sponsorship with Starwood Hotels for lodging.

Of course, these students aren’t looking at this trip as a farewell to friends and college life. They’re forming an organization called MBAs Across America. Their goal is to provide an outlet where student volunteers can apply what they learn to help fledgling businesses.

In Detroit, for example, the students helped a grooming company modify a compensation model to enhance quality. However, the students are learning about business – and themselves – as much as helping others. While some may argue that these students are hurting their job prospects by skipping summer internships, Amaris Singer, a brand strategist before entering at Harvard, disagrees:

“We’re going on the assumption the types of places we want to work for are going to appreciate we made this choice.”

Somewhere, Jack Kerouac is smiling.

Upcoming stops for this trip include Boulder, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.

Source: The Detroit Free Press

What to Do If You Don’t Land a Summer Internship


“So what did you do with your summer vacation?”

Remember your teacher asking that question on the first day of class? For MBA students, the answer hopefully goes something like, “I interned at Google.” Of course, landing an internship is the equivalent to playing musical chairs. There are far more candidates than openings…and not everyone will get a seat. So what do you do if you’re among the unlucky?

This week, Bloomberg Businessweek supplied some answers. For example, Regina Resnick, associate dean and managing director of the Career Management Center at Columbia Business School, would encourage such students to continue taking classes. That way, they could fill educational gaps and even broaden their skill sets. Similarly, Resnick counsels students to take freelance projects or volunteer to gain experience.

Another option is networking. Dennis Hanno, provost and senior vice president of Babson College, notes that students can set up coffees with executives to build goodwill and get their name out. Hanno also advises students to contact alumni to build relationships and open doors.

Finally, Resnick recommends that students reflect, to understand why they didn’t earn an internship in the first place. In doing so, they can better prepare themselves for when the stakes are higher.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek

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