2015 Best MBAs: Ali Huberlie

Al Huberlie 2-Harvard-PoetsAndQuants

Ali Huberlie

 
Harvard Business School

Ali Huberlie may not be sure what she wants to do yet, but you can bet that she’ll be wildly successful at it. Best known for being the student who helped write a Harvard case study, Huberlie is admired by faculty and classmates alike for her humility and overall excellence. During her time at Harvard, she has been elected by her section peers as their senator and chairs the school’s Senate Elections Committee. In addition, she served as the chief development officer for the Student Association Executive Board (which is responsible for outside sponsorship of student activities) and the operations director for the Volunteers Club.

Age: 26

Hometown: Hollis, NH

Undergraduate School: University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduate Degree: B.A. in Urban Studies and Political Science

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Analyst in Foreign Exchange Sales & Trading at Credit Suisse (New York City)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Summer Associate at Education Resource Strategies (Watertown, MA)

Where will you be working after graduation? Consultant at the Parthenon Group (Boston, MA)

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I saw what a case discussion looked like.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working in some sort of role in the education space.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I’m still not entirely sure, but I’d love to be doing something I’m incredibly passionate about—which, for me, means that the work would either be in education reform or in the health and fitness space. I haven’t yet figured out exactly what role I want to play yet, but I’m hopeful that I can make an impact in one of these two spaces.

Favorite Courses: Business, Government, and the International Economy; Managing International Trade and Investment; and the Role of Government in Market Economies

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I am most proud of the case I wrote for my independent project this year, which wound up being taught to the entire first-year class. Around a year ago, I approached my Entrepreneurial Manager professor with the idea of writing a case about the founder of CrossFit. I had no tangible connections to the company, and had no idea if I could actually secure an interview with the founder. But my professor believed in me from the first day and told me that he would do the project with me if I could secure an interview. I literally sent an email to info@crossfit.com, got a response, and a few months later, we headed to San Francisco to interview the founder.

It was an amazing experience, but it was just the beginning—I still figured that the case would just be a small project for me, but my professor was so fascinated by the founder that he decided to see if he could get the case worked into the curriculum right away. We finished the case by February of this year. In March, it was taught to the entire first-year class. Fifteen staff members from CrossFit, including the founder, joined us for the day. It was one of the most awesome experiences of my academic life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I most want to thank my parents. My mom has worked my entire life and has provided such an amazing example of positive female leadership. I aspire to be the kind of leader she’s proven to be (and frankly, I hope my future bosses are as incredible as she is!). If mom was the example, though, dad was the facilitator—the one who made sure I was able to take advantage of every opportunity that came my way. From driving me to endless debate tournaments in high school to racing me down the Mass Pike when I was almost late to my HBS interview, he’s never let me down.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose HBS for four primary reasons: the case study method, the professors, its focus on social enterprise, and the location. Since I am a former high school debater, the case study method was almost immediately appealing to me. Many other business schools use it, but HBS also has the complement of unbelievable faculty. On this front, I have certainly not been disappointed. I also knew I wanted to do something in social enterprise (specifically education) long-term, and HBS’s Social Enterprise Initiative seemed a good fit. Finally, as a native New Hampshirite, I was eager to get back to New England.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I certainly loved being back in the classroom; sometimes it’s just fun to be able to have time to learn and absorb without the pressure of a high-intensity job. But I’ve also just loved getting to know all the people. By this, I mean my fellow students, professors, and administrators. It’s hard to be lonely at HBS, because there is always someone incredibly interesting around to talk to. It was awesome to spend two years learning not just in the classroom, but also outside of it, and that was all due to the people who make up the HBS community.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? There are so many moments—it’s hard to choose just one! Honestly, I think it was probably Newport Ball, which is the big formal at the end of our first year here. When we all gathered for a section picture, I remember looking around and being amazed at how I’d grown so close to so many incredible people in just a short year. For me, it highlighted what the entire experience was really about—the people. That said, there’s been so many other moments—a close second was sitting around a table with the US Ambassador to India in New Delhi with twenty other students and thinking “Am I seriously here?!”

Fun fact about yourself: I recently mastered one of the most complicated movements in CrossFit—the muscle up—after a year of working on it. It was probably the first time I’ve ever spent a solid year learning one single thing!

Favorite book: “The Gatekeepers” by Jacques Steinberg. I found the college admissions process endlessly fascinating as a teenager. I also love reading books about politics, so “Double Down” and “Game Change” are two I read over and over again as well.

Favorite movie: “Billy Elliot”

Favorite musical performer: Maroon 5

Favorite television show: “Shark Tank”

Favorite vacation spot: I just returned from a trip to India in January, and I have to say that I fell in love with the country. I loved the food, the hospitality, the beautiful sights, and the amazing energy of the people.

What are your hobbies? I’m an avid CrossFitter, and spend multiple hours training at my CrossFit affiliate (conveniently located right next to campus) every day. I also love to run along the Charles River, read (anything about politics, education, or health and fitness), bike, hike, and enjoy a glass of wine or cider with friends.

What made Ali such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“Ali Huberlie is the quintessential servant leader. In every role she has undertaken here at HBS she has fully committed herself to ensuring that the work that needs to get done is accomplished- and she does this work quite modestly, without tooting her own horn, so to speak.  She has many “quiet contributions” to the HBS community. I imagine that even her friends have said “Wait- you did that too?”  Ali’s peers marvel at how when she’s on the team, the job will get done right no matter how many curveballs are thrown along the way. And in typical Ali fashion, she left out one of her unique contributions to the larger community. Ali and her boyfriend are competitive powerlifters, and they teach powerlifting to teenagers in the community on weekends. She does that, too.

– Mike Murphy, associate director, MBA Student & Academic Services

Best of 2015

The Story: Class of 2015: The World’s Best & Brightest MBAs

The Complete List: The 50 Most Exceptional MBAs of 2015

 
Katie Benintende: Making A Difference At UC-Berkeley’s Haas School