2016 MBAs To Watch: Anthony Harbour, University of Toronto (Rotman)

Anthony Harbour Toronto

Anthony E. Harbour


University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management

Age: 31

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of California, Berkeley;  B.A. Political Science and African American Studies

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? United States Securities and Exchange Commission, human capital consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Balance for Blind Adults, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Where will you be working after graduation? In Progress

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award | 2016

Diversity and Inclusion Rotman Award | 2015

Chair, Out on Bay Street Annual Conference | 2015

President + Founder, The Letters | 2014 – Current

Entrance Scholarship Award | 2014

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of helping establish a new LGBTQA+ student club. The creation of the club, and the support it has received from staff and faculty has been overwhelming. The creation of this club is a testament to the true commitment Rotman has to LGBTQA+ diversity.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I am most proud of initiating and executing the first annual National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event with Food & Friends in Washington, D.C. I led a committee of nine individuals, and we were able to secure 25 community partners to help raise educational awareness about the troubling HIV/AIDS statistics in the Washington metro area and its vast impact on residents within the nation’s capital. Additionally, over 50 individuals were tested for HIV/AIDS during the event. Not only did we facilitate a comprehensive program that included workshops, speakers, and entertainment, we also received press coverage highlighting our accomplishments. I am most proud of this accomplishment because I feel I had the opportunity to be a voice for a stigmatized group of people who often feel voiceless. I was proud and humbled to help them share their voice.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Tiziana Casciara in the organizational behavioral and human resources management department. In addition to her thorough and comprehensive knowledge of social-psychological factors impacting individual and collective efforts, she offers one of the most energetic and engaging courses I’ve experienced to date. The skills I learned in her class continue to be applicable to every aspect of my life. In a related note, I admire that Tiziana is not only committed to her subject matter in the classroom, but also committed to these issues outside the classroom. I continue to be inspired by the work she does to ensure Rotman maintains its commitment to diversity and inclusion at all levels.

Favorite MBA Courses? Catastropophic Failures in Organizations

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Rotman because I wanted to have an international experience. Business is no longer confined to a specific region, country, or continent and our student body is indicative of that global mindset. Roughly 50% of my colleagues come from a different country bringing with them different perspectives, experiences, and skills that are relevant in an evolving global society. Similarly, Rotman continues to emphasis global learning as I was selected to study abroad in Germany during the fall of 2015, thereby continuing to expand my international perspective while embracing the interconnectedness of business.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed meeting the vast diversity of people from so many different parts of the world. I am so fortunate to have met so many amazingly talented and intelligent people. I look forward to supporting my friends and all their personal and professional endeavors.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school?  The biggest lesson I learned from business school is that it’s okay to fail. The most valuable life lesson business school taught me was to fail fast and fail often. But more importantly, I learned to get up faster–and to always get up. The true lesson is what you learn from getting up and that is what Rotman has instilled in me.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing I learned about business school is the vast amount of opportunity in the world that was unknown to me. I refer to this as the DKDK of life – I didn’t know that I didn’t know specific industries, fields, and functions existed. I am so excited to have learned about them.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? For students applying to Rotman, I would encourage them to enjoy the summer before business school. Everything you heard is true. It’s a two-year marathon. It’s hard, challenging, and even stressful at times. But it is so rewarding and very much worth it. Enjoy the free time your have before the fall semester because you’ll need the memories to remind yourself why you embarked on this life changing experience.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that my professional aspirations required a different skill set than I currently possessed.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…spending my time implementing a business plan for a social club I devised prior to being accepted to business school.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I truly admire Richard Branson. As someone who strives to work in brand consulting, Sir Branson truly understands the value of the customer experience and continues to enhance it at every opportunity. He is someone who is not afraid to take (calculated) risks and is willing to pursue new and innovative ventures if he believes in the viability of the idea. I love that he is willing to stand on the island by himself if he has strong convictions.

What are your long-term professional goals? I seek to be a Chief Strategy Officer for a global firm that is committed to the customer experience. I want to help drive innovative ideas that are not only beneficial to a company but are also in the best interest of consumers.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would want to thank my mother and family (friends and family) for their continued support. Without my mother, I’m not sure I would have the motivation to keep going. She constantly reminds me to focus on the stuff that matters and to stay optimistic and positive. My family continues to inspire me with their own personal and professional endeavors. We always take the time to support each other while also holding each other accountable. Both my mom and family mean the world to me.

Fun fact about yourself: I am literally a walking jukebox from the 90’s – specifically 90’s R’nB.

Favorite book: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Favorite movie: Memento

Favorite musical performer: India.Arie

Favorite television show: Scandal

Favorite vacation spot: Barcelona, Spain

Hobbies? Tennis, Reading, International Travel, and Live Music

What made Anthony such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Anthony Harbour has made a huge impact on the Rotman Community. He joined Rotman “looking for a university where diversity – of thought, gender, age, sexuality and ethnicity – was as fundamental to the student experience as the classroom instruction.” When he arrived, there was no formal student club to welcome the LGBTQ+ community. Instead of complaining about the issue, Anthony carefully took the time to listen and meet with as many students, faculty and administrators as he could to explore why and see if there was a need to create one. He then spent the next 8 months building a plan, mobilizing allies, and recruiting a future executive team. The Letters (an official student club to support the LGBTQA+ community at Rotman) was formed last year from his initial vision. The club has since grown to 62 members, run several successful events and recently convinced Rotman administrators to join the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) network. His direct efforts allowed two Rotman students to become Canada’s first ROMBA fellows and he has raised the visibility of the LGBTQ community at Rotman.”

Neel Joshi

Director, Student Life & International Experience

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto