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Harvard Business School

Lessons From A Harvard MBA – Class of 2023

At Harvard Business School (HBS), you’ll never know who you’ll meet next. That’s because HBS prides itself on admitting students with unique backgrounds.

“I’ve spoken with MDs at private equity firms, presidents of renewable energy companies, founders of their own asset management firms, and more,” Kareem Stanley, an HBS Class of 2023 MBA, tells P&Q. “The common thread is that these folks are extremely thorough — our calls are efficient, insightful, engaging and always push me to be at my best.”

In a recent HBS blog post, Elisa Djuhar, an HBS Class of 2023 MBA, described the top lessons she’s learned in her first year at Harvard—offering insight into the unique community and what makes HBS one of a kind.

EVERYONE IS SMART, BUT EVERYONE IS ALSO HUMAN

There’s no doubt that HBS is home to many highly intelligent and accomplished students. The Class of 2023 holds a median GMAT score of 730 and students come from a variety of backgrounds—from finance to film. While the caliber of HBS students may seem intimidating, Djuhar was relieved to find a common thread among her peers—they’re human.

“Yes, everyone is smart and accomplished,” Djuhar says. “Yes, I have my anxieties, and so do others, but it’s okay because everyone is in the same boat. At HBS, a diverse student body means people with experience in every field imaginable. As a result, the learning experience is rich and unparalleled. After all, HBS is composed of inspiring, but imperfect, humans, and that’s the beauty of the HBS experience.”

SAYING “NO” IS OKAY

Most MBAs want to make the most of their two years. But doing everything all at once is impossible. Djuhar says one of the most important lessons she learned in her first year is the importance of saying “no” to prioritize her own needs.

“The first year can be demanding and draining – physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially,” she says. “I’ve learned that it’s important to prioritize your time between a social life, academics, career, and most importantly, yourself. You have to give yourself time to reset and recuperate – whatever that means to you.”

BE AWARE OF YOUR PRIVILEGE

Not everyone gets the opportunity to earn an MBA from a world class university, let alone an HBS MBA. Djuhar says she still hasn’t quite accepted the fact that she is an HBS student, but she knows that she didn’t get to HBS alone.

“…this privilege is a result of being born to supportive parents who pushed me to do my best in school and extracurricular activities, being able to benefit from strong education systems in safe environments, and having managers who trusted me to take on large responsibilities and projects early during my career,” she says. “If any of these had not happened, I probably would not have been where I am today.”

And with that privilege comes responsibility.

“At HBS, I’ve become more aware and convinced that given our privilege, we ought to give back to those who have helped us along the way, and pay it forward to those who do not and cannot have the same privileges as we do,” Djuhar says. “We learn from guest speakers, alumni, professors, and students who will be future leaders. With this knowledge and network I feel more empowered to make a positive difference in the world, and less intimidated by the global challenges that await us.”

Sources: Harvard Business School, P&Q

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