I came to HBS right after college. While in college, I became very interested in understanding how people think, interpret the world around them, and make plans of action. Courses in Game Theory and Social Psychology helped fuel this interest. Looking around for options to explore these topics in more detail, I found that cutting-edge research in decision theory related topics was being done in business schools, and that HBS was a great choice given my specific interests.
My Research Interests
My main research interest is in exploring the process of human cognition and thinking. At HBS, I have tried to bring together work from cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, decision and game theory, and artificial intelligence and neural networks to create a deeper understanding of how information is processed in the brain, and add to a behaviorally realistic description of the thought process. Through this, I hope to explore topics like how managers and decision makers come up with strategies, and how to improve the process.
The Strategy Program
Given my main research interests, the Strategy program is a great fit as it is located at the intersection of many academic disciplines— Economics, Psychology and more—and also physically at the intersection of the intellectual wealth of Harvard and MIT. This was particularly relevant for me since a lot of the cutting-edge work in areas I am interested in is being done by the faculty at these two universities.
In addition to these "structural" advantages, the personal advantages of the Strategy program have been simply amazing. The faculty are open and extremely helpful in providing guidance, and at least as importantly, in allowing and even encouraging me to pursue my intellectual interests with a great degree of freedom, cross-cutting disciplines. The curriculum is flexible and the emphasis has always has been on taking courses that will be crucial to my work, rather than to just fulfill requirements. I have been able to take courses all over the university, and have found the faculty throughout to be approachable.
The HBS Experience
What do I like most academically at HBS? The intellectual freedom.
Advice for prospective HBS doctoral students
From my experience, I would say that the Strategy program places a lot of emphasis on personal drive. There are tremendous resources at your disposal—and the faculty are always ready to help if you need it—but you will not necessarily be given a path that you have to follow…it is up to you to take the initiative and make things happen.