I grew up in NYC and attended an all-girls private school from k-12. After earning my B.A. at Harvard, I started a nonprofit in Ghana that provided nurseries and literacy centers for poor children. I went on to work at Bain & Company, earn my MBA, and work at Bain again for a few more years.
I have always been dually passionate about business and academia. As a consultant, I realized that I was becoming more and more fascinated with understanding the organizational and leadership dynamics I observed at Bain and in the clients I advised. I decided that I wanted to explore these topics more deeply by pursuing my PhD.
My Research Interests
My research focuses on how stress affects performance. I am generally interested in understanding how organizational environments—characterized by deadlines and multi-tasking, and other attributes such as being a numerical minority or having low status—can engender stress, and how this stress can have spill-over effects on performance.
The Organizational Behavior Program
Organizational Behavior was absolutely the right choice for me. I am fundamentally interested in understanding how individuals experience organizational environments and how their behavior affects organizational processes, practices, and outcomes. Since the HBS OB program is a joint program, I thought it would be incredibly valuable to have a disciplinary foundation by focusing on social psychology and understanding how theories in social psych lend themselves to behavior in organizations.
The HBS Experience
My time at HBS has forced me to be entrepreneurial. You have to find people who are doing research that interests you and pursue research projects with them. They are not necessarily going to seek you out, requiring you to be incredibly proactive. These are skills that are critical in academia where you are forging your own path.
I also liked that this program is interdisciplinary… so you live in two worlds with an even larger base of faculty to learn from. In addition, there are tons of speakers that come to campus so you not only get access to top scholars at Harvard on regular basis, but also from other schools. I also had wonderful classmates who I just clicked with and pushed me to be at the top of my game!
What affected me the most? My advisors! I had such wonderful advisors who were incredibly supportive, generous with their time and knowledge, and so enthusiastic about our work together. I also had several mentors with whom I did not directly work on projects, but were a constant source of support and guidance.
I will be a professor at Columbia Business School in the Management unit, teaching leadership to first year MBAs.
Advice for prospective doctoral students
Try to find mentors very early on who are committed to working with you and teaching you all that they know. Cast your net wide in the first few years as you try to figure out who you will be working with and what your core research stream will be. After year two, try to focus on the most promising research avenues that intrigue you the most. These two will not always co-exist, so leverage your mentors to figure out where you should devote your scarcest resource—time!