“Here, I work for the world’s leading academics and former CEOs and do my best to not waste a moment of it.”
Before I worked at HBS I was working in the Hotel industry, where I was an assistant front office manager. I was living in San Francisco but wanted to change careers mainly due to work/life balance. When I moved back to Boston I was looking at different career options and was told to look at Harvard. I was amazed at the options and applied to various positions, but I was drawn immediately to the Business School as I have an undergraduate degree in business and had spent my career until then in the management field. I was focused on finding a job where I could better myself while earning a good income and maintaining a good work/life balance.
I know that it sounds cliché to answer this question as emphatically as I am about to but this is the truth. Every day I remember the ridiculousness that was my last job and look at the opportunities that I have here, the people that I work with, the environment and work life balance and just laugh. My previous career offered me a faster track to the top, as I was climbing the corporate ladder, but that was leading to burnout by age 27. Here, I work for the world's leading academics and former CEOs and do my best to not waste a moment of it. I'm able to be home at 5:30pm and I'm not expected to work weekends. Holidays and real vacation time? Those were words that we used sarcastically or dreamed about when we got off of 18 hour shifts at the hotel. My work always represents the best that I can do but it should never dictate how I live my life.
When I took my Innovation course at the Harvard Extension School, which is credit towards my master's degree and cost me only $40, my final exam was a case study written by one of the professors I support. I work with the people who lead the world in academic and field research. I support the former CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals and I could not imagine a nicer man. Where else could I ask such an esteemed person for advice on my career and education advancement?
Outside of HBS my life is consumed with renovating my condo, planning my wedding, and the big one, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (don't let my fiancé see the order of these). I train about 4 days a week after work and have been competing in tournaments for a few years, something I never could have done with the requirements of my previous job. When I first came to HBS and met my faculty I kept this to myself but when I finally told my faculty I was surprised to learn that one of them was a Judo guy and the other was a high school and college wrestler. How many other people get to discuss weight cutting techniques with the former CEO of Merck, or Judo throws with a leading professor in the field of innovation?
I work at the highest center of learning in the business world. HBS sets the education paradigm and to not take pride in the institution would be foolish. Our campus, which is a stone's throw from Harvard Square, is a sparkling gem, with bunny rabbits running around and beautiful architecture. Bunny Rabbits?! How can you not love this place? We are our own community, with its own culture and spirit, yet inviting to all and always eager to welcome others into the fold. I remember walking back from the square one day and finding a semi confused and lost tourist who wanted to find HBS. I took her all around campus snapping pictures of her in front of all the buildings and doing my best to play tour guide. I did not think much of it at the time but what we take for granted, the HBS campus, is more than that. It is home to a tradition of excellence, customs, and an expected level of character that is unmatched by any other school or work environment.
My accomplishment which I am most proud of beside my day to day work would be my education here. I am formally pursuing a master's degree at the extension school and informally soaking up as much information and experience from my professors as possible. My third professor researches and publishes on waste-to-energy production and one of my tasks has been to transcribe her interviews and help prepare research. I feel like anyone with a decent typing skill set could accomplish this task. But I take pride in this and go beyond that, making it my personal ambition to not let an ounce of this wisdom slip through my fingers.