I first learned about the 2+2 Program after an older friend from Vanderbilt, my undergraduate college, applied and was accepted into the inaugural class in 2008. My undergraduate background was in political science and human and organizational development, disciplines that likely would have led me towards law school. However, as a result of this new initiative I began thinking critically about business school as a pathway.
The opportunity to apply to HBS while still in college struck me as a really interesting one, especially since I had not considered business school to that point. As someone with an interest in the intersection of business and policy, particularly as it relates to generating economic development in the south, I soon began to find the opportunities and resources at HBS to be some of the best training imaginable for my career. Being accepted to HBS via 2+2 would prove a liberating and life-altering opportunity.
Before HBS, I spent a year traveling abroad on a fellowship from Vanderbilt University, studying national identity formation, comparative citizenship issues, and some of the challenges facing democratic institutions in countries across the world. My network of 2+2 admits proved hugely helpful as I looked for opportunities to connect with people across the globe during my traveling fellowship - they set me up with home stays, brokered interview contacts for me, and on more than one occasion, met me in their home cities for meals and adventure.
After a year on the road, I returned to the United States to join Teach for America, where I worked as a high school Social Studies teacher in Birmingham, AL for two years. After starting a nonprofit group while in my teaching role, I was prepared for returning to graduate school in 2013. Knowing that I was in the 2+2 program was hugely liberating for me, and I likely would not have pursued the traveling fellowship, or teaching and nonprofit leadership for that matter, had I not known that the opportunity for returning to business school at Harvard was not already determined in the future.
There is a fantastic 2+2 community on campus, and we make an effort to get together at least once a month socially to learn about what each is doing and how we might be able to help. Many of my close friends are folks I originally met through the 2+2 program admit class.
If you are considering applying to the 2+2 program, I would encourage you to think about your vision for your future and how early acceptance into an institution like HBS may accelerate you towards your broader goals, much like it has for me. Apply with an idea of how you might leverage acceptance to help make the most of learning opportunities by taking professional risks before returning to school. I think 2+2 brings tremendous value to HBS and I am a big proponent of the initiative and the recruitment of new classes of students. I look forward to seeing what new talent will be attracted to the school as a result!
See Wyatt's Portrait Project here.