Having spent my childhood in a small Indiana town, and
having worked the past four years within family-owned companies in the calm,
open spaces of Colorado, I was incredibly nervous about the culture of HBS. I
had artificially painted a picture of a graduate school that may not be inviting
to someone like me.
After just three short months on campus, I have been
overwhelmed by the genuine kindness, curiosity, and support of my classmates.
Within my first week on campus, I enjoyed the following:
Going for a run with a fellow Midwesterner and
sharing wildly similar stories on the simplicity of our upbringing; stories of
working summers on a farm and crowded high school basketball gymnasiums.
Sitting next to a young man who worked in
manufacturing operations in China, while we listened to General David Paetrus
inform us on the future of the U.S. economy.
Enjoying a coffee with a young woman from
Slovenia, who took hours out of her afternoon to educate me on the current
dynamics of Eastern Europe.
This is a place where a young man who completed his term as
a Navy Seal was able to stand alongside his wife in front of 93 of his newfound
section mates and share some of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard. We
all teared up together, and saw how an amazingly loving life partner can help someone
recover from the pains of the battlefield.
This is a place where my mother, a quiet Midwestern
librarian, walked up to a friend’s home on a beautiful fall Saturday afternoon
and was greeted by a dozen strangers. They spoke with her for two hours, shared
stories of her son, and inquired about her life growing up in a tiny western
Ohio manufacturing town. She had more genuine, inspiring social interactions in
that afternoon than she’d had the prior six months. And it was all completely
random; driven by the kindness and curiosity of my peers.
This is a place that is truly excellent at unearthing
individuals with big hearts and a passion to help others. It gathers young men
and women who yearn to be a part of something bigger in life than just an
impressive LinkedIn page; these are people who strive to one day be recognized in
a moving eulogy that celebrates a life of compassion.
I hope some of these stories will remind you of your
undergrad days, where many of us enjoyed richly fulfilling experiences, and
created lifelong friendships. Prior to this August, I thought those would be
the last real “new” friends I would have in my life. In less than 100 days, I
have found friends who I know will stand beside me in my wedding and visit me at
the hospital upon the birth of my first child.
This is a place that is igniting my heart as much as my
This is a place which I will cherish forever.