Starting in July, I’ll be back in the same building, the same floor, maybe even the same chair where I sat before coming to HBS in 2014. I am returning to the same finance firm and I couldn’t be more excited. But as some people have reasonably asked, “If you’re going back to where you started, why take the time to come to HBS at all?” It is a fair question, and one that I considered deeply before matriculation and can reflect upon more fully now that I am on my way out.
I came to HBS because I wanted to experience things I knew I couldn’t necessarily experience at work. For me that started with global immersion. I grew up in the United States, got my undergraduate degree in the United States, and worked for companies in the Unites States. But being a global leader in an ever-shrinking world means actually getting out to see and understand the world.
Not only have I been surrounded by incredible classmates from across the globe who share their perspectives on a daily basis, but I have also packed my bags more than a few times to see the world for myself. Most notably, I spent the summer between RC and EC year working for an e-commerce company in Nairobi, Kenya. Experiencing business in a new environment is among the best ways to build a greater understanding of global markets. My time on the continent also included visits to six other African countries and added to a number of other countries visited during HBS thanks in part to programs like FIELD 2 and Immersive Field Courses (IFC). Good investing and corporate management requires contextual knowledge and an ability to differentiate among opportunities worldwide – I now feel much more prepared to operate with a truly global perspective.
I also feel fortunate to have been given such a unique classroom experience. Every day, via case discussions and interaction with protagonists, we put ourselves in the shoes of leaders and decision makers. We find a voice, we take positions and are asked to defend them, and we get to think through what kinds of leaders we want to be, in part by listening to the views of classmates. I have built a certain confidence that I know will serve me well back at work, and have had the opportunity to experiment with new leadership practices in a safe environment, something that extends beyond just the classroom into areas like HBS clubs.
When I return to work, I will lead teams for the first time. Colleagues will look to me for guidance, for strong views, and for leadership. I feel more prepared than ever to do these things well.
I loved the work I did before coming to HBS and I am excited to return with a much more comprehensive world view. I know I will be a better employee and a better person for having had the experience here. As Eric Roth wrote in his screenplay for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, “It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything stays the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you.” I know I have changed, in more ways than I expected when I first got to campus in August 2014. I will never regret the circle I just completed, it was one heck of a good journey.