One of the things that I enjoyed most about HBS was the number of unexpected conversations that happened almost every day with my classmates. Each one of these conversations made me think a little differently about an issue or introduced me to a new perspective or new idea.
I expected such discussions in class and that certainly proved true, but what stands out even more for me were the encounters out on Spangler lawn, in the hallways between classes, or out at dinner where someone shared an idea or insight that challenged my own way of thinking. Sometimes the conversation would be about a case that we had discussed in class - this was especially true RC year.
But more often, the conversation was about something from outside of the classroom. I would bump into someone at the Aldrich coffee cart or see someone on the lawn and start by asking how their weekend was – and before I knew it we were talking about their opinion on the mayor’s race in Chicago, the recent talk by Jack Dorsey, or something else completely unexpected. There were so many times when I would come home and the first thing I would want to talk to my wife about would be the conversation that I was a part of outside of class.
One example of this happened very recently. Two members of the Class of 2015 gave a talk on a book they had written that discusses a philosophy for charitable giving throughout life. I was not able to attend the talk, but learned about it during a conversation with a few classmates the next day.
The conversation started with the contents of the talk but quickly grew to encompass thoughts on family, legacy, and obligations to varying communities in our life. The conversation referenced personal beliefs and values as well as a discussion of a case from the EC course “The Coming of Managerial Capitalism” that analyzed the impact of family fortunes. Long after the conversation had ended, I was thinking over the ideas that my classmates had brought up.
Such random and wonderful encounters happened frequently at HBS. They made me appreciate the incredible diversity in thought and in life experience brought to HBS by the student body. I am enormously grateful for having been part of such conversations these past two years.