When students first arrive at HBS, a whirlwind of activity takes place. First years quickly settle into new dorms and apartments, find out what section they’ll join, participate in a variety of START week activities, and begin to prepare for their first class.

Inevitably, the next two years fly by. Before they know it, students are packing up apartments, handing in final assignments, and preparing for commencement. And given everything they’ve learned here, and everyone they’ve come to know, these goodbyes can be difficult.

As a capstone to the HBS experience, the MBA Program recently launched Bridges, three days during which all graduating students, led by a faculty teaching team, take time to reflect on the past two years and consider next steps on their career and life journeys.

Here's what Tim Leach, a member of the Class of 2015, had to say about the experience. 

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Bridges was a powerful and fitting conclusion to our time at HBS.  Here I was, nearly two years later, back in Burden Hall where it all began.  The excitement and buzz in the room was just as palpable as it was then.  Similar to when we started at HBS, everyone present in the room was standing on the cusp of new beginnings and new adventures. 140425-JD-0164_HBS_CAMPAIGN_FRIDAY_2014_315903.JPG

But whereas at the start of my HBS experience I had looked around at a room full of strangers, now I looked around and saw countless friends.  And here we were all together, having come full circle; ready to begin the next chapter in our lives.

This session was the final part of our three day Bridges program to conclude our time at HBS.  Bridges had a number of themes; each aimed at providing an opportunity to close out our time at HBS and help prepare us for re-entering the workforce.  We heard from leading figures from HBS and other Harvard Graduate Schools on topics that will define our generation: climate change, the future of the internet, and income inequality to name but a few.  

The gravity of these issues goes without saying, but the real message was clear.  We, the Class of 2015, can and need to become leaders that tackle these issues and make a difference in the world.

On the professional front, we heard from industry veterans about what it means to re-enter the workforce with a powerful degree but still realistically, only limited professional experience.  No doubt we will all charge like a bull at a gate in our new roles that we have fought hard to win, but it was valuable to take pause for what it will really be like.  Regardless of industry, the advice was clear: be humble, listen, and deliver on what you promise.

The opportunity to reconnect with our classmates was by far the highlight of Bridges.  Whether it was attending lunches with our FIELD 2 global immersion teams, eating breakfast with our first year discussions groups, or getting together with people who will be in the same geography post-HBS.

A particularly memorable session was our section closure, when we all got back together as a section one last time. Particularly after the EC year, the section experience comes to mean very different things to different people, but sitting in the same seats as when we had our first class together, the nostalgia was undeniable.  

As we went around the room and everyone shared a few words, I’m not ashamed to admit, I cried.  To think that coming to HBS is just about a getting a degree is to fall way short of the incredible life experience that students have here.  I will miss it more than words can express.