Considering his previous experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), one might be tempted to see Andrew Holmberg as a sleuth, or perhaps a stoic investigator along the lines of the famous C.S.I. series characters. But for Andrew, whose role involved internal strategy, the F.B.I. experience was less about investigation and more about integration. In college, Andrew explains, “I majored in both economics and public policy; I’ve always been interested in the intersection of business and social policy, between private and public sectors.” At the F.B.I., where Andrew helped restructure human resources, consolidate facilities, and improve intelligence collection from the general public, he was able to “use business skills in a public sector kind of way.”
Making issues personal
After a few years with the F.B.I., Andrew, wanted to expand his business skills by getting an MBA. Harvard rapidly became his top choice. “After creating actionable change,” he says, “I didn’t want to be a passive classroom observer again. I like the case method because it’s active.” Equally important, HBS facilitates deep interactions among people. “In no other business school can you be exposed to so many people who’ve done amazing things in so many different industries and different parts of the world,” Andrew says.
At HBS, the personal becomes inextricable from the professional. “I expected to get a better footing in business,” Andrew says, “but professional success means more than just the bottom line. Leadership isn’t just about the P&L, it's about people and your relationships with them. It’s about understanding how the decisions you make affect not just the balance sheet, but the web of personal relationships within an organization.”
Making a lasting impression by being the first
“The people who come to HBS will have a huge influence on our world for years to come,” says Andrew. “Through my role as co-president of the LGBT Student Association, I can put a face on diversity issues; I can be a resource for greater understanding. How do we manage LGBT diversity in the workforce? How do we create an environment for tolerance? How can businesses benefit from diversity? By engaging classmates on these issues, I can have an enormous impact on the business world.”
This year, the LGBT Student Association is reaching a milestone by launching its first ever club-sponsored conference. Planned in collaboration with peers at Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School, the conference, scheduled for the first weekend in February 2014, will address, “LGBT issues and their implications for future leaders. I’m pretty nervous, doing this for the first time,” says Andrew. “But it’s also incredibly exciting. We’re setting a precedent for years to come.”