“I think I’m prepared when I walk into class, but when I walk out, I’m amazed by how much more there was to the case.”

After undergraduate studies in economics and a graduate degree in political science, Farrah Jamal took another turn entirely – into health care. Ordinarily, the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital would not hire business managers without a health care degree, says Farrah, “but after I interviewed with the CFO, they gave me a chance – and I stayed almost three years.”

“Health care is in transformation,” Farrah says. “It’s an industry that can really benefit from the perspectives, lessons learned, and best practices of other industries. I see the MBA as a degree that would reinforce my value. And HBS? Where better to go than a place where you can learn from your peers?”

Personalized perspectives

“The classroom setting and discussions that evolve are phenomenal,” says Farrah. “I think I’m prepared when I walk into class, but when I walk out, I’m amazed by how much more there was to the case. The richness of the student interactions allows you to appreciate multiple perspectives personalized by experience.”

In her FIELD 2 project in Poland, Farrah herself initiated some surprises. “Our intent was to study an emerging market, but when we arrived in Warsaw, I couldn’t see what was 'emerging' about it—it looked like a fully developed metropolis comparable to other large European cities. Stimulated by the challenge, Professor Misiek, the project team’s advisor, took the group to a village one and a half hours outside Warsaw. “There, we got it,” says Farrah. “Every Wednesday, they had a market. We saw everything being sold from coal to diapers. Some people came in Land Rovers, others left in horse-drawn carriages.”

Perhaps the most striking aspect of HBS, Farrah believes, is how “everything – the cases, the classes, the clubs – is so purposeful. It encourages me to pause and reflect to be sure I’m getting everything I’m supposed to from my experiences.”