San Francisco, CA
Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, 2009
NextGen Angels; McLarty Associates; McLarty Companies; Spa Chakra
Women's Student Association, Venture Capital & Private Equity Club, Entrepreneurship Club, Hospitality & Travel Club
“The reality is, we can lean on each other.”
Anna King, MBA 2015, has been a nanny, an analyst for an international spa company, an associate at an angel investment fund and the "right hand woman" to a former White House chief of staff. She has deep interests in start-up businesses, politics, and hospitality. The pieces may not fit together in any obvious way, but for Anna, that's perfectly acceptable. "I have a big passion for experiences and for the ways business interacts with government," Anna says. "What's important to me is that the work I do is diverse and changing. I like to switch up what I do day to day."
"I'm probably a little bit of an odd duck in that I don’t know exactly what I want to do or where I'll be in five years," says Anna, acknowledging the personal and practical pressures that come with the pursuit of an MBA. "In some ways it's terrifying to be sitting here in November and not know what I’m going to be doing next year, but in other ways, it's exciting. I feel confident that I can find something I'm passionate about because I have the Harvard community to help me. The reality is, we can lean on each other; we can use alumni connections and the expertise of professors to help us figure out where we're going and how to get there."
Finding, and giving, support of all kinds
Anna came to HBS "to shore up some of the business fundamentals," but once she arrived, found much more. In her EC year, Anna is learning how to work the stock market under the tutelage of Professor Rob Kaplan, a former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs. Through the Hospitality & Travel Club, she has met one-on-one with "very high-profile, very impressive" CEOs in the industry. To bring her career into focus, Anna is "constantly meeting with career and professional development coaches, using their assessment tools to tease out what it is I'm good at and what it is I like to do."
But Anna feels strongly that the HBS community trumps everything else. "It's easy to say you’re going to be thrown into a section of 90 and you'll all be close, but to live it and experience it has been very transformative for me," says Anna. "I have deep, lasting friendships with people on campus that I didn't expect I would have." These relationships defy other expectations as well. As her section's representative to the Women's Student Association, Anna likes to host events that "spark debate" regarding women's issues. "I would expect only women to show up, and the truth of the matter is, I always have more men than women show up. The reality is, men understand these issues too and want to be supportive of women in the workplace—that's something I'm very proud to say happens here."
Summarizing the collective spirit of the HBS campus, Anna says, "We're all young and we're all going to change our careers and our objectives and our priorities many times over. I'm learning to accept that and be comfortable with the unknown." No one is alone in this process. "Everyone wants to help one another," Anna says. "And it's really incredible how many different paths you can take when you leave this place. I think I'm like the freshman in the cafeteria—I see all these different things and instead of choosing one I'm putting it all on my plate. At HBS, it all boils down to community and opportunity."