How has your HBS experience shaped your career path?
I came to HBS from McKinsey and will continue working at McKinsey now that I have completed my MBA. This might lead people to think that HBS didn't really influence my career path, but it actually did. I now have a much clearer view of how I'd like my career to progress in the coming years—even though I do not want to think of that path as set-in-stone. My coursework at HBS and an internship between my first and second years helped me decide that I would like to focus my consulting work on health care. Through a field study with a start-up and through contacts I made while at HBS, I also confirmed that I would like to get involved with an entrepreneurial initiative at some point in my career. My MBA experience exposed me to great mentors—including experienced entrepreneurs in my field of interest—and classmates whom I hope to contact in the future. Perhaps most importantly, two years of reflection, coursework, and meeting people helped me to define what success would mean for me, and reminded me of the need for work-life balance and clear prioritization.
What are you most looking forward to in your career?
I am looking forward to tomorrow, rather than to an idealized vision of what I hope to have accomplished by the distant future. I want to enjoy each day, including the earliest ones, and take time to learn from those around me. This might seem short-term oriented or "carpe diem-like," but to me, this is a philosophy that I value. I do not want to focus intently on taking a rigid path toward a predetermined goal while using any means necessary to reach it. Of course, I understand the value of having an overarching career vision, but I also recognize the need to remain flexible while constantly learning from my experiences and reorienting as necessary. I am a strong believer in enjoying the journey and attempting to be self-aware, while also being mindful of those around me and of how they, too, might influence my path.
How has HBS prepared you for your new job?
I appreciated having time to step back and think about why I wanted to return to my previous employer after finishing my MBA. Having completed a dozen consulting projects before entering HBS, I wanted to reflect on what I was doing and how it was helping me improve as a person, while hopefully helping clients and others around me improve as well. Through coursework and networking opportunities during my HBS experience, I received a lot of career advice, learned key industry knowledge, made contacts and, most importantly, came to appreciate everyone's passion for what they were doing. I was reenergized both by witnessing this passion and by the many opportunities to indulge my own passions and interests, such as exploring the pharmaceuticals and healthcare fields through specialized coursework and a field study with a very promising medical imaging start-up. Right now, I am more than ready to go back to work with a more informed perspective on how my work can have a positive impact on me while allowing me to have what, I hope, will be a positive impact on others. I feel ready to go back to the company I worked before, with much better skills, enjoying the career boost coming from my HBS experience!