SVMP 2001 HBS MBA 2007
College: Wake Forest, Bachelor of Arts
Work Experience: Private Equity, Private Client, Social Enterprise
Interests: Service, Governance, Church & State, Madden Football, Southern Food
What do you remember as the highlights of SVMP?
SVMP had many moments where I took into account facts, listened to others, and made judgments. This spoke loudly to me about the responsibility that leaders have and the role HBS that HBS has in training leaders.
SVMP really helped me to recognize that there are few "right" answers out there, and that many decisions depend on context and perspective. With time and hindsight opinions change, but what matters is that you have an opinion predicated on clear reasoning, active listening and proper questioning.
Among the highlights for me was the Beech-Nut Case, taught by Professor Hank Reiling, where the company had accidentally shipped out Apple Juice, that was in-fact nothing more than sugar water. Cases like this one on general management and ethical decision-making provided a crucible for examining tough challenges, taking a stand, and being held accountable for it in front of your peers.
How did that week impact your life?
SVMP had a profound impact on my life. That week both helped me to decide that I wanted to attend business school, and enabled me to hone my leadership skills and add to my toolbox of leadership abilities.
During my SVMP week, I refined my thinking under the tutelage of some of HBS's greatest professors. I also created friendships that endure to this day. One of my SVMP classmates is currently being fast tracked at a Global Fortune 100 Company and has experience with domestic and international management. What stands out to me about SVMP Alumni is not impressive trajectories, but that they form a cohort that you can gain support from as you deal with life's challenges. I am unbelievably grateful and honored to have spent the week with my SVMP peers in June of 2001.
Did you feel that the SVMP experience was representative of the HBS experience you are living now?
In SVMP, we had three cases per day, everyday, and while we had time to exercise and eat and socialize, it was an extremely focused and intense week. Our experience with the case method, professors, and study groups were very representative of the HBS experience I am living now. The quality and collective reputation of the faculty in SVMP were equally phenomenal.
What is different as student at HBS is that in SVMP your schedule is fixed. At HBS you have to be intentional about making decisions and tradeoffs about how you spend your time. Do you go hear the CEO of GM speak, go to the library, meet with classmates or a professor, do community service, worship, catch up with an alumni, work on your job search, or venture into Boston. This and many other options race through your head about how you should spend the two hours you have after your third case, before you attend a dinner with your section or exercise. You can not do it all. An important key to being a leader is having priorities, and this is biggest difference that is not replicated by the SVMP. But then again "everything to its own season."
Now that you have benefited from both the SVMP and the HBS experience, what are your dreams for the future?
I think it is too soon to tell. My SVMP and HBS experiences have been truly transformational, and they have unlocked new levels of potential in me - but with that also comes a new level of responsibility. All I can say is that I will dream big, act with a big heart, and accomplish great things by empowering others.