Portrait Project

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Abhi Sharma

I plan to change the odds.

So there I was, procrastinating while trying to finish Friday's cases, when out of idle curiosity I decided to find out who else from back home had walked these halls, sat in these chairs, made these friends. I'll be honest: I was also wondering whether one of them might hire me for the summer.

I come from a small country: twelve million people, mostly poor. So the empty search result should not have come as such a surprise; yet it did. Not one MBA student in the 100-year history of the school had come from Zambia. Until now.

I understand that opportunity is a privilege, not a right. I recognize that meaningful change will have to be organic, evolutionary. I came to HBS with the intent of creating for others the opportunities that were granted to me. I also know that this passion to shape a better future is not mine alone. It is the common thread that binds my aspirations to those of every underpaid schoolteacher, every relentless entrepreneur, and every child back home.

I know the odds don't seem particularly favorable. Yet I also know that together we have the capacity to change them.

And who knows? Maybe someday I'll get a call from a young, eager HBS student trying to see whether I'll hire them for the summer.

— Abhi Sharma