The Harvard Business School MBA faculty and staff are dedicated to providing students with a global education in leadership to fulfill HBS’ mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world. From designing courses to building communities, this mission drives each aspect of the MBA program. Students come from all over the world with different industry backgrounds, passions, and goals and work together to combine their unique experiences with the education they gain at HBS. However, it is the students who  decide what to do with their careers and how to make a world of difference. It is the students who ultimately end up teaching all of us. Here are the nine lessons we learned from the Class of 2019.

9. A Lesson in Vulnerability and Giving

Triston Francis and Sana Mohammed spoke eloquently about their experience as Co-Presidents of the Class of 2019. They share their keys to building a successful community - vulnerability and giving without expectation on return - during their 2019 Class Day speech.

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8. A Lesson in Strengthening Community to Create Global Impact

Each year, Dean Nohria selects students to receive the Dean’s Award for Service to the School and Society. This important distinction highlights the indelible impact that certain students have already made on Harvard, Harvard Business School, and/or broader communities. This year's recipients were:
  • Amanda Tyson and Lindsey Morrow (Co-presidents of the African American Student Union):"After members of the AASU board received a threatening and hateful email [from outside the Harvard community], Tyson and Morrow led a community response rooted in unity, empathy, and mutual understanding. First, they focused on their members to ensure the black community felt supported and safe. Next, they focused on a broader community response, realizing that students across various backgrounds face similar situations. The event, which they called “Community Conversation,” had an immediate impact as students, faculty and staff came together to openly share their stories and show support for all marginalized groups on campus."
  • Neel Ghose (founder of the Robin Hood Army): "Ghose brought his commitment to feeding the hungry to HBS, and during his time in the MBA program has increased his sectionmates’ awareness of the problem of global hunger. With the help of his classmates, the Robin Hood Army has been introduced into new countries including Indonesia, Nigeria, and Chile. Locally, he could be seen leading groups of students after section events to Harvard Square to deliver leftover food to homeless people in the area."
  • Megan Williams (CCO of the Student Association): "Williams is an unsung hero who embodies the purpose of the Dean’s Award through her comportment, dedication to section and community, integrity and inspiration of others. She served as the Chief Community Officer (CCO) and Student Association’s liaison to the RC Community Values Representatives, the latter being a new position established this year by the Student Association. In her capacity as CCO she helped develop important cross-section community-building initiatives including Community MyTakes and the Eat & Engage small-group dinner program, which facilitated over 400 students sharing dinner and conversation in groups of eight or less."

7. A Lesson in Self-Love

Class Day Speaker, Brandon Rapp, learned from his parents how important it is to love yourself. Brandon's dedication to education, community, family, and love has carried him to the front of the Commencement stage. 

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6. A Lesson in Selfless Leadership

The Leadership Fellows Program at Harvard Business School is based on University Professor Michael Porter’s vision of developing a network of HBS graduates with cross-sector experience who are committed to addressing societal issues throughout their careers.

“The program empowers our young alumni to make a meaningful and measurable impact on organizations’ top priorities and tackle some of society’s toughest challenges early in their career—in ways that we find deeply influence their personal and professional pursuits in the long-term.” - Matt Segneri (MBA 2010), Director of the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative 

“My goal is to become a leader in global development, where I can inspire future generations to make a positive difference, and enable the vulnerable to lead happier and more empowered lives. To that end, I am incredibly excited about the role of Director of Business Innovation at Points of Light. I deeply resonate with Points of Light’s belief that the most powerful force of change in our world is the individual and that even the smallest actions have an important impact."

Tanvi Jain, Points of Light

5. A Lesson in the Relentless Pursuit of Fostering Diversity & Inclusion

Erica Santoni's passion for diversity and inclusion led her to ultimately pursue a degree at Harvard Business School. At HBS, Erica ran for the position of Co-president of the largest club at HBS - the Women's Student Association. Through her tenure as WSA Co-president, Erica worked closely on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives across HBS and focused on creating more intersectional experiences for students.

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4. A Lesson in the Value of What You Learn at the Dinner Table

Maha Malik grew up in a house in Pakistan with nine siblings where she learned how to have productive conversations despite opposing views. Maha brought this experience from her dinner table to the case method and to the pursuit of her joint degree with the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School. Maha hopes to ultimately run for political office in Pakistan.

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3. A Lesson in Creating Innovative Products to Serve Far-Reaching Needs

Wil Ely noticed a gap in technology platforms for skilled workers in the U.S. By using My Toolbox, construction workers will have access to job openings and immediate payments all in one place. Will Ely's groundbreaking idea secured him the winning prize in HBS' 2019 New Venture Competition and we can't wait to see the difference My Toolbox makes on the lives and careers of so many. 

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2. A Lesson in Saving Lives

Another groundbreaking Class of 2019 innovation was created by Hamza Khan. Hamza's team took top honors in the 2018 New Venture Competition Social Enterprise track for his low-cost portable ventilator for patients in resource-constrained markets. In other words, Hamza Khan's Umbulizer will help people breathe.

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1. A Lesson in Following Your Dreams

There are so many amazing stories from the Class of 2019 - and far too many to choose from. The Class has left an indelible impact on the HBS administration and will for years to come. In fact, the Dean's 2019 Commencement speech was inspired by the interactions he had with these students over the last few years! We can't wait to see what the Class of 2019 does next.

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