If there’s one thing our LEAD (Leadership and Organizational Behavior) Professor David Fubini (MBA 1980) tried to drill into the MBA Class of 2024 Section I, it’s that we should take the time to thank the people who got us to HBS – whether that be our parents, our partners, our mentors, or everyone else in between.

And so, it came as no surprise that our section came together on a spring Saturday to fulfill this very purpose. We had a total of 81 guests, including attendees both in person and via Zoom. These individuals journeyed from as far away as France and as nearby as Watertown and Wayland, Massachusetts. Zoom allowed us to connect with participants spanning the globe, hailing from countries such as China, Colombia, Germany, Nigeria, the Philippines, and across the United States.

All our guests arrived well-prepared and eager for a robust case discussion, skillfully guided by our esteemed LEAD professor. Even students who did not have external guests present enthusiastically joined the audience, providing their support and applause for our guest participants. It was a celebration of collaborative learning and knowledge exchange, uniting people from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations in the pursuit of academic excellence.

Professor Fubini led the discussion with the same level of rigor and high expectations that he maintains in any Harvard Business School class. Described by parents as "inquisitive, inclusive, and thoughtful," he engaged in cold calling, setting the stage for the case by actively involving participants. He skillfully managed the discussion, politely redirecting those who spoke too long and fearlessly addressing parents whose viewpoints diverged from his own. In one instance, he remarked, "That's what we'd call presumptive thinking!" when responding to a parent's perspective. What set this session apart was Professor Fubini's innovative approach. He even called on Travis Fox, partner of Meghana Bansal (MBA 2024), to roleplay as CEO Rick Cohen telling his staff about the organizational changes he was going to make.

This ended up being one of the most heartwarming and cherished moments of the first year for many of us in the section. It was fascinating to see the similarities between section mates and their parents – their mannerisms, quirks, and ways of approaching life. However, what made this occasion even more meaningful was witnessing the profound sense of pride on the faces of many family members. They were able to gain a firsthand understanding of what it's like to walk in their students' shoes, and that, in itself, was a deeply fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Professor Fubini wrapped up the class, as he did last fall, with a video showing the protagonist sharing what decision he made and what the aftermath looked like. He also gave the parents a sneak peek of what went into preparing for a case, including showing his discussion outline and a color-coded seating chart he used to ensure that every student was able to participate.

“I had a great time at Parents’ Day,” shared Christy Chen, mother of Sandie Xu (MBA 2024). “As someone who never studied in the US, I loved seeing the classroom dynamic at HBS. It was great to get an inside look at my daughter’s experience at business school.”

We ended with a potluck with our other professors joining us, where everyone was eager and proud to introduce their guests to one another. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to know my sectionmates more through the eyes of the people who know them best, and at the same time be able to bond with my aunt and uncle who came in from New York and my mom in the Philippines who attended on Zoom.

I can only hope that this becomes a tradition at HBS!