Peek is an annual online program for current undergraduate students that provides an opportunity to try out the HBS case method of study, join a leadership development discussion, gain an understanding of the career flexibility and optionality that the MBA degree provides, connect with current students to learn about the HBS community and student experience, and hear about MBA admissions and financial aid.

We spoke with Yue Yu, a graduate of Connecticut College and a current master's student at Vanderbilt University, originally from Chengdu, China. She shared her insights from the HBS Peek program.

Why did you decide to participate in Peek?

Full disclosure: I am not a stranger to Harvard. In Spring 2022, I studied at Harvard College as a Visiting Student. The following summer, I worked as Research Support at Harvard Business School. Through these experiences, I learned about the work of HBS faculty and alumni and began to understand how studying business helps people make a difference in the world. As I contemplated a career in finance, I wanted to understand: what do Harvard MBA students actually learn? So, I decided to take a peek…

Peek provides students from around the world an opportunity to experience the life of an HBS student. In January 2023, I had the privilege of participating in Peek, and while I enjoyed all of the programming, I was particularly impressed by the Case Method discussion with Professor Ethan Bernstein, for two significant reasons.

First, in both our professional and personal lives, we often have to make decisions under uncertainty and constraints. The Case Method helped me to learn how to make difficult choices and resolve crises. Second, I enjoyed listening to the opinions of my classmates who came from different backgrounds. I had fun working on creating solutions together during Professor Bernstein’s session.

What was a major takeaway from your experience at Peek?

A major takeaway from Peek came from the central theme in Professor Bernstein’s and Professor DeLong’s sessions: leadership. Professor Bernstein highlighted the importance of understanding human psychology and the role of trust-building within organizations. He shared concrete tips for becoming authentic, logical, and sympathetic leaders. Professor Thomas DeLong taught us that an effective leader needs to notice what is going on with other people and lift them up. Specifically, Professor Delong underscored the importance of choosing an optimistic attitude in the face of adversity and finding the courage to move forward despite uncertainty. I have already found ways to apply these strategies to my daily life.

What surprised you the most about Harvard Business School?

What surprised me the most during my participation in the Peek program was the incredible diversity at HBS. During the Peek student panels, I was impressed by HBS students’ varied backgrounds and passions for different causes. Peek showed me that HBS is not just a school for finance professionals but also a hub for aspiring leaders across various sectors. In my Authentic Leadership Discussion with Professor DeLong, we discussed the Case Study of Harlem’s Children’s Zone and learned about how his former student Kwame Owusu-Kesse was able to use the lessons he learned at HBS to make the world a better place.

What advice do you have for college students considering attending Peek?

I highly recommend Peek. This incredible opportunity can broaden your perspective and you will benefit from leadership lessons no matter what profession you end up choosing! If you decide to participate, I humbly advise you to first enjoy the experience. The opportunity to learn from distinguished faculty at HBS is truly a luxury — so enjoy it and take it all in! Secondly, don’t hesitate to engage. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions during the case sessions. Speaking to hundreds of strangers can be intimidating, but it's an excellent chance to build your confidence.

Peek definitely changed my plans for graduate school. It demonstrated to me the value of an MBA degree and I found myself enjoying all of the lessons on leadership and management practice. After a few years of work experience, I hope to come back to HBS for my MBA degree.