Billy Tabrizi (MBA ‘20) is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Accountancy. Prior to HBS, Billy worked at PWC and is currently the Section C Social Chair at HBS and is on the WesTrek Planning team.  

It’s late in August, and I wake up to texts from each of my roommates. Each text contains only one character: a single letter. One says “F”, the other “G”. This is the day we find out our sections. Naturally, I’d be the last to find out, since I have a habit of sleeping in. I open the HBS portal and see a letter that by itself meant nothing. I would soon find out that this one seemingly insignificant thing would shape so much of my life going forward – I was a member of Section C! 

#1: Your Classroom 

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The idea of spending my entire first year (the “RC” year) in the exact same classroom was daunting at first. It was hard to imagine staying posted in one seat while different professors come in and out. 

Two weeks in, I “got it.” Today, when friends visit campus, I take them to the Section C classroom – my home on campus – the place we laugh, learn, and feel the most safe bringing our unique perspectives to others both in and out of case method learning. 

#2: Flag Ceremony 

Every November, each section hosts a Flag Ceremony. We hang flags against the back wall, each representing a country where a student calls home. While we have culture nights as a section throughout the year, this single event captures the incredible diversity in the room. We celebrate our home cultures that brought us this great opportunity. 

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As a Greek-American, Billy presents Greece to the class on Flag Day  

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Members of Section C pose together after Flag Day, right after the flags in the room were hung 

#3: Evolve Groups 

Everyone has a story. Still, it can be hard to share this with 93 people immediately. Evolve takes sharing your story in a new direction.  

Twice a month, small groups of five get together to discuss meaningful topics: what do we value, what brought us to HBS, what are we afraid of — you know, those deep questions you only ask your closest friends. These five people, whom you stay with for two years, become some of your closest confidants on campus.  

#4: BYOP - Bring Your Own Perspective 

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Members of Section C work together in Spangler 

I love the case method. Perched in the back of the room (I have the best seat in the house), I watch our class discussion like a tennis match. Back and forth – students share their views on what choices the case protagonist can make and negotiate one view or another. I find my moment — someone says something particularly suspect to me, and I shoot my hand straight up: the protagonist would face colossal failure if she did what my section-mate suggested.  

The professor smiles after my comment. I knew I crushed it. At the end of the case, we learn the protagonist followed exactly what I had said. My classmate next to me nudged me to say good job. Then we get the 2018 update: the plan had failed. I refused to look up to see my friend smirking at me.  

This is the essence of the case method. You come in with a view. The class ebbs and flows. Classmates with industry experience weigh in and share new views. And then we find out... what DID happen.  

#5: Authentic Experiences 

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Section C classmates visit Mexico City together 

Earlier this month, a section mate took us to Mexico City, his hometown. While it's always fun to travel, there is something special about going to someone’s home country and seeing it through their eyes. No tourist traps or “basic” activities— we experienced culture and met hometown friends.  

What’s on your travel bucket list? Chances are that students from those countries will be in your section. 

#6: Community Values / MyTakes 

We all come to HBS with unique perspectives. Each section creates community values to help build the foundation for sharing perspectives in a safe way. Norms can be tactical in nature, such as knocking on your desk to gently ask someone to speak louder, or yelling “TECH RUN” when there’s a computer problem and cheering as the Section Tech Rep runs to the front of the room to fix it. 

Norms also extend to how we operate, such as weekly “family dinners” where everyone free gathers to discuss a hot topic or cultural issue.  

These all shape our ability to grow as a section and build meaningful relationships. They help us get comfortable with taking risks and pushing the boundaries of what we understand.  

We all have unique pasts, and MyTakes allow us to tell our story. These 15-minute presentations are a quick way to share “how did I become me?” and emotionally connect with the section.  

Some are topical: Veteran’s Day or National Coming Out Day. Others are simply “meet my family!” Whatever you choose to share, the section family supports you.  

#7: Faculty 

Our professors bring incredible real-world experience and scholarly research perspectives. They push our class to learn while also building meaningful relationships with their students.  

Professors love getting to know the section. They attend Friendsgiving, host separate social events with us, set up small group lunches, and are always available to meet. They too are part of the section. 

 #8: Partners and Family Members 

There was a very neat moment during pumpkin carving in October. Five children of Section C members came to an event to carve pumpkins. Two of the children were from Israel, one from Japan, one from the US, and one was from China. They also shared M&Ms even though none of them spoke the same language. They didn’t say a word, and they didn’t need to. 

Partners and their families are part of our section. Partners lead events, join clubs, and even roast the section. It’s not just 93 - it’s 93+. 

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Gavriel in Section C moved to HBS from Israel – he brought is his kids to pick and carve pumpkins for the first time as part of our Section C Pumpkin Carving event!

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HBS puts 93 students in the same room with a mandate to learn, grow, and make a difference in the world. It’s an incredible challenge but this group is family. It’s not 93 best friends, and it’s not 93 classmates. It’s 93 family members. You learn together, grow together, and support each other. We give each other the tough feedback. We push our way of thinking. We break eggs. And ultimately, we will help each other make a difference in the world.