The reasons for coming to HBS are as diverse as the student body itself. In my case, after having spent five years in finance, I felt that I needed a break from the usual day-to-day in order to reassess if I saw myself in this field long term or not. Rather than rushing to the next career promotion, I chose to pursue the transformational experience that Harvard has to offer. 

As an international student, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from HBS. Coming from Morocco and France, but having lived in Texas, the UK and Benin, I found it extremely easy to connect with other members of the diverse community here. I think there is no harder task on campus than finding out who is an international and who is a “local”. The statistics about the proportion of US passport holders do not say much about how international the community really is. There are students from everywhere in the world, and American students themselves have often lived in two or three different countries. 

It’s been particularly rewarding to be able to discuss topics from Chilean copper to nightlife in Tokyo with both Chilean and Japanese people but also with students from other corners of the world who have had an experience in one of these places and therefore bring a completely different perspective. 

It is very easy to make friends within the section “family” at HBS (something I was concerned about before arriving)- but also outside the section through student clubs organized around common interests or geographies. As a matter of fact, I was part of the French Society, the European Society, the Middle East and North Africa Club and the Africa Business Club. Each club brought me friendships I treasure today.

The international feel of the campus also comes from the efforts students put in to show their culture to their classmates who demonstrate an equally insatiable curiosity. For example, on International Day, students present their countries and cultures to their section. It is the occasion to dress up and taste international cuisine. 

However, what better way to discover a culture than to see it through your own eyes? That’s what the numerous trips organized by students to places like Australia, South Africa, Israel or South Korea are for. I myself had the chance to welcome 16 of my friends for an adventure in Morocco last May.  During my time at HBS I have felt truly spoiled in choice, not only in terms of the different people you can get to know but also in terms of the experiences you can have.

My two years at HBS have flown by, but all that I have gained here continues to shape me in ways I did not think imaginable.