As a senior in college, prepared to graduate with a job in consulting and a new life in the city, I was not specifically considering any element of an MBA. While I knew that I might face graduate school in a few years, I was happy to take a break from professional development to focus on finishing out my time at Smith. So, when the posting for Harvard Business School’s Peek Weekend slid through my inbox, I mainly clicked on it out of curiosity around what such a short program could possibly provide. What would be the impetus—both for students and the program administrators—to participate?

After talking to someone who wrote a similar article in MBA Voices about her experience at the inaugural Peek Weekend, I became more intrigued. She raved about the value of the classes and how completely immersive the experience was. I had to see for myself, so I applied.

My first piece of advice on applying to Peek would be to be open and honest about whatever aspects of yourself are featured in your application essay. As you will learn during the weekend, HBS is not looking for cookie-cutter applicants. Think about what makes you unique and interesting, even if it doesn’t immediately strike you as ‘business.’ After all, HBS is not for businesspeople, it is for leaders.

Participating in the Women's College cohort helped to underscore this element. I attended a women’s college because I wanted to be around smart, interesting people who would push me to be my best self (a common theme among women’s college applicants), and I have consistently seen leadership exemplified at Smith. Similarly, during the program at HBS, the cohort provided an anchor by centering my interpretations within a motif of leadership and collaborative discussion during what could have otherwise been a completely overwhelming experience. 

Having attended Peek, I now have a far better understanding of the amazingly supportive alumni network, the engagement of small group discussions before class, the extensive student involvement in on-campus organizations, and the variety of professionals that finally emerge. Yet, the most valuable element of the program was actually being able to participate in classes with HBS professors and my peers throughout the weekend. Although I worked in groups throughout undergrad, there was a kind of real-life possibility in the cases we explored that I had not previously experienced. I now not only have a much deeper appreciation for what a Harvard MBA could offer, but I also have a broader perspective on what the collaborative learning/working environment can provide within a business context. 

With all of that in mind, while you will learn a lot about HBS and gain a better understanding of the components of an MBA, at Peek you will most immediately gain a flash education on leadership and collaborative working that you can apply in school, extracurricular activities, or in your positions directly out of undergrad. I had graduated college only about a month before coming to Peek, but the moment I stepped off of the campus, I realized that there is plenty of learning ahead.