03 Jun 2022

Advice to Incoming Students: MBA Class of 2022 Looks Back


­by Dorian Salinas

Now that the MBA Class of 2022 is officially out in the world, we asked recent graduates about the advice they wish someone had given them before coming to HBS, their favorite memory, and one lesson that will help them in their careers.

Vrinda Agarwal (MBA 2022)

Vrinda was a member of the Women’s Student Association, the South Asian Business Association, the Venture Capital & Private Equity Club, the Tech Club, and the Brew Club. She plans on starting a career in venture capital investing.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
The most important part of the HBS experience is the relationships you build with your classmates and professors. Take that weekend trip with a group of people you may not know so well, participate in that cultural event you haven’t participated in before, and really lean into the section experience. I would also advise to not close yourself off from career exploration. You may come into HBS wanting to pursue something specific, but this is the time to test uncharted waters and learn from all your peers who have worked in diverse fields!

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
During my first year I went on a trip to Portland, Maine, with a group of sectionmates I didn’t know very well. I met one of them through a Women in Investing Club event, and she invited me on the trip. As an introvert, I was hesitant at first—spending a whole weekend with people I didn’t know was out of my comfort zone! My fiancé encouraged me to go, and I’m so grateful that I did. From experiencing my first authentic lobster dinner, to walking around the quaint town during a beautiful New England fall weekend, to having deep conversations and lively dance parties with my new friends—it was one of my favorite moments. That group of 10 people are now some of my closest friends.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
Before I started at HBS, I had this misconception that business school—especially HBS—would be “all business, all the time.” That could not be further from the truth! HBS is truly one of the most transformational experiences that inspires you to be authentic and vulnerable in every aspect of your life. From attending student-run MyTake events and listening to my classmates bravely share stories of their lowest lows and their highest highs, to hearing professors’ final lectures during which they shared their most trying times and how they overcame personal obstacles, to opening up to a group of people I had just met about my own struggles and asking them for help, HBS has shown me the power of vulnerability.

Noelia Lombardo Gava (MBA 2022)

Noelia was editor-in-chief for the Harbus her second year, a member of the Women’s Student Association, and the Outdoors Club. She will be heading to McKinsey as a consultant in their San Francisco office.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
My biggest advice is to try as many things as possible, but not because of FOMO, but rather because you want to try them. During the first semester, you may try lots of different things because you don’t want to be left out. Then second semester, you may grow tired of having to do so much and end up not trying anything. The biggest challenge is finding the right balance. I knew that my time was limited and that there’s no other place like HBS. I was very conscious of what I wanted to participate in. Knowing that my schedule was going to be hectic, I was able to find the right activities and groups that I wanted to be engaged with during my time here.

I would also encourage incoming students to do an internship that is valuable and interesting to them. Many opportunities will come, but have patience waiting for the right one. In my case, I was going back to McKinsey—who was also my employer before coming to HBS—and I was able to try entrepreneurship in the nonprofit space, something completely different than what I was doing before.

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
It was during my first semester. Due to COVID guidelines, we were very restricted in terms of section gatherings. It was very stressful and disappointing at the time. But, following all guidelines, we were able to celebrate Diwali as a section. It was the first time that I felt a sense of community and the first time that I realized that the people surrounding me were going to be in my life for the rest of my life.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
That regardless of where I am, I need to pay attention to others’ stories and encourage those conversations. Prior to coming to HBS I always felt that complex identities were something I could not discuss or ask anyone about. But here, everyone is interested in their identities and the complexities that come with them. Getting to know people on a very deep level and trying to understand how they define their identities and how they see themselves in the world is something that I will continue doing in the future.

Justina Ramoskaite (MBA 2022)

Justina was women’s rep for Section E, a member of the HBS Show Club, the Women in Investing Club,the Venture Capital & Private Equity Club, and the Outdoors Club. Justina plans to start a career in early stage investing or a startup.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Get to know the faculty. They are incredible resources with interesting research topics, broad networks, and fascinating personal stories. I thoroughly enjoyed office hours where topics ranged from school and careers to balancing my personal life. I came to HBS with my fiancé, Giedrius Daubaris (MBA 2022), and getting advice and guidance from professors on how to effectively navigate the challenges of a dual-career household was extremely helpful.

And don’t be too hard on yourself. HBS is academically demanding, there are so many activities to get involved in, and so many interesting people to meet—it can feel overwhelming. Make sure you choose what’s important to you, do your best to prioritize, ask for help, and most importantly, enjoy it.

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
My fondest memories are the small dinners with my section. Our first year, COVID regulations made it hard for my entire section to meet. So, in typical MBA fashion, we created a “social gatherings” spreadsheet. We would add information for dinners/meetups and whoever wanted to go could simply add their names to the list. Given the small group sizes, we were able to have intimate conversations and learn so much about each other’s perspectives. Carving out time to really get to know each other was particularly rewarding.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
I internalized the difference between being proactive and reactive. Because there is so much going on at HBS, it’s easy to go with the flow and put your time towards what is in front of you in the moment, only to later realize that those activities took a lot of your time and you were not pursuing your priorities. Learning to be proactive and intentional is something that I will actively work on going forward.

Shrenik Sanghrajka (MBA 2022)

Shrenik was a member of the Squash Club, the South Asian Business Association, and the Venture Capital & Private Equity Club. He will be heading to Bain & Company as a consultant in their New York office.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Be bold.

Be bold by connecting deeply with classmates and faculty who may have walked different paths than yours before coming to HBS and become friends.

Be bold by understanding your own self further—as a leader, a founder, and a community member—and articulate your dreams and how HBS can help you realize them.

Be bold by taking risks and being vulnerable. Do what you may have never thought about doing before—in and out of the classroom—and show up authentically.

These next two years will be some of the best in your life. HBS can expand your horizons beyond your imagination. It is the perfect time, place, and environment to be bold.

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
Given that we started with online classes, one of my favorite memories is the first time my section had an in-person case discussion, “LEGO: The Crisis,” led by Professor Jan Rivkin. Seeing my peers in person, feeling their energy, hearing their laughter, and getting to listen to their discussions truly highlighted the magic of the HBS case method. I felt—and still feel—very grateful to have been a part of it all.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
Listen to others’ stories and points of view. Listen with purpose and without distraction. Listen first and talk second. Over the last two years I’ve listened to my professors, classmates, guest speakers, peers, friends, and family members with intent. It has unequivocally made me a better person and will forge me into a better leader.

Derek Soled (MD/MBA 2022)

Derek was a joint degree candidate with Harvard Medical School. He was the co-president of the MD/MBA Student Association and a member of the Healthcare Club. He will be joining Brigham and Women Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center as a resident physician.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, better than you, and more impressive than you in every way shape or form. If you’re lucky, you might become best friends with them. You should also take all your responsibilities seriously, but never take yourself too seriously. Do the best you can, but also have humility and take a step back to find perspective.

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
The times I spent with my section were my favorite memories. Even with COVID and the regulations that came with it, my section really prioritized getting to know each other in a safe way. We planned lots of outdoors activities and small-group gatherings to build camaraderie and get to know each other as a family.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
The best thing you can do as a leader is empower others and harness their enthusiasm to make the world a better place. Everyone has enthusiasm for something that they are passionate about. My primary job as a leader is to remove any barriers for people trying to achieve their goals and ultimately empower them to be their best selves, which will also strengthen the organization at the same time.

Milly Wang (MBA 2022)

Milly was a member of the Asian American Business Association, the Consulting for Impact Club, the Greater China Club, the Healthcare Club, the Investment Club, the Venture Capital and Private Equity Club, the Volleyball Club, the Women in Investing Club, and the Harbus Foundation.

What advice would you give to incoming students?
Relax, have fun, and take risks! Incoming students tend to be over worried, but everything always has a way of working itself out. Don’t be so stressed or focused on things so much that you trade off quality time with your peers and enjoying your time. Two years may seem like a long time, but it’s short! Think of what you are going to regret more when you’re 90 years old and look back on your HBS experience.

What is your favorite memory of your time at HBS?
I have loved all the treks! Most recently, my section did a trek to Morocco for spring break and it was especially meaningful since my Moroccan sectionmate organized it. HBS students come from all over the world and it’s amazing getting to visit their countries, experience their cultures, and bond with classmates.

What is your biggest takeaway from the last two years that will help you in your future endeavors?
Learning to follow my heart and recognizing that there is no one right path. I think many of us are prone to being risk-averse and we hyperfocus on the risks rather than the potential. I find it really inspiring that so many alumni have followed their hearts, taken unconventional paths, and still ended up where they wanted to be and are happy with the outcome.

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