23 May 2024

Harvard Business School’s MBA Class of 2024 Celebrates Class Day

Photo courtesy Hensley Carrasco.

BOSTON—Yesterday, all 1,010 members of the Harvard Business School (HBS) MBA Class of 2024 gathered on a sunkissed Baker Lawn to celebrate Class Day, a student-led ceremony conducted by a committee of graduating students that typically takes place on the day before the School’s and University’s official graduation ceremonies. Alongside their family, friends, guests, and HBS community members, they honored five Alumni Achievement Award recipients, four faculty teaching award recipients, and listened to the insights shared by their classmates.

View Video

The afternoon began with remarks by Class Day co-chair Tricia Peralta, who encouraged her classmates to be fully present in the moment and reflect on their two years at HBS. “I can confidently say the viewpoints, level of care, and thoughtfulness of [my section] has profoundly changed how I view myself and the world,” she shared. “I have no doubt, each and every one of us feel similarly shaped by the people we were surrounded with.”

View Video

Peralta then introduced Adhavan Adityan and Michelle Jeong, the Student Association co-presidents, who recognized and thanked those in the audience for supporting the graduating students throughout their MBA journey. Adityan and Jeong reflected on the experiences shared in and outside of the classroom, noting that current events have been a stage for profound trials but open dialogue is a necessity.

“We may not agree on everything, and that is certainly not the goal. But we owe it to this community and one another to build a network that can engage in open, thought-provoking, and civil dialogue, regardless of the complexity or the difficulty of the crises that we find ourselves in,” said Adityan.

Class Day co-chair Matt Glynn then turned the attention to the Faculty Teaching Awards being presented to Professors Sophus Reinert, Juan Alcacer, Ryan Buell, and David Moss. Each award was presented by a graduating student who was strongly affected by each recipient.

View Video

Student speaker Erik Roberts took his classmates on a trip down memory lane—from the day they received their admissions offer to present day—and spoke about the leadership lessons he learned from his father. Roberts shared some responsibilities that, according to his father, will help them stay on the correct path after HBS. “If we are known for leading with humility, giving generously, and for telling the very best stories, we are undoubtedly headed to infinity and beyond,” Roberts explained.

View Video

Class Day co-chair Katie Kondry then introduced Class Day Distinguished Speaker Desiree Rogers (MBA 1985), the current co-owner and CEO of Black Opal LLC and a recipient of one of the 2024 Alumni Achievement Awards. Rogers began by highlighting the importance of finding one’s voice and listening to others. She shared her first experience in an HBS classroom, where she felt too intimidated to speak. Rogers now sees that what felt like a weakness was actually a strength. “Yes, it was important that my voice was heard. But it was also key that I listen,” she said. “I already knew what I thought about a case, so hearing what others thought broadened my base of understanding, and that included opinions that I did not agree with.”

She asked students to stay true to their values and build a personal framework “for good,” sharing workplace experiences that might not have gone as expected, but that she led with conviction. “I walked away from a job I loved. But not before I assured my team that we had followed procedure to the letter. My values ultimately drove my behavior. I have come to believe that perhaps the only way to get to a lot of rights is to experience a lot of wrongs.”

Class Day concluded with remarks from Peralta and Glynn, who gave final thanks to those who made commencement week possible, and Kondry, who gave a final farewell to her classmates. “It’s been an absolute privilege getting to learn and grow alongside each and every one of you. I know I speak for Matt and Tricia when I say we can’t wait to see what you do next! Congratulations again! We did it!”


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.