17 May 2010

Eight HBS Students Honored for Service to the School and Society


BOSTON — May 17, 2010 - Eight members of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2010 have been named winners of the School's prestigious Dean's Award. The recipients, who will be recognized by HBS Dean Jay Light at Commencement ceremonies on the HBS campus on May 27, are Maya A. Babu, Sean A. Cameron, the team of Richard Chung and Philip Wong, John W. Coleman, Robert M. Daly, Jr., Andrew D. Klaber, and Whitney F. Petersmeyer.

Established in 1997, this annual award celebrates the extraordinary achievements of graduating students who have made a positive impact on Harvard, HBS, and/or broader communities. True to the MBA Program's mission, they have also contributed to the well-being of society through exceptional acts of leadership. Nominations come from the HBS community, and the recipients are chosen by a selection committee comprising faculty, administrators, and students.

"This award reflects the remarkable activities and achievements of our students outside the classroom," said Dean Light. "Recipients have set their sights on making our campus and the world a better place. We are happy to honor their accomplishments and confident that this kind of leadership and stewardship will continue throughout their lives."

Please see below for profiles of the 2010 recipients.

Maya A. Babu: Bridging Business and Healthcare

Maya A. Babu
Photo: Tony Rinaldo

A joint degree candidate at the Medical and Business Schools, Maya Babu has demonstrated "extraordinary" ability, leadership, energy, and charisma while making significant contributions to the Harvard community, the state, and the nation.

Babu, who plans to practice neurosurgery as well as shape government health policy, "vigorously embraces change, eagerly accepts challenges, and tackles tough issues, carefully researching them to find creative solutions and strategies for action," wrote a student nominator for the Dean's Award.

At HBS, Babu was on the board of directors of the weekly student newspaper, The Harbus, focusing on strategic issues facing the publication. She also served as one of the paper's section representatives and wrote several articles, including one on H1N1.

She also entered the HBS Business Plan Contest with a social venture entry called the Hope Project, which aims to pair mentors with at-risk high school students to help them gain entrance to college.

While at Harvard, Babu cofounded a chapter of AcademyHealth, a leading professional society for academicians, professors, researchers, and statisticians interested in health policy and the publisher of the journal Health Affairs. The Harvard chapter features a monthly speaker series, networking opportunities, and training sessions on topics such as statistics and data interpretation.

Babu served as national chair of the American College of Physicians Council of Student Members, representing over 22,000 medical students. Additionally, as chair of the Global Health and Policy Committee of the American Medical Association, she worked with AMA leaders to develop service projects and provide funding for World AIDS Day.

She is currently a delegate to the Massachusetts Medical Society's Finance Committee, where she helps oversee investments, investment policy, and the organization's multimillion-dollar budget. She is the longest-serving student on the Committee of Legislation, which takes positions on legislation affecting public health and the practice of medicine.

For the past two years, Babu has participated in research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, working with a team of neurosurgeons exploring whether socioeconomic status has an impact on the nature of trauma patient care. In keeping with her research interests, she has been the lead author of three articles, including one in the April issue of the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law titled "Undocumented Immigrants, Healthcare Access, and Medical Repatriation Following Serious Medical Illness," an examination of diminished access to care for underserved populations.

"At a place like Harvard, you meet a lot of inspired people, but it is rare to find someone who, in addition to being inspired, is truly inspiring," wrote one student. "Maya is that person."

Concluded another, "Maya exemplifies the type of person you are seeking for this award. She has an independence of heart, an intellectual mind that thrives under pressure, and a sincere concern for people's struggles and problems. Through her talent, genuine concern for others, and leadership skills, she quietly lights the world around her and draws people into the glow and warmth of her creative flame." Babu is clearly poised to make a difference in the interconnected worlds of business and healthcare.

Sean A. Cameron: Raising the Bar

Sean A. Cameron
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

No more than an hour after being elected "Ed Rep" (as in Education Representative) for his first-year section in the fall of 2008, Sean Cameron appeared at the door of an HBS administrator to discuss possibilities for making the classroom experience better. His zeal and focus on learning have never wavered during his two years in the MBA program.

The Ed Reps' role is to maximize the educational experience of their section, a diverse group of some 90 students who take all first-year required courses together. "From the beginning, Sean understood that an inclusive and productive case learning environment required intentional and ongoing efforts to create positive synergies," wrote a Dean's Award nominator.

"Sean was totally committed to crafting solutions to help his peers meet their learning goals," the nominator added. In the words of one HBS student, he was a "public servant for the School."

Cameron led and organized successful section review sessions for midterms and finals, worked one-on-one with students, and provided resources to enhance learning. "He was engaged and always thinking about new ways to reach out to the section," noted one classmate. He also provided an important avenue for students to share feedback with HBS faculty members on course content and process. Another HBS student, who worked closely with Cameron on the section leadership team, considered him to be the "gold standard" in all matters concerning the HBS participant-centered learning model.

But Cameron's contributions to HBS were not confined to his section duties. This year, as chair of the Education Committee, he advised, mentored, and motivated a group of first-year Ed Reps, helping them succeed in their new roles. He also made significant innovations and improvements in their training.

According to an HBS staff member, Cameron was also a "quiet force, who demonstrated that civility and determination can go hand-in-hand. In meetings with his peer representatives and section mates, he would listen empathetically, disagree respectfully, and work collaboratively with people whose style of engagement might be dramatically different from his own."

Cameron served as co-president of the HBS Investment Club and as a finance and economics tutor to first-year MBA students. He also designed and taught a new tutorial course to Harvard undergraduate students on financial investments.

During the January Term, Cameron and two other MBA students turned their attention far beyond Boston and Cambridge. Traveling to the Philippines, they worked on a research project to find ways to use that country's hydropower efficiently to enhance rural electrification.

Cameron made the most of his HBS education—and made sure that everyone else had that opportunity as well. As one faculty supporter put it, "He raised the bar for what an exemplary steward of the HBS education process can be."

Richard Chung and Philip Wong: Enriching Experiential Learning

Richard Chung
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Hundreds of Harvard Business School students have participated in the School's faculty-led international Immersion Experience Programs (IXP) since they began four years ago, but Richard Chung and Phil Wong decided to take the School's offerings in a new direction.

They worked together to create the Global Impact Experience (GIX), a student-led program that focuses on the identification of market-based solutions to global poverty. Chung's vision was the driving force behind the program. During his first year at the School, he was intrigued by the idea of leveraging business skills to create sustainable solutions to the challenges of international development. In 2009, he started a pilot-version of the eventual program in which three teams of students consulted for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Philippines, Morocco, and Jordan on business development-related projects. A faculty member who supported his nomination characterized him as "the perfect person" to help catalyze student action to address global development issues.

Wong joined Chung in leading the planning and management of the GIX program during its second year, when the program was officially integrated into the School's 2010 January Term offerings. Wong was described by one student nominator as a "rare combination of smartness and modesty who is universally admired by his classmates." With his passion and energy, Wong worked diligently to improve and institutionalize GIX processes to ensure the program's continued growth and success. Together, the two student leaders connected participants with faculty mentors, gained the support of the School's librarians to provide pre-trip research preparation, and created mechanisms to ensure the program's sustainability under a new leadership team that would succeed them. Throughout their efforts, their objective remained making sure that student learning and community impact remained a central feature of the program.

Philip Wong
Photo: Philip Wong

Indeed, the program has now enabled first- and second-year students with a passion for international development to use their business acumen on a real-world project abroad. Since the program's inception, students have worked on projects to design government incentives for private-sector investment in wind power and improve the supply chain of an oil cooperative in Morocco, analyze the impact of privatizing hydroelectric plants in the Philippines, create a framework for evaluating public-private partnerships in Bangladesh and Uganda, and assess the value of green building standards and develop a new incentive program for newly privatized public utilities in Jordan. GIX has truly become a complement to what one Award nominator described as "Dean Light's desire for more experiential education."

"Richard and Phil have demonstrated the best of what it means to serve the School's mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world," wrote another supporter. "They have greatly influenced their peers and made a significant contribution to both our January Term and the broader global community that, regrettably, is all too often in need of solutions to the problems caused by poverty."

John W. Coleman: Leading the Way

John W. Coleman
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

John Coleman has taken on numerous leadership roles and had an enormous impact on the lives of many members of the Harvard community during his three years as a joint degree candidate at the Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. As a Dean's Award nominator put it, "John has served the Harvard community in a diverse, substantial, and selfless way."

He has been active in HBS student government as a member of the HBS Senate. In that role, he led the Community Impact Fund, a Student Association effort that provides financial support for student-led initiatives that have direct and tangible impact outside the School. "John helped push out this community service program to students, doubling the number of applications and creating a more professional process to handle the solicitation and evaluation of submissions," wrote one HBS student nominator. "In two years, he helped distribute nearly $40,000 in funds to support student service projects in Boston, New Orleans, Kenya, and other locations."

Coleman also served as the Business School's representative to the Harvard Graduate Council, a student government body for all Harvard graduate and professional schools that aims to foster a sense of community and enhance the quality of life of graduate students University-wide. In addition, he was president of the HBS Business, Industry and Government Club and an active member of the HBS Christian Fellowship, where he is helping to create an official Christian Fellowship Alumni Organization to better connect HBS students and graduates.

For the past three years, as a founder and member of the Board of Advisors of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College (an organization dedicated to fostering leadership skills among undergraduates), Coleman spent countless hours mentoring students, leading instructional programs, and moderating panel discussions. "He has been incredibly giving of his time," wrote a nominator, "and is one of the key motivators for the organization, as it has grown from a handful of students to over 60 working to help Harvard undergrads learn valuable lessons they can use to help change the world."

An HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellow, Coleman worked last summer at the Housing Partnership Network in Boston to help stabilize families and communities affected by the financial crisis. "John had many choices for summer employment," wrote a classmate, "but he opted to give back to the local community by using the skills he had obtained at HBS and HKS."

Reflecting his longstanding interest in communications and speech, Coleman will be the MBA Class of 2010's Class Day student speaker, and he is now collaborating with two other HBS students to collect and edit material for a book titled Regaining Leadership: How a New Breed of MBAs is Rebuilding Capitalism from Within. The volume will feature the inspirational stories and reflections of some 30 current HBS students and young alumni on issues central to leadership, business, and globalization in the 21st century.

"John embodies both leadership and compassion," wrote one nominator. He now leaves Harvard to share those qualities far and wide through his words and deeds.

Robert M. Daly, Jr: Making the World a Better Place

Robert M. Daly, Jr
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

As a student in Harvard's MD/MBA program, Bobby Daly has already left his mark far beyond the Business and Medical School campuses. He has put his education and talents to good use to help disenfranchised communities receive quality medical care, including sexual minorities—gay and transgender individuals—in India.

After completing the first-year of the HBS curriculum in 2006, Daly began his medical studies and learned of a nonprofit organization in Mumbai called the Humsafar Trust (HST) that focused on the needs of sexual minorities and needed help developing a five-year strategic plan to improve its impact in the face of numerous challenges, including an ever-growing number of HIV-positive and AIDS cases. "I wanted a project that would use the business acumen I gained in my first year of business school but that was focused on healthcare delivery for disenfranchised populations," Daly said.

He traveled to India to learn of HST's efforts first-hand and began work on what came to be a 55-page document that was implemented in 2007 and that helped the organization reach higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness. The number of HIV tests it now performs each month, for example, has doubled from 250 to 500. It distributes more than 700,000 condoms a year and reaches out to 60,000 gay individuals with a variety of educational programs. Daly also advised HST on budgeting and devised tools to help it measure results—something that philanthropies cared about when they were considering grants. With accurate figures in hand, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development continued to provide financial support.

While working with HST, Daly also addressed the difficulties faced by the hijra community-a group that traces its origins to cultural roles in India in the fifth century BC and whose closest Western analogy is the the male-to-female transgender community. Stigmatized by society and turned away by most hospitals, they commonly resort to prostitution to survive. Almost 70 percent of those in Mumbai have contracted HIV/AIDS.

According to a fellow student who nominated Daly for the Dean's Award, "Bobby responded by working with the Humsafar Trust and two other Harvard Medical School students to create an innovative solution—a business plan for mobile testing vans equipped to provide hijras with HIV education and on-site testing, treatment, and counseling for sexually transmitted infections." Daly submitted the plan to the 2008 HBS Business Plan Contest and presented it at the School's Social Enterprise Conference. He continues to seek funding to turn it into a reality.

In the midst of all this, plus intensive course work and preparation for his medical boards, Daly was also a leader of the Harvard Medical School Entrepreneurial Society, advised fellow medical students on the advantages of the dual degree program, and helped answer questions about the residency process. This summer he will begin his residency in internal medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Another nominator noted that Daly "has done exceptional research on quality and safety in healthcare delivery. He is a person with a genuine commitment to making the world a better place."

Andrew D. Klaber: A Multitude of Interests

Andrew D. Klaber
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Andrew Klaber is a JD/MBA candidate with a deep commitment to public service and leadership. Indeed, one HBS faculty member who nominated him for the Dean's Award described him as "the most exceptional social entrepreneur I have met during my time at the School." He is a person of many extraordinary accomplishments who has had a remarkable impact on many people on this campus and beyond.

At HBS, Klaber was active as a leader in student clubs and other activities. He was co-president of the Harvard JD/MBA Association and the HBS Jewish Student Association. In the former role, he played a key part in organizing a 40th anniversary celebration for the dual degree program, which, according to a faculty nominator, was "a tremendously successful event that brought back to campus the largest group of students and alumni in the history of the program."

Klaber continues to serve as president of Orphans Against AIDS (OAA), an all-volunteer organization he founded while an undergraduate at Yale. Today, this international nonprofit provides academic scholarships and healthcare to more than 600 children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia. Given Klaber's involvement in this good cause, his HBS section donated part of the proceeds of their charity auction to OAA. And Klaber did some strenuous fundraising of his own. Last year, he ran the Boston and New York City marathons to raise money.

Klaber started the organization after he spent a summer in northern Thailand, where he was shocked to see many teenage girls forced into prostitution after their parents had died of AIDS. As a young leader working to bring positive change to the developing world, he was invited to speak at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—a gathering that brings together top business, political, and academic leaders to discuss the world's most pressing issues. During that event, New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof wrote that Klaber was one of a very special group of young social entrepreneurs "who can make this planet a better place."

Klaber was a founding member of Harvard Business School's MBA Oath, a voluntary HBS student-crafted pledge that asks graduating MBAs at Harvard and elsewhere to reexamine and reaffirm the obligations they hold in the business world. No stranger to rowing (he was a member of Yale's national championship lightweight crew), he captained the combined Law School and Business School eight that won the International Graduate School Regatta and was the top graduate school finisher at the Head of the Charles Regatta from 2006 to 2009

In the classroom, Klaber's "phenomenal work ethic" and "insightful participation" impressed both peers and professors. "Andrew was always ready to take on tough questions," wrote one faculty supporter.

After Commencement, Klaber will work in investment management, where he wants to "build symbiotic, catalytic relationships between the private sector and the public and non-profit sectors." Expectations are high. "Decades from now, we'll still remember where he sat," said one classmate.

Whitney F. Petersmeyer: Taking on Important Issues

Whitney F. Petersmeyer
Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Whitney Petersmeyer has spent much of her extracurricular time at Harvard Business School "promoting integrity, trust, and the ambition to make a difference"—the watchwords of the 20-member Leadership and Values (L&V) Committee to which she was elected as a first-year student and that she chaired during her second year.

"Whitney was an amazing L&V rep for our first-year section," wrote a classmate who nominated her for the Dean's Award. "She has an incredible ability to facilitate difficult conversations and ensure that even those who disagree feel equally respected. She took her role incredibly seriously and treated all topics with care and respect. She was our role model."

As head of the committee, Petersmeyer did a superb job of running weekly meetings and providing advice and guidance for her colleagues. But she went far beyond that as well. She revitalized a speaker series on L&V issues, provided formal opportunities for end-of-year reflection, and updated a handbook for her successors detailing the chair's tasks and responsibilities. In addition, last fall she worked with the School's Joint Committee on Diversity to organize and facilitate a training session for all newly elected section officers.

Petersmeyer complemented her efforts on behalf of leadership and values with her advocacy of the MBA Oath, a pledge "to create value responsibly and ethically." Developed by a group of HBS students in 2009 and signed by business school students around the world since then, she argued eloquently for its adoption in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek op-ed she coauthored last December. "We see the MBA Oath as an important 'first step' of a long journey toward improved business leadership," the editorial said. "The Oath is not a silver bullet that in and of itself will suddenly alter the course of business. Rather, it is a catalyst to bring serious business leaders together to engage in the difficult work of asking how a higher ethical standard can drive decision-making—how principles can drive action."

Petersmeyer's penchant for taking on important issues and trying to solve them was equally apparent in other venues. She was a two-time participant in the New Orleans Immersion Experience, a yearly on-site effort by Business School students, faculty, and staff members to help the city continue its recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

The U.S. education system got her full attention last summer, when she worked as a research analyst for Teach for America (TFA), an organization dedicated to improving the quality of urban and rural public schools. Recently named an HBS Leadership Fellow (a Business School program that encourages MBA students to take jobs in nonprofit and public-sector organizations by partially subsidizing their salaries for a year), she will return to TFA after graduation.

"To me, Whitney Petersmeyer exemplifies leadership and contribution to community," concluded a classmate. "Her thoughtfulness and charisma mean that she is able to mobilize people toward positive action. When I think about my time at HBS and the many amazing people I have met, she stands out as the person who has worked the hardest to leave this community stronger than when she entered it."

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.