About to graduate from HBS - Ask Me Anything (AMA)

About one year ago, I did this AMA about finishing my first year at HBS.

Two years ago, I did this AMA about being accepted and attending HBS.

Seems only appropriate that I close this series out with Part 3...

I will be busy with graduation-related activities (we just finished this thing today called "Class Day" and the actual commencement ceremony is tomorrow May 24), but I will do my best to respond to questions.

Happy to answer any and all questions (even questions that are already covered in previous AMAs), but before you ask about how far I can punt a football, please know that my answer is still unchanged - "I never punt. Always go for it on 4th down" *

*on Madden, that is

Comments (88)

May 23, 2018

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May 23, 2018
AlphaFound:

How challenging was the coursework? How were clubs? Was everyone very supportive of each other helping each other out?

How challenging one finds the coursework really depends on your previous background. For the WSO crowd, you will be fine in the finance courses, but some people who have never learned finance struggle. First-year finance (Fall and Spring semester) is often considered the most challenging class for most students without a finance background.

Clubs are an essential part of the HBS experience. They provide an opportunity to meet other people in different sections (the social scene at HBS revolves around the section you are affiliated with) as well as work on leadership skills (e.g. holding a leadership position in a student club). They are also a great way to network with professionals who are working in an industry you are interested in targeting (e.g. many students who are interested in getting into hedge funds join the HBS Investment Club)

Students are very helpful and supportive. There are always going to be a few unnecessarily cutthroat bad actors in each section, but the vast majority (98%) of people are willing to help people who are struggling with the material. I saw this often when people with finance experience (IBD, PE, etc.) volunteered to tutor or hold study sessions for students less comfortable with finance.

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May 23, 2018

Thanks and glad to hear... I attend a non target (for STEM though) and everyone is really helpful but at the target university in my state for fiance i hear it is very cuthroat and people will do anything to get a ahead of one and another... Glad to hear HBS is not like that.

May 23, 2018

First, thank you for doing this. Now questions; probably cover lot of people's question: 1) What type of school did you attend prior to HBS? Target, Non - Target? 2) GMAT or GRE score, major, GPA prior to applying? 3) What type of work experience or internship did you have prior to going to HBS? 4) What was the school like - your expectation vs. reality?

May 23, 2018
Michiavelli:

First, thank you for doing this. Now questions; probably cover lot of people's question: 1) What type of school did you attend prior to HBS? Target, Non - Target? 2) GMAT or GRE score, major, GPA prior to applying? 3) What type of work experience or internship did you have prior to going to HBS? 4) What was the school like - your expectation vs. reality?

1) I attended a target
2) GMAT, 730, GPA rounds up to ~3.7
3) Investment banking at a bulge bracket
4) Expectation - relatively light academics will allow me to focus on career and social stuff
Reality - the first year of the MBA curriculum is actually quite a bit of work (purposefully designed that way) and can be stressful even with good time management skills

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Sep 1, 2018

How many years did you work at the BB prior to HBS?

May 23, 2018

In your one year post, you said you were going to be doing tech focused VC. Are you going to be doing FT with the same firm/same space?

It seems like you had to really grind to secure that internship opportunity. This seems in line with what I know about sell-side to buy-side transitions via business school. Do you think that the opportunities that you were up for were a result of throwing around the HBS name when you were networking? I'd really like to get a sense for how feasible this transition is outside of H/S/W.....

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May 24, 2018
Draper Specter and Co.:

In your one year post, you said you were going to be doing tech focused VC. Are you going to be doing FT with the same firm/same space?

It seems like you had to really grind to secure that internship opportunity. This seems in line with what I know about sell-side to buy-side transitions via business school. Do you think that the opportunities that you were up for were a result of throwing around the HBS name when you were networking? I'd really like to get a sense for how feasible this transition is outside of H/S/W.....

My full-time career plans are actually completely different from what I pursued during the summer between my first and second year... I would elaborate, but I prefer to keep this in stealth-mode for now

I certainly had to grind a fair amount for the internship (although VC tends to be on a later timeline and less predictable compared to other industries). The HBS name helps to get your foot in the door when networking, but after that all bets are off. Many buy-side firms (especially some of the smaller ones) that recruit on campus are very lean and only hire 1 or 2 people for the summer. In some buy-side transitions (e.g. hedge funds), the HBS name can even be harmful to your chances (seen as a negative)

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May 24, 2018

Hi! Thanks so much for doing this. I'm just a bit curious, why would the HBS name be seen as a negative?

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May 24, 2018

Thanks for the response. So it sounds like you are competing for 1 or 2 summer positions (per firm) against candidates who might have prior buyside experience. I imagine those 1 or 2 summer roles only result in 1 FT offer, whittling the pool down even further. Did any of your classmates whom had no prior buyside experience succefully make a FT transition to VC/PE?

May 23, 2018

People say they go to HBS/business school to make connections, so who were the most interesting students, alumni, or speakers that you met?

How much did your goals change upon starting HBS vs now?

Do you think HBS was worth the investment, time and money-wise?

Is Section X real or is it just a stereotype?

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May 29, 2018

@Deo et Patriae One more question, in response to one of your answers below: how did people with nontraditional backgrounds fare in recruiting? You talked about people recruiting for PE by interning through their classes, so I'm curious if people who didn't work in IB or consulting tended to gravitate to a particular field.

May 29, 2018
Dan Egan:

@Deo et Patriae One more question, in response to one of your answers below: how did people with nontraditional backgrounds fare in recruiting? You talked about people recruiting for PE by interning through their classes, so I'm curious if people who didn't work in IB or consulting tended to gravitate to a particular field.

Most interesting students at HBS were successful entrepreneurs (either still running the business or successfully exited and made good money for themselves and their investors) who didn't really "need" HBS to advance their career

Goals have changed significantly from being an investor to more of a general manager/operator

HBS was worth the investment, both in terms of time and money

Section X is real, but it's not what you think it is

My sense is that people with non-traditional backgrounds struggled somewhat with the very structured on-campus recruiting but ended up doing okay with networked searches

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May 24, 2018

Do you feel that an MBA (specifically a Harvard MBA) has advanced your career? Could you explain how?

May 25, 2018
itsanumbersgame:

Do you feel that an MBA (specifically a Harvard MBA) has advanced your career? Could you explain how?

Still too early to say. I can say that it has taken my career in an unexpected direction (which I am excited about and would likely not have pursued had I not gone to business school) Time will be the judge of whether it was an actual "advancement"

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May 29, 2018

Do you think that you could have pivoted into your new career direction without going to HBS / business school? IE was HBS necessary or did it just open your eyes to a new career track?

May 24, 2018

Thanks for doing this! Looking forward to Part 4, an AMA about finishing your first year after HBS.

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May 24, 2018

Hey thanks for doing this.

Could you talk about your or your classmates' experience recruiting for investment management/hedge funds? Appreciate any details on the recruiting process, general background of applicants, and the HBS Investment Club (not sure if you were in it, but saw that you mentioned it).

Thanks again!

May 25, 2018
Peter Bread:

Hey thanks for doing this.

Could you talk about your or your classmates' experience recruiting for investment management/hedge funds? Appreciate any details on the recruiting process, general background of applicants, and the HBS Investment Club (not sure if you were in it, but saw that you mentioned it).

Thanks again!

General pecking order for recruiting into hedge funds/investment management positions at HBS is:

1) people with prior public markets investing experience, followed closely by
2) people with other buyside experience (e.g. PE), after which there is a huge drop off in your chances of landing a position with...
3) people with other finance experience (e.g. sell-side IBD), and then an even greater drop in chances of breaking in with...
4) people with no previous finance experience (e.g. someone who used to be in the military)

Interestingly, in my year, it seemed like there was a significant number of ex-military people who, for whatever reason, were gunning for research analyst positions at hedge funds or the big asset management firms like Fidelity, but most of them had to settle for investment banking associate positions at bulge brackets (or consulting)

This should not be news to anyone on WSO, but even with the HBS brand name on your resume, if you don't have prior experience, your chances of breaking into hedge funds is slim to none.

That said, there are some ways to increase your odds. The investment club at HBS is one of them and is absolutely essential for those interested in pursuing hedge fund/investment management careers. Being in the club gets you access to some exclusive career resources, e.g. you will be included in the investment club mailing list which will have job opportunities sent out on a regular basis. Of course, you could always have a friend in the investment club forward you these jobs, but it's just easier to be in the club yourself.

There is also an investment club resume book that gets circulated to funds who are looking to hire (the only way to be included in this resume book is to be a dues paying member of the investment club).

There are also speaker series, pitch practices, student run investment fund (called "Alpha Fund"), and other opportunities to network with industry professionals (which is how you get jobs in this industry) such as the annual investment conference.

I was a dues paying member of the investment club during my first year, but then I stopped paying dues in the second year after my career interests shifted. No regrets, although I was a little annoyed I didn't get to go on the Omaha trek to get some exclusive 1-on-1 time with Warren Buffett.

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May 26, 2018

I can only speak for PE but my firm recruits out of HBS and has a few interns and maybe a hire every year but even with a top tier mba you have to have experience in the field or have some relevant

I did an emba but from my experience I have met many individuals who interned for us from top mba programs who come in and honestly expect us to kiss their butt because they are at HBS but if you are in a top 50 mba program all the classes are the same and you are probably smart.

Too that I have met great people from top tier schools and the smartest guy I have met went to ASU. No knock on ASU but it's not known for its academics. The dumbest two guys I used to work with went to Harvard and Yale. The ongoing joke in our office was "how do you know how XXX went Harvard/Yale, because it's the first thing out of their mouth everyday."

I have had many friends attend HBS, CSB, Tucks, GSB an it did nothing for and they ended up in crappy FP&A jobs that they could have gotten without going to HBS. I've had friends who went the same schools and it did wonders for their careers and they landed their dream job.

It's based on the individual.

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May 25, 2018

What did you like/dislike about the culture and the people? Are there stereotypical "Harvard douches," so to speak? Lots of type A personalities.

May 25, 2018
JohnnyLlamma45:

What did you like/dislike about the culture and the people? Are there stereotypical "Harvard douches," so to speak? Lots of type A personalities.

The one thing I disliked about HBS was the culture of people putting on an air of casual indifference about the academics, saying something like "Oh, I didn't have time to read the case, so I only skimmed it..." but then in the middle of class they would make a thoughtful comment that obviously involved a deep reading and accompanying analysis.

Not sure what exactly you mean by stereotypical "Harvard douches," but if you mean people who are elitist and snobby, then yes, there are a fair number of those (but this is not unique to Harvard, any Ivy League school or Stanford would have such bad actors)

Certainly many type A personalities (I would say the vast majority would be classified as such)

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May 26, 2018

Good answer, thanks.

May 27, 2018
Deo et Patriae:
JohnnyLlamma45:

What did you like/dislike about the culture and the people? Are there stereotypical "Harvard douches," so to speak? Lots of type A personalities.

The one thing I disliked about HBS was the culture of people putting on an air of casual indifference about the academics, saying something like "Oh, I didn't have time to read the case, so I only skimmed it..." but then in the middle of class they would make a thoughtful comment that obviously involved a deep reading and accompanying analysis.

Not sure what exactly you mean by stereotypical "Harvard douches," but if you mean people who are elitist and snobby, then yes, there are a fair number of those (but this is not unique to Harvard, any Ivy League school or Stanford would have such bad actors)

Certainly many type A personalities (I would say the vast majority would be classified as such)

LOL, I think we've all encountered this type of people in every school.

"I didn't get much chance to read and do the practices, so I'm just gonna wing the exam."

Proceeds to get 95%.

Fkers.

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May 25, 2018

First off, thanks for doing this! Forgive me if this question comes off as loaded, but having come from an IB background, did you feel you gained anything academically/professionally from your coursework or did it feel more as if you were checking off a box for a credential?

May 28, 2018
genghis1:

First off, thanks for doing this! Forgive me if this question comes off as loaded, but having come from an IB background, did you feel you gained anything academically/professionally from your coursework or did it feel more as if you were checking off a box for a credential?

I learned many lessons in leadership and management during my MBA that I think will serve me well in the future. During my pre-MBA stint in IB, I developed a solid foundation in finance and valuation (admittedly, the MBA curriculum did not add much to this), but at the end of the day, everything I did was in the capacity of an individual contributor. Though it might sound obvious, rising up in an organization really depends on the softer skills and no matter how brilliant you are as an individual contributor, if you can't lead and manage other people, you won't ever make it to the top.

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May 25, 2018

Following

May 25, 2018

What kind of attitudes did your classmates have towards life ?

Making $10 million would be suicide to them right. I bet everyone there wants to end up on the Forbes list.

D.I.

May 28, 2018
oligarch:

What kind of attitudes did your classmates have towards life ?

Making $10 million would be suicide to them right. I bet everyone there wants to end up on the Forbes list.

It really depends... there is a huge difference between making $10 million over a 30 year career versus making $10 million (after taxes) from building a startup and selling it for a quick exit after 12 months... I think most of my peers at HBS would be okay with the latter scenario...

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Jun 12, 2018

According to data compiled by Poets&Quants, finance H/S/W MBA grads make $3.5M max. over a lifetime.

May 25, 2018

Any blatant cases of an undeserving admit? (i.e. clearly a favor, $, etc.)

May 28, 2018
JohnDon:

Any blatant cases of an undeserving admit? (i.e. clearly a favor, $, etc.)

Definitely - extrapolating from my section of approximately 90 students, I would say 5% of the entire class is made up of undeserving admits (e.g. Chinese fuerdai who can barely speak English, LatAm kids coming from families that control huge businesses/conglomerates who barely speak English, Arab kids that come from Middle Eastern oil wealth who barely speak English, you get the idea...)

Then there are those who are undeserving in the sense that they didn't meet all the necessary requirements one would ordinarily need to enter HBS, but I would argue they still deserve to be at HBS. One such case that comes to mind is a guy who entered HBS at 23 years old with no real work experience (unless you count interning for a Senator as work experience). In most case, if you don't have work experience, it's pretty simple... you won't get accepted to HBS... but this kid's father runs a very large and famous hedge fund (a household name for anyone on WSO) and so he was a shoe-in. With that said; however, I would argue that this kid is actually a deserving admit. Yes, he did not have work experience, so if he was a regular kid with no connections he would ordinarily have been rejected, but this kid was wicked smart and his presence made a positive impact on his classmates and the entire class of 2018 (Full disclosure: I admit, I am probably a little biased, because if things don't end up working out with my immediate post-HBS career plans, he can probably help me get a job at his father's fund)

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Jun 12, 2018

Those mentioned foreign guys who "barely speak English" won't likely make the cut when interviewing for BB IBD FO or MBB roles, correct?

May 25, 2018

Thanks for doing this! Let me play devils advocate.

  1. What did you hate / like least about HBS?
  2. What were some shortcomings of your experience at HBS? (i.e. wished they spent more time on this, wished they offered this, etc.)
  3. Were there BS/Joke classes you had to take? (i.e. you couldn't believe they were teaching this crap, not relevant at all, should not be part of curriculum)
  4. Did your professors all have extensive work experience in the field they taught or are they purely academics? Similarly, did you feel at times feel the teachings were too theoretical and could never be applied consistently/pragmatically in the real world?
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May 29, 2018
FWU:

Thanks for doing this! Let me play devils advocate.

  1. What did you hate / like least about HBS?

Felix Oberholzer-Gee

  1. What were some shortcomings of your experience at HBS? (i.e. wished they spent more time on this, wished they offered this, etc.)

Nothing immediately comes to mind. Perhaps more opportunities for 1st years and 2nd years to have meaningful interaction? Same idea with MBA students and Exec Ed program participants (currently, the two types of students have zero interaction) Seems to me like it could be a low-hanging fruit for MBA students to find internship or full-time job opportunities and another avenue for executives to find talent for their organizations

  1. Were there BS/Joke classes you had to take? (i.e. you couldn't believe they were teaching this crap, not relevant at all, should not be part of curriculum)

BGIE (Business, Government and International Economy) and LCA (Leadership and Corporate Accountability) - both during the spring semester of the required 1st year curriculum

  1. Did your professors all have extensive work experience in the field they taught or are they purely academics? Similarly, did you feel at times feel the teachings were too theoretical and could never be applied consistently/pragmatically in the real world?

My finance professors both had relevant professional experience before getting their PhDs and going the academic route. One worked at a hedge fund and the other used to do IBD at a 2nd-tier bulge bracket

Leadership & Organizational Behavior (LEAD) professor used to be a senior partner at a Big-3 law firm.

Entrepreneurial Management (TEM) professor was an early employee and later C-level executive at a startup that is now publicly traded on NYSE

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May 29, 2018

Thanks so much, appreciate the insight! +1SB

May 25, 2018

thanks for doing these AMA's!

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

May 26, 2018

Hi, thanks for the AMA. My questions are regarding getting into HBS:
1. I heard that it is easier to get into HBS from MBB Consulting compared to Upper MM/MF PE as the peer group is generally stronger in PE. What can you say about this?
2. I saw a couple of Consultants from Europe getting into top PEs after MBA. Given that the forum always stresses how important pre-MBA PE experience is, how do these people approach recruiting?
3. I read that networking with a MBA program seems to be important for admission, too (not specifically HBS). Does it also apply to HBS and how to approach as an international?

May 29, 2018
Derno15:

Hi, thanks for the AMA. My questions are regarding getting into HBS:
1. I heard that it is easier to get into HBS from MBB Consulting compared to Upper MM/MF PE as the peer group is generally stronger in PE. What can you say about this?
2. I saw a couple of Consultants from Europe getting into top PEs after MBA. Given that the forum always stresses how important pre-MBA PE experience is, how do these people approach recruiting?
3. I read that networking with a MBA program seems to be important for admission, too (not specifically HBS). Does it also apply to HBS and how to approach as an international?

1) I'm not knowledgeable enough about admissions to really comment on this, but I would find that surprising. If anything, it's probably harder to get into HBS from MBB simply due to the sheer number volume of applicants with that profile who apply.

2) In addition to working extra hard in 1st year finance courses, they probably do some intense networking to find a PE summer internship over the summer or find a way to do some part-time work for a fund during the semester. These people will also take a fair number of finance courses in the 2nd year including project based courses that could involve working with a private equity firm. Even though this is academic work for a class, one can "spin" it into sounding like relevant experience during interviews

3) Well, you can do some simple things like register for an on-campus info session (which includes sitting in on a live case discussion). I saw kids from Spain, Latin America and other areas abroad specifically for these sessions. There are also info sessions that happen periodically in major cities abroad.

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May 26, 2018

Can I have look at the essay that you submitted to HBS? Just want to see what they are looking for in a good essay. Thanks!

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May 29, 2018
Riodeginario:

Can I have look at the essay that you submitted to HBS? Just want to see what they are looking for in a good essay. Thanks!

I'm afraid I can't do that. Besides, the director of admissions has changed (my year was the last year that Dee Leopold served as director of admissions) and so I am sure there are some nuanced changes in what they are looking for in the essays

May 31, 2018

Harvard sells a book titled 50 Successful Harvard Application Essays. It's by the Harvard Crimson, but its geared more towards undergrads applying. If you want you can probably check it out.

https://www.amazon.com/50-Successful-Harvard-Appli...

Made ya look

May 27, 2018

Thanks for the AMA. Just realized how long this was so I've grouped together by overall theme;

  • I'm at a small HF now and I'm wondering what the level of competition and difficulty is like the more experience you have. I saw an HBS resume book at work the other day and it was ridiculous how some of the people were already so successful before HBS that I don't really get why they took the time off from work at all. Considering you are at the end of the tunnel, have you received any job offers which you've already turned down? Do you think the same way about your career as compared to before you started HBS or has the idea of being a new grad not settled in yet? In retrospect, how do you imagine things would have been different if you skipped HBS altogether?
  • What is the overall perception of Harvard students regarding other programs at the school? I know this is a general question considering there is HBS Executive Education/HBX/Extension but I am interested in hearing if there is useful overlap or comparisons to be made.
  • Since we know you missed out on Omaha, could you speak more about the quality of trips and events? Any international? What was your favorite event that you couldn't have done without HBS? Are there any notable activities to look out for which are open to industry professionals not at HBS? Anything to keep an eye on while networking?
  • Candidly, who has the most interesting profile in your class now that you've gotten to know everyone? Did an obvious standout make you reconsider your plans after graduation? I'm going to need to know this because this because TVIX isn't giving me enough overly complex methods of being reckless that don't involve an STD or arson.
May 29, 2018
FinanceBrah:

Thanks for the AMA. Just realized how long this was so I've grouped together by overall theme;

  • I'm at a small HF now and I'm wondering what the level of competition and difficulty is like the more experience you have. I saw an HBS resume book at work the other day and it was ridiculous how some of the people were already so successful before HBS that I don't really get why they took the time off from work at all. Considering you are at the end of the tunnel, have you received any job offers which you've already turned down? Do you think the same way about your career as compared to before you started HBS or has the idea of being a new grad not settled in yet? In retrospect, how do you imagine things would have been different if you skipped HBS altogether?

That's a lot of different questions in one...
For the first question - yes
Second question - HBS has changed the way I think about my career in terms of leadership and management
Third question - Healthier bank account

  • What is the overall perception of Harvard students regarding other programs at the school? I know this is a general question considering there is HBS Executive Education/HBX/Extension but I am interested in hearing if there is useful overlap or comparisons to be made.

A gross over-generalization, but judging by the eye-rolling and snarky attitude of some of my peers during the morning exercises of commencement - when each school (e.g. the school of medicine, law school, etc.) was introduced by their respective deans to have their degrees ceremoniously conferred by the president of Harvard - I think most business school students look down on people in other schools (including Executive Education and Extension)

I will refrain from commenting on Extension, but for Executive Education - this is really a shame. You will meet some very interesting people in Executive Education (especially people in the OPM program) and they are good people to have in your network (e.g. can help with job opportunities, learning about other industries, etc.)

HBX is a little different. I'm not sure if they still do this, but the year I was admitted, they required us to take some online diagnostic tests in accounting, economics and analytics. If you failed any of them, they required you to the take the HBX course associated with whichever one you failed. Even if you didn't fail, they recommend you do HBX.

  • Since we know you missed out on Omaha, could you speak more about the quality of trips and events? Any international? What was your favorite event that you couldn't have done without HBS? Are there any notable activities to look out for which are open to industry professionals not at HBS? Anything to keep an eye on while networking?

Trips (called "Treks") are one of the highlights of HBS, although your mileage may vary depending on your personal circumstances (e.g. single or in a relationship, etc.) Plenty of international treks (Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Colombia, Peru, and plenty of others that I can't remember) In addition, many clubs organize their own annual treks (the previously mentioned investment club does Omaha trek, but other clubs such as Tech Club do a "Silicon Valley Trek," Outdoors Clubs have a "Kilimanjaro Trek," etc.)

Nothing comes to mind in terms of notable activities to look out for which are open to industry professionals... perhaps the investment club conference and the VC/PE conference? There are also energy, health care and tech conferences hosted by the respective club in question.

  • Candidly, who has the most interesting profile in your class now that you've gotten to know everyone? Did an obvious standout make you reconsider your plans after graduation? I'm going to need to know this because this because TVIX isn't giving me enough overly complex methods of being reckless that don't involve an STD or arson.

There are many too many interesting people at HBS to name just one "most interesting" profile. My favorite are the non-traditional people who didn't do consulting or IB pre-MBA. I tend to get along really well with students who have done something entrepreneurial and don't really "need" HBS. e.g. someone who has already founded or sold a successful startup and is doing HBS "just for fun" (as opposed to advancing their career or re-branding themselves to break into a certain industry)

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May 27, 2018

Thanks for the AMA.

  1. In terms of pure brainpower, is it safe to say that your HBS classmates were far less impressive than your undergrad classmates?
  2. Did you find that there was a social division between those from wealthy families and those who weren't? I know at my alma mater and others, there certainly was a division, as the wealthy hung out with each other and went on lavish trips.
  3. How impressed were the women in Boston by HBS? Did it make the dating life of you and your male classmates far easier?
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May 29, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:

Thanks for the AMA.

  1. In terms of pure brainpower, is it safe to say that your HBS classmates were far less impressive than your undergrad classmates?

Not at all

  1. Did you find that there was a social division between those from wealthy families and those who weren't? I know at my alma mater and others, there certainly was a division, as the wealthy hung out with each other and went on lavish trips.

For American students, not so much. Most American students at HBS are comfortable/upper-middle class, and if you're in that bracket you can associate and get along fine with people much wealthier than you.

Where I found some evidence of social divisions was between international students who came from wealth and internationals from more modest means.

  1. How impressed were the women in Boston by HBS? Did it make the dating life of you and your male classmates far easier?

In a committed relationship so I won't comment on this, but I'm sure wearing the HBS fleece does help in getting noticed when you go out to bars or whatever. I have the hbs fleece but I only got it for posterity (plus, I'm a sports jacket/blazer type guy when I go out)

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Jun 14, 2018
Dances With Newfoundland:

3. How impressed were the women in Boston by HBS? Did it make the dating life of you and your male classmates far easier?

Lol. Everyone who's been around WSO for a few years should find this hilarious.

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May 28, 2018

How many of your classmates, whose background you're familiar with, were non-target UG w/out IB experience?

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

May 29, 2018
BBA18:

How many of your classmates, whose background you're familiar with, were non-target UG w/out IB experience?

It's tough to answer this because there are a lot of military folks at HBS who went to West Point, Annapolis, etc., and those service academies are pretty competitive (on par with Ivy Leagues), but I don't know if you would consider them "targets" in the traditional sense...

Excluding those military people, in my section of ~90, I counted 8 who fit your stated criteria (non-target undergrad and no IB experience), so extrapolate to the entire class, and you get about 9%

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May 29, 2018

How did international students fare in getting jobs in investment banking or consulting?

May 29, 2018
queertheory:

How did international students fare in getting jobs in investment banking or consulting?

They do well for consulting. At least in my section, nearly every person (including international students) who wanted to do consulting ended up at one of the Big 3 for their summer internship (and I think all of them who want to do full-time ended up getting offers) Worth noting that this included some internationals with very heavy/thick accents, but they were not only able to get offers at the Big 3 but were able to stay in the US! (visa sponsorship, etc.)

I'm afraid my insights into investment banking placement is very limited... I only know 2 people in my section who did IB over the summer, and none of them are doing IB full-time - one is going into consulting, the other is still looking. I've heard informally from someone who is doing IB full-time that "nearly everyone" (his words, not mine) who wanted IB is doing IB full-time.

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May 29, 2018

Hi @Deo et Patriae

Thanks for doing this. I have one straightforward question.

Was you letter of recommendation from an HBS alum? Similarly, how important is it to have one / how much can having an HBS alum write your letter of recommendation impact ones chances?

May 29, 2018
Frodo's Banging:

Hi @Deo et Patriae

Thanks for doing this. I have one straightforward question.

Was you letter of recommendation from an HBS alum? Similarly, how important is it to have one / how much can having an HBS alum write your letter of recommendation impact ones chances?

The two people who wrote my letters of recommendation had no affiliation to HBS (or Harvard, for that matter)

In my opinion, it's not important at all, and having an alum write your letter of recommendation is merely icing on the cake (nice-to-have, but not a must-have)

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May 30, 2018

Did you meet any people whose background was in sell-side trading and if so, are you able talk at all about what product was the most prevalent amongst those people?

May 30, 2018
LittleRocketMan:

Did you meet any people whose background was in sell-side trading and if so, are you able talk at all about what product was the most prevalent amongst those people?

No, not on the sell-side. HBS does not like traders. I met one or two traders during my 2 years, but they were all on the buy-side. Equity derivatives and STIR products.

May 30, 2018

why doesn't HBS like traders? i would imagine them to be smart and entrepreneurial...

just google it...you're welcome

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May 30, 2018

Hi,

Thanks so much for doing this.
I have been thinking about getting an MBA, but I am on the fence.

I have a couple questions:

  1. What percentage of your HBS graduating class of 2018 is going to work at a Tech-Company or Tech-Startup?

Of your classmates: who are going to work at a Tech-Company and/or Tech-Startup: What are the most common job-positions/job-roles that they were recruited for?

How important is it for an MBA student to have a Technical background, and how important is it for an MBA student to be able to Code/Program with regards to on-campus-recruiting for Tech-Companies and/or Tech-Startups?

  1. Specifically with regards to on-campus-recruiting for Technology-Companies: I am wondering which specific companies are considered 'most prestigious' to HBS students?

I am assuming that companies like 'Google', 'LinkedIn', 'Stripe', etc. are consider the "most-prestigious"?

  1. The Wall-Street Journal published an article a few months ago about how "Amazon Is Disrupting: Business-School Recruiting and that Amazon has hired some 1,000 newly minted M.B.A.s in the past year".

So with that said: How many people in your graduating class of 2018 at HBS is going to work at 'Amazon'?

Also, how big of a presence was 'Amazon' for on-campus recruiting at HBS?

  1. CNBC published an article about how "Students at elite business schools bypass Wall Street for blockchain".

I am wondering: How many students of the class of 2018 at HBS are going to work at Cryptocurrency companies or Blockchain Companies?

  1. I am just wondering out of curiosity: What percentage of your HBS class of 2018 is able to code/program?

Does HBS offer any classes/courses on Coding/Programming?

Also: how important do you feel that it is for MBA graduates to be able to Code/Program?

Like for example: if you want to be a Product-Manager at 'Google': I am assuming that having a technical background, and being able to Code/Program is going to be necessary to get a Full-Time job-offer as a Product-Manager at most Tech-Companies, and for pretty much all Tech-Startups?

  1. I am wondering: What percentage of your HBS class of 2018 are currently going into Entrepreneurship and are starting companies or startups currently after graduation?

Do you feel that there are any potential 'unicorn' startups that will become Multi-Billion-Dollar Companies that are created from any of your HBS class of 2018 classmates?

  1. You mentioned in a previous AMA that you did not receive any scholarships or fellowships from HBS, and that you paid everything out-of-pocket.

So with that said: How much did you have to pay TOTAL for the 2 years of being an MBA student at HBS?
The HBS website states that the cost of attendance for 9-months, for each year is approximately $109,124.
But: I am assuming the cost is maybe even higher than $109,124 per each academic-year if you also add up the costs for Trips, and Treks, and Social-Life and Traveling, and Club-Dues, etc.

Overall: How much did you approximately have to pay Total for the 2 years that you spent at HBS?

  1. What was the total opportunity cost that you ended up paying for the 2 years that you spent at HBS?

Overall: Is HBS worth the overall opportunity cost, or for that matter is any top 7 MBA program even worth it given that Massive-Open-Online-Courses give the MBA courses and content for FREE online, and even HBS gives away most of its courses and content for free online with 'HBX'.

And with regards to benefit of having a Network from your HBS classmates, this is also being somewhat devalued.
Because for example if you just graduated from HBS and you are 29 years-old, and you NEVER worked in Investment-Banking, and you NEVER did an Investment-Banking summer internship during your time in the MBA program, and you JUST graduated from HBS: it seems almost impossible that you could even break into Investment-Banking regardless of how 'powerful' your Network is.

Also: most companies in general prefer to hire younger employees: once you start getting into your late 20's, and 30's and beyond: you are pretty limited with your options for your overall Professional-Career the older and older you get in age.

Overall: how much of a difference does having an MBA really matter for a person's overall Professional Career?

  1. If a person is unable to get into a Top 10 MBA program: Is it even worth doing a Full-Time MBA?

Is it a waste of money and time to do a Full-Time MBA if a person is unable to get into a Top-10 MBA program?

  1. I am assuming that your HBS class of 2018 is approximately 920 students.

I know that each Section of HBS is approximately 90 students.

So with that said: outside of your section: How many students did you actually know of your HBS class of 2018?
Of the other 830 HBS class of 2018 students that were NOT in your section: how many of them did you actually meet and talk to?

  1. Overall: how would you grade your last 2 years at HBS from A thru F: how would you overall grade how your experience was during your 2 years at HBS?

Thanks again for doing this AMA.

If you could please elaborate on the questions I poised: it will be very much greatly appreciated.

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May 30, 2018

Could you comment on how Post-MBA PE recruiting worked out for your classmates with pre-MBA PE experience?

Did most people who come from reputable MM to MF firms and wanted a post-MBA Sr. Associate / VP role find success? Or did you see lots of "down-grading" and some people failing to find a role? For people who did find roles, was it mainly through on campus recruiting or networking?

May 30, 2018

how many older students(32+) were there in your section?
How did they fit in with the rest of the class?

Jun 2, 2018
GUUSWAYNE:

how many older students(32+) were there in your section?
How did they fit in with the rest of the class?

I had three in my section who were over 32 at the time of matriculation - all were career changers (e.g. one was a former practicing physician)

In my section, the older students fit in really well with everyone and were among the more popular students in the section. Having that experience and perspective (and in the case of the doctor, being able to ask for free medical advice!) was very valuable both inside and outside the classroom. Our section might have been unusual, because being over 32 usually entails having a wife and kids - but the three in our section were single - which made a huge difference (e.g. being able to go out for beer at a moment's notice)

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May 31, 2018

If I am sure about wanting a career in Investment management/buyside, is H/S/W MBA the most optimal path, or I should focus on Ms in Finance /MS in Fin Engg programs?

For me, it would be incredibly hard to get buy-side/investment management experience before going for my MBA, like harder than getting into H/S/W, because of the country I am currently in. That said, I could easily get into MFin/MFE programs and then try getting into HF/AM, which quite a few seniors of mine have done successfully. So, from what you've seen, out of top MBA and top MFin programs, which ones are target for the HF/AM industry?

May 31, 2018

Hi, thanks for doing the AMA.

  1. Why did you choose to go to HBS?
  2. What is something you liked about HBS that wasn't advertised/mentioned on the HBS website? Something that is lesser known to outsiders.
Jun 2, 2018
Passionate Investor:

Hi, thanks for doing the AMA.

  1. Why did you choose to go to HBS?
  2. What is something you liked about HBS that wasn't advertised/mentioned on the HBS website? Something that is lesser known to outsiders.

1) In an era of increasing specialization, there is still value in the general manager's perspective

2) The quesadillas in the school cafeteria are the bomb diggity

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May 31, 2018

Is Constance Frye a real person?

Also -

What are the conditions and circumstances around the proper wearing of the Harvard tie?

  • Is their a hierarchy of or meaning to different knots?
  • Is there a matching pocket square?
  • Do they make a Harvard bow tie?

Are there any other considerations I have overlooked regarding the Harvard tie?

Thanks!

Jun 2, 2018
Port Ricky:

Is Constance Frye a real person?

Also -

What are the conditions and circumstances around the proper wearing of the Harvard tie?

  • Is their a hierarchy of or meaning to different knots?
  • Is there a matching pocket square?
  • Do they make a Harvard bow tie?

Are there any other considerations I have overlooked regarding the Harvard tie?

Thanks!

Vivat nostra societas, vivant studiosi; crescat una veritas floreat fraternitas Patriae prosperitas

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May 31, 2018

What can a non-target do to improve himself/herself if he/she cannot get into a top business school (from a country with big candidates pool and MBA is way too expensive) but still want to work hard and rock his/her career? Millions of thanks!

Jun 2, 2018
island7:

What can a non-target do to improve himself/herself if he/she cannot get into a top business school (from a country with big candidates pool and MBA is way too expensive) but still want to work hard and rock his/her career? Millions of thanks!

Your question is a little too vague for me to be helpful... could you be more specific?

Keep in mind that an MBA from an expensive school could still be in reach (at HBS, there is very generous financial aid available for students who are accepted)

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May 31, 2018

Networking: What are the do's and dont's? What are some common faults of students who attempt to network? How can I improve my network and build a stronger one?

Jun 2, 2018
Alexander-Angel:

Networking: What are the do's and dont's? What are some common faults of students who attempt to network? How can I improve my network and build a stronger one?

Do - be able to succinctly communicate your background, skills and interests in under 30 seconds while not being socially awkward

Do - when networking via email, be mindful of the length of your message; it should ideally fit on the screen of a smart phone without the need to scroll down

Do - be clear about why you are contacting them (e.g., industry advice, geographic information, career path questions, etc.) The purpose of an initial email is to establish a time to talk for 15-20 minutes about these topics over the phone (or better, in-person)

Do - make it easy for the person to respond (e.g. provide them with a list of times that you are available to talk

Do - if possible, get some connection to the person you are networking with (e.g. referral from a friend, colleague, professor, etc.)

Do - do your homework on the company/industry, an informational interview/meeting that you get through networking can easily turn into a real interview - be ready for it!

Don't - you should not explicitly ask for a job, you will put the person you are networking with in an awkward spot

Don't - fail to follow up, forget to thank the people you network for their time, etc. (basic stuff...)

I think the biggest fault that students make is focusing on quantity instead of quality (e.g. Copy-pasting the same messages to multiple people with just the names changed, etc.)

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May 31, 2018

did you see any lack of people coming in from sales and trading? I just took a BB s&t internship for next summer but am afraid it sets me up as a less-desirable MBA candidate for HBS/wharton/stanford

Jun 1, 2018

During my markets internship, there were 0 MBAs in our class. I switched to banking full-time and there were 12+ MBAs, all from the top schools.

Jun 1, 2018

If I have a gap year of around 1 - 1.5 years due to illness and volunteering, does that affect my applications negatively? Assuming everything else to be perfect.

Did you meet anyone among your batchmates who had some gap in employment and still made it to top MBA schools?

Thanks a lot for doing the AMA and contributing to the community.

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Jun 2, 2018
qwerty_mbb2:

If I have a gap year of around 1 - 1.5 years due to illness and volunteering, does that affect my applications negatively? Assuming everything else to be perfect.

Did you meet anyone among your batchmates who had some gap in employment and still made it to top MBA schools?

Thanks a lot for doing the AMA and contributing to the community.

Yes, I had classmates who have gaps due to serious illness (e.g. they were undergoing treatment for cancer, etc.) Things of that nature will not negatively affect your application, if anything, it would differentiate you

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Jun 2, 2018

Commencement was a week ago?

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Jun 2, 2018
heister:

Commencement was a week ago?

A little more than a week ago

Jun 5, 2018

Hello-Thanks for doing this!
1. As an international student, is there a big difference in recruiting outcomes at M7 vs 10-20 schools?
2. Why did the internationals who recruited for IB later went to consulting? Also, from a visa perspective and a job security perspective, is Consulting better than IB?

Jun 5, 2018
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