Adam: How hard has the first year at HBS been for you?
HBS2014: The day-to-day work is not as bad as I thought, but making an impactful comment in front of a class of 90 students is not an easy task – not necessarily hard, but challenging in a good way.
Adam: What parts of the program have you liked the most? The least?
HBS2014: I am always impressed how well structured and integrated all the Required Curriculum (RC) courses are. For instance, a new concept learnt in Marketing appears in the next case you read for Operations, and vice versa. No complaints on the program so far.
Adam: What has most surprised you about your first year?
HBS2014: Something I should have known better before entering, but the section experience has been surprising in a pleasant way. Taking all classes with the same people in the same room in the same seat for the entire year gives you an opportunity to consistently see how classmates approach different problems, and is part of the uniqueness of HBS.
Adam: You are older than most of your classmates. Do you think this has mattered at all?
HBS2014: Not really. I feel the pressure myself that I will be leaving my early 30s by the time of commencement, but I don't care about this when I am at school.
Adam: Do you actually have any time for clubs? If so, which ones are you active in?
HBS2014: No. Not that I am swamped with studying, but more because I haven't prioritized clubs too much. I plan to spare more time in the second year for clubs such as Asia Business Club and Greater China Club, given my intent to work in Asia after HBS.
Adam: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates?
HBS2014: Many are really humble and hardworking. For one of the first mid-term exams we had, the mean score of the class was around 90 out of 100 with marginal deviation. Many are genuinely smart, but on top of that, people do make effort.
Adam: What are hot topics, activities, classes, etc. at HBS right now?
HBS2014: Strong focus on entrepreneurship, whether it is one of the RC courses (The Entrepreneurial Manager), FIELD program, and the iLab.
Adam: Are there any changes coming to HBS?
HBS2014: Not that I am aware of.
Adam: What advice do you have for those considering application to HBS?
HBS2014: Visit the campus. The class environment is one of the biggest differentiating factors of HBS, and I highly recommend prospective students to pay a visit before application. If you happen to have no contact with current students, please let Adam know so we can get in touch.
Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us?
HBS2014: In general, HBS requires more commitment to class compared to other programs. You have 2-3 cases to read every day which are each 10-20 pages long, and class participation counts for 50% of your grade. In return, it offers everything you need for your learning experience – great campus, committed faculty, amazing classmates etc. If this is an atmosphere you like, HBS is a school of choice, and I guarantee that you will enjoy the time here.
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