Tag Archives: HBS

HBS breaks – Work hard OR play hard

HBS Break classroomThe HBS MBA consists of a full-time 2-year program – but full-time only means so much. The 2 years spent getting an MBA degree include a couple of breaks. To some, the breaks are more important than the actual time spent in HBS classrooms. Find an overview of the 3 types of breaks found at HBS and their specificities below. Continue reading


Cold feet for the HBS cold call – a survival guide

cold_feetThe MBA program at HBS is fully case-based. Students prepare a case up front and discuss all aspects of the case in class. The professor has the role of facilitator and specialist. As these discussions are such an important part of the teaching method at HBS, students’ grades depend heavily on class participation. Most of this class participation is on a voluntary basis, as students get called on after raising their hand. There is however one exception to this rule – the HBS cold call. Continue reading

The offline MBA – survival through differentiation?

The HBS campus of the future?

The HBS campus of the future?

As I am sipping on a coffee in one of a major coffeeshop’s chain stores, I realize that an internal meeting of that coffee shop is going on next to me. As a business school student, I was too curious not to try and pick up part of the activity and the conversations. It seemed that four persons were receiving training. I was impressed by the format and the professionalism of the meeting. The person I identified to be the instructor was sharing Starb…  the coffee shop’s values and priorities, and its key focus on customer happiness. As they discuss these topics, they get interrupted occasionally by another employee, bringing them all kinds of cakes and snacks. As the trainees try the snacks sitting in front of them, they discuss their taste, their content of the cake and their texture. They even discuss what drink some of these snacks would fit best with. And the discussion is quite lively I have to say. I am really impressed when the instructor asks each of them what an ideal snack would look/taste like to them. Now everybody gets really exited and launches ideas back and forth. The employees seem really involved.

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HBS BalanceThe new HBS students have arrived on campus! As a second-year student (EC), I am amused by seeing the ‘freshmen’ (RC) stroll around campus, eagerly discovering all the ins and outs of life at the Harvard Business School. And as RCs and ECs mingle on a sunny afternoon on Spangler lawn, they enquire each other using a set of seemingly standardized questions; “Where are you from?”  “What did you do before B-school?”  “Any advice on being more efficient in preparing cases?”. However, compared to last year, a new question has made its appearance in discussions: “What do you think about these New York Times (NYT) articles on HBS?”  It seems to me that the NYT has strategically chosen the start of the new academic year to publish two articles on gender and social class gaps at HBS (find links to NYT articles here: Gender and Class). Both articles seem to have caused some controversy.

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The HBS tag (summer) cloud

HBSSummerCloud2I had the best of summers this year. Although I have been working with almost no interruption for the last three months, I have enjoyed every second of it. I am wondering though if my summer was representative of what a typical HBS summer looks like. So instead of giving a full report of my summer, I’d rather give an overview of how my fellow section mates felt about the HBS summer. Continue reading

HBS Summertime – Hot in the cities…

 SummerTimeThe summer at HBS can almost be considered as an integral part of the HBS curriculum. While students are officially on Holiday, the vast majority of of them use these free months of June-July-August to test their newly acquired knowledge in all kind of business environments and cultures – meet the MBA interns! Continue reading

And my winner is… BGIE!?

2013_05 - BGIE podiumMy first year at the Harvard Business School (HBS) is getting to and end. Classes are ending, exams have started and most students have their summers all planned out – a good time to evaluate the classes I’ve had so far.  Continue reading

Class visitors – a long-tail distribution

2013_04 - HBS welcomeAll first-year students at Harvard Business School (HBS) follow the same rigorous program, and they do so in their assigned classroom and with their same section-mates. However, the number of class attendees tends to vary from one class to another. This number can decrease because of absentees, but can also increase thanks to the presence of that special specimen – the HBS classroom guest.  Continue reading

The art of doing business – Only in the US?

20130220-003733.jpgI have been amazed with the American art of doing buiness again in the last couple of days. Even blizzard Nemo, who covered the whole Boston area with 2 feet of snow overnight, created immediate opportunities for making money. The day after the storm, when most streets were still covered in snow, I noticed a ‘Dig me out! 50$’ (with a phone number to call if you wanted the job) sign on top of a pile a snow, most likely covering a car of sorts. As I was taking a picture of it, a guy came up to me asking jokingly: “You’re not going to send that picture to the IRS, are you?” After I assured him that I wasn’t going to cost him any money, I asked him if volunteers had shown up for the job. “I just got hired to get it done,” he replied. I smiled. “Good luck!” I said, before continuing on my walk. The forces of nature had led to creative job creation within hours. Only in the US? Continue reading

HBS routine – or not quite?

Cold and snowy Boston

Cold and snowy Boston

The start of my second semester at HBS has been harsh. I expected the start of classes last week to be a nice experience, where I would slip back in my controlled routine I had established in the first semester. It turns out however that prepping cases after a well-deserved 6-week break is harder than I had expected. Continue reading