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What Goes on at an HBS Reunion?

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HBS reunion

Most people applying to business school naturally develop some tunnel vision. You’re focused on crafting the perfect career essay, thinking about what classes to take, and on what job you hope to land right after graduation. While that laser focus is totally normal, we want to help broaden your perspective. Because your life as a business school alum goes far beyond those two years on campus. And that’s a central theme of SBC consultant and B-Schooled host Erika’s 20-year HBS reunion recap.

“No matter where you’re applying, it’s good to take a step back and get yourself out of that near term mindset,” Erika explains. “It’s important to have some perspective when everything seems like the biggest deal about where you might get in and where you’re going to spend these next two years.”

Are you curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school such as HBS? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Whether you’re contemplating your fit with a particular program or brainstorming essays, pulling back for a birds-eye view of life after B-school is invaluable.  Even if you’re not applying to Harvard Business School, many features of an HBS reunion likely echo how other schools run their reunion programs. So, it’s both relevant and fascinating to hear how Harvard does it. Not to mention fun!

HBS reunions take place on campus over a weekend and have so many interesting lectures and activities it’s impossible to take it all in. FOMO will happen, no matter how someone chooses to spend their time.

“Leading up to the reunion, there’s an app that everybody downloads,” Erika notes. Alums can see the whole schedule and decide which sessions they want to go to throughout the weekend. “I’ve done this for all our reunions. There’s one at the one-year mark and then five, 10, and 15. And they’ve always been a completely wonderful, invigorating, inspiring experience. I would never miss one.”

What Happens at an HBS Reunion?

A hallmark of the HBS reunion is that it’s never just one class back on campus. When Erika attended last June, hers mixed with alums at their 50-year reunion and even a 75th reunion! “I love that aspect because to get to hear from alumni that are decades older than you, and then some that are now decades younger than you, it just makes for fascinating class discussions,” she shares.

B-Schooled
SBC Consultant and B-Schooled Host Erika

“You had some people that were in their seventies, eighties who had seen a lot of change in the workplace in their career.  One of my favorite parts is just to see and hear through people’s stories how much the working world has changed,” says Erika.

But even though multiple reunions are going out simultaneously, she notes that your class will be all together in one spot.

There’s an opening reception on Thursday, where people usually meet with their best friends or study group. Typically, people will arrange small group dinners with friends they were especially close to. “And then you’ve got to buckle in because there is not a dang spare second after that Friday morning,” Erika laughs.

First up is the dean’s address, and then participants adjourn for classes during the day. It’s like being back in school all day Friday and Saturday. Classes are all day from morning until late afternoon or early evening. Some of the classes have homework beforehand, and some run like case studies from back in the day.

Learn about all of the compelling class sessions Erika attended in B-Schooled Podcast #181: Reflections From My 20-Year HBS MBA Reunion

And then, it’s time to party.

HBS divides its classes into sections of 80-90 students, so on Friday nights during an HBS reunion, you’ll have the section parties. These could be at a restaurant, bar, or in Erika’s case, at the home of a section mate who lives in Boston. “Then you stay up too late and get ready to do it all over again the next day,” she shares.

There are career services and one-on-one appointments with the career center throughout the weekend. The reunion experience also includes tours of new buildings, a sustainability tour, and a tour of the campus’s wonderful collection of contemporary art. Erika saw demonstrations of the live online classroom that really got put to use during COVID-19. A breakfast on Sunday and a few final networking sessions wrap up the HBS reunion weekend.

“By the time you get to your 20-year reunion, life has happened to people,” Erika says. “It was great to be back in that environment and be surrounded by amazing people and hear how their lives have gone.”

So, no matter where you end up, remember to consider the bigger picture when you’re applying. As Erika reminds us, “This isn’t just the next two years of your life. This is the rest of your life. You can be engaged; you can still be learning. You have this sort of type of alumni weekend and many, many other types of alumni events to look forward to no matter where you earn your MBA.”

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Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership and Interview Prep to hourly help with essay editing, resume review, and much more! Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

Ashley

Ashley is a former MBA Admissions Board Member for Harvard Business School (HBS), where she interviewed and evaluated thousands of business school applicants for over a six year tenure. Ashley holds an MBA from HBS.

During her HBS years, Ashley was the Sports Editor for the Harbus and a member of the B-School Blades Ice Hockey Team. After HBS, she worked in Marketing at the Gillette Company on Male and Female shaving ...

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Kerry

Kerry is a former member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS).

During her 5+ year tenure at HBS, she read and evaluated hundreds of applications and interviewed MBA candidates from a wide range of backgrounds across the globe. She also led marketing and outreach efforts focused on increasing diversity and inclusion, ran the Summer Venture in Management Program (SVMP), and launched the 2+2 Program during her time in Admissions.

Kerry holds a B.A. from Bates College and  ...

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Pauline

A former associate director of admissions at Harvard Business School, Pauline served on the HBS MBA Admissions Board full-time for four years. She evaluated and interviewed HBS applicants, both on-campus and globally. 

Pauline's career has included sales and marketing management roles with Coca-Cola, Gillette, Procter & Gamble, and IBM.  For over 10 years, Pauline has expertly guided MBA applicants, and her clients h ...

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Geri

Geri is a former member of the Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS). 

In her 7 year tenure in HBS Admissions, she read and evaluated hundreds of applications and interviewed MBA candidates from a diverse set of academic, geographic, and employment backgrounds.  Geri also traveled globally representing the school at outreach events in order to raise awareness for women and international students.  In additio ...

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Laura

Laura comes from the MBA Admissions Board at Harvard Business School (HBS) and is an HBS MBA alumnus. In her HBS Admissions role, she evaluated and interviewed hundreds of business school candidates, including internationals, women, military and other applicant pools, for five years. 

Prior to her time as a student at HBS, Laura began her career in advertising and marketing in Chicago at Leo Burnett where she worked on th ...

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Andrea

Andrea served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.  In this role, she provided strategic direction for student yield-management activities and also served as a full member of the admissions committee.

In 2007, Andrea launched the new 2+2 Program at Harvard Business School – a program targeted at college junior applicants to Harvard Business School.  Andrea has also served as a Career Coach for Harvard Business School for both cu ...

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Jennifer

Jennifer served as Admissions Officer at the Stanford (GSB) for five years. She holds an MBA from Stanford (GSB) and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Jennifer has over 15 years experience in guiding applicants through the increasingly competitive admissions process into top MBA programs. Having read thousands and thousands of essays and applications while at Stanford (GSB) Admiss ...

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Erin K.

Erin served in key roles in MBA Admissions--as Director at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Assistant Director at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB).

Erin served on the admissions committee at each school and has read thousands of applications in her career. At Haas, she served for seven years in roles that encompassed evaluation, outreach, and diversity and inclusion. During her tenure in Admissions at GSB, she was responsible for candidate evaluation, applicant outreach, ...

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Susie

Susie comes from the Admissions Office of the Stanford Graduate School of Business where she reviewed and evaluated hundreds of prospective students’ applications.  She holds an MBA from Stanford’s GSB and a BA from Stanford in Economics.

Prior to advising MBA applicants, Susie held a variety of roles over a 15-year period in capital markets, finance, and real estate, including as partner in one of the nation’s most innovative finance and real estate investment organizations. In that r ...

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Dione

Dione holds an MBA degree from Stanford Business School (GSB) and a BA degree from Stanford University, where she double majored in Economics and Communication with concentrations in journalism and sociology. Dione has served as an Admissions reader and member of the Minority Admissions Advisory Committee at Stanford.  

Dione is an accomplished and respected advocate and thought leader on education and diversity. She is ...

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Anthony

Anthony served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

During his time as a Wharton Admissions Officer, he read and reviewed thousands of applications and helped bring in a class of 800+ students a year.  Anthony has traveled both domestically and internationally to recruit a ...

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Meghan

Meghan served as the Associate Director of Admissions and Marketing at the Wharton MBA’s Lauder Institute, a joint degree program combining the Wharton MBA with an MA in International Studies.

In her role on the Wharton MBA admissions committee, Meghan advised domestic and international applicants; conducted interviews and information sessions domestically and overseas in Asia, Central and South America, and Europe; and evaluated applicants for admission to the program. Meghan also managed ...

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Amy

Amy comes from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where she was Associate Director. Amy devoted 12 years at the Wharton School, working closely with MBA students and supporting the admissions team. 

During her tenure at Wharton, Amy served as a trusted adviser to prospective applicants as well as admitted and matriculated students.  She conducted admissions chats with applicants early in the admissions ...

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Ally

Ally brings six years of admissions experience to the SBC team, most recently as an Assistant Director of Admission for the full-time MBA program at Columbia Business School (CBS). 

During her time at Columbia, Ally was responsible for reviewing applications, planning recruitment events, and interviewing candidates for both the full-time MBA program and the Executive MBA program. She traveled both internationally and dome ...

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Erin B.

Erin has over seven years of experience working across major institutions, including University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Business School, and NYU's Stern School of Business.

At Columbia Business School, Erin was an Assistant Director of Admissions where she evaluated applications for both the full time and executive MBA programs, sat on the admissions and merit scholarship committees and advised applicants on which program might be the best fit for them based on their work experience and pro ...

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Emma

Emma comes from the MBA Admissions Office at Columbia Business School (CBS), where she was Associate Director. 

Emma conducted dozens of interviews each cycle for the MBA and EMBA programs, as well as coordinating the alumni ambassador interview program. She read and evaluated hundreds of applications each cycle, delivered information sessions to audiences across the globe, and advised countless waitlisted applicants.</sp ...

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The post What Goes on at an HBS Reunion? appeared first on Stacy Blackman Consulting - MBA Admissions Consulting.

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