Alumni: Where are they now? Featuring Robert Leke…

RLCurrent Position: Senior Associate, Tana Africa Capital

Current Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Tell us what you’re up to these days. I maintain a position at the same company I joined shortly after my graduation from HBS in 2012. I work at Tana Africa Capital (Tana), an Africa-focused investment firm targeting businesses in the consumer-driven and agriculture-based sectors. My time with Tana has been nothing short of a thrill. I am grateful for the exposure and experiences gained over the past 2+ years, evaluating and executing on investment opportunities in over 10 countries across the continent. Given the lean team structure at Tana, every team member is encouraged to continuously stretch himself/herself into roles of greater responsibility and influence. This has afforded me the opportunity for great learning, as well as great challenges. Traveling in the frontier markets of Africa clearly places one at the forefront of the socio-economic difficulties confronting the region today. However, I continue to be amazed by the profound determination and optimism which I discover in the people I meet: hope for a better Africa has never been stronger. Other than work, I have taken up more reading and enjoy exploring the gradual rebirth of Johannesburg’s once-derelict downtown neighborhoods.

How has having an MBA impacted your career? Obtaining an MBA has impacted my career in more ways than I would have imagined on my graduation day. Experiencing the case method has greatly enhanced my ability to unravel complexity in the midst of a challenging conversation, and contribute in a timely manner with relevant input which moves the conversation forward. Given the broad geographic reach of the HBS alumni network, I can gain from their hospitality – as well as learn from their experiences – in several cities where I travel. Finally, I have had the opportunity to maintain touch with some professors who have served as invaluable advisers during important junctures in my career thus far.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Where will the next chapter take you? I enjoy working with African businesses, providing support wherever necessary, to grow them in a sustainable manner. I do not foresee this interest changing over the next 5 years. I intend to continue growing my career at Tana, learning from its leaders and the increasing responsibilities which they offer to younger members of the team. I hope to one day help in building this investment firm into one which is known for its hands-on management approach, patient capital and deep knowledge in the sectors within which we operate in Africa.

- Robert Leke, MBA 2012


Create Buzzworthy Industry Education Events at HBS

As a presenting recruiting organization, you may face a marketing challenge. And that is, how to be both differentiated and relevant when you make an Industry Education Event to HBS students.  These events provide companies with the opportunity to engage with students on topics of interest outside of recruiting. We want you to succeed in your presentations, and have students walk away both smarter and psyched about your firm and sector because they invested their time to attend.  Here are our four keys to that kingdom of an outstanding Industry Education Event:

  1. Focus on a Game Changing Topic: Is there some element of your business model creating real news in the category?   What does the firm have going on that is really changing its marketplace?  Create a differentiating story around that aspect of the business, and position it as the latest dimension of how your firm leads your industry.  Be tough on yourselves as you pick the topic; the more ground-breaking the story, the more relevant your firm will be to our students.
  1. Get Personal with Invitations:  As an HBS recruiting partner, you can use the HBS resume book databasesto select students whom you are particularly interested in targeting.  And all of us are more responsive to personal invitations compared to generic ones, right?  Those firms who send personalized email invitations to specific students tend to have a more engaged audience at their Industry Education Events.  Our students appreciate the personal touch and it says something positive about your firm’s culture.
  1. Use an Ace Presenter: Great content deserves a great presenter.  A less than dynamic speaker who doesn’t connect well with the MBA audience can hurt your firm’s buzz on-campus.  It pays off to pick the most engaging senior presenter you can, and if they are an HBS alum, all the better.  You’ll stand out better as a firm, and resonate more memorably with students.
  1. Bring a Dynamic Posse: We can’t stress enough how having a few employees at your presentation, who genuinely want to connect with HBS students afterwards, will make a lasting difference for your organization.  You are investing your team’s time and funds to travel to HBS, and sending an energetic posse of colleagues to speak with our students after the presentation will drive more return for that investment.  Of course, it’s fantastic if they are HBS alumni, but if they aren’t, just pick people who MBA students can relate to and who want to connect with HBS students.

Best of luck with your Industry Education Events. And be in touch with our office if we can help your marketing and recruiting efforts at HBS in any way.

Laurie Matthews, Corporate Relations Director, HBS Career & Professional Development



Tap into HBS Alumni Talent

Over 100 alumni who graduated between 20 and 45 years ago connected with our office while on campus for Fall reunions a few weeks ago. Proving to be as driven as the day they graduated, this dynamic group of alumni expressed interest in a wide variety of opportunities from joining a board to weighing new job offers and actively seeking new roles.

While many of our recruiting partners think of our school as a place to recruit students for summer internship and post-graduate full time opportunities, we thought this was a great opportunity to remind you, our partners, that our alumni are an extraordinary group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and interests that would add value to your organization.

If you are recruiting for a mid-level manager, senior leader, or even C-suite executive, we encourage you to visit Career Hub. Once there you can post a job or view a resume book of all alumni actively seeking new roles.  You may also want to visit the Harvard Business School Education Page on LinkedIn to find relevant alumni in your sector. Additionally, contact our office at any time to discuss best practices.  Our industry experts can help you devise a recruiting strategy specific to your hiring needs.

- Scott Renner, Associate Director, HBS Career and Professional Development


HBS Class of 2016

Fall is such an enjoyable time of year at HBS – the campus is buzzing with excitement as the new school year begins.  Over the past month, our office of Career and Professional Development has gotten to know the 937 members of the Class of 2016 and hear more about the myriad of interests they are intending to pursue this summer.  It seems that every industry, function and location are represented as we listen to the students’ plans for their careers.  With recruiting right around the corner, now is the time for the students to learn more about the opportunities available to them.  Company Information Day – with more than 45 companies on campus – kicks things off in just a few weeks and marks the start of our recruiting season.

While this is a very exciting time, we realize that it is also an extremely busy time for our recruiting partners.  In fact, you might wonder how to find candidates at HBS that would be a great fit for your organization. The idea of sorting through hundreds of resumes is a daunting task, especially if you are looking for specific criteria.  Our office can help with this!  Our class and club resume book databases allow you to search and sort by criteria that are essential to your organization.  Your parameters can be tightly focused (targeting students with previous manufacturing experience hoping to pursue a career in Singapore) or broad (all students with consulting and finance experience); it is completely up to you.  Additionally, do not hesitate to contact our office to talk about your recruiting goals and needs and how best to reach our students.  Our goal is to help connect with you candidates that would be a great fit within your organization while maximizing the efficiency of your recruiting efforts.

The Class of 2016 resume database is available on 10/16. As always, feel free to contact our office with any questions.

- Kristen Fitzpatrick, Managing Director, HBS Career & Professional Development


Leveraging LinkedIn to Recruit Candidates

It is no surprise that recruiters are turning to social media, and particularly LinkedIn, to source prospective employees. Here are 5 tips for using LinkedIn as part of your recruiting strategy (whether or not you pay for a recruiting account).

  1. Make your Company Page work for you, not against you: Prospective employees conduct keyword searches to find new and interesting companies on LinkedIn. If your organization has a LinkedIn page, make sure it is rich with industry-specific keywords.  To keep your page current, post company updates, product news, awards, job opportunities and more. Then, encourage candidates to check out your page and follow you.
  1. Tap into your employees’ LinkedIn networks: Many LinkedIn members are passive candidates, meaning they are not actively looking for a job but they would be willing to hear about new opportunities.  If you are having difficulty recruiting for a certain role, consider asking employees to scan their LinkedIn connections for potential candidates.
  1. Familiarize yourself with Advanced Search Filters: Spend some time looking at the Advanced Search fields. Some may be obvious (interests, location, school), but consider how your organization might use some of the more nuanced fields.  For example, search by past employer and look for individuals who have worked at a competitor. These are most likely people with skill sets that could benefit your organization. To avoid clutter in your keyword searches, try adding “NOT recruiter” to your search string (i.e. “software engineer NOT recruiter”). This will help you narrow down potential candidates without having to sift through other recruiter profiles.
  1. Use LinkedIn Groups to source candidates: Pay attention to active participants on group discussion boards. This is a great way to identify and reach out to industry experts. This is also an indicator that the individual is savvy with social media and technology which is always a plus!
  1. Exude enthusiasm: When you do reach out to a potential candidate, make sure you are selling the organization’s culture, product/service, or mission. Your natural enthusiasm can often get lost in translation via email, so be sure to incorporate some relevant company news or an anecdote about the specific team/product for which you are recruiting.

A Summer Internship: Sparking Curiosity

Classes started the other week and I am settling into the busy hum of case studies, student club events and catching up with classmates.  Each conversation is a new opportunity to reflect upon my summer experience.  Looking back, my time at Danaher was an intense period of learning, action and self-discovery.  I got a glimpse of how Danaher operated through the lens of Beckman Coulter, an operating company.  I scratched the surface of the healthcare and diagnostics industry and put theory to practice with lots of customer interactions.

The second year at HBS is a wonderful time because we can choose classes of interest.  I discovered a newfound curiosity in healthcare this summer and decided to change my course selection to include Healthcare IT.  Since my project at Danaher brought me in close working relations with the marketing and sales team, I’ve become very interested in B2B marketing and sales operations.  I plan to audit Business Marketing & Sales, one of the classes that focus on exactly that.  In the Winter term, I will be taking Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise (BSSE) and General Management: Action and Processes to further my understanding of general management.

As I embark on this next stage of learning and discovery, I am certain that my summer experience at Danaher will provide a valuable benchmark and perspective.

-Gong Ke, MBA 2015


Don’t leave this out of your job posting…

Creating a compelling job posting can be tricky.  Within a short amount of space you have to strike a balance between being informative and engaging. With first-year job postings going live on 10/10, it feels like the perfect time to share a few questions to keep in mind as you add your summer internship job postings:

  • What makes your organization unique? In addition to your organization’s industry and mission, the company description section is a great opportunity to highlight what distinguishes your company from others in your sector.  Is there a quirky aspect of your company culture you want candidates to know about?  Use this space as an opportunity to share what truly makes your company one of a kind.
  • What is expected of an intern? Students often report that they did not apply for positions because the job descriptions were vague.  Use the job description as a place to convey not only the day-to-day tasks but also final project deliverables, internship structure, and any distinct opportunities (i.e. working with CEO or other senior leaders, collaborating with other interns).
  • Could this position lead to a full-time opportunity? If there is opportunity beyond the internship, let students know. This is a great way to identify candidates that are really interested in pursuing a career at your organization.
  • Is this role open to international students? Yes! All international students are eligible for U.S. work authorization after the first year of the MBA program and none require visa sponsorship.  Work authorization is issued by Harvard so hiring international students requires no more paperwork than when you hire U.S. workers. With more than 30% of the HBS student population from international locations, do not forget to select “All May Apply” under Work Authorization.
  • Who is your ideal candidate? Use the qualifications section to clearly state who your ideal candidate might be.  If you have specific requirements, let candidates know.  If your qualifications are more open, let candidates know that as well. Many of our students are interested in transitioning to a new industry or function, so consider the value that someone with a unique and diverse background might bring to your organization.

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