Finding Unity in our Diversity: The Second Annual LGBTQ Conference at Harvard

Over the weekend of Saturday, February 7th through Sunday, February 8th, 2015, the LGBT Student Association co-hosted the Second Annual LGBTQ Conference at Harvard with over 350 LGBT_Conferencestudents and professionals in attendance from 20+ schools. To continue the momentum from our inaugural conference, the theme was both an aspiration and a call to action: Unified by our Diversity: Solidarity Within and Beyond the LGBTQ Community.

This year’s conference was a unique opportunity to bring together students, scholars, alumni and special guests from around the country to learn, share, and ideate around critical issues facing the LGBTQ community moving forward.  As an interdisciplinary conference, topics of discussion ranged from inclusive healthcare for LGBTQ patients, the role of religion and faith in the LGBTQ community, as well as the relevance of LGBTQ inclusion in developing economies.

Special guest Paula Boggs, former Starbucks General Counsel and Obama Administration appointee, presented the afternoon keynote on Saturday, February 7th, chronicling her journey navigating the corporate world at the executive level as a lesbian. She asked the audience some challenging questions to consider when it comes to our diversity – namely, “How hard have I tried in life not to be seen? And at what cost?”

Jonathan Capehart, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Washington Post and MSNBC, spoke about the conference theme as a challenge to the LGBTQ community and movement. Specifically, his talk focused on three challenges: “Will professed LGBTQ allies be there once full marriage equality is achieved? Will we – as a nation and a community – finally talk about the T in LGBTQ? Will the community vocally and proactively make common cause with others seeking equality and freedom from discrimination?” Read the full article by Jonathan Capehart.

The weekend was an exciting opportunity to not only learn from and collaborate with leaders from across the LGBTQ community, but also forge relationships and come together as a community. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference!

For more information on the conference, check out:

Facebook: LGBTQ Conference at Harvard

Hashtags: #HarvardLGBTQ #ConnectAndCatalyze

Photo Credits: Naomi Iram of Red Robin Events

-Emily Miller, MBA 2015, HBS LGBT Student Association

Crossing the Atlantic

Coming to Harvard Business School was a forcing function to re-think my career path. One thing was for sure, I was committed to not return to consulting post-HBS. Therefore, it was a surprise to my friends, and most of all me, when I decided to join McKinsey’s London office this fall.

Somewhat ironically, my decision to go back into consulting resulted from the incredible experiences I had at a tech startup this past summer in Zambia. Those three months in Africa gave me the opportunity to fulfill my goals of working in a tech and e-commerce startup, getting hands-on operational experience, and navigating in an international market. Zambia also exposed me to the role of a general manager, with touch points that spanned marketing, sales, business development, HR, IT, and other more nebulous functions. While I enjoyed every aspect of my time in Zambia, the answer to “What do I want to be when I grow up” was still evading me because “everything” didn’t seem like a realistic conclusion. That’s where McKinsey’s generalist model and its breadth across industries/functions came in.

Though I have been fortunate that my personal travels have taken me to various parts of the world, my professional focus had primarily been in the US. Thus, prior to coming to HBS I knew I wanted to work somewhere abroad. That was where London came in – a crossroad city connecting dozens upon dozens of markets across Europe and Africa.  What is life if not for exploring?

So, I came to HBS as a consultant and leave as a consultant. However, it’s not the beginning or the end that’s important. The path that lies in between has changed who I am on both a personal and professional level. My classmates, professors, and friends have driven me to question myself and my goals. They’ve spun me around in circles and have left me dizzy and dazzled. Though that sounds like a pretty bad carnival ride, it’s certainly better than blindly following the herd.

That’s it for the next couple years. What comes next I don’t know. Whatever the journey, I’ll be ready with open arms (pun unavoidable and italicized for those unfamiliar with 1980s music).

– Minh Chau, MBA 2015

Ask about the FIELD Immersion during your next interview

From Argentina to China, over 900 first-year students recently wrapped up a 10 day immersion experience with organizations around the globe. The immersion is part of the FIELD curriculum where student teams develop a new product or service concept for an organization in an emerging market. Not only is this a unique experience for HBS MBA students, but it provides an interesting perspective for recruiters.  The FIELD immersion exposes students to a variety of areas that can shed light on the skills they could bring to your organization as a new hire.  With first-year recruiting in full swing, here a few ways to learn more about candidates through their FIELD immersion experiences:

Teamwork – A central and crucial component to the FIELD immersion is teamwork. All of the students work in small teams of six with the end goal of presenting their final idea to their global partner.  By asking students about their team dynamics during FIELD, you can gain insight into how they might interact within your organization.

Consumer interactions – During the immersion, students interact with customers to gain insight into their organizations’ target demographic. These interactions shed light on a student’s ability to engage with a diverse group of people and apply the knowledge he/she gained from those conversations to solve a problem or dilemma.  Delving into the customer interaction experience provides insight into a student’s ability to work with diverse audiences.

Ambiguity – During FIELD, teams are presented with partial information and they must work to fill in the gaps. In many ways, the immersion simulates a real life version of the case method providing insight on how students deal with ambiguity and uncertainty.

These are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you interview students to learn more about their FIELD immersions as well as different skills they can bring to your organization.

– Kendall Borges, HBS Career & Professional Development

Job Search Days at HBS

HBS places a high priority on academics and the communal learning benefits of the case method, so in an effort to support the school’s mission, students are not allowed to miss classes for recruiting purposes. However, we understand that students are balancing their academics with their job search, and our recruiting partners want to find time to connect with students.  These interactions are very important and we want to support you  throughout the recruiting process. Therefore, each year, the Career & Professional Development office works closely with the administration to carve out “Job Search Days” on the academic calendar. On Job Search Days students are free from academic obligations and can devote their time to interviewing, networking, and applying to jobs. As you plan for interviews during the spring semester, we encourage you to utilize the Job Search Days to ensure that students will be able to travel to your office without missing classes. There are Job Search Days spread out throughout the spring semester, so we hope that you can find several days that might work well for you and your colleagues. As always, we encourage you to contact your Recruiting Relations Manager with any questions.

EC (Second-Year) Job Search Days

January 30
February 16 (Presidents’ Day), 27
March 16-20 (Spring Break)
April 3, 20 (Patriots’ Day)


RC (First-Year) Job Search Days

January 30
February 6, 13, 16 (Presidents’ Day)
March 2, 16-20 (Spring Break), 31
April 3, 20 (Patriots’ Day), 21

Turnaround & Restructuring Club Conference Recap

On Friday, November 14th, the Turnaround & Restructuring Club successfully hosted its annual Turnaround Conference featuring esteemed panelists from the industry. The event kicked off with a fireside chat featuring Stephen Toy (Senior Managing Director and Co-Head, WL Ross & Co. LLC) and moderated by HBS Professor Kristin Mugford. Mr. Toy spoke in detail about his vast turnaround experiences and when asked about current trends stated, “Currently the market is doing pretty well, so there’s not as much restructuring needed. The industry is countercyclical.”

Next was the Turnaround and Advisory Management Panel featuring Robert Himmel (Co-President, Commercial & Industrial Division, Gordon Brothers Credit Partners), Patrick Lahaie (Partner, McKinsey & Company) John J. Monaghan (Partner – Holland & Knight), and Mark Weinsten (Senior Managing Director, FTI Consulting). This panel discussion, which was moderated by Howard Brownstein (President and CEO, Brownstein Corp.), provided several first-hand accounts of turnaround stories. One panelist noted, “CEOs report to CRO! (Chief Restructuring Officer)”

The Distressed Investing Panel featured another vibrant group of panelists, including Joel Biran (Managing Principal, DWIM; Former Managing Director, Versa Capital Management), David Levenson (Co-founder and Partner, Goldbridge Capital Partners; Former Investment Professional, BlueBay Asset Management), and Vikram Punwani (Managing Director, Bain Capital / Sankaty Advisors). Each panelist shared personal anecdotes about prior turnaround experiences, with some specifying why they currently view certain industries as more attractive than others.

This portion of the event wrapped up with a presentation by Peter Cuneo, Managing Principal of Cuneo & Company, LLC; Former CEO of Marvel Entertainment. Mr. Cuneo shared his views of what makes one successful in turnarounds and outlined some of the challenges a manager will face. He mentioned, “The hard part of the turnaround is not the strategy… but the people side of it.” He concluded with a few life and career lessons that have guided him throughout his highly successful career.

The evening was topped off by a cocktail hour during which attendees had the opportunity to chat with the panelists and presenters.

– Marquis McGuffin, Chief Marketing Officer, Turnaround & Restructuring Club

A New Way to Recruit

When I was a student at HBS, I spent a lot of time discussing my career with classmates who were interested in learning about my experiences working in venture capital, or as a summer intern at a start-up.

HBS coffee chats are a great way to understand how to find opportunities in a given field, day-to-day responsibilities in those fields, and how those positions may affect one’s career trajectory. As HBS students, we are all extraordinarily lucky to be part of a talented group of professionals willing to share our experiences and advice with one another.  Unfortunately, most people are not as fortunate. Starved of the peer set we sometimes take for granted, most job candidates are forced to rely on google searches, and questionable third-hand accounts of how to procure and succeed at the jobs that interest them.

I started working on LifeGuides a year ago while still in business school.  We set out to democratize career-related knowledge, so that anyone could understand whether a given career path was right for them, how to successfully pursue that path, and  how those efforts could affect one’s long-term career trajectory.

Nearly a year after starting this journey, LifeGuides now features nearly two thousand pieces of content, most of which comes straight from employees at top companies.  By having such a prominent presence on the site, LifeGuides offers a unique way for businesses to recruit the proactive, well-informed candidates that are already searching for detailed career information through LifeGuides.

Furthermore, LifeGuides allows corporate recruiters to convey their opportunities in far greater depth than is currently available via a careers site or LinkedIn posting.  This is a pitch that has resonated with companies, and we’ve signed on some great corporate partners as we continue to grow.

Were it not for my HBS experience, I would never have founded LifeGuides.  Even as an alumnus, the Harvard community continues to support this audacious goal by providing office space at the Launch Lab.  With an HBS classmate as our head of content and section mates as our initial contributors, the HBS community remains a driving force behind our very encouraging growth.

At LifeGuides, we’re excited to provide a new  opportunity for job seekers to understand various career paths, in addition to offering great companies a new opportunity to communicate with the most thoughtful candidates in the job marketplace.  Check out our guides, mentors and companies.   Or, if you’re interested in using LifeGuides to recruit talent, feel free to send me an email at

– Phil Strazzulla, MBA 2014, LifeGuides Founder

Building a Consumer-Centric Strategy: Highlights from the Marketing & CPG Club’s Conference

On November 16th, 2014, the Marketing & CPG Club hosted the 2014 Marketing Innovation Conference at Harvard Business School. This year’s theme was “Building a Consumer-Centric Strategy” and the conference drew MBA attendees from HBS, MIT, BU, Dartmouth, Tufts, and more.

The day-long conference featured 3 keynotes, 6 panels, a networking lunch and cocktail hour. As thought leaders in marketing, our keynotes delivered powerful presentations about how their company’s execute a consumer-centric strategy:

  • Michael Moynihan of LEGO shared the story of LEGO’s turnaround from near bankruptcy to a thriving company relentlessly focused on their core consumer. His story taught us all of the importance of letting “your fans own your brand.”
  • Mark Addicks of General Mills emphasized the importance of defining markets in human terms and always having a Brand Champion at the center of your brand. He shared many General Mills brand campaigns (e.g., Betty Crocker, Cheerios, and Fiber One) that effectively tailored messaging to their Brand Champion.
  • Kerri Hoyt-Pack of Nike Women’s Training closed the day by reminding us to “listen more” and “be where she is” in order to connect with and innovate for  female athletes around the world.

Students learned how marketers are dealing with shrinking budgets and measuring the ROI of their marketing mix on the panel “A Marketer’s Reality: Building Brands on a Budget” and how to resonate on an emotional level with consumers in “Consumer Engagement: How to Create the Most Meaningful Connection”.

All throughout the day, attendees posted their takeaways on Twitter using the hashtag: #MCPG14. Overall, it was an exciting day to connect with other interested members of the marketing community and learn how to keep the consumer at the center of any strategy!

For the full agenda and bios on all our conference speakers, check out

– Megan Ritter, Marketing & CPG Club Conference VP


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