Why did you decide to earn a degree at Harvard Extension?
Harvard Extension allowed me to pursue additional education while navigating the challenges of my personal and professional life. Coupling that with a professionally active teaching staff tied into the rapidly changing landscape has set me up for success.
How has/will your HES experience helped you in your career or personal development?
People ask me all the time why I added going HES to my already overflowing plate. Most assume it was to help advance my career or to take a different professional path. The truth is I did it for me, did it for my family. I had an interest in economic and financial systems and knew that bolstering my knowledge of finances would make me a more well-rounded individual. There is no doubt that what I have learned at HES has helped my businesses, but the real impact is how I have been able to take this knowledge and help my community. Taking the skills to help fund a community project or teach kids fiscal responsibility is the greatest gift I received from HES.
What was the most challenging aspect of your time at Extension? What was the most rewarding?
I began building my first major multi-use project at the same time I started HES. That was fall of 2019 before we had ever heard of Covid. The pandemic ushered in a broken supply chain, worker shortage, massive delays, and severe negative effects on the restaurant that my wife owns. It was definitely a less-than-ideal situation, which made a demanding program even more challenging. I am so grateful for my advisor who worked with me to develop a plan that allowed me to be successful despite the odds against me. Halfway through my program, we also developed a study group of approximately 40 students. This study group has supported each other through the completion program both with scholarly goals and with life; these bonds will last well past graduation.
How did you manage to balance your studies with work and family responsibilities?
One word: Teamwork. Getting across the finish line was truly a team effort across the board. The decision to start my HES path was made by my entire family. Without their support and sacrifice this journey would have been very difficult. Luckily, we made sacrifices as a team that allowed me to truly enjoy and get the most out of my time at HES. Teamwork is also adopted by the HES faculty and staff. Everyone from the admissions staff, advisors, TAs, and faculty are dedicated to each student’s success and wellbeing. Every time a challenge or question occurred, they were available to help with advice or solutions.
Do you have a favorite class or faculty member? Why?
Choosing a favorite class or faculty member is very difficult since every class was professional and well executed. However, Bruce Watson comes to my mind. Bruce is a brilliant mind with a gift for teaching. The way he was able to translate difficult concepts and teach them at a level his students could understand was a work of art. Not only did I leave his classes with the knowledge the class was offering, but Bruce also gave the skills on how to deliver this knowledge to others. These skills from Bruce allowed me to teach underprivileged youth how financial markets work.
What types of student resources and special options did you take advantage of as a student at Harvard? How did they help?
The professor and their teacher assistants are a true advantage of HES and the Harvard community. They are always willing to help with class work or general professional advice.
Do you have any advice for new students?
HES is a family. Every student, HES staff member, and faculty member is now a part of your family. Get involved in groups, learn who your classmates are, and talk with your professors.
Once you start HES, you enter a large family that spans the globe. Get to know your teammates as early into your HES journey as possible. It will enhance your experience exponentially.
Make relationships with your teammates, both faculty and peers.
Take advantage of your time during on campus classes.
Describe your Extension School experience in one word.