What advice would you give to future HES students before beginning this journey?
The question to start with is: “Why do I want to do a degree?”
Pursuing a degree at Harvard Extension School requires dedication over a prolonged period. It is personally very satisfying and a wonderful opportunity to test yourself whilst expanding your horizons, but is not a light endeavor. Having a core reason why you are doing the degree will help you keep going.
Within the degree there is also a wide range of courses to choose from. If you need support in considering which are best for your journey, your academic advisor can be incredibly helpful.
Graduating does not have to mean the end of a connection to the Harvard community!
Once you have decided why you want to pursue a degree and are signed up for your courses, I would recommend that before every term you carve out dedicated time in your schedule.
This is for every week of the term, not just a week or two in advance. Do it for lectures, but also for assignments and additional study.
Without that “time boxing,” it is easy for a course to become overwhelming. Giving myself the time to reflect on what I was learning increased the impact of the degree substantially.
Alongside your core study, I would strongly recommend making the time to get to know your fellow students.
A key strength of HES is that it attracts students with a wide range of backgrounds with their own learning styles and personal goals. This provides an incredible foundation for interesting class discussions, superb peer learning opportunities, and the prospect for your own self-development in how to work with others.
Beyond class-time, I recommend reaching out to your peers. Developing these relationships will enhance your learning experience and enrich life when you graduate.
When studying remotely, you do not bump into fellow students outside lecture halls, in the dining hall, or in the Smith Center, so you need to be slightly more proactive than if you were on campus full time.
Finally, get involved in life at HES and the wider university. I was a HES Global Ambassador, sat on the Harvard Council of Student Sustainability Leaders, and was a member of several clubs.
These provided opportunities to go deeper into subjects that I care about, hear from industry and academic leaders, all whilst meeting peers from across Harvard who shared a passion about these subjects.
Harvard and HES have so much to offer. When you start, dive in and explore subjects beyond your comfort zone. As your time progresses, focus in on those areas which you care most about.
You only have a limited time at HES. Make the most of it!
What did you do for your capstone?
For my capstone, our class came together on campus to work with a Boston headquartered unicorn start-up that was already facing an “innovator’s dilemma.” They had quickly become a leader in their sector, yet were facing disruptive new competition.
This provided a real, live issue for us as an interdisciplinary team to apply what we had learnt during our Management ALM to craft a new strategy to be presented to the company’s C-suite.
It has been satisfying to see how the company has developed in the months after we presented our recommendation.
What are you going to miss the most about HES?
The regular deep, insightful discussions on a wide range of topics is a very special part of earning a management degree at HES.
Fortunately, graduating does not have to mean the end of a connection to the Harvard community! The alumni special interest groups are many and varied.
I have thoroughly enjoyed getting involved with the Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment SIG where we have a regular book group.
Describe your HES experience in one word.