Harvard Business School – 42nd H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference
(Click the blue links for an enhanced experience)
I hopped off the plane at Boston Intl and decided to use the Uber Car Service App(I had downloaded weeks ago) for the first time. The black suburban pulled up promptly 5 minutes later. During the 15 minute car ride to campus I conversed with the driver about Landmarks and Demographics. He was well informed on the City of Boston and was friendly about it. He was also well informed on how expensive that car ride was going to be, because I wasn’t. 45 bucks, Ouch!
But anyway, I hit my bro Ralph Johnson, committee chairman for the African American Student Union at HBS to let him know i’d made it to campus. He was still in class. So I decided to use my idle time in the Student Union building, Spangler, for some campus explorations. As I walk in, I was immediately ushered in by a middle aged black women directing me to put my bags down and come pick up a packet. “Packet?” I thought to myself. It seemed to me that she had mistaken me for someone else, but I was curious so to played along. “You’re here for the Prospective Student Weekend Right?” the lady asked. Me “Uh, Yeah” I nodded with confidence. “Ok sign your name and come with me”. She led me to a small auditorium where students were already seated and the speaker was in full swing. I sat towards the back not to cause a stir. The speaker was giving a “Need to Knows” PowerPoint presentation of the Harvard Business School: Application Process, Tuition, Curriculum, etc. I listened intently as if I had come for this purpose all along. The premise of the program is “To educate Leaders who make a difference in this World.” Not sure if there exists a mission that I identify with more. I walked out of that auditorium imagining the possibilities! What an inspiring way to kick off my weekend.
So Ralph was out of class and I refocused on the reason I came. The African American Student Conference and the opportunity to soak up Campus Life. We grabbed sushi for lunch in the dining hall, changed gear at the dorm, and visited the dopest building on campus, The iLab. I-Lab is short for Innovation Lab. A public space where students come to create and master mind new ideas! The only rule for the iLab is that no class work is allowed there, only personal projects. Deceptively genius if you ask me. Such a stimulating environment, I noticed that everyone on campus was in constant discussion of ideas and case studies; At lunch, in Passing, in the dorm, everywhere! Makes complete sense why so many great concepts are born at Harvard. The focus on creativity is intensely HIGH.
The next morning the AASU conference began with 2 class-like lecture sessions held by Harvard Professors Andy Zelleke (Leadership in competitive markets) and Henry McGee (Innovation in Entertainment/Media). The classes were encouraged to be interactive and boasted a panel of high level executives to meet and learn from. I soaked it all in. Next we met in the Spangler Banquet Room for networking and Keynote speakers, Dr. David A. Thomas and Carlton L. Gutherie. It was an encouraging surprise to see that a few fellow Hamptonians were attending the Conference as well. Two of which are current HBS Students. We spoke briefly about the impact the conference, personally and professionally. It definitely generated some positive momentum in our universes. The Black Ivy League strikes again! Lastly we congregated in the same small auditorium where my weekend began for closing remarks from BlackRock Managing Director Obie Mckenzie. Obie’s words were enlightening. He said something that stuck with me, “Its one thing to look at ‘WHAT IS’ defined by other people. But you’ve got to look at ‘WHAT CAN BE’ defined by YOU.”
It was difficult for me to summarize this experience in one post with 700 words. The growth and esteem I gained is not easily described. Something happened to me that weekend. I returned much different than I left. Tis True → “A mind stretched by new experience can never return to its original dimensions.” #GrindHard
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