It's been 5 years!

After graduation five years ago, I really didn't think I'd have much of an excuse to come back and update this blog, but as I was flying back to Philadelphia from my 5-year HBS reunion, I realized I had almost neglected a very real part of the HBS experience.

I know that many of you may have gone to a high school or college reunion, and, if you're like my friends, the events may have conjured up more fear, nervousness or general feelings of disgust than joy. While I can admit that I, too, felt a tiny bit of trepidation before boarding my flight to Boston last Thursday, flying back my perspective couldn't have been more positive.

In what I'm sure comes as no surprise, Harvard wasted no expense in putting together a fantastic weekend of programming with ample opportunities to catch up with classmates, but also expand your brain and continue the lifelong learning process. Of course, we paid a pretty penny for the experience ($275 per person prior to the "early registration" deadline), but it reminded me once again why Harvard is one of the best institutions in the United States.

Programming officially began on Friday morning with registration, breakfast and an address from the Dean in Burden auditorium. Even just walking the campus and sitting in Burden started to bring back fond memories, and everywhere I turned it felt as though I was running into someone else to hug. It's funny because I mentioned in an earlier blog post that during the first few weeks of HBS, everyone got asked the same three questions: "Where are you from?", "What did you do before HBS?" and, "What do you want to do after graduation?" Well, at reunion, it was a similar game, although the questions had shifted to: "Where do you live now?", "What are you doing these days?" and, most provocatively, "Are you happy?" By the end of the weekend, I had my 5-year elevator pitched nailed down so well that I'm not sure I'll ever forget it.

After the Dean's address, the morning was filled with panel and lecture sessions from faculty members, as well as refreshment breaks for networking and more catching up. I got to attend a lecture from one of my favorite professors, Anita Elberse, and also one from my former strategy professor, Frank Cespedes. After a section lunch, I took a tour of the newly built Harvard Innovation Lab (which I'm totally jealous didn't exist when I was a student) and then met up with my section mates in our old classroom for more catching up.

This seems like a good time to take a step back and address my earlier comment about feeling a bit fearful coming to reunion. Firstly, as an introvert, I was afraid that no one was going to want to talk to me. Looking back this was a ridiculous fear, because everywhere I turned I found someone to talk to - even people I had never really had a close relationship with as a student. Perhaps more deeply, I was afraid of admitting to people that I wasn't exactly happy with where I had landed 5 years post-graduation. I hate my job. I get pangs of anxiety every day when I have to head to work, and the constant feeling of being stressed out and not loving what you do can really break a gal down. As an HBS graduate, I've felt a bit of pressure to "succeed" - whatever that really means - so coming back 5 years later and not presenting the perfect picture of success to the world made me feel ashamed. To my surprise, nobody judged me, and in fact, everyone I spoke to was more interested in learning about what I would pursue next, while sharing their encouragement. I never should have doubted the power of the HBS network.

Our first night concluded with a section party at The Liberty Hotel, although I only stayed an hour and a half because my social quotient was off the charts and I had a big day ahead of me for Saturday. Of course, Saturday brought with it some more panels, including an INCREDIBLY inspiring one by Executive Coach, Stever Robbins, whose words may very well have been life changing for me (but that's another blog post for the future). After an afternoon off-campus with one of my best friends from high school, I got into my formal gown and Uber-ed over to the Top of the Hub Skywalk on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center for our gala, which I had planned for the reunion.

It was a magical night. From a logistical standpoint, the space turned out beautiful, the flowers and linens looked great, the food was delicious and all of the vendors (from the DJ to the photographers to the cigar roller) showed up and seemed to be a hit. Even better, although I thought I had seen almost everyone already between the two days on campus, there were endless additional people to greet and swap stories with.

Highlight of the night? Reuniting with 4 (of my 5) learning team members for a group picture. It took quite a bit of effort to corral these guys into one location, but we made it happen and will look forward to taking another one at our 10th reunion. Here's a picture of us back when we first met in 2008 and one from last night. I don't think we look a day older. :)

And that was it! This morning I grabbed an early flight home with a really full heart and a new dose of inspiration about my future. I think I had lost a bit of my self confidence in my most recent career debacle, so being back at HBS reminded me that I was, and still am, a part of something incredibly special, and one bad experience with a few people that don't recognize just how awesome I am doesn't mean that's going to be the way it is always. Now I just have to hope that Harvard doesn't come back asking me to pay them additional tuition for learning that nugget over the weekend.

For anyone stumbling upon or still reading this blog, I hope this special post gives you a glimpse of all that's yet to come, even after you complete your degree. When HBS says you're a member of the family for a lifetime, they really mean it, and I couldn't be prouder to be an alumna.

Graduation Week: Thursday

Ok, so obviously it is not actually the Thursday of graduation week. And obviously I overestimated the amount of time that I would have to spend blogging during my actual graduation week. Nonetheless, I didn't want to move on from Harvard Bound without spending some time reflecting on THE big day, so here is my commencement festivities recap!

The morning began bright and early -- we had to meet our sections in full regalia at 6:30am. Naturally, I arrived on time only to find out that we weren't actually leaving the business school for our "procession" to Harvard Yard for about another hour, so we spent most of that time taking photos, which is always fun. Thankfully, we had really awesome weather -- overcast and cold! I know this sounds SO counterintuitive, but since all of the commencement activities were outdoors without cover, it was to our benefit to have cool weather.

After we finally started walking across the river, we wound up standing outside of Harvard Yard for another hour before they let us sit down. Truth be told, it wasn't the most well-organized, but I guess when you're trying to cater to 30,000 people there isn't much that can be done in the logistics realm. Nonetheless, the Harvard University ceremony was nice, although I still don't totally understand why they insist on a Latin address at the beginning (tradition, tradition) and nearly an hour introducing 15 honorary doctorates (I think they spent more time reading off the biographies of those folks than they did in conferring degrees to ALL of the Harvard University schools!). The best part? None other than MERYL STREEP was there! Unfortunately, no, she wasn't our keynote speaker -- there wasn't actually a keynote speaking at all -- she was there to receive an honorary doctorate for her involvement in the arts community. She didn't get to address the crowd or anything, which I think disappointed us all (what, no photo op?), so it makes me wonder if they really just gave her that doctorate so that they could say they honored a celebrity during graduation.

After the university exercises concluded, we rushed back to the business school for a quick luncheon before our afternoon ceremony on Baker Lawn (in front of the library). This ceremony had more significance because it was just for the business school and it was when we officially walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. To be honest, I don't even really remember walking across the stage because it happened so quickly, and I was mostly focusing on not tripping and simultaneously smiling for the photographer who I knew was there snapping my portrait. Once again, they managed to pronounce my first name incorrectly, but at this point, I'm so used to it that it didn't matter all that much. :)

The whole thing lasted two hours and that was it! One minute I was a student, the next an alumna clutching a beautiful Harvard University Master of Business Administration diploma.

I know I've said this countless times before, but I still cannot believe how fast my two years at HBS went. Looking back, I know I will always remember this experience fondly and will be proud to one day support the program financially. I wish the upcoming classes, and my classmates, all the best of luck moving forward. It's sad that we will no longer see one another everyday, and that our complaints about case work will soon transition to just complaints about work. All of this fighting for a job? Soon we'll be wishing we were back in the carefree bubble of a student. I know I already want to go back and do it all over again, but we have to keep moving forward, despite our nostalgic longings, and embrace the future. As for me, I still don't know exactly what that future holds, and I'm trying desperately to convince myself that this is EXCITING, not horrifying. I haven't succeeded at that last bit just yet.

To be honest, I think this might be the end of the journey for Harvard Bound. Believe it or not, this is my 99th entry, which balances out to just about one entry per week during my HBS adventure. Not bad, if I do say so myself, and in years to come I know I'll look back and be thankful that I chronicled my journey, despite the fact that my ramblings made it into skydecks more than once. Fear not! This does not mean I am disappearing from the blog-o-sphere for good (how could I when I love writing so much!). I have already begun a new blog, albeit this new one is purely for fun and is a stark contrast from what some might consider the stuffiness of a Harvard MBA blog. My new blog, which I invite you to visit if you so choose, focuses on a personal passion of mine: entertainment, beauty and style. The address is If you choose to take a peek, let me know that you came over from Harvard Bound.

Thanks again to all of you for sticking with me through the last two years and for providing endless support. See you soon!

Graduation Week: Monday

The festivities have officially begun! My family doesn't get into town until Wednesday, but in the meanwhile, everyone around me has started counting down the days. It's a bit hard to feel too excited right now because my future is so unknown, but I am definitely proud of my accomplishments and in making it to graduation (if you recall, I was very seriously concerned about failing out during my first semester). Naturally, it's a very nostalgic time, so I thought I would take a few moments this week to reflect on my HBS experiences and dig up some memories from each semester. I'm going to try to tackle a semester a day, although I may have to skip Thursday due to commencement/family. These will also likely serve as my last few entries to this blog. Since I started it with the sole purpose of chronicling my HBS adventures, it seems fitting to end it when my time at HBS is also coming to a close. Now, I certainly won't be deleting the blog altogether, so hopefully Harvard Bound can live on and provide inspiration to future HBS students. I'm also toying around with the idea of creating a new blog (likely something less personal since I don't want to publicly disclose exactly where I'm living and working), so I will let you all know once I've made up my mind about that. :)

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite memories from Term 1:

- Analytics: Two years later, I still remember my two-week stint in Analytics as my favorite two weeks of my HBS experience. There was something so magical about that time -- I still insist that it's because all of the "non-traditional" aka interesting students are there, so you've got a whole range of people who can converse about topics more broad than the financial markets or hotel rewards programs (no offense to the i-bankers and consultants out there...if nothing else, you made, and will continue to make, a heck of a lot more money than me!). The academic experience was intense, but everyone was so friendly, so we all bonded as we suffered through the late nights and first finance cases as a group. Even today, two of my closest friends -- Esha and Jun -- were my sectionmates in Analytics (and luckily, my sectionmates in Section G as well!). I will miss you both! Also a shout out to my Analytics learning team who will always have a special place in my heart!

- Bonding with my full-term Learning Team (#18!): We've somewhat lost touch this year since we're no longer meeting every morning, but boy oh boy did we manage to have some fun first semester. Whether we were laughing over our Subarctic Simulation results, Qiao and "Panda Porn," or Aneal and "Sleeper Cell," we always managed to add some fun into our 7am meetings. And even outside of the classroom we became good friends, meeting for dinner and drinks on several occasions. I learned SO very much from these people and hope that I was able to teach them a thing or two as well -- if nothing else, I hope I helped them learn tolerance when helping non-financiers build models. ;)

-My first "fall" and "winter": Seriously folks, people take seasons for granted! Growing up in Florida, it's always been year-round summer, and while some might think that's the ideal, I can tell you that it gets really old, really fast (or at least it does after 20 years of it!). Thus, my first fall and winter in Boston represented such beauty to me. Watching the leaves change and the first drops of snow hit the ground, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I remember one winter afternoon reaching out and touching the snow that covered the bushes when no one was looking so I could see what it felt like. Sadly, I never did get a chance to build a snowman or make a snow angel!

- Exploring Boston: The Duck Tour was a hoot, Boston Common is a beautiful place for an afternoon stroll, the Freedom Trail gives this city such depth and Newbury Street is a not-to-be-missed destination for any (aspiring) fashionista. Although I definitely am leaving without experiencing all that Boston has to offer (I never did make it to the science museum, a Red Sox game or to Cape Cod), I feel that, especially first semester, I got a good dose of what this city has to offer. Other favorites: dinner and drinks at Top of the Hub at the Prudential Center, going to see Coldplay in concert at the TD Bank North Garden, visiting the Boston Aquarium with Tausha and Lauren, cruising around Boston Harbor during orientation week...

- Getting my Term 1 grades! An odd memory for a "favorite," but I just have to pay homage to this fateful day in December (or was it January?) when I saw that I had successfully made it through my first semester. That day was a clear turning point in my HBS career as it marked the moment I was able to let go of a TON of my stress and really enjoy the rest of my RC year.

All right, I'm all tapped of creative juices for now. More memories soon!


Seeing as I have been gone from the blogosphere for several weeks now, I thought it was high time that I write an entry explaining my absence. Firstly, exams, papers and group projects took up a ton of my time during the last two weeks of April. I am so happy that everything is done and turned in -- I believe that I'll get my final set of grades next week. While I already feel a sort of sadness/nostalgia knowing that I'll never again read an HBS case and sit down to discuss it in Aldrich, I feel proud to have completed two years of intense education here. In a lot of ways, I'm ready for a break. I will look forward to coming home from work at the end of the day and not having to worry about a case analysis due the following morning. :)

On the 30th of April, I went in for surgery. I don't want to go into too much detail, since it's pretty personal, but I can tell you that everything went well, despite recovering in the hospital for about a week. My mom has been up in Boston with me since the surgery, and I am so thankful for her assistance and support. Also, the HBS Community has really come out in full force to help my mom and I in any and every way that we need it. I am so impressed by how thoughtful and gracious everyone has been.

As of two days ago, I am re-settled on the HBS campus and getting ready for graduation, which is in about 3 weeks. Then on May 29th, I've got a flight scheduled to Florida and who knows how long I'll be there living in my mom's living room on an air mattress. Eek!

Since I'm still in recovery from my surgery, I won't be doing anything too exciting over the next couple weeks, other than catching up with friends, reading some good books and continuing what is seemingly a never-ending job search. I probably won't be around blogging much, unless something exciting unexpectedly happens, although I will get back online the week of graduation so I can document all of our commencement activities (things happen over several days here and I will be taking lots of pictures to share!).

Until then, thanks for your patience and support! Also, if you're interested, Harvard Bound secured 5th place in the Clear Admit Best of Blogging Awards, yippee!

Harvard Bound Nominated for Clear Admit's Best of Blogging Award

I'm so excited to announce that Harvard Bound has been nominated in the 2009-2010 Clear Admit Best of Blogging contest. Thanks so much to the Clear Admit team for all of their support over the last year in promoting Harvard Bound, and now for the nomination! Unfortunately, only nominated bloggers and Clear Admit staffers are eligible to vote in the awards, but I certainly welcome anyone who wants to help cheer me on via the Comments section! :)
You can check out all of the nominated blogs (20 current students and 20 applicants) by visiting this link:

The winners will be announced on May 4th -- the top blogger receives either an iPod Touch or an Amazon gift certificate, and runners up are offered WSJ/Financial Times subscriptions!

Wish me luck (and good luck to the other nominees)!

A Modern Day Fairy Tale (thanks to my dad!)

This is the fairy tale that we should have been reading as little girls!

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog as she sat, contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pond in a verdant meadow near her castle.

The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and setup housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals, clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.

That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sauteed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself:
I don't fucking think so!

Exploring Massachusetts: Salem and Plymouth

As my time in Boston slowly edges to a close, I really wanted to take some time to explore all of the historical and/or touristy sites that this state has to offer. Despite living here for nearly two years, there's a ton that I haven't seen, either because time hasn't allowed, or because access to a motor vehicle has been scarce. This past weekend, though, my college friend and sorority sister Melissa came to town and since she is brave enough to drive in this crazy state, we rented a car for three days and spent some time in two of Massachusetts' most famous areas: Salem and Plymouth.

Our trip to Salem consisted of a visit to the Salem Witch Museum (apparently Salem's most visited museum), where they gave a 30-minute panorama-type retelling of the 1692 Witch Trials. Something like 19 innocent people were killed due mostly to false testimony and scapegoating -- one poor man was pressed to death.

We also spent a lot of time walking around the cute town where there are lots of witch-related and even normal shops. Of course, we both bought cute Salem t-shirts (mine says "Stop in For a Spell," so cute) and took lots of fun pictures, including this one memorializing Elizabeth Montgomery, an actress best known for her role as Samantha in Bewitched:

We also visited the earliest burial grounds in the town, although none of the convicted witches were buried here. There was a Pilgrim in this graveyard and the wife of one of the "witches." There was also a Witch Memorial with benches laid out for each of the people that were killed -- each bench had a name engraved with their death date and the way they were murdered. Lots of people laid flowers on top of the stones.

Also while in Salem, we ate lunch on the Pickering Wharf harbor and took photos in front of the Witch House, which is the oldest standing structure in Salem. Apparently it was once the home of the Judge that convicted the witches, and eerily enough, both Melissa and I had orbs/ghosts floating in our photos of the house (look near the sign on the right side)!

Our trip to Plymouth was also fun. We got to tour a replica of the Mayflower, which is docked at Plymouth Harbor and is actually still seaworthy. Man, it was a small ship for 100 people! I think we saw a total of like 6 "beds" on the whole ship, so I can't even imagine where they put everyone unless they were a whole lot shorter and thinner than people are today!

We also went and saw the actual rock, which truth be told, was just a rock with a big 1620 carved into it. I was even more disappointed when I found out that the rock wasn't even claimed as the landing place of the Pilgrims until 120 years later in 1741! I wonder then how anyone KNEW that this particular rock was THE rock considering all of the pilgrims would have been long dead by then...Is one of our country's historic sites thus a scam??

We also went and visited Plimoth Plantation, which was a site I had been wanting to see since arriving in Boston in the fall of 2008. Basically, there are several parts: A crafts center where modern-day artisans build clothes and household items that would have been used in the 17th century, a replica 1627 English village with role-players who try to convey what life was like for the Pilgrims when they first arrived and an Indian village where modern-day Native Americans wear traditional clothing and just talk with people about their culture.

The plantation itself was really cool as there were lots of farm animals roaming about and we got to watch "Pilgrims" baking bread, engaging in metalworking, farming and tending to the animals. It was also interesting again to note how small all of the quarters were!

Overall, it was a lot of fun taking a trip back in time over the weekend and I feel like I got to see a lot of the state while we took the scenic routes (aka got lost) several times! And here's a fun fact: apparently there are a million Dunkin' Donuts in Boston. We saw 15 of them on the 30-minute route from HBS to Salem....crazy!
'Til next time!