Harvard Bound Internet Mentions

I just wanted to take a few moments to shout out to those in the MBA blogosphere who are linking to and/or mentioning Harvard Bound on their sites. Thanks to:

-Clear Admit's Fridays From the Frontline for featuring a round-up of Harvard Bound's latest posts every Friday (http://blog.clearadmit.com/category/fridays-from-the-frontline/) and for featuring us on their list of Harvard Blogs.

-The Online Graduate Programs Blog for featuring Harvard Bound as one of the "100 Best Blogs for MBA Students" (http://www.onlinegraduateprograms.com/blog/2009/03/100-best-blogs-for-mba-students/)

-A Student from Columbia Business School who linked to HB: http://max4mba.blogspot.com/

-Life With Lindsay, who also linked to HB: http://lindsaymeyer.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/silicon-valley-vs-san-francisco-a-reflection-furtively-composed-on-a-blackberry-while-riding-the-30x-home-from-work/

Thanks for the support!

Stay tuned for a mid-semester course review coming soon!

NYC in Pictures


Live from New York It's...Friday Night?

I'm typing from my very comfortable king-size bed at the Omni Berkshire hotel in New York where I am sufficiently exhausted after a very long day of networking on the HBS Entertainment & Media Club's New York Trek. I'm highly looking forward to getting an early night tonight and sleeping in tomorrow morning so that I can gear up for four more days in the city (and they will be just as jam-packed as today was!).

To recap:

This morning we started at The Food Network, which is in the Chelsea Market area of New York. The building was very nondescript from the outside, but the workspace was perhaps one of the cheeriest I've seen (and coming from a former Disney gal that says a lot!). The walls were all sorts of sunny yellow and orange shades and the lights were modern and warm (not fluorescent!). We started with a panel featuring Brooke Johnson (Food Network President), Amanda Melnick (Director of Marketing) and Kim Williamson (Director of Programming). From there we were given a tour of the testing kitchen and the set of a new show called "Cooking for Real." The visit was interesting, especially considering HBS had never visited the network before, but it was a bit disconcerting to hear the President say that they were only TWO MBA's in the entire company. Now, I know entertainment tends to be light on the business degrees, but only two in the whole company? I'm hoping perhaps she was thinking two hundred and just left off the "hundred," but that's probably wishful thinking! Before leaving we did get some cool "swag" including a Food Network cap and copies of their magazine's latest issues.

Second on the agenda was a trip to HBO where we had a panel featuring Henry McGee (President of HBO and HBS grad), Jamyn Edis (Emerging Technologies, also an HBS grad), Courteney Monroe (EVP Consumer Marketing and...a Wharton grad, but she's pretty cool so we'll forgive her for that) and Andrew Goldman (Cinemax VP). I really loved the "feel" of this company -- very "we know we're cool cats but we won't be cocky about it." Plus, everyone seems SO smart, innovative and willing to take risks in their roles -- three qualities that are really appealing in my job search! Excitedly, I'll be returning to HBO, not once, twice, or thrice, but FOUR times in the next four days to meet with three separate folks in marketing and a rep in HR. Wish me luck!

Around lunchtime we went to Time Warner where we were served cold pizza and some boring spiel about mergers, acquisitions and investing. Yeah, that's all I'm going to say about that visit (wait, I lied, I need to say one more thing: the building is beautiful!).

Fourth on the agenda was MTVN, which is also a place where I get really good vibes. Here we had a panel with six different HBS alums, including my WSA Mentor Anne who I totally admire because she not only has a JD AND an MBA, but she has the coolest job on the planet and she's an amazing person as well. Was also excited to meet a woman I had been referred to that works in the digital retail group for Nickelodeon and a guy who now does Ad Sales for MTVN but used to work at my old stomping grounds in Orlando!

The final destination for the afternoon was NBCU. We met with Lisa Shaw, the SVP of Digital Marketing for Bravo, a really nice guy named Tony Loney (love the rhyming name) from HR and another HBS grad from business development at iVillage. By this point, we were all pretty tired and you could tell by the fact that the rigor of our questions totally fell flat. Nonetheless, I saw Tausha on the way out and grabbed two cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, which is right next door, and that totally lifted my spirits.

And now that I'm back in my wonderful, comfy hotel room with feet that have finally calmed after a day full of walking in heels, I plan to get a good night's sleep. Will write more (and post photos) soon (I didn't bring the cord to NYC, but will upload a NYC photo gallery once I get back). Good night!

Reflections from the 2010 Dynamic Women in Business Conference

Last Saturday I attended the 19th annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference at HBS, which is hosted by the Women's Student Association on campus. I have to admit that last year, although I went to the keynote speech by the founder of Bare Escentuals, I was so bored at the first panel that I promptly left. This year, I had a bit of a different strategy (only go to what sounded truly interesting and spend time doing job search/school stuff in a separate space during the less interesting bits) and found that overall I had a much more enjoyable time.

Perhaps what surprised me most was how much I enjoyed the morning keynote speech by Ann Simonds, the President of the Baking Division at General Mills. Originally, the CEO of Product (RED) was supposed to speak, but she fell ill and had to cancel at the last minute. I was really disappointed and expected a completely boring speech about marketing Betty Crocker, but instead I found myself really engaged and inspired.

Ann's speech was mostly centered around the role that women play in business today and how we can work together to shape expectations for the future. Some interesting statistics that she pointed out:

  • 45% of people report not liking their job. Those that do like their job are 12% more productive (so it pays to do what you are passionate about).
  • Women still earn just 77 cents to every dollar that men earn, but companies that have women in their senior ranks deliver 34% more shareholder value than companies that are run solely by men (so why are they buying us so cheaply?).

What I appreciated most from Ann's speech was how she ended it. She said that she actually gets annoyed when people approach her and ask her how she "has it all," because she says that having it all is a flawed idea -- she certainly doesn't have it all and she doesn't believe that's what the goal should be. Rather she said the goal is to give and be a productive, useful person, whether that be through giving to yourself, family, co-workers or friends.

The afternoon keynote, Linda Easley, the CEO of Limited Stores, was less interesting (she talked entirely about the private ownership of the brand, which split off from Limited Brands a couple of years ago and wasn't nearly as inspirational), so I'm going to skip over her speech and go straight to the third panel session where I attended the Technology, Entertainment and Media panel.

The panel featured a really diverse group of women: Anna Collins, the General Manager of Entertainment and Devices Support, Customer Service and Support at Microsoft moderated, and the panelists included HBS alums Meredith Barnett (Editorial Director, The Inside Source), Patricia Burh (VP of Strategy, Programming and New Product Development, Time Warner Cable), Sara Clarke (SVP Corporate Strategy, Analysis and Communication, Showtime), Jessica Schell (SVP Digital Strategy and Business Development) and a lone non-HBS alum Tai Beauchamp (CEO, The Blueprint Group).

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

  • Jessica Schell commenting on how much value technology has destroyed with DVRs, piracy issues, the delivering of content without cable subscriptions and other disruptive technologies. Anna Collins then trying to defend technology (since she works at Microsoft).
  • Tai Beauchamp talking about finding a comfort level tooting your own horn, which women find more difficult than men (and which leads to women less often getting the promotions and raises that they desire/deserve).
  • Sara Clarke reiterating that it's okay not to know everything and to admit that. She was once assigned a project regarding HD technologies and had no idea what it was all about, but by networking and utilizing internal resources, she quickly became the expert and "go-to" woman in the company.

Overall, I thought the conference was well done -- and I enjoyed the lululemon goody bag (we got Unilever toiletries, 150 calorie warm delights desserts, a candle, a clutch from The Limited and more!). One day I hope that I'm successful enough to be invited back to campus as a speaker for this event!

Next up is this Thursday's Entertainment & Media Conference for which I spearheaded the marketing (along with my awesome partner, Minal!). Will blog about that one soon!

Sundance Film Festival 2010 Part 2

Wow, tomorrow will be a whole week since I was in Utah for the Festival. The past seven days went so fast! Before I forget, here's the rest of my review of Sundance 2010.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn so we could get to the box office by 7:30am. Even then there were people there (about 75 in front of us). Luckily, I was able to snag tickets to three additional films for the day.

1) The first program I went to was a shorts program and it was the worst 2 hours of my life. To be honest, it was so bad that I blacked out almost all memories of what I saw. Of what I can remember: a cartoon short about two stick figures, one of which spends 10 minutes pulling a bloody stitch out of the other stick figure's mouth; a short called "Renegades" that involved a bare-breasted stripper, Euro-techno music, shooting an old man's ear off his head and two gay men getting it down in the woods; a short called the Armoire about a little boy who dares his friend to stick a fork in an electrical socket and then covers up his death; and perhaps what was the only decent one, a story about an army mom shipping off to war. My grade: F-

2) My second screening of the day may have been my favorite of the festival. It was a documentary called "Bhutto" that chronicled the life and trials of the first female Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. I honestly knew nothing about Benazir before the film, but I always enjoy highlights of powerful women around the world, so my interest was piqued nonetheless. The story wound up being incredibly emotional and done in a way that it could work in a commercial setting. The only issue I took with the film was that it was hard to tell how objective of a stance it took -- the filmmaker had mentioned in a Q&A after the screening that he had the full cooperation of the Bhutto family, and while I'm sure you couldn't make a good film without their support, it makes me wonder if his work was thus influenced by the positioning that the family would be happy to see on the screen versus what the unbiased perspective would project. Again, there's no way of knowing, so I just plan on doing some research in my free time to get a better sense for the impact she had on the Pakistanis and what her legacy really stands for. Regardless, she was a courageous, strong woman and her persistence and devotion to her country seem quite admirable. My Grade: A

3) Number three was the most artsy of the films that I saw. "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" was the story of a psychic woman who lives with a multitude of spirits in her home. The spirits have all sorts of zany personalities (a bride who hung herself with her "something blue," a band of four blind musicians who don't speak, just play instruments, a little girl who wears a Kentucky Derby-style hat and has a knack for picking winning horses at the betting track, etc.) and they provide much of the comic relief in the film. The interesting piece was that the film was created with an intense score -- the music tracked the emotion in the film and was thus loud and clangy and cacophonous during intense moments and melodic and harmonic during more calm moments. The filmmaker commented that this was a deliberate choice so that the film could be shown in a real theater and scored "live" with actual musicians, which would make for an interesting experience. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the film has enough widespread appeal to seek a commercial run, but nonetheless, I definitely enjoyed the story and its underlying message of learning to love and let go. My Grade: B

4) My fourth and final film of Sundance was hysterical. "Bran Nue Dae" was an Australian musical starring Geoffrey Rush that highlighted life as an Aborigine. The main character, a teenage boy named Willie, is sent off by his mother to become a priest, but Willie can't stop pining over his sweetheart Rosie whom he must leave behind. One night, Willie decides to escape and he meets a crazy cast of characters as he attempts to hitchhike his way home to Broome and back into Rosie's heart. As the only comedy that I saw, this film was a nice way to end the festival...plus I was singing the main song, "There is nothing I would rather be, than to be an Aborigine" the whole night long, lol. My Grade: A-

So there you have it folks! After my last screening (after which I took this last glorious picture of the beautiful Utah mountains), I grabbed some Mexican food for dinner, watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians in front of the fireplace at the condos and got an early night. The following day, I just explored Main Street one more time, bought a Sundance tote bag (I needed some sort of souvenir) and headed back to the airport for a long flight into Boston (by the time we got back it was 1am!). Despite the heavy traveling and the ridiculous amount of money that I spent for four days, I am SO happy that I went. The vibe and energy of the festival is so fulfilling for a film lover like me. I would DEFINITELY go back in the future!

In other news, I'm going to be posting some really interesting blogs over the next few days. Yesterday I attended a marketing workshop with brand guru Douglas Atkins and think you all might be interested to hear what he had to say. Then I plan to do a review of tomorrow's Women's Student Association Conference and then later in the week, a round-up of my early-term course reviews. Stay tuned!

Sundance Film Festival 2010 Part 1

I have to admit, being at HBS has afforded me some really cool experiences that I probably wouldn't have had the chance to be a part of otherwise. Going to this year's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, was one of these experiences and arguably one of my favorites!

Thanks to a partnership between the Entertainment & Media Club and the Art Society, nearly 40 of us trekked across the country together for a long weekend of film screenings, fluffy snow and lots of good food!

For me, the weekend began Thursday afternoon with a mid-afternoon flight out to Salt Lake City. The EC group stayed at the Snow Flower Condominiums, which are less than a mile from the main drag, Park Avenue. I was in a condo that sleeps 14 (one of the biggest the place offers), yet it felt surprisingly cozy with the old-fashioned slanted ceilings and warm living room fireplace. After getting an early-ish night (by the time we got in and got to the condo it was nearly 1am), I got up super early (7am) to head out to the Sundance box office. Since most of the films I wanted to see were sold out during my original registration window, I had to vie for a limited number of "day-of" tickets that they open up each morning of the festival. The box office opens at 8 daily, and by the time I got there, a line of at least 150 people had formed. Thankfully though, I was able to secure tickets to two additional films for Friday.

1) The first film I saw was called "Skateland," (it screened in a 1,250 seat theater called the Eccles Theater) and it starred Ashley Greene from the Twilight movies (and no other "names"). The film was a throwback to growing up in the 80s and had a very loose, wandering plot about a teenager dealing with the consequences of maturing and moving on from his home town in light of his childhood hangout and current workplace, a roller skating rink called Skateland, closing to make way for a more popular establishment. In the midst of discovering himself and where he wants to go in life, Richie (the main character) must deal with love, loss, betrayal and fear from friends, family and foes. Overall, I really enjoyed the film -- the 80s music was INCREDIBLE, the funny moments made you laugh out loud and the intense moments really poured out from the screen. My only criticism is that the screenplay could have been tightened up a bit to better define some of the secondary characters and the back story. My grade: B+

2) My next film was ALL the way across the festival site at a much smaller theater called The Egyptian. The theater was actually really neat in its decor and had King Tut masks on the walls and a big temple-like shroud over the screen -- even the lobby was themed! The film that I saw here was a documentary about Holocaust propaganda called "A Film Unfinished." The premise was that as Jews suffered from overcrowding, malnourishment and struggle during their lives in the Warsaw ghetto, the Nazis staged scenes of luxury and enjoyment to create war propaganda that would convince the outside world that they were doing no harm. Apparently more than 60 minutes of film was shot, but the footage was never actually edited into a full-fledged film as the Nazis had intended. Rather, as the title suggests, the film was left unfinished and hidden in the massive German Film Archive to be forgotten. Since that time, portions of the film had been used in other documentaries about the Holocaust, but the full 60 minutes had never been shown together. This idea was the filmmaker's inspiration. She added emotional and dramatic affect to the already haunting footage by bringing in actual Holocaust survivors to watch the reels while their emotions were recorded.

Obviously, it's hard to say that you "like" a film about such a horrific time, but I can say that I thought the film provoked great emotion in me (and the rest of the theater if the number of hands I saw wiping away tears speaks for itself). The one thing that I did NOT like about the film was that it, too, seemed unfinished in a sense. I thought that the filmmaker could have pushed a little bit farther in using the footage to make a clear statement. Instead, it just felt as though it were an exhibition. Perhaps that was her purpose, to allow us to make all of the decisions on our own. My grade: B

3) The third and final film I saw on Friday was "Sympathy for Delicious," a film directed by Mark Ruffalo (that is him speaking into the microphone in the above photo, I swear!). I chose this film knowing nothing about it except that it starred an all-star cast including Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, Juliette Lewis and Ruffalo himself. Plus, I heard a rumor that Ruffalo would be at the screening to do a Q&A and I just HAD to see at least one celebrity during my trip! ;)

Unfortunately, the hype didn't live up to my expectations and I have to say that this was my least favorite film of the day, and one of my least favorite from the festival as a whole. I actually really liked the plot -- the story was about a crippled homeless DJ who discovers that he has the power to spontaneously heal the ill (like you see those evangelists do on those crazy TV shows where people fall all over the place and claim to be cured). At first people don't believe him, but then as he begins to cure other homeless folks, the press takes note, as does a grunge rock band quite conveniently looking for a new DJ. DJ Delicious, as he's thus called, joins the band and together they create an enterprise where Delicious "heals" people at concerts, causing ticket sales to explode. I don't want to spoil the film in case anyone happens to see it, but let's just say from there things don't go exactly as planned.

My problem with the film was that it was just TOO rough around the edges for me. I understand that sometimes expletives are the perfect word to express particularly extreme emotion, but come on, the "F" word must have been used more than 1,000 times in 2 hours. Literally, it felt like every other word was f***. Not only that, but the film had strong drug use, sexual innuendo, dark, dirty characters and not a single ray of happy sunshine. I felt down and dreary after watching the film -- like I needed a bath and a soundsoother with beach noises. My grade: D+/C-

After Sympathy for Delicious ended around 10:30, I headed back to the condo, hung out with friends for a bit and then hit the sack, since I was planning to get up on Saturday even earlier (at 6am!) to try to beat the inevitable box office rush (since most of the great films were screening that day). Since this entry is already really long and I want to give the four films I saw on Saturday the time they deserve, I'm going to finish up my review of Sundance later today or tomorrow. Adios for now!