Adding Up His Life and Goals at Harvard : A South-Central resident talks about his first year at the Harvard Business School, and how it has affected his perspective on friends, family and community.
I think what I’ve learned at Harvard Business School is that I need to build a strong foundation. Without my family, I couldn’t do that. Being away from home, I learned to appreciate them more. They’re the ones I’ve come to depend on.
The competition at Harvard is very intense. I get up at 7 a.m. and go to sleep at 2 a.m. I was physically, emotionally and mentally drained by the end of the first semester.
I came home for Christmas; a cousin of mine had been murdered, and his funeral was the day I arrived home. There were sirens, helicopters, gunshots and loud music. My stress level just shot up again. Before I left, a neighbor was murdered--I couldn’t wait to get back to Boston.
But there were 10 to 15 times I wanted to give up on Harvard.
Harvard was a very humbling experience. I found myself praying to God every day just to get through it all. But now, I’m a more grounded person. Growing up in South-Central, I didn’t have an example in front of me, no role models. At Harvard, I’ve dealt with so much and have come to realize I have to depend on people and my faith in God. I’ve called home every day because I need to talk to my family.
David Garvin is one of my professors, and he’s a role model. He has a lot to do with my realizing that you can’t separate business from family; it’s all combined. He showed me that you have to set priorities, and sometimes you have to compromise. This was a guy who would spend an hour talking with me, and the next day, he’d be spending time with a politician or a senior executive.
I know now that I need to build a strong foundation with my family and friends. I’m better now with relationships than before I went. I listen more than I used to. My mother is a valuable resource when dealing with issues of life. I used to not listen to her. It’s important to actively listen to people, to gain knowledge about life, not just book knowledge.
With a Harvard MBA and my experience, I have the opportunity to go all over the world. But I know that I’ve sacrificed a lot to get where I am. I can’t think about becoming a politician right now. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in “now I’m a Harvard MBA,” move to a ritzy area, make a six-figure income and travel the world.
Since I started at Harvard last year, I’ve realized that politicians face a lot of challenges. There may be some good things to it, but then there are things the people don’t like--it’s not easy to make the decisions. Politicians have to take into consideration the Democrats, the Republicans, special interests and corporations. Everybody wants a piece of the pie. And you’ve got to think not only on a national level, but on a global level.
I had an appendectomy while I was at school. In the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. I realized that life changes, and you have to be flexible. I want to settle down, marry and have a family.
I’m still trying to be a role model. I know the process--how to get from South-Central to a big corporation. The kids see that. I hope I have something I can contribute to people. I hope people who listen to my story will go on to surpass me.