Monthly Archives: May 2014

Summer Vacation!

First year is finished! Most students have left for summer vacation and the campus is nearly empty.

Me? I’m leaving Boston and heading to Japan!

Have a great summer everybody!


Final Exams

Only two days left until the end of first year and we are in the middle of our final exams. As I have written earlier, grades at HBS are determined by a combination of class participation and the final exam, each comprising 50% of our grade. The final exam is a case study in which we are required to download and read a case, analyze it, write an essay of 1,500 to 2,000 words, and finally upload it – within four to five hours. Five hours may sound long, but in fact, the time just flies. Given the impact of the exam on our grade, it is hard not to feel strong pressure to perform well.

Final Exam

A good thing is, with a few exceptions, we can take the exam at any location we desire (as long as there is stable internet connection). Some people prefer the classroom, but many others take it at different locations – home, library, or even a café. A friend of mine related to me how last semester he took the exam at the airport while waiting for his flight – I can’t imagine how he could do it…

Anyway, the long-awaited summer vacation is just around the corner. I can’t wait!

The Last Class

During our final classes, professors deliver their closing lectures – one of the most bittersweet and intimate of times at Harvard Business School.

There is no case, no writing on the blackboard, no spirited discussion. Professors simply speak to us from the heart, presenting us with what are arguably the most thought-provoking and valuable life-lessons we will receive during our time at HBS. As successful business people and veteran faculty, their personal experiences reverberate with rich, poignant implications, instilling in us more than what we have gleaned during class. They ask – Where did you come from? Why are you here? Where do you go from here, and why?  - and proceed to answer these questions by speaking of their lives.

As Daisy Wademan writes in her book, the last lecture gives us a life-long guiding light, which we will rely on when we encounter difficulties in our own lives. It’s not an overstatement to opine that the last lecture’s value is greater than all the case discussions we’ve had thus far.

Today, after our last classes of LCA and BGIE, we sent our professors off to thunderous standing ovations after their awe-inspiring final lectures.

Standing ovation

Spring has come

After a long frigid winter, spring has finally arrived in Boston!

This past week, new green foliage and vibrant flowers have totally changed the feel of campus. May is probably one of the most pleasant months in Boston, along with the colorful Octobers we enjoy.

If you ask HBS students “what do you dislike most about Boston?” most would answer “winter.” I had heard about Boston’s notorious winter before coming to HBS, but hadn’t expected how interminable it could be. The cold and gloom forced us to stay inside, and we had nothing to do but study. Now, we are celebrating the return of spring with a vengeance!



So, what are we doing academically at present? Two things are going on. One, we are already looking at the next academic year. At HBS, while the first year consists of all required curriculum (RC), the second year is quite flexible, and all classes are elective curriculum (EC). One hundred and fifty-two classes will be offered, and we are required to select our preferred courses and submit a prioritized list by next week. It’s actually difficult to pick a desirable combination of classes from the myriad of offerings. I will be touching on this in detail later.

Also, final exams have started. During the next two weeks, we have five case based exams. Since the final exam accounts for 50% of our grade, it’s worth spending half of our effort on exam prep. Very intensive period.

I’m always saying this but – time just flies. I cannot believe that our first year ends in two weeks.