In January 2014, all HBS RC (first year) students will be traveling to developing countries as a requirement of the Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD) program, which was launched in 2011.
A major component of FIELD, the trip requires us to work in small teams and collaborate with organizations in these emerging markets to aid in the development of new products or services targeting local markets. The duration of our sojourn in these countries is one week.
This year, we were presented with eleven candidates as destination options:
- South Africa
Last month, we had prioritized and submitted our preferences, and have been awaiting the announcement of our destinations with bated breath. A few painful weeks later, HBS finally announced our destinations. And, as is typical of the learning environment at HBS, the announcements were part and parcel of a team-building, teaching opportunity.
We were convened in a classroom, divided into small groups, and given a disassembled jigsaw puzzle – one per group. At this point, we were oblivious as to our destinations, but the group members were presumably to be our team.
At a sign from a professor, we commenced assembling our respective puzzles and as you may have already guessed, the jigsaw puzzle revealed our destination via a map. “Aha!” we collectively exclaimed, as excited as a group of school children receiving a gift. “What a novel method of disclosing our destinations!” We feverishly worked on the jigsaw, and 15 minutes later, the puzzle was finally completed, with us simultaneously declaring, “Got it!”
My destination turned out to be Shanghai, China; one of my preferences – along with Cambodia and Malaysia!
As elated as I was with my destination, I was equally delighted with the impressive team I had been placed with. Our six member team is composed of extremely talented members: two management consultants, two private equity bankers, a Biomedical PhD/entrepreneur, and myself. All are incredibly affable and amiable. I could not have wished for a better team.
We still have roughly three months before departure, but I cannot wait for this exciting and compelling field trip.