As I’m writing this post, I’m on a plane to Dubai. It seems like a good time to reflect upon the past five months. This first incredibly intensive semester went by in no time. It feels like it was just yesterday that the Hult staff was lined up to welcome the January intake in San Francisco. Yet, in these five months I’ve completed eight courses, made friends from all over the world, met top officials from some of the worlds most amazing organizations, and visited beautiful locations all over Northern-California.
The semester kicked off with arrival and orientation sessions on campus in early January. Meeting the Dean, Deanery and staff was like a wake-up-call; I’m going to study in the US, in San Francisco, in the center of Silicon Valley, among thousands of great minds and future business partners. This is my new life.
In the first few weeks, our Career Development and Corporate Relations team hosted representatives from Expedia (the world’s biggest travel agency), Sotheby’s International Realty (one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, real estate, and collectibles), and UNICEF. In addition, the campus hosted author and speaker Jaymin Patel for a lecture on networking. All of this within the first four weeks after orientation. This semester the San Francisco campus also hosted a the founder and CEO of Kiip, a Global Managing Partner at IBM, representatives from L´Orèal and Autodesk, and many more. I’m sure that having these speakers and and senior officials on campus can open doors for opportunities I’d never dare to imagine, but their insights and speeches are just as inspiring as they are important for success. Hearing how these people tried, failed and succeeded really gets me pumped up on the thought of doing what I love and expect to do for most of my life; generating jobs, creating value and having a meaningful purpose.
In addition to great speakers, we also hosted the Hult Prize Regional for the Americas and Oceania on campus, with teams coming in from universities all over the world to compete for getting into the incubator program and eventually to the global finale later this year. Among them were teams from some of the most recognized universities in the world, including Harvard Business School, Yale University, and Stanford University. Hult Prize is an initiative created by a Hult alumni that every year, in cooperation with the Clinton Foundation and Hult International Business School, creates a challenge for teams from universities all over the world to solve with a well thought through Social Enterprise business idea. This year, the challenge is to come up with a business idea that will double the incomes of 10M crowded urban space dwellers by 2022. The winning prize is $1 million in startup funding. I cannot even begin to describe the atmosphere as people from all over the world, with potentially world-changing ideas, gathered and presented their ideas to senior officials from some of the world’s most amazing organizations. The judges included the Executive Director of Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation), the Chief Strategy Officer at NASA, a co-founder of Box.com and many others. Seeing a team from my own amazing university, Hult International Business School, proceed to the finale is clearly my proudest Hult moment yet.
Caption: From the Hult Prize Regional Final in San Francisco, March 12, 2016.
The courses I’ve taken in these five months ranges from Freshman required courses like Financial Accounting to Junior elective courses like Corporate Diplomacy and Geopolitical Risk. Many of the professors I’ve met at Hult so far have already had an impact on how I view the world of business, and I hope to stay in touch with most of them for a long time. The value of having professors that really work in the fields that they’re teaching is inestimable. Not only do they teach and convey concepts with a real-world, non-theoretical approach, but many of them even share their personal contact information for you to reach out to them with any questions you might have about their field of expertise throughout your studies and professional career. This way my professors have introduced me to the world of networking, which now is my main objective when attending events or meeting business professionals.
One course that I consider particularly memorable from this first semester at Hult is the Corporate Diplomacy and Geopolitical Risk course under Professor Cari Guittard, an intensive five week course consisting of five eight-hour lectures. Prof. Guittard shared lot’s of valuable advice gained through her professional career, which started in the US State Department back in the late 90s and early 00s. Her practical approach was remarkable. Already in her first lecture we were assigned a case senario, and asked choose a country in a specific region that we thought a Fortune 500 energy company would benefit from expanding to. One of our graded assignments was a comprehensive team assignment where we were asked to design a Corporate Diplomacy effort for another Fortune 500 company, and present this effort in an essay and a team presentation. In her final lecture, Professor Guittard shared a few final words that honestly gave me goose bumps, and seems very relevant for those like my peers and myself, that are working towards international careers or a life as an entrepreneur. The words were written by Keith Reinhard, and goes as follows:
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
People are unreasonable, illogical and self- centered.
Love them anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
With those words in mind, I’ve never felt more ready to continue this journey along the path of adventures, visions, honesty, and success.
There’s much more to the student life in San Francisco than studies. In these past months I’ve been traveling around the northern part of California. The beautiful and scenic areas around San Francisco alone are motivation enough for a week of final exams. When at the same time you’re incredibly close to places like Santa Cruz, Yosemite, and Highway 1, you’ll never run out of things to do in the City of by the Bay and the Golden State of California.