Harvard Is No Joke.

A few months ago, somewhat on a whim, I applied to Harvard Business School. I wanted to take a professional development course on Entrepreneurship as a refresh to my existing education and professional work. I completed the application, wrote the essay, hit submit and smirked. “There is no way this is happening,” I thought. And then it did.

For clarification, this is not a degree program. This is one class in a series of course offerings. I believe that if I string enough of these together I could walk away with some sort of degree, but that isn’t really my goal. My goal was to brush up on what’s happening in the world of business start-ups so that I could provide relevant and current information to my students (many of whom intend to start businesses), do things more efficiently in my own business, and provide the best possible guidance to my clients. I also really like school. And it doesn’t get much more legit than HBS.

There were a few weeks between my (shocking) acceptance and the beginning of the course and my anxiety was palpable. I knew this would challenge me mightily- not only because HBS expectations are so high, but because the pace would be fast and furious and, frankly, I have other responsibilities. But I was committed and my husband was incredibly supportive.

So, I took a deep breath and started. And, one of the greatest unanticipated outcomes was that I found myself in a cohort with students from all around the world. I should have predicted this, but I didn’t. When you sit in little ol’ Wenatchee, WA connecting with professionals with similar goals from around the world is pretty fantastic. How incredible to get feedback from fellow students who provide vastly different perspectives and ideas. This alone opened my mind almost as much as the material.

The course was led by HBS faculty with unmatched expertise. The material was relevant and applicable. There was math involved- the kind of math that includes letters instead of numbers- and rather than demand a refund of my tuition, I worked through it. And, I did it correctly. This is perhaps one of the greatest outcomes of the entire experience. (Author’s note: A small part of me wants to find my undergraduate Math 101 professor who told me that there was no hope for me in learning math and wave this in his face. But, I won’t. Because that is conduct unbecoming to HBS.)

This course took over my life because it was intense, demanding, and because I loved every minute of it. My cohort wrestled intricate and challenging concepts to the ground, we struggled, we supported each other, and we finished. All those rumors you hear about the intensity of HBS? They’re real. Harvard is no joke.

Jennifer Korfiatis