Q. What do you look forward to the most at the start of each new AMP session?
I love the opportunity to meet the people I've been exchanging emails and phone calls with—sometimes over many years. It's so nice to finally put faces to the names!
Q. What advice do you offer people who are about to attend AMP?
Many participants have been thinking about AMP for years, and they are so eager for the program to finally begin. Quite often, their boss or a colleague previously attended AMP and told them what's in store for them during the program. We have even had second-generation attendees. Whatever the case, it takes a lot of personal and professional planning to attend.
When the participants arrive, we stress how important it is to make the most of the eight weeks here. It may seem like a long time, but it goes by very quickly. Many participants have characterized these eight weeks as a gift from their employer and from their family—a unique opportunity to step away from other responsibilities and grow through an intense educational and personal experience. For that reason, it's important to study hard—but also to meet as many people as possible, attend optional sessions, and experience Harvard, Boston, and New England. Those who take advantage of everything AMP has to offer come away with so much more.
Q. What are some of the popular activities outside the classroom?
Sporting events are popular. Participants love the Red Sox baseball games, but they've also gone to Celtics basketball, Bruins hockey, and Patriots and Harvard football games. For those visiting from other parts of the world or other parts of the U.S., AMP also offers the opportunity to explore New England's rich history, which can best be experienced by spending time in older towns like Lexington and Concord, or coastal towns like Newport, Rockport, or Kennebunkport. Some participants have even made excursions to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
In the fall, many participants want to look at New England's foliage, so we encourage them to visit places a little off the beaten track. We organize some group activities as part of the program, but we also help living groups arrange excursions for individuals or small groups on the weekends. Classes end at noon on Saturday, so there is some time for fun on the weekends.
Q. What surprises participants most about AMP?
Until participants get here and experience AMP for themselves, they don't understand just how intense and all-consuming it is. It's very stimulating for them to be back in a classroom at this stage of their career. Participants also tell me that they didn't realize how great the faculty would be.
People are also surprised by Harvard and Boston—they think this environment is going to be incredibly serious and haughty. When they arrive here, however, they are amazed at how friendly everyone is, how approachable the faculty are, and how much time the faculty spend with them outside the classroom—they might even visit a faculty member's home or share lunch or a glass of wine with them.
Q. What are your favorite parts of AMP?
I always look forward to the family program. Halfway through the session, we set aside a weekend where participants' spouses, partners, and children join them. We try to put together a very nice experience for everyone—everything from a Harvard tour to a harbor cruise to a ride in one of Boston's infamous amphibious landing vehicles, known as duck boats. Family members can also experience a class taught by an AMP faculty member, which gives them a taste of the AMP experience.
I also enjoy our Friday evening theme dinners and activities such as a visit to a local museum, a harbor cruise, or a trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. These events allow me to get to know our participants. I can't tell you the number of great people I've met over the years and continue to stay in touch with.
Q. What role do reunions and renewal programs play in the AMP experience?
We regularly hold reunions on campus. Our alumni love being back, seeing their peers again, visiting with the faculty, and keeping those important connections going. The AMP Renewal programs are different, not only because they are centered on a curriculum that extends the AMP learning, but also because we hold them in different parts of the world. The first one was in France, and we've since held sessions in China, the U.S., India, the U.K., and Singapore.
I enjoy meeting up with the alumni at these events and seeing how their careers have continued to progress. Many are in new, more senior positions. They attribute a lot of their success to AMP, and many have told me that their AMP experience has helped them feel much more confident in their new role.
Q. Do participants maintain connections with their classmates?
Absolutely. Everyone is amazed at the intensity of the friendships they develop at AMP. The last day of the program is a sad one because people realize they are going to miss seeing each other on a daily basis. Some AMP groups are still having their own reunions several years later. It is great to know that in every major city you might travel to in the world, you can find an AMP colleague.
To learn if this program is a right fit for you, contact Kathy Venne at email@example.com.