Q. What led you to AMP?
AMP came at a time when I was thinking about where to go next in my career. I wanted to develop professionally and personally - and get an extra boost. With that in mind, AMP was a perfect fit. I loved the format—from the classroom learning to the community learning in our living group discussions in the evening. I spent every night contemplating new ideas.
Q. What were your impressions when you first arrived on campus?
Before coming to HBS, I received a mound of reading and assignments. I remember looking at the accounting work and saying to myself, "What have I signed up for?" But I worked through it. When I first got to campus I didn't know what to expect, but I decided to dive in. I embraced all of it, every course and every person—even participating in karaoke nights and playing football, albeit very badly.
I had a lot to learn—and I did learn a lot. Other participants were perhaps somewhat ahead of me, but I worked hard. I was informally voted the most enthusiastic participant in our group.
Q. What surprised you most about the program?
I got the chance to really step back and focus my thinking for the first time in years. Surrounded by amazing people, I was learning and reading in a very stimulating environment for eight weeks. The professors were amazing. All of this added up to a life-changing experience. I can't think of anything else I've done that has genuinely changed my life in such a profound way.
Q. How was the program life-changing for you?
AMP gave me the technical skills, confidence, and a fast-forward experience that enabled me to go back to my company and say, "I really enjoyed what I was doing, but now I'd like to go in a new direction." Without AMP, I never would have had the confidence to do that.
The program's value went beyond the new ideas I had when I first returned to work. Long after AMP was over, I would find myself referring back to what I had learned. Before I took action, I might think, "No, don’t do that—you learned about that in AMP."
Q. Are you still in touch with people from your AMP cohort?
The larger class and my living group were both great. I became particularly good friends with three or four people, and we try to meet up whenever we're in the same city.
I now know someone in every major city in the world. I can easily find a dinner companion when I'm traveling or, more importantly, someone to advise me on a business issue. That long tail of value is very real. One fellow participant kindly publishes a quarterly email on what everyone's been doing. We're also in regular contact through Facebook and LinkedIn. Today's technology enables the group to stay quite tight without always meeting face to face.
Q. What advice do you have for executives who plan to attend AMP?
Make the most of every single minute, even if you're feeling homesick or thinking, "What am I doing here?" or wondering, "Why am I learning this?" If you dive in and make the most of AMP, it will be the most extraordinary, life-changing time of your entire existence.