Q. If you had to sum up your GMP experience in one word, what would it be and why?
Although I'm sure many participants would say "transformative," I would choose "reflective." When you come to HBS, the School's external trappings of academic prestige and global influence can easily overwhelm you. However, you realize how much internal reflection you have to go through in order to make the big decisions within an organization or to project a leadership presence in front of a group. It’s not just about understanding the fundamentals of financial or technological skills—it's about learning how to bring all those things together so you can be an influential leader. When I think about leadership, I view it in terms of stewardship; so the level of internal reflection prompted by GMP has been very powerful for me. Every night, I thought about what we learned and how I might apply it.
Q. What was the living group experience like?
It was absolutely great! Living and working with the eight people in your group provides a unique opportunity to learn a lot about each other and about group dynamics. One of the most enlightening moments for my living group was when we had our first disagreement—that’s when you find out who you are as a group. We had to learn how to work through differences in the context of our individual perspectives and cultural backgrounds. In fact, what we learned from those rough patches was just as important as the academic piece.
Q. What was your favorite part of GMP?
Maybe I'm too socially oriented, but I think the best part of the program was the chance to have impromptu discussions with peers from all over the world. As busy professionals, we don't always have the opportunity or the outlet to talk about the kinds of things we shared in our living group. It's a very special atmosphere without any judgment. Sometimes the discussion would start with a few people sitting around having coffee, talking about a particular topic, and then it would evolve from there.
Q. How did the case studies enhance your learning experience?
To get the most out of the case studies, I started by doing the pre-work—reading the case studies before I arrived—and then reading them again once the program began. After that, I reviewed them with my living group, and then in the classroom. Beyond that, I found it was important to engage in independent reflection and review. That’s when everything comes together. You start out with a beginning context, and then you learn from the other people in your group and class. You hear the academic perspective from world-renowned professors, and then tap into the synergy when you bring all that experience back to your final reflection.
Q. How would you describe the faculty at GMP?
The faculty was always in the zone—like Michael Jordan. I know, of course, that they prepped, studied, and read, but they made it look so easy and natural. These are extremely intelligent professionals who are able to talk about people, places, and things off the top of their heads at a very high level. They are renowned experts in their fields, and working with them delivered a lot of a-ha moments and tools that made me feel like I’m moving toward my purpose in life.
Q. What surprised you most about the program?
What surprised me most was the level of academic rigor. Nothing was watered down, and there was no letting up. This is good because it sets a higher bar for us as professionals. The experience is balanced, though. The professors might be tough on you in the classroom, but then you sit down at lunch and talk about everyday things. There’s a pervasive expectation that everything will be world-class and that makes GMP a unique experience—it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Q. How has attending GMP enhanced your leadership skills?
This program not only challenged me professionally and personally, but also inspired me to set higher expectations for myself. It made me want to ensure that I'm fulfilling—or at least pursuing—my life's purpose with a day-to-day passion that will help me take my career to a new level. GMP also helped reinforce a lot of values that were already important to me: a stronger awareness and intentionality behind my attitude, greater authenticity and accountability, as well as a sharper focus on reflecting and taking action. My experience has given me the tools to make a positive impact and empower people.