Emerging from the Bubble

Over the last two weeks EC sections have reassembled in their old Aldrich classrooms and, with the help of some of their favorite RC professors, reflected on “things to come.” That is, we’ve acknowledged the impending deadline called graduation and have finally admitted that our brief time at HBS is nearing its end. (I know, it’s hard to believe. ECs, please keep breathing.)

In the spirit of these Viewpoints sessions, The Harbus and I thought it might be helpful to print a column dedicated to the transition from HBS back into the real world. Not only are there things we’ve forgotten (like that week nights are generally work nights and that you often have to resolve conflict without help from your L&V Rep), but there are also things many of us have never dealt with (like buying a house). RCs might even find these discussions useful as they too have to emerge from the bubble for their summer internships.

This week I’d like to focus on that big leap from “student” to “alumna.” There will be a point in May when we’ll pack our suitcases one final time and spread out across the country and around the world. While we’ve done that very thing innumerable times in the last two years, this time will be different. This time we won’t be returning to campus with stories and photos to share. This time the dispersion will be permanent.

We’ll still see Facebook status updates and be able to follow escapades on Twitter, but as the time passes these channels of communication won’t broadcast quite as clearly as the cacophony of the real world grows louder. So how do we stay connected to each other and to this experience, to these last two years of transformation and adventure?

HBS Young Alumni groups are a great way to start. Many major cities will have huge concentrations of alums, and some already have active groups, like San Francisco with its weekly Wino Wednesday. Others have the alums but not the activity – what a great opportunity to put something together and show off those newly acquired leadership skills! I’d especially encourage RCs taking internships in cities other than London, New York or San Francisco to make a concerted effort to plan happy hours or other activities this summer (and consider reaching out to HKS and HLS students in your city). That way, if you decide to head back there after graduation, you’ll already have a head start on your network.

So what about keeping in touch with sectionmates and friends not in your immediate geographic region? Returning for reunions on campus is an easy one, and ECs graduating in 2010 should have no problem counting up from our class year by 5s. You’ve got no reason not to put 2015 on your calendar right now. But surely there is more – five years is a long time to wait for Jake Anderson’s (OB) stories or to see Collins Ward’s (OB) orange suits, right?

Well here is the coolest idea I’ve heard yet: a section from about 10 years ago decided to start an investment fund with everyone contributing $1,000 each year. A couple of finance kids were responsible for the investing, and every year they held their “annual meeting” in a different location near a sectionmate – like in the Swiss Alps or the coast of Brazil. It was a great excuse for a group vacation and annual reunion while also testing the investing prowess of their finance gurus and – hopefully – making some money. Section Old B has talked about stealing this idea, and I sincerely hope we make this happen.

If you have any ideas for keeping in touch and want to share them or if you have questions you would like addressed in this column, please email me at cwallace@mba2010.hbs.edu.

Christina Wallace is an EC from Lansing, Michigan. In her free time she practices yoga and likes to bake.ÿIn her not-free time she is Co-Chair of the Social Enterprise Conference, Co-President of the HBS Democrats, in the cast of the HBS Show, giving mock interviews to would-be consultants, and a proud member of Section B.