Jans Survive Term 1

While 1500 HBS students are taking their final exams and either preparing for their summer travel and reintroductions into the real world (or at least for summer internships), the 350 January cohort students of the Class of 2002 are ready for another term at HBS.

This is the last crop of Januaries, after the decision last year to end the program because of lack of interest from MBA applicants. The school’s evidence for this was that only 15% of applicants actually checked that they would prefer the January term, which was originally designed for prospective MBAs interested in remaining in their current industry to get a full-time MBA and return to work more quickly. In addition, the problems of scheduling and managing two curricula simultaneously and the difficulties faced by companies recruiting on campus did not encourage the school to continue the program.

The general consensus of this year’s Januaries is that they are sad to see the program go. While the compressed program’s benefits were not always apparent when they received their acceptance letters, the cohort has really grown to love the concept.

“HBS in itself is a unique experience”, said Kristin Kohler, NH, “from the social structure to the academic experience-but the January cohort takes that experience and makes it even more intense.” The most common impression for Januaries every year is the cohesion of the cohort, which often replaces section identity. Perhaps it is because the Jans arrive on campus after so much has already happened in the fall. Even though a certain number of SA and club leadership slots are available to them, one student compared the Januaries’ situation to arriving at high school as a freshman-where the September students are just full of worldly knowledge by comparison. This feeling of newness, said Roland de Demandolx, NK, “encourages the January students to remain closer.”

At the moment, most Jans are simply looking forward to finishing their first term exams, which begin today, followed by a quick departure for a week’s relaxation before it all begins again on May 9. When they return, they have the summer in Boston to look forward to, at least until they depart in mid-August for a three week break.

In a way, said Katherine Liu, NH, “I think the Classes of 2003 and beyond will really miss out with the loss of the Januaries. It adds a component to the campus that will be missing next year.” As for this year, she said, “I can’t wait to have the campus to ourselves.”