What Goes on at an HBS Reunion?

HBS reunion

Most people applying to business school naturally develop some tunnel vision. You’re focused on crafting the perfect career essay, thinking about what classes to take, and on what job you hope to land right after graduation. While that laser focus is totally normal, we want to help broaden your perspective. Because your life as a business school alum goes far beyond those two years on campus. And that’s a central theme of SBC consultant and B-Schooled host Erika’s 20-year HBS reunion recap.

“No matter where you’re applying, it’s good to take a step back and get yourself out of that near term mindset,” Erika explains. “It’s important to have some perspective when everything seems like the biggest deal about where you might get in and where you’re going to spend these next two years.”

Are you curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school such as HBS? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Whether you’re contemplating your fit with a particular program or brainstorming essays, pulling back for a birds-eye view of life after B-school is invaluable.  Even if you’re not applying to Harvard Business School, many features of an HBS reunion likely echo how other schools run their reunion programs. So, it’s both relevant and fascinating to hear how Harvard does it. Not to mention fun!

HBS reunions take place on campus over a weekend and have so many interesting lectures and activities it’s impossible to take it all in. FOMO will happen, no matter how someone chooses to spend their time.

“Leading up to the reunion, there’s an app that everybody downloads,” Erika notes. Alums can see the whole schedule and decide which sessions they want to go to throughout the weekend. “I’ve done this for all our reunions. There’s one at the one-year mark and then five, 10, and 15. And they’ve always been a completely wonderful, invigorating, inspiring experience. I would never miss one.”

What Happens at an HBS Reunion?

A hallmark of the HBS reunion is that it’s never just one class back on campus. When Erika attended last June, hers mixed with alums at their 50-year reunion and even a 75th reunion! “I love that aspect because to get to hear from alumni that are decades older than you, and then some that are now decades younger than you, it just makes for fascinating class discussions,” she shares.

SBC Consultant and B-Schooled Host Erika

“You had some people that were in their seventies, eighties who had seen a lot of change in the workplace in their career.  One of my favorite parts is just to see and hear through people’s stories how much the working world has changed,” says Erika.

But even though multiple reunions are going out simultaneously, she notes that your class will be all together in one spot.

There’s an opening reception on Thursday, where people usually meet with their best friends or study group. Typically, people will arrange small group dinners with friends they were especially close to. “And then you’ve got to buckle in because there is not a dang spare second after that Friday morning,” Erika laughs.

First up is the dean’s address, and then participants adjourn for classes during the day. It’s like being back in school all day Friday and Saturday. Classes are all day from morning until late afternoon or early evening. Some of the classes have homework beforehand, and some run like case studies from back in the day.

Learn about all of the compelling class sessions Erika attended in B-Schooled Podcast #181: Reflections From My 20-Year HBS MBA Reunion

And then, it’s time to party.

HBS divides its classes into sections of 80-90 students, so on Friday nights during an HBS reunion, you’ll have the section parties. These could be at a restaurant, bar, or in Erika’s case, at the home of a section mate who lives in Boston. “Then you stay up too late and get ready to do it all over again the next day,” she shares.

There are career services and one-on-one appointments with the career center throughout the weekend. The reunion experience also includes tours of new buildings, a sustainability tour, and a tour of the campus’s wonderful collection of contemporary art. Erika saw demonstrations of the live online classroom that really got put to use during COVID-19. A breakfast on Sunday and a few final networking sessions wrap up the HBS reunion weekend.

“By the time you get to your 20-year reunion, life has happened to people,” Erika says. “It was great to be back in that environment and be surrounded by amazing people and hear how their lives have gone.”

So, no matter where you end up, remember to consider the bigger picture when you’re applying. As Erika reminds us, “This isn’t just the next two years of your life. This is the rest of your life. You can be engaged; you can still be learning. You have this sort of type of alumni weekend and many, many other types of alumni events to look forward to no matter where you earn your MBA.”


Stacy Blackman Consulting offers multiple services to meet your MBA application needs, from our All-In Partnership and Interview Prep to hourly help with essay editing, resume review, and much more! Contact us today for a free 15-minute advising session to talk strategy with a Principal SBC consultant.

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Harvard HBS, Stanford GSB and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Erin, who was Assistant Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and Director of MBA Admissions at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Meet Andrea, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.


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