Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Blueprint of Action - Harvard Student Agencies

HSA is budgeted for a record $11.8M in total revenue in FY24 and is scaling its operations at an unprecedented rate. Simultaneously, HSA's management team is trending younger. The primary driver is bulge bracket banks and management consulting firms accelerating their recruiting timelines as early as freshman year. For every other pre-professional organization on campus, this is a nonissue. However, for HSA, this a major headwind. Summer is the peak season for our largest verticals, so HSA managers must forgo their summers to run the business. The HSA Summer is jam-packed with fun and certainly beats the 80-hour work weeks on Wall St. but the fact remains that HSA is a not a post-graduate job. Therefore, through our Executive Education Program, our goal is to 1) position HSA as the preeminent place to learn about business as a Harvard undergraduate and 2) reinforce that HSA experience improves exit opportunities as opposed to limiting them. We want managers to feel like they are receiving a superior business education relative to their peers at other firms and affirm that when their time at HSA comes to a close, their resume will be at the top of the pile for that coveted summer internship or full-time job offer they deferred.

To determine how best approach this corporate initiative, we enlisted the help of three main sources of data:
  1. HSA Managers
  2. HSA Alumni and Board Members
  3. Representatives from other Student-Run Businesses

Based on our literature review, survey results, and interview notes, our two key findings were that:
  1. Most of the world’s biggest companies have no formal learning and development (L&D) program and the ones that do outsource it
  2. The main limitation that companies run into when implementing L&D programs is that oftentimes the lessons are too far from application and turn into just another action item on their employees’ already packed schedules
Based on this feedback, we designed our Executive Education Program to fit seamlessly into the Full Team Meetings HSA already holds weekly and procured a catalog of self-paced online learning experiences, so our managers can learn in the flow of work.

We're also working on writing an HSA Business Education textbook to formalize all our presentations and training sessions and scale this endeavor, as our ultimate aspiration is to bring HSA's Executive Education Program campus wide to non-HSAers. HSA is and will always be about empowering Harvard undergraduates to be the business leaders of tomorrow, and our hope is that this project eventually expands that mission to encompass everyone and not just the 60 managers who work 9-5 PM at 67 Mt. Auburn St. 
Some other questions we'd like to pursue further as we go to implement this blueprint of action next year are:
  1. HSA already has a robust Young Alumni Mentorship Program and an Externship Program for senior managers. How can we weave mentorship and in-person visits to firms into this curriculum? How should we approach getting alumni excited to participate?
  2. There's a substantial gap between first-year managers and senior managers from a knowledge standpoint. Should we add lessons and guest speakers that are exclusive to senior management? What is the value proposition from a learning standpoint for managers debating staying at HSA a second or even third year?

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