Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Story of HUWIB


Founded in 2000, Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business (HUWIB) strives to empower and unite a dynamic group of 600+ enterprising young women at Harvard through business education and experience. HUWIB is the largest undergraduate business organization at Harvard College and the second largest undergraduate organization after the Undergraduate Council.


2019 Goals

A primary goal for this year is to shift the present view of HUWIB as a solely pre-professional organization to that of a tight-knit and empowering community. This objective derives from our recognition that the best performance stems from a strong internal culture, in which members feel that their work is collaborative, impactful, and appreciated. Some initiatives that my Co-President and I have implemented to achieve this end have included asking each committee member to submit a vision document for the year, meeting one-on-one with each member to discuss this vision, investing greater resources into and increasing the frequency of internal bonding events, organizing cross-committee meetings, and actively soliciting feedback from our members through interactive town hall meetings.

Our other goal is to increase diversity of two forms, the first of which is the racial diversity of our membership. A survey conducted last year indicated that our membership's racial make-up fails to accurately reflect that of Harvard’s undergraduate body. This year, we therefore introduced a Diversity committee, so as to seek more clarity about the source of and to consequently address this lack of diversity. This committee aims to organically increase the racial diversity of our organization through spearheading partnerships with cultural groups, introducing “affinity groups” within HUWIB, organizing "Diversity Discussion Dinners," and more.

The second form of diversity that we seek to ameliorate is that of the range of industries that we expose our members to. By the nature of our sponsorship structure, we naturally attract larger financial contributions from finance and consulting companies, as these are the ones that recruit most heavily at Harvard. In addition to considerations of money, we also strive to align our career-based resources with the industries that have the highest demand among our members, which disproportionately tend to be finance and consulting. However, it is difficult to determine whether these industries are the most popular among Harvard students due more to their inherent interest, or to the companies’ proactive outreach. We are therefore hoping to educate our members about a broader range of industries (including Marketing, Technology, Nonprofits), so that their career pursuits can be more informed and deliberate, even if they continue to disproportionately select into the same industries.

Research Questions

While racial and industry-based diversity are distinct topics, the similarity in the challenges that I will face in addressing both presents a unique opportunity to study them in conjunction. Through my research, I will seek to answer, “What are the underlying causes of the lack of diversity in these two areas? What are members' positions and preferences on these issues of diversity? What innovative solutions can I implement to address these challenges in a comprehensive and long-lasting manner?”

I hope that my findings can be used to benefit other pre-professional organizations at Harvard, and beyond, that undoubtedly face similar challenges. I believe that these diversity-problems are prevalent, that little is presently known about possible sources or ideal solutions, and that the findings of this research can contribute significantly to broader issues of diversity faced by higher education institutions at large.  

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