Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Story of Self - Chris Doyle

My name is Chris Doyle and I’m a sophomore in Currier House studying economics and computer science. I’m originally from Baltimore, MD and my first business experience came working on a local food truck during my gap year. When I wasn’t serving hundreds of crab cakes and talking to customers, I was learning the fundamentals of marketing, operations management, and unit economics and having the time of my life. Never before had I been in an environment which was as fast-paced, dynamic, and intellectually stimulating as that crammed white van with a giant cartoon crab on the side, and it was through this experience that I realized what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Inspired by the lessons I had learned over my gap year and in need of some cash to defray the costs of my education my newfound addiction to El Jefe’s Taqueria, I applied to the only pre-professional organization on Harvard’s campus that was a real business and whose work was paid: Harvard Student Agencies.

I remember going into my first round interview with George Guarnieri and Alex Kim, who at that time were the outgoing and incoming HSA Presidents, and they pranked me by putting my chair on the lowest setting, so they towered above me as I fielded their questions. The interview went pretty well - I recall teaching them how to do a proper bicep curl when they asked me to teach them a new skill in thirty seconds or less - and I had two subsequent ones before becoming the Operations Manager of The Academies, one of HSA’s education businesses. My job was to manage the over 100 Harvard undergraduate instructors who taught our classes, and I was tasked with hiring my first week. I had no prior experience interviewing candidates and my voice trembled as my awkward freshman self asked juniors at the College why they wanted this job.

This experience of being thrown into the fire and figuring it out epitomizes the HSA experience as a whole. Nowhere on my resume suggests that I am qualified to run a $10 million company and lead a team of 60 managers (who are also my best friends), but that is what I have the privilege of doing every day. HSA has given me a business experience a college kid could only dream of having, and I hope that our project furthers HSA’s educational mission and continues its legacy as being the preeminent  place to learn about business as a Harvard undergraduate.

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