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HBX Business Blog

A Look Back at HBX ConneXt 2017

Posted by HBX on May 8, 2017 at 1:25 AM

A group of students who've participated in HBX CORe pose for a group photo at HBX ConneXt

On Saturday, more than 400 HBX students from nearly 40 countries gathered on the Harvard Business School campus to meet their classmates and participate in a day of learning, networking, and exploration.

Half of the participants came from more than 1,000 miles away, with some traveling from as far as China, South Africa, Australia, and India. Every HBX course was represented, including a handful of students from the June 2014 pioneer cohort of HBX CORe.

Professor Bharat Anand stands at the podium on stage and welcomes an auditorium full of students to HBX ConneXt

HBX Faculty Chair Bharat Anand started the day by welcoming learners to campus, looking back at the first three years of HBX programming, and giving a sneak peek of the new HBX Mobile Platform that is currently in development.

"The promise of digital learning is not about reach, it's about engagement."

– Professor Bharat Anand,
HBX Faculty Chair

Students laugh during the morning keynote session at HBX ConneXt

Next, HBX Executive Director Patrick Mullane introduced Meghan Joyce, the East Coast General Manager for Uber and HBS MBA ('13), who explained how her experiences in the HBS classroom – especially the use of the case method – have informed her work at Uber and helped her solve real-world problems.

Professor Mike Wheeler leads a case discussion in a Harvard Business School classroom during HBX ConneXt

After the morning keynote, participants made their way to their assigned classrooms for faculty-led case discussions with Professors Bharat Anand, Ethan Bernstein, Mihir Desai, Jan Hammond, V.G. Narayanan, and Mike Wheeler.

Case topics ranged from financial policy at Apple to a challenging negotiation from the Civil War and a Napa Valley winery's dilemma about when to harvest its grapes.

Professor Jan Hammond leads a case discussion at HBX ConneXt while dressed in her iconic blue suit

During these sessions, students got the chance to experience the famed HBS case study method (and dreaded cold call) in person, most for the first time.

Mark Hardie leads a discussion about entrepreneurship at HBX ConneXt

After lunch, students made their way to the Harvard University Innovation Lab for breakout sessions, including entrepreneurship and design thinking workshops, presentations on the HBS MBA program, resume tips and tricks, and charting a career path, professional headshot stations, and campus tours.


Participants were also invited into the HBX Innovation Room, where they tested content and provided feedback on various ideas and designs, shared ideas for new courses, took a quiz to discover their spirit faculty, and more.

Harvard Professors Rebecca Henderson and Michael Sandel sit on stage discussing the future of capitalism at HBX ConneXt

In the afternoon keynote, Harvard Professors Rebecca Henderson and Michael Sandel discussed the future of capitalism.

"You don't have to make a choice between believing in capitalism and caring about the world – Businesses can make money and do good at the same time." 

– Professor Rebecca Henderson

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria reflects on the loss of colleague David Garvin

Later in the afternoon, HBS Dean Nitin Nohria reflected on the recent loss of a beloved member of the Harvard Business School faculty and the author of our newest HBX course, Professor David Garvin

"David was the kindest, most wonderful human I know," he said. "He was a teacher's teacher."

The dean went on to describe a recent email he received from Professor Garvin, who was trying to instill a greater sense of urgency in the HBX team to complete work on his new course. Due to his declining health, Professor Garvin worried he wouldn't have enough time left to see it through.

"I was amazed that a colleague, in his final days, wanted so badly to create a course that you can benefit from for the rest of your lives." 

–Nitin Nohria,
Harvard Business School Dean

The HBX team is immensely proud to be associated with Professor Garvin's Becoming a Better Manager course, which will be officially announced in the coming weeks.


After the closing remarks, participants wrapped up their HBX ConneXt experience with a networking reception.

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Many people lingered at the end of the evening, still actively engaged in conversations and hesitant to acknowledge that HBX ConneXt had come to a close. Perhaps none more so than Professor Bharat Anand. 

Professor Bharat Anand at HBX ConneXt.jpg

Want to see more from HBX ConneXt? We will be sharing additional photos, videos, student stories, and reflections throughout the week. 

Topics: HBX ConneXt