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HBX Business Blog

Celebrating Women in the HBX Community on International Women's Day

Posted by HBX on March 8, 2017 at 2:04 PM

8 Inspiring HBX Participants in Honor of International Women's Day

In honor of International Women's Day, we thought it would be fitting to celebrate some of the diverse, inspiring women in the HBX learning community who are pursuing their dreams, excelling in their careers, and empowering others. 

"When I’m in a room with other professionals, now I feel like I have the language that matches my passion, that matches my work ethic, my goals and dreams... 

I hope that as my kids look back on the many pursuits that I’ve embarked on, in particular, HBX CORe, to be brave. Because then that means that they will pursue opportunities that seem challenging, that seem out of reach, that seem hard. And, so I hope that from this experience that they felt mom was just a little bit more brave than I was before I started."

Sheneka Balogun
CORe Participant

"I firmly believe that balanced gender diversity in business is crucial to innovation, success, and a higher collective intelligence. When the decisions of a woman positioned in the corporate world make significant impacts fiscally or culturally, then you begin to see the tangible value of a diverse enterprise. HBX has given me the foundation to exemplify this in the services I offer my corporate clientele."

Leslie Pico
CORe Participant

“One of my biggest passions is bringing opportunities to minorities, to women, in subjects like science, technology, engineering, math, making you change your mind about who it is that looks like an engineer.” 

Daniella Patrick
Disruptive Strategy Participant

"I'm a mom. I work full time. Like others, I have a demanding schedule and struggle with balancing life with work. I'm interested in pursuing a Master's degree, but haven't convinced myself to commit to a three year timeline.

I saw CORe as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn from the brightest and interact with global community who shared a commitment to learning as I did without the long-term time commitment. CORe not only gave me the confidence that I can tackle more, it inspired me to be more and continue my education."

– Kalie Work
CORe Participant

"I am working as part of a project team in India that is working to set up the world's first rural-based social network usable by non-literate persons. A key part of my job is to understand the needs on the ground, and convey the insights to the technology and design teams who are making the product - an activity that CORe greatly helped me with via the Economics for Managers and Business Analytics courses. Both these courses help you to better understand the people you are working to serve as an enterprise and learn how to draw insights from the data in front of you."

– Anindita Ravikumar
CORe Participant

"My strategy and message for my team and how we communicate with our customers has begun to shift. The biggest takeaway is looking at my product on the shelf and always trying to gauge 'what is the job to be done here?'

I have also started to pay a lot more attention to what the other vendors within my stores are doing. I can truthfully say this has already made me a much better listener. When we all have things to say, listening is one of the first things that can get lost, so I have not only found a stronger voice but a much better and tuned set of ears."

Paige Peterson
Disruptive Strategy Participant

"Within 5 days of finishing the course I had a plan of action for a major part of our business and presented it to our corporate executive. It applied the theories of the Customer Job To Be Done and caused us to rethink our strategy to get the customer to “hire” us over the competition."

Robbee Minicola
Disruptive Strategy Participant

"Having a better base for business terminology that is used every day in my work as a business analyst is invaluable. I am also able to offer new ideas for business metrics to our company's leadership and relate to real world examples of how other businesses have implemented improvements thanks to the case studies that were presented as part of the program."

Michelle Headrick
CORe Participant

"I applied it to both my teaching and research. For teaching, after summarizing what I learned from this program, I introduced finance in a 90-minute class to junior and senior college students in order to show them different ways of doing business plans in the leisure and sport domains." 

Jingning Ao
Leading With Finance Participant


International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Learn more at www.internationalwomensday.com

#IWD2017 #BeBoldForChange



Topics: Student Spotlight

Q&A with HBX CORe Participant Jonathan Rossi

Posted by Jonathan Rossi on October 20, 2016 at 1:05 PM


We recently invited six past CORe participants to the HBX offices to participate in an upcoming ad campaign featuring real HBX students. Between shots, undergraduate financial aid representative Jonathan Rossi sat down with us and explained how CORe helped define his future education and career goals in data analytics.

Tell us how CORe inspired you to get into data analytics.

For the past three years, I’ve been working in an undergraduate admissions office doing financial aid work. I’ve always wanted to get back to my math-oriented background so that’s part of what drove me to CORe in the first place. As I was going through CORe, the Business Analytics course really sparked my interest. I went down this path of wanting to get back into statistics and data.

How did CORe complement what you studied in college?

I mainly studied theoretical math in college, so this was a new aspect and way of applying my math background in an impactful way. In the future, I want to apply the skills I’ve learned as a data scientist or data analyst, and that was very much spurred by CORe and my experience with Business Analytics.

How has CORe inspired you to continue your learning?

I just finished doing a data science bootcamp where we covered all of the statistics that I had learned in Business Analytics, but we also went into machine learning, model building, and coding. I learned to use Python and various machine learning packages and how to apply statistical knowledge to actual problems.

I’ve actually begun to apply this at work. I work a lot with Federal Pell grants, and we’re trying to get a sense of what populations of students are getting those grants and how that shifts from year to year. I’ve also been doing a few different side projects too – using Twitter data to predict when the Red Sox would win vs. lose based on the sentiment of the tweets, things like that.

What's next for you?

I hope to leverage the knowledge I gained in CORe to ultimately pursue data science full-time and eventually go back to school for an MBA or PhD.

The CORe community consists of students from many different backgrounds and career fields. Want to learn more about other students who've participated in the program?

Read Additional Student Profiles

Topics: HBX Student Spotlight, Student Spotlight

Starting an NGO with Skills Gained from HBX CORe

Posted by Azizjon Azimi on October 11, 2016 at 11:19 AM


My name is Aziz and I am a recent New York University graduate who enrolled in the June 2015 cohort of HBX CORe. Since completing CORe, I have nurtured my entrepreneurial skills to a new level and have successfully launched a start-up NGO, TajRupt, in my home country of Tajikistan.

TajRupt works on three fronts: renewable energy (providing solar lanterns to tens of thousands of underprivileged children), subsidized financing (allocating grants to gifted students to pursue university education), and anti-corruption (launching an online platform for reporting of bribery cases in universities). I have extensively used my HBX CORe skills to define the operational business model and effectively work on grant proposals with my peers. 

Business Analytics - Drawing conclusions from conducting randomized audits and analyzing data samples 

We were initially planning to launch a microfinance institution that would provide low-interest student loans modelled after the UK Student Loans Company system. To gauge public interest in the program, we posted surveys on Tajik social media groups and sent them out electronically in a randomized manner – exact steps taken in one of the course examples. After receiving survey results that pointed to low public interest in the microfinance venture, we were convinced that the student loan program would be tough to launch in a country where public trust in financial institutions is at an all-time low due to a stiff financial crisis. Thus, we decided to focus our efforts on strictly non-commercial aspects in the beginning in order to build a proper reputation that would then increase public confidence in the organization and strategically differentiate us (a concept from Economics for Managers). This strategy will allow us to launch a microfinance program in a period of one to two years.

Economics for Managers - Fixed and variable cost breakdown 

While my team and I were preparing our grant proposals for the Ministry of Finance, we conducted extensive contrastive fixed and variable cost analyses and adjusted the metrics several times in order to yield the least operationally expensive model by bringing down the variable cost to minimal levels. In our case, renting space for offices and Educational Resource Centers (ERCs) produced variable costs that were too high. To curb this, we transformed the office variable expense into a fixed cost by opting to purchase a small headquarters office as opposed to continuously paying rent. We also eliminated the variable cost associated with ERCs by formalizing an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Science to host ERC activities at administrative offices of the Ministry in five districts of our operation.

Financial Accounting - Cash flow analysis 

Due to the fact that we receive $3.3 million in international grant funds in continuous annual payments from the Ministry of Finance as opposed to one single transaction, we had to properly amend our income statements for annual categorization to prevent over-spending. This prompted us to use a number of course concepts including operating expense ratio (OER) to gain insights into our financial standing and ensure project sustainability.

Thank you, HBX CORe!

By utilizing the network of amazing individuals that I had the pleasure of meeting through HBX, I was able to pursue my dream project and secure over $3 million in grants from the Eurasian Development Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development. Thanks to CORe, I was able to make my dream of launching a start-up NGO come to life.

Interested in learning Financial Accounting, Business Analytics, and Economics for Managers?

Learn more about HBX CORe


About the Author

Azizjon Azimi participated in the June 2015 cohort of HBX CORe. He is a recent college graduate whose experience with CORe helped him to launch his education-focused NGO, TajRupt.

Topics: HBX CORe, Student Bloggers, Student Spotlight

Q&A with HBX CORe Participant J. Holden Gibbons

Posted by J. Holden Gibbons on September 22, 2016 at 3:52 PM


Army veteran and past HBX CORe participant J. Holden Gibbons talks about how CORe allowed him to understand the language of business and help grow his non-profit, Veterans Combating Child Hunger.

Tell us a little bit about your organization.

When I was serving in Afghanistan with the Army, I saw how it had little arable land and lacked a lot of core assets, making it hard to support life. It made me see the United States in a new light; we live in this bountiful nation but don't value the land, water, or natural resources in the way we should. There are a ton of areas where we can improve efficiencies and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and technology.

I asked myself, how can we sustainably reuse this land, reduce greenhouse gases, get veterans involved in their community, and improve certain communities that oftentimes have poor nutrition? So, upon returning home, I founded Veterans Combating Child Hunger, an organization that seeks to involve the veteran community in sustainably farming undervalued real estate assets in communities throughout the United States.

How has CORe has helped with this venture?

HBX CORe is the type of program that helps you make a quantum leap and take what's in your head and translate it into real world success. One of the really nifty things about CORe is that the skill set they give you is directly applicable to what you are going through as an entrepreneur or a small business owner. On a day-to-day basis, I'm literally astounded by how often I use the coursework.

For example, with Economics for Managers, I'm constantly weighing how to utilize the farm's assets. Is it worth me spending a few hundred dollars to take a flight? That might not seem like the best short-term expenditure, but if I can expand the network which then amplifies later on, that may be a good decision to make. I am asking myself questions like what's the cost basis of this? What am I giving up to pursue that? Would I be better off not pursuing that?

Financially speaking, I really wanted Veterans Combating Child Hunger to be a self-sustaining corporation. We want to offer value added, we don't want to consistently be asking people for funds to get started. In accounting, we learned about “going concerns” so now I ask myself, what is the best way we can use our time, use our assets, to be able to bring sustainability and add more value to society?

What advice would you give entrepreneurs considering CORe?

Before you sign up or apply for CORe, I’d suggest you do a gut check and ask yourself whether you have the time to dedicate to mastering the material and building a network. To truly be successful in the program, it takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of proactive decision-making, and you're really going to be expected to bring a large amount of focus. Not only that, you're also expected to integrate with your cohort and to help them through the platform.

You're expected to be a member of a community, and you are expected to put in a healthy amount of work. You need to look within yourself and ask, “Am I prepared to take three very intensive courses that require me to be the fulcrum of my learning?” In CORe, you’re conducting your own train. That train can take you as far as you want to go, and if you're on board all the way, there's really nowhere that you can't go.

The CORe community consists of a rich and diverse group of learners. Want to learn more about other students who've participated in the program?

Read Additional Student Profiles

Topics: HBX Student Spotlight, Student Spotlight