This year, The Oppy started to reach out to other business school newspapers around the country to get a sense of how they’re running their school papers. After meeting with several editors-in-chief from MBA programs, we are excited to announce we will be forming a coalition with a small but hopefully growing group of top graduate business schools. We are planning to partner up for future events and feature students from our partner schools. This month we bring you Noelia Lombardo Gava, MBA1 at HBS and editor-in-chief of their MBA newspaper, The Harbus.
The Harbus is the independent, non-profit news organization of Harvard Business School. We are a student-led organization that publishes both the Harbus newspaper and the Harbus Essay Guide. We publish campus news and relevant stories for the HBS community in entrepreneurship, leadership, entertainment, and commentary. Some of our most popular articles in the past months are the interview with our new Dean Datar, the review of the HBS Startup Bootcamp, and the reporting on the startup Halo—an AngelList for the HBS community. And of course, our satire articles always enjoy special popularity—just a sample: Bad Advice or A Day in the Life of an RC. We publish once per month in paper, digital paper, and digital articles. The physical copies are placed all over campus, as our main goal is to be a conversation starter in our community by providing unique and interesting content.
Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? What did you do before you started at Harvard Business School?
I was born in Mendoza, Argentina (if you like wine, you’ve heard about this place before!). I moved around quite a bit while growing up until my family eventually settled in Madrid, Spain. There, I studied biomedical engineering and fell in love with electronics and the endless possibilities of wireless biomedical sensors. That interest brought me to Tokyo, Japan, where I worked for a telecommunications company for a year. I was becoming more and more intrigued with the impact that technology can have on people’s lives, so I decided to pursue an M.S. in technology management, economics, and policy in Seoul, Korea. There I met a lot of consultants, and decided to give it a try myself! I was in consulting for two years before finally starting at Harvard Business School.
What made you want to get an MBA? What led you to HBS?
I wanted to get an MBA for three main reasons. The first one was deepening my knowledge on solving the complex problems of our society. The second one was getting to know people from all over the world with fascinating backgrounds and ambitions. And the third one was taking the time to think about my future and what the next step would be. After years of hopping around and changing career paths, I believed the MBA would a great opportunity to truly understand what moves me and how I can have the biggest impact in the world.
HBS was a great place to apply to because it checked those three boxes. First, the case method would be great to deepen my knowledge and develop leadership skills. Second, students, alumni, and professors have fascinating stories and motivations that I couldn’t wait to hear about. And finally, what better place to think about my future than walking along the beautiful Charles river? I have to be honest, though, the only box HBS didn’t check is having nice and warm weather!
What has been the best part of the program so far?
The best part has been getting to know my classmates. I have loved the interesting conversations over dinner, the debates in class, and the creativity to make the most of a year in a pandemic. Everyone has been very open-minded, supportive, and inclusive.
How has it been…being virtual this past year and all that?
We were hybrid for most of the year, meaning that some people go to the physical classroom while others connect online, and it has been great! I love going to class and seeing my classmates and professors, but I’ve also loved the flexibility of staying at home some days and being able to do yoga in the short breaks between classes.
How did you get involved in the Harbus?
I absolutely love reading and writing. Since I was very little I’ve always carried around a journal with me, where I write about my memories, my feelings, or fictional stories. It had always been just a hobby, though. Coming into HBS I knew I wanted to push myself to unexplored territories away from my comfort zone, so joining the Harbus felt like a natural way to do it. I joined as a Women Leadership Editor—a role that didn’t exist before. I loved the role and was getting more and more involved, eventually becoming the Harbus Editor-in-Chief.
What’s the best thing you’ve done/had happen to you since you joined the editorial board?
The best thing has been seeing the impact our stories can have on our readers and contributors. It is fascinating to receive emails of gratitude or surprise after an issue has been published, and it is very rewarding when contributors reach out to publish a story on the paper or to explore possibilities of collaboration.
Because I’ve been asking everyone this… Does the Harbus have its own version of Stern Singles? And would you be interested in collaborating?
We don’t but I love the idea! It would be a very fun way to get the community more involved. I love how you also publish stories of success! I will definitely consider adding this section to our paper.
Did you know that I “modeled” (modeled being a loose term here) Dear Oppy off Dear Harby? When I was trying to find inspiration for The Oppy, I read the column and found it hysterical! I know it’s now an Instagram account too. Would you ever consider bringing it back?
I’m really glad to hear that. Reading Dear Harby is laughs guaranteed—I just checked out Dear Oppy and it’s hilarious, great job! The Instagram account has become very popular, but it is definitely a complement. What is great about Dear Harby on the Harbus is that it’s a two-way communication with our readership. We will bring it back. Soon.
What’s the biggest thing you hope to accomplish as editor-in-chief of the paper?
I initially joined the paper as Women Leadership Editor, so equity and inclusivity are still a really big part of my agenda. I would like the Harbus to become a source of all kinds of stories with all kinds of protagonists. Every month, I put in a lot of effort to source and accept stories to ensure the representation of our community is balanced in terms of gender and race. I feel very proud of the team of editors, as they are going the extra mile to align with this mission.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed so far?
This is a very hard question, as I find everyone so interesting—I just love talking to people! However, if I had to pick one, it would be Professor Groysberg. I ran an article about his seminar for second-year students about female leadership (all cases have a female protagonist!). I found that interview extremely inspiring and it constantly reminds me how the power of story-telling can really move mountains.
For all the Sternies reading this, what advice would you give them when it comes to joining a business school paper editorial board?
I guess there are two types of advice: before joining and after joining. Before joining, you might be wondering whether this is the right thing for you, and impostor’s syndrome might also be kicking in—am I qualified? You’re qualified if you love reading and writing or want to get better at it. You’re also qualified if you’re passionate about telling powerful stories and representing your school and your community to the world. If these words are resonating with you, try it out! You will learn so much in the process, you will meet wonderful people and make memories for life.
For the latter, after joining, there are a few things I would advise. First, good stories are found in unexpected places—be curious and talk to lots of people. Second, editing is as important as writing because the way we say things is as critical as what we are saying. Defining the right editorial tone can have a huge impact on your community and beyond. Third, make sure to have fun in the process. Find topics that interest you and you will make connections in that field for life.
Thank you for chatting with us today! We are SO excited to collaborate with you and the Harbus going forward!
Thank you for the feature and congratulations on The Oppy, it is a great newspaper—it is an honor to be part of it for one issue. I’m very excited about our collaboration in the following months.