6 Ways Harvard Teaches You to Approach Business

A Harvard education isn’t just about earning a degree, it’s about gaining a positive and challenging approach to life and business.

Harvard is famous for many things—its 75-year study of adult development, research on leadership, and the Harvard Business School, which has prepared many successful entrepreneurs. But Harvard can teach us so much more than just their research.

I met with Paul Moya, a thought leader on the future of work, CEO of Millennial Labs, and Harvard business speaker, who explained the successful mindset that Harvard instills in its students. He says the school teaches its future entrepreneurs to make a great impact by applying these traits–

Look to the future

“When the rest of the world was looking at the latest, greatest idea, we were always thinking, ‘Okay, but what comes next?’ Harvard taught me that you should always be looking around the corner, to spot trends, to determine where everything was leading.”

Be holistic in your approach

“At Harvard, we were very interdisciplinary. We looked at all fields for ideas: behavioral economics, psychology, finance, innovation, etc. You should take a holistic approach to business and industry. This cross-functional perspective has helped me to find solutions for many companies and determine what comes next.”

Take responsibility

“One word that I hear thrown around about Harvard is ‘entitlement,’ but when I arrived there, I didn’t find entitlement. I found humility and a sense of responsibility. We felt a responsibility to do more in the world. So don’t be successful just for yourself but be effective leaders that help change the world around us for good.”

Make an impact

“At Harvard, we didn’t measure success by the amount of money we could make. Success is about using your knowledge, skill sets, credibility, and platform to make an impact. The measuring stick is really about who have you impacted, what societies, what economies?”

Execution is everything

“The one thing I learned from Harvard is that ‘ideas are useless.’ Everyone has an idea about the next venture, fund, or disrupting the next market. What set my classmates apart wasn’t their ability to think of good ideas, it was their ability to execute them. If you want to have an impact, you need to put that idea in the marketplace, test it, revise it, and try again. Don’t be afraid of failure or worry about if you go in this direction, it gets shot down. You need to be bold to have an impact.”

Ask the hard questions

One of the tenants we lived by at Harvard was ‘the best solutions start as the hardest questions.’ Leaders always want to jump straight to solutions and outcomes. The trick to having an impact is to be willing to ask the bold questions that no one will ask, so you can find the solutions no one else can get to. Ask the hard questions of your team, your clients, and yourself.”


Kyle Crocco is the Content Marketing Coordinator at BigSpeak speakers bureau, and a frequent contributor to Born 2 Invest,  Business 2 Community, and Medium.

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