Clockwise from top: Maya A. Babu, Sean A. Cameron, Richard Chung, Philip Wong, John W. Coleman, Robert M. Daly Jr., Andrew D. Klaber, and Whitney F. Petersmeyer.

Babu photo by Tony Rinaldo; Wong photo courtesy of Philip Wong; remaining photos by Evgenia Eliseeva

Campus & Community

Harvard Business School honors eight for service to society

long read

Eight members of the Harvard Business School (HBS) M.B.A. Class of 2010 have been named winners of the School’s prestigious Dean’s Award. The recipients, who will be recognized by HBS Dean Jay Light at Commencement ceremonies on the HBS campus, are Maya A. Babu, Sean A. Cameron, John W. Coleman, Robert M. Daly Jr., Andrew D. Klaber, Whitney F. Petersmeyer, and the team of Richard Chung and Philip Wong.

Established in 1997, this annual award celebrates the extraordinary achievements of graduating students who have made a positive impact on Harvard, HBS, and broader communities. True to the M.B.A. program’s mission, they have also contributed to the well-being of society through their leadership. Nominations come from the HBS community, and the recipients are chosen by a committee of faculty, administrators, and students.

“This award reflects the remarkable activities and achievements of our students outside the classroom,” said Light. “Recipients have set their sights on making our campus and the world a better place. We are happy to honor their accomplishments and confident that this kind of leadership and stewardship will continue throughout their lives.”

Maya A. Babu: Bridging business and health care

A joint-degree candidate at Harvard Medical School and the Business School, Maya A. Babu has demonstrated extraordinary ability, leadership, energy, and charisma while making significant contributions to the Harvard community, the state, and the nation.

Babu plans to practice neurosurgery as well as shape government health policy. At HBS, Babu was on the board of directors of the weekly student newspaper, The Harbus, focusing on strategic issues facing the publication. She also served as one of the paper’s section representatives and wrote several articles, including one on the H1N1 virus.

She also entered the HBS Business Plan Contest with a social venture entry called the Hope Project, which aims to pair mentors with at-risk high school students to help them gain entrance to college.

While at Harvard, Babu co-founded a chapter of AcademyHealth, a leading professional society for academicians, professors, researchers, and statisticians interested in health policy. The Harvard chapter features a monthly speaker series, networking opportunities, and training sessions on topics such as statistics and data interpretation.

Babu served as national chair of the American College of Physicians Council of Student Members, representing more than 22,000 medical students. Additionally, as chair of the Global Health and Policy Committee of the American Medical Association (AMA), she worked with AMA leaders to develop service projects and provide funding for World AIDS Day.

She is currently a delegate to the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Finance Committee, where she helps oversee investments, investment policy, and the organization’s multimillion-dollar budget. She is the longest-serving student on the Committee of Legislation, which takes positions on laws affecting public health and medicine.

For the past two years, Babu has participated in research at the Massachusetts General Hospital, working with a team of neurosurgeons exploring whether socioeconomic status has an impact on the nature of trauma patient care. In keeping with her research interests, she has been the lead author of three articles, including one in the April issue of the Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law titled “Undocumented Immigrants, Healthcare Access, and Medical Repatriation Following Serious Medical Illness,” an examination of diminished access to care for underserved populations.

Sean A. Cameron: Raising the bar

No more than an hour after being elected “ed rep” (as in education representative) for his first-year section in the fall of 2008, Sean A. Cameron appeared at the door of an HBS administrator to discuss possibilities for making the classroom experience better. His zeal and focus on learning have never wavered during his two years in the M.B.A. program.

The ed rep’s role is to maximize the educational experience of the rep’s section, a diverse group of 90 students who take all first-year required courses together.

Cameron led and organized successful section review sessions for midterms and finals, worked one-on-one with students, and offered resources to enhance learning. He provided an important avenue for students to share feedback with HBS faculty members on course content and process. One faculty member said he was particularly impressed by Cameron’s initiative to engage his section on various educational issues.

And this year, as chair of the Education Committee, Cameron advised, mentored, and motivated a group of first-year ed reps. He also made significant innovations and improvements in their training.

Cameron served as co-president of the HBS Investment Club and as a finance and economics tutor to first-year M.B.A. students. He also designed and taught a new tutorial course to Harvard undergraduate students on financial investments.

During the January term, Cameron and two other M.B.A. students traveled to the Philippines, working on a research project to find ways to use the country’s hydropower efficiently to enhance rural electrification.

Richard Chung and Philip Wong: Enriching experiential learning

Hundreds of students have participated in the School’s faculty-led international Immersion Experience Programs (IXP) since they began four years ago, but Richard Chung and Phil Wong decided to take the School’s offerings in a new direction.

They worked together to create the Global Impact Experience (GIX), a student-led program that focuses on the identification of market-based solutions to global poverty. Chung’s vision was the driving force behind the program. During his first year at the School, he was intrigued by the idea of leveraging business skills to create sustainable solutions to the challenges of international development. In 2009, he started a pilot version of the eventual program in which three teams of students consulted for the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Philippines, Morocco, and Jordan on business development-related projects. A faculty member who supported Chung’s nomination characterized him as “the perfect person” to help catalyze student action to address global development issues.

Wong joined Chung in leading the planning and management of the GIX program during its second year, when the program was officially integrated into the Business School’s 2010 January term offerings. With his passion and energy, Wong worked to improve and institutionalize GIX processes. The two student leaders connected participants with faculty mentors, gained the support of the School’s librarians to provide pre-trip research preparation, and created mechanisms to ensure the program’s sustainability under a new leadership team that would succeed them. Throughout their efforts, their objective remained making sure that student learning and community impact remained a central feature of the program.

Indeed, the program has now enabled first- and second-year students with a passion for international development to use their business acumen on a real-world project abroad. Students have worked on projects to design government incentives for private-sector investment in wind power and improve the supply chain of an oil cooperative in Morocco, to analyze the impact of privatizing hydroelectric plants in the Philippines, to create a framework for evaluating public-private partnerships in Bangladesh and Uganda, and to assess the value of green building standards and develop a new incentive program for newly privatized public utilities in Jordan.

John W. Coleman: Leading the way

John W. Coleman has taken on numerous leadership roles and had an enormous impact on the lives of many members of the Harvard community during his three years as a joint-degree candidate at the Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School.

He has been active in HBS student government as a member of the HBS Senate. In that role, he led the Community Impact Fund, a Student Association initiative that provides financial support for student-led initiatives that have direct and tangible impact outside the School.

Coleman also served as the Business School’s representative to the Harvard Graduate Council, a student government body for all Harvard graduate and professional Schools that aims to foster a sense of community and enhance the quality of life of graduate students University-wide. In addition, he was president of the HBS Business, Industry and Government Club and an active member of the HBS Christian Fellowship, where he is helping to create an official Christian Fellowship Alumni Organization to better connect HBS students and graduates.

For the past three years, as a founder and member of the Board of Advisers of the Leadership Institute at Harvard College, an organization dedicated to fostering leadership skills among undergraduates, Coleman spent countless hours mentoring students, leading instructional programs, and moderating panel discussions.

An HBS Social Enterprise Summer Fellow, Coleman worked last summer at the Housing Partnership Network in Boston to help stabilize families and communities affected by the financial crisis.

Reflecting his longstanding interest in communications and speech, Coleman was the M.B.A. Class of 2010’s Class Day student speaker, and he is now collaborating with two other HBS students to collect and edit material for a book titled “Regaining Leadership: How a New Breed of MBAs Is Rebuilding Capitalism from Within.”

Robert M. Daly Jr.: Making A BETTER world

As a student in Harvard’s M.D./M.B.A. Program, Robert M. Daly Jr. has already left his mark on far more than the Business and Medical School campuses. He has put his education and talents to good use to help disenfranchised communities receive quality medical care, including sexual minorities — gay and transgender individuals — in India.

After completing the first-year of the HBS curriculum in 2006, Daly began his medical studies and learned of a nonprofit organization in Mumbai called the Humsafar Trust that focused on the needs of sexual minorities and needed help developing a five-year strategic plan to improve its impact in the face of numerous challenges, including an ever-growing number of HIV-positive and AIDS cases.

He traveled to India to learn of the trust’s efforts firsthand and began work on what came to be a 55-page document that was implemented in 2007 and that helped the organization reach higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness. The number of HIV tests it now performs each month, for example, has doubled from 250 to 500. It distributes more than 700,000 condoms a year and reaches out to 60,000 gay individuals with a variety of educational programs. Daly also advised the trust on budgeting and devised tools to help it measure results — something that philanthropies cared about when they were considering grants.

While working with the trust, Daly also addressed the difficulties faced by the hijra community, a group that traces its origins to cultural roles in India in the fifth century B.C. and whose closest Western analogy is the male-to-female transgender community. Stigmatized by society and turned away by most hospitals, members of this community commonly resort to prostitution to survive. Almost 70 percent of those in Mumbai’s hijra community have contracted HIV/AIDS.

According to a fellow student who nominated Daly for the Dean’s Award, “Bobby responded by working with the Humsafar Trust and two other Harvard Medical School students to create an innovative solution — a business plan for mobile testing vans equipped to provide hijras with HIV education and on-site testing, treatment, and counseling for sexually transmitted infections.”

In the midst of all this, plus intensive course work and preparation for his medical boards, Daly has also been a leader of the Harvard Medical School Entrepreneurial Society, advised fellow medical students on the advantages of the dual-degree program, and helped answer questions about the residency process. This summer he will begin his residency in internal medicine at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan.

Andrew D. Klaber: A multitude of interests

Andrew D. Klaber is a J.D./M.B.A. candidate with a deep commitment to public service and leadership. Indeed, one HBS faculty member who nominated Klaber for the Dean’s Award described him as “the most exceptional social entrepreneur I have met during my time at the School.” Klaber is a person of many extraordinary accomplishments who has had a remarkable impact on many people.

At HBS, Klaber was active as a leader in student clubs and other activities. He was co-president of the Harvard J.D./M.B.A. Association and the HBS Jewish Student Association. In the former role, he played a key part in organizing a 40th anniversary celebration for the dual-degree program.

Klaber continues to serve as president of Orphans Against AIDS (OAA), an all-volunteer organization he founded while an undergraduate at Yale. Today, this international nonprofit provides academic scholarships and health care to more than 600 children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia. His HBS section donated part of the proceeds of a charity auction to OAA. And Klaber did some strenuous fundraising of his own. Last year, he ran the Boston and New York City marathons to raise money.

Klaber started the organization after he spent a summer in northern Thailand, where he was shocked to see many teenage girls forced into prostitution after their parents had died of AIDS. As a young leader working to bring positive change to the developing world, he was invited to speak at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — a gathering that brings together top business, political, and intellectual leaders to discuss the world’s most pressing issues.

Klaber was a founding member of Harvard Business School’s M.B.A. Oath, a voluntary HBS student-crafted pledge that asks graduating M.B.A.s at Harvard and elsewhere to re-examine and reaffirm the obligations they hold in the business world. No stranger to rowing (he was a member of Yale’s national championship lightweight crew), he captained the combined Law School and Business School eight that won the International Graduate School Regatta and was the top graduate school finisher at the Head of the Charles Regatta from 2006 to 2009.

After Commencement, Klaber will work in investment management.

Whitney F. Petersmeyer: important issues

Whitney F. Petersmeyer has spent much of her extracurricular time at Harvard Business School “promoting integrity, trust, and the ambition to make a difference” — the watchwords of the 20-member Leadership and Values (L&V) Committee to which she was elected as a first-year student and that she headed during her second year.

As head of the committee, Petersmeyer effectively ran weekly meetings and provided advice and guidance for her colleagues. But she went far beyond that. She revitalized a speaker series on L&V issues, provided formal opportunities for end-of-year reflection, and updated a handbook for her successors detailing the chair’s tasks and responsibilities. In addition, last fall she worked with the School’s Joint Committee on Diversity to organize and facilitate a training session for all newly elected section officers.

Petersmeyer complemented her efforts on behalf of leadership and values with her advocacy of the M.B.A. Oath, a pledge “to create value responsibly and ethically” that was developed by a group of HBS students in 2009 and has been signed by business school students around the world since then. Petersmeyer argued eloquently for its adoption in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek op-ed she co-authored last December. “We see the M.B.A. Oath as an important ‘first step’ of a long journey toward improved business leadership,” the editorial said.

Petersmeyer also was a two-time participant in the New Orleans Immersion Experience, a yearly on-site effort by Business School students, faculty, and staff members to help the city continue its recovery from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina.

The U.S. education system got her full attention last summer, when she worked as a research analyst for Teach for America, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of urban and rural public schools. Recently named an HBS Leadership Fellow (a Business School program that encourages M.B.A. students to take jobs in nonprofit and public-sector organizations by partially subsidizing their salaries for a year), she will return to Teach for America after graduation.