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How Harvard Helps

These HBS students are pretty darn happy with the School's vaunted network

By  Lulu Wang

Fri Jan 29 2010

Wharton rejected Alex Taussig. Stanford rejected Carolyn Lewis. They both landed at Harvard Business School and that's proved no bad thing. Here they explain how the fabled network works in practice.   

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Taussig completed his MBA in 2009, graduating with high disctinction and moving straight into a senior associate position at a venture capital firm.

He accomplished all this in a tough market and despite having been rejected by Wharton because, he says, "I had no work experience". 

Taussig credits the HBS network as the only reason he won his sought-after role at Highland Capital Partners. The co-founders of the fund, where Taussig invests in firms at the intersection of energy and IT, both went to Harvard Business School and turned there for talent.

Hiring from your alma mater year after year seems to be common at US finance houses. BusinessBecause recently spoke to MBAs who headed from Wharton to private equity fund Relativity Capital, and from Chicago Booth to fund information provider Morning Star for the same reason. 

First-year Harvard MBA Carolyn Lewis studied public policy at the University of Chicago for her first degree. Following stints in Canadian equities arbitrage and in consulting, she applied to business school when she realised her firm Katzenbach Partners was about to collapse.

She's withholding judgment on whether the whole HBS experience is worth two years of her life and $200,000. However she was duly impressed when John Rowe, CEO of America's largest nuclear power company Exelon Nuclear, replied to an email request within one hour. They later spoke on the phone for half an hour.

Taussig and Lewis were both speakers at November's Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business event.