The following represents some take-aways from GNN 2020. Thank you to our Membership team, our Participants (you) and our Table Topic Hosts. Thank you to Orrick for partnering with us on this event!

We hope you enjoyed meeting fellow HBS alumni in Northern California and getting a quick update on the activities the club does to connect alumni, help the community, support your careers and otherwise learn and engage with the great content available to us. 

This year, thanks to our visionary Membership team, we had the opportunity to mingle with fellow alumni by interest/topics. Guests moved  to different tables in our virtual event space any time they wanted. Expertise ranged from a thought-leader on COVID (thank you, David Seftel, MD) to a Harry Potter Trivia Table. 

Many Table Topic hosts provided take-aways to share. 

Bay Area Real Estate: Catherine H. Lee,

  • We had a lot of discussion about Bay Area real estate and the recent bump up in values post COVID. We discussed the root causes and whether this is a long or short term trend

  • Some of the newer graduates had questions about the rent vs buy decision, especially given recent drops in rental prices

  • Other more seasoned graduates had questions about recent purchases and/or thoughts about selling current homes and whether timing was right for these transactions

  • We also discussed predictions for other sectors - multi-family, retail, industrial, and office space as well as real estate in other West Coast markets that are more affordable

Career Coach Ask-Me-Anything: Sasha Grinshpun,​ ​

  • Many alums are in a career transition or considering a career transition in 2021

  • The pandemic presents both challenges and opportunities in terms of being able to build relationships and network virtually

  • HBS offers an incredible amount of programming on careers (​​)

Career Transitions: Lara Druyan

  • Recruiters aren't nearly as effective as your HBS (or other) networks are when you're making a job change, particularly if you're changing industries or if you want a title promotion. Lesson: invest in your network consistently.

  • When you're joining a start-up (or any company, really) do your diligence on the founders. They'll do a lot of diligence on you. Lesson: LinkedIn and your network are your friends in this journey.

  • If you're looking for a new job in a start-up or private company, try VCs. Plenty of HBS grads are in venture and can steer you to their companies.

Dog Lovers: Eli Busen

  • People were grateful they had their dogs to keep them sane during quarantine

  • Dogs gave owners a good excuse to get out of the house and walk / exercise

  • Dog owners are around their pets a lot more and that's led to some good/bad behavioral changes in the pets (some cute like now they like to sleep in bed with them, some bad such as dogs being very needy and distracting during the work day)

Early Stage Venture & Funding: Patrick C. Lee,

  • Tech market is still very active and COVID has not slowed it down (unless you are in a sector that is impacted).

  • Leveraging the network and landscape to find partnership opportunities 

  • Working with a PE firm is great exposure, maybe an opportunity to do more

  • Use HBSANC, it is a powerful tool and network at our disposal

International Travel: Pat Kelly, ​

  • Everyone enjoyed living vicariously through adventures and ideas for our next trips

Parents of HS/College Students: Christine Dihn-Tan, ​

  • It’s stressful for parents and high schoolers alike.

    • The college application process is hard enough,especially during the pandemic. Due to Covid-19, colleges are making standardized tests (SAT, ACT) optional. Instead, Admissions Offices will be looking at applications’ personal traits such as character (empathy, perseverance, integrity, etc) and service to others, for example.

    • It's hard for both parents and homeschoolers to study online.

  • It's also stressful for parents and college students alike too with most colleges going
    100% online. It is especially hard for freshmen who are starting their college life within the pandemic, trying to make new friends over zoom. Some students are taking a gap year to ride out the pandemic

  • There's a silver lining and bright notes to the story found during the evening: some students have found internships (in Chicago for example) or some other students got to return to their campus as their university has committed to a full covid-19 testing and 24/7 safety protocols (in Boston for example)

Pathways to Purpose: Elaine MacDonald, ​

  • Various alum were not aware of HBS Community Partners and wanted to stay in touch
    or share nonprofits who might benefit from our services.

  • Gained more attendance at table at the end of the networking night--2nd floor placement
    might have affected how people “roamed” from table to table through the night?

Sake-Tasting: Laurel Skurko,

  • Most don’t realize that great/premium sakes are served chilled.

  • Sakes are classified not by region (like wines in France) or grape types (like wines in the US), but by how much the rice is milled - from “junmai” (less missed)  to junmai-daiginjyo - more milled.

  • We discussed all of this in the context of 3 great recommended sakes from True Sake. True Sake is America’s first sake retailer - an innovator in the field, and founded in San Francisco. We welcome you to connect on LinkedIn for the names of the sakes tasted, what others shared (their own favorites) and more. 

  • Sake table guests agreed that we sake-lovers should gather to exchange notes and learn more about our sake-loving HBSANC friends, their travels and culinary interests.  For details on our next gathering, please connect online.

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