I’m a self-proclaimed nerd. I love school. Given the chance, I would spend all of my time in a classroom or with my nose in a book (or even better, a crossword puzzle). Almost three years ago to the day, I quit my job to get my MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. When I graduated, I had to leave my books behind to rejoin the “real” world, but, luckily, I found HubSpot.
As part of the first cohort of HubSpot’s MBA leadership rotational program, I get to spend two years in four six-month rotations, learning the ins-and-outs of the company. In the year since I started, I’ve done stints in strategy and operations and marketing, and had the chance to travel to our Tokyo and Dublin offices.
But one of the projects I’ve enjoyed most has been the opportunity to help reignite HubSpot’s dormant Fellows program. Fellows is a week-long program for 25 of HubSpot’s rising stars with a curriculum based off of the key skill development and training of a traditional two-year MBA program. What better way to come out of business school than to develop a mini-MBA program for our company’s high-potential contributors and up-and-coming leaders?
It’s hard to distill two years of an MBA into an intense week of class, but the program, designed to challenge participants’ beliefs and help them grow as strategic thinkers, focuses on a few core areas:
Team Building and Management
Corporate Finance and SaaS Economics
...and of course how each of these relates back to HubSpot and how we operate as a company.
Like most MBA programs, many of the sessions take a case learning approach. Rather than getting a lecture on how to build innovative teams, students spend 90 minutes discussing a case on Team New Zealand in the 1996 America’s Cup and then learning how the team’s mistakes and triumphs could apply to their own work. Cases help participants understand HubSpot’s development, corporate finance, competitive strategy, and leadership. And, because HubSpot is based in Cambridge, MA, home to some of the best business schools in the country, we’re able to leverage our connections at those schools to give the participants an authentic classroom experience. Harvard Business School professors-- Jill Avery, Alan MacCormack, and Mark Roberge (also a HubSpot alumnus)-- came to teach cases to our most recent Fellow cohort.
Still, casework is just one piece of the mini-MBA puzzle. Interactive sessions help the group experience traditional supply chain operations, understand their personal leadership journeys, and learn how to become better presenters. Fellows also get the opportunity to learn from our leadership team; our CEO, Brian Halligan (also notably a professor at MIT Sloan), does a session with the Fellows every year. The executive team is incredibly eager to share their knowledge and expertise about HubSpot operations and how Fellows can be better leaders leaders within, and contributors to, the organization, regardless of their role.
The Spring 2017 Fellows class with our co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.
But, as many MBAs will tell you, the most valuable takeaway from business school is the networking. That's why, when designing the reboot of the Fellows program, we wanted to facilitate the same networking opportunities for HubSpotters. We were intentional in choosing participants who represented a wide cross-section of departments and global offices (Cambridge, Dublin, Sydney, and Singapore). This was especially crucial because not all of our offices have every function. Folks in Sydney, for example, rarely get to meet product representatives, since their office has no engineering team. That’s what this program is really all about. We can do as many seat shuffles as we want (and we do!), but ultimately helping people collaborate with employees in different roles or offices will be what drives cross-functional success and ensures solutions that truly solve for the company on a macrolevel, not just for individual teams.
But, back to being a nerd. This kind of progressive employee development programming is what compelled me to join HubSpot in the first place. Tuition reimbursement? Check. HubTalks with interesting people and leaders from a wide array of industries? Check. Employees constantly asking how they can challenge themselves? Check.