As the days go by, and this once-in-a-lifetime experience keeps unfolding, I can feel how the school we are going to leave to the next generation of Hultians will be different from the one we inherited in 2013.
From the Executive Director and the Dean – whom students simply know as Marty & Larry – all the way to the youngest member of the staff, everybody at Hult is always open to suggestions and strives to constantly improve things. The student body is encouraged to get involved in many activities and to take the initiative on an idea, with very little constraints coming from the “usual ways” of doing things. It’s quite empowering. And a lot of fun!
Fortunately, at least one thing will not change for the class of 2015: the glorious location of Hult’s San Francisco campus. Levi's Plaza is across the street, a perfect place to spend a lunch break outdoors in the sunshine. And the Embarcadero is just one more block away. Last September we could see the sails of the America's Cup participants through the windows during class, and we heard the fans cheering Oracle Team USA during the last victorious race. As for the other side of the building, it is literally next to the steep face of historic Telegraph Hill. On top of the hill stands one of San Francisco's most iconic landmarks: Coit Tower.
As we all became familiarized with the campus surroundings during our first weeks, the tower served as a precious reference: "That's where the campus is!" Of course by now we all know how to move across the city. Every time I cycle to school in the morning, the tower looks like a silent giant eager to show me the way. I rarely forget to reciprocate with a quick, but friendly glance.
On June 1st I will be looking at Coit Tower from an unusual location: the deck of the San Francisco Belle, the largest charter yacht on the West Coast, as it navigates the waters next to Alcatraz Island. From there, I will dive into the freezing waves of the Bay and start swimming toward San Francisco!
Yes, I'm serious. I suppose the fact that 2,000 more people will be joining me does not necessarily prove that it's a good idea.
Here’s the thing: as part of my quest to maintain an active lifestyle, despite the demands of Hult's one-year MBA, I decided to give myself a little incentive last December. I entered the "Escape from Alcatraz", one of the world's most challenging triathlon events.
A triathlon is by definition an individual sport, and most races are held in remote locations. But this time I have the chance to share an amazing experience with my classmates, while racing through some of the most beautiful areas of San Francisco!
The support that the Hult community gives to its members for any endeavor is quite amazing, and it can take many forms. Last Friday, over 500 students greeted their classmates with a standing ovation at our campus’ “Hult's Got Talent” event, which was organized jointly by the school and student representatives. And on a smaller scale, I can say that none of my teammates ever protest (too much) when I lobby against meetings in the early morning, so that I can start my day with a swim or a run and keep my fitness ahead of the race.
As I said in my first post, it’s remarkable how all of us come to Hult with so much motivation and from such different life backgrounds. But as the days go by, we are all realizing that the most amazing story is the one we are writing together, right here and right now.
Stefano Picker is a Hult Global Ambassador. He is a creative product manager, passionate MBA student @HultSF, a triathlete, and addicted to swimming. He has lived in Italy, London and finally San Francisco!
Picture courtesy of Eugene Kim.