I just read this article from CNN Money about Harvard MBA graduates and essays they've written about what they want from life. The article is titled "Harvard MBAs: Putting goals of corporate domination aside."
This made me think of a couple things. First, there was a student, Chad Hufsey, quoted in this article as saying, "My life going forward is about one thing: living life -- without fear of failure -- to its fullest potential." This is a very interesting thought for me because it is something that I struggle with as well ... as I'm sure many / most of us do. What is interesting to me is that he was able to learn this through his MBA program. Is this something we can teach sooner so that students can take more of a chance with their writing during earlier stages of their learning? It seems like there would be some value to bring out this "fear," talk about it, and face it - maybe even during a first year writing program. Students shouldn't be afraid of writing, they should be able to have a safe platform in which to fail and then be able to reflect upon that failure. There is a lot to be said for the (good) direction failure can take someone.
The second thing I thought about while reading this article was this assumption we have that our business students are only interested in "world domination." Oh, and how a 200-word essay can give us insight into a person. No, I'm not surprised by that, but I'm surprised that they are surprised. It isn't amazing that students who study (ied) business have a past ... or a soul. It isn't amazing that they want share their experiences with others. The impact of bringing a new genre into this Harvard MBA program was rather significant to these graduates and, possibly, their potential employers. And, since I am just starting to delve into Genre Theory, this makes me wonder, is the group of genres that populate a certain community too narrow, and how do we introduce new genres into a particular community?
Hats off to Tony Deifell for creating and introducing Portrait Project. The essays featured are also accompanied by a black and white photograph of the student author to enhance the impact.