Alumni Beat 11 – Alumni Spotlight: Jalen F. Blot


Jalen attends Temple University and is a new addition to the SVMP Alumni Association as a member of HBS SVMP 2014

Jalen shares his SVMP experience and some of his most memorable moments:

“While there were many positive takeaways from SVMP, the best aspect to me was definitely the camaraderie fostered between 83 other people just as passionate I am. I struggled the first couple days at SVMP, partly due to the icebreaker at the kickoff meeting revealing my peers’ talents, because I didn’t understand why I was selected to represent SVMP amidst such great people. In a room full of multi-linguist, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and so forth, I felt lost. The icebreaker was facilitated by Breeshna Javed, an SVMP alum, in a fashion where we were asked to state our name, major, where we were interning, and a fun fact about ourselves. While I felt uncomfortable because I thought that my fun fact was not adequate, I realized the value in the activity. Connections were made left and right as my peers revealed commonalities in location, aspirations, and passions.

Through sharing my personal life experiences and listening to the experience of others, I found my place and better understood that life experience is relative—no one’s experience is above anyone else’s. Understanding this relativity helped me realize that I was accepted for a reason and was deserving of the opportunity. It was then that the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” came to life. That was a pivotal moment early in the SVMP experience that allowed me to flourish.

I found the Harvard Business School’s environment to be communal and uplifting rather than the cold and closed off place that media and societal stereotypes make it out to be. This was consistent among my peers, SVMP facilitators, and HBS professors. If an SVMPer had a question about personal growth, business advice, or graduate school direction, someone was always there with an answer or provided an introduction to someone who had the answer the SVMPer was seeking. As someone pursuing a PhD in Organizational Behavior, I was very grateful for the advice and suggestions that SVMP alum and HBS faculty provided me with. I can vividly recall a conversation over dinner with Dean Dee Leopold about PhD programs. She didn’t know the answers to my questions, but promised that she would put me in contact with someone who did. As promised, the next day I received an email from Jen Mucciarone, an associate director of Harvard Doctoral Programs. This small exchange and opportunity that Dean Dee granted me was just a slight example of the care that HBS as a whole has for its prospective and current students. Overall the experience I had was both unrivaled and life changing. While I do not know in what capacity, I know that I will be making a return to the Harvard Business School.”