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From Paris To Boston: The Story Of A Harvard Business Student

Alexa Collins*, 27, was born and raised in Paris, France. At age 11, she moved to London for three years, then to America for high school in Indiana. Collins graduated from Duke University in 2017, where she majored in public policy and minored in economics in Arabic. Both of her parents went to college as well: her mom received a degree in engineering, and her dad attended medical school.   

Collins knew that she did not want to go down the same path as her dad, as science class was never her favorite, but got the business inspiration from her mom. During her undergrad, however, she recalls her trajectory switched early on to public policy.

“A lot of people that ended up going into finance also did public policy,” she said. “I also thought it was a well-rounded major for me where I could learn to think strategically, write, and communicate effectively.” 

Eager to start working in finance, Collins landed her first internship after her sophomore year at Duke in Sales and Trading at Morgan Stanley. Collins said she got an offer to return but wanted to try something different. 

“I did the mobility program and interned in Capital Markets after my junior year,” she said. “When I was there, I eventually wanted to do investment banking because it was more technical, so I switched to banking full-time.” 

After graduating from Duke and receiving her American citizenship, Collins moved to New York City. There, she worked in finance and investment banking for a few years before deciding it was time to head back to school. 

“When I got my acceptance to HBS, I knew I wanted to diversify my experiences and I thought of this as my last time to be a student before I work for the rest of my life,” said Collins. 

Having started at Harvard Business School (HBS) this fall, Collins said it’s hard to describe all of the opportunities she has been given, but so far, she is extremely grateful for the experience. 

“I’ve met people from all different backgrounds and careers,” she said. “There are over 39 nationalities represented in my section, and I’ve been able to make many connections with people that I know will come in handy in my future in investing.” 

As for future plans, Collins still sees herself in the investing field. Just like every other college student, whether just beginning your undergrad or going back to school for a second degree, there are always challenges to overcome. However, she reflects on her decision to go to HBS with fondness and is excited to continue her journey. 

“It’s about prioritizing what matters to you and what you want to get out of your experiences,” said Collins.

*Name has been changed*

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Geena is a Sophomore at BU studying journalism with an Italian minor. She loves singing, dancing, spending time with her big Italian fam, and country concerts!