The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans of MBA Students » Real Humans of MBA Class of 2023 » Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023 » Page 6

Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

Image for Real Humans of the Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

Ted Sim, Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2023

harvard business school mba class

Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: UCLA, Film & Television
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Co-Founder & President at Aputure, Film Technology.

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
So for the past seven years I have been working to grow our start-up Aputure from beginning in a basement to hiring a full-time staff of 30 and moving into our own building. It has without a doubt been the most exciting and fulfilling journey that we have ever taken. That said, at times, it also felt both impossible and exhausting.

Start-up life is draining, even when you have the best team. Leading a company is challenging, especially when you do it for seven years, come from a fine arts background and have never had a real job. I have never worked in consulting, finance, or big tech. My network consists of mostly artists and my experience comes almost entirely from making my own mistakes.

I decided to get my MBA because I made a lot of promises to a lot of people that we would grow Aputure into something big. My team deserves a leader that can deliver on those promises, and I intend to be that person, even if that means buckling down, hitting the books, and learning how to take us to the next level.

Why did you choose HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was fortunate to be admitted to Harvard, Stanford and MIT. It was a difficult decision (my heart is in California), but I ultimately chose the school that I believed would give me the strongest education in the shortest amount of time. HBS is known for being the best, most academically rigorous program, so in my mind, it was a no-brainer. I’m here to learn.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2023?
This one is hard to say. If I really had to dig – it would probably be my lived experience as a founder and general manager. As you might expect, most of the students here are already intelligent and accomplished, but what I think I bring is the experience of knowing how the real world is not always as neat as cases and problem sets are written to be. 

Post-MBA career interests:
Growing my company Aputure into the Apple of film technology. 

Photo by Scott Gravlee

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
– What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Swing for the fences. I applied to a lot of schools and didn’t really expect to get in anywhere because I didn’t feel like I was the traditional MBA candidate. I was wrong. Schools value people that bring diverse experiences so if you’re different, don’t be afraid to show it. And more importantly — if you don’t apply in the first place, you never know what might happen.

– What is one thing you would change or do differently?
Don’t stress. Admissions teams, like professors, are friendly and down-to-earth. I come from a no-nonsense public-school background and had never met anyone from Harvard Business School so I know this initial separation can make the application process feel a little more daunting than usual. If you relate, just try to remember that admissions teams are people, just like students, just like you.

– What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
While I was working on my application, I was still running my company. Though I’m used to working a lot, juggling these two tasks was particularly challenging. One thing that helped was taking the GRE a few years earlier. You can use your score for up to five years after completing the test, so time-wise at least, I think this really saved me 

What is your initial impression of the HBS students/culture/community?
Everything they say is true. The people here are super smart, diverse and accomplished. It is amazing to be here.

What is one thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
One thing that I didn’t expect was the emotional range and depth of the students here. In hindsight, I suppose it makes a lot sense: everyone at HBS is looking to undergo some form of change or transformation, but I still feel the need to mention it. I am really surprised at and appreciative of how introspective everyone here is.    

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I won’t sugarcoat it. It was heart-breaking to leave my friends, my city and my team behind, but I’m determined to come back better than ever. If there is anything that I am worried about, it is just making sure that I make the most out of my time here. There is a lot of work to do and not a lot of time. 

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Getting my butt kicked. My classmates are super talented and it feels good to run alongside them.    

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.