Steve Hind & Ankit Agarwal, HBS MBA Class of 2016
Following Wharton could justifiably be viewed as anathema to the mindset of Harvard Business School. But if there was ever a cause for which to buck tradition, it’s this one.
Last year, we started looking around for a vehicle to harness the immense tradition of giving at HBS and put it to work reducing global extreme poverty. Through a friend, we heard of One for the World, and were delighted when we had the chance to meet the team earlier this year. One for the World is a movement encouraging MBA graduates to pledge 1% of their income to fight global poverty, and connecting them with some of the world's most effective giving opportunities.
Consistent with the outlook of the effective altruism movement, we were determined to join forces with One for the World, rather than wastefully duplicating efforts for the sake of founding our own organization. We weren’t, though, motivated simply by a desire to avoid duplication. We were incredibly impressed by the professionalism of the OFTW team’s work to date, and the quality and quantity of assistance they have been able to offer us as we work to establish OFTW on our campus. Having a clear legal structure to receive donations already established has been invaluable, as has a ready-made set of materials to share with classmates, as well as the advice of people who’ve done what we’re doing before.
We started down this path because we see immense potential for One for the World at HBS. Ours is a school with a tremendous history and culture of giving. Our students and graduates contribute to a huge array of causes in a multitude of ways. With the rise of research and tools that let us rigorously measure the impact of charitable donations, the challenge we face is maximizing the impact of this culture of giving.
We see the opportunity to harness some of that energy toward high impact investments that reduce global extreme poverty. HBS graduates earn large amounts of money. 1% of that income could make a significant difference. For instance, 1% of a class’s graduating salaries is over $1m, enough to protect over 600,000 people from malaria for three to four years, if donated to the Against Malaria Foundation.
Students at our school overwhelmingly feel grateful, privileged and lucky to be here. Indeed, we are some of the most privileged people on earth. We are excited to bring our classmates an opportunity to meaningfully improve the lives of people who have had far different amounts of luck and opportunity in life.