New beginnings, some reflection and a team helping children

With our move to Evans Hall, the School of Management embarks on many transitions this month. The MBA for Executives program adds both an asset management and sustainability cohort to the traditional healthcare concentration beginning next year. As for the move, saying goodbye to the SOM campus on Hillhouse Avenue marked the fourth quarter of our MBA career.

January 30, 2014

As more classes change to the past tense, I realize that this unique opportunity has nearly eclipsed us.  Each class weekend, I appreciate my classmates more through our unique skills and diversity.  In a recent healthcare management class, I reflected back to our initial classes in a time when we often competed for discussion points and debated heavily.  I was surprised to observe a more congenial, confident and open environment as we discussed specific issues with current health incentive programs.  I doubt we are more mature in a years passing, but I believe we have begun to change our natural lens on certain problems and become more rounded and more accepting.  Believe me, getting 27 executives to agree on anything is a feat in its own right.  Kidding aside, a number of us wanted to extend our remaining time in any means possible.

As a portion of our integrated curriculum at SOM, we embark on a unique leadership development process.  It provides a means to collaborate with professional leadership coaches and peer coaches to develop short- and long-term leadership plans.  As a short term goal, a number of classmates wanted to achieve something together; specifically a half marathon held the day after our last MBA class.  Nearly a dozen of us share motivation tips, programs and camaraderie.  While most of us are novices, we planned to extend our efforts outside the scope of a race and partner with a charity organization.  Specifically, we will run for the Children’s Wishes of Rhode Island, a charity that aims to grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical illnesses.  Our goal is to raise the funds to grant a child’s wish through our hard work and the help of our network of friends and family.  Donations are possible directly through the donation page on the Children’s Wishes website (  If you would like to run with us, drop us a line at

The team is lucky to have partnered with prominent artist Jon Marro ( who has worked with everyone Credit Suisse, Toms Brand, Dave Mathews and many others.  Jon will design the apparel representing Children’s Wishes and we plan to raffle of some of the same designs to donors.   

We could not think of a better way to end our tenure at SOM or a better cause to align with.  Children like Sam Berns are the motivation for my work with this charity.  Rest in peace Sam. For a sense of perspective, please spend a few minutes on Sam’s Ted Talk on the keys to a happy life (  We will keep putting the miles in, please help us grant some wishes.


About the author

David Paller

MBA for Executives, 2014