Understanding Business: HSA Teach-Ins
Dara Li headshot
Dara Li
A couple of hours ago...
Over the summer, we complement the experiential learning of HSA by returning to our student roots through our Teach-In series.
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According to its charter, Harvard Student Agencies has a unique role on campus of providing student employment, but also creating a space for business education by “providing experience for its members”. Unlike many other universities, even though Harvard has a Business school, it offers no undergraduate business or finance course. Therefore, for many students interested in business, HSA provides an opportunity to get hands-on business experience by running their own business.


Over the summer, we complement the experiential learning of HSA by returning to our student roots through our Teach-In series. Every Friday afternoon, we have a student manager lead a 30 minute lecture series to end our work week. Because these are entirely student led, it allows us to showcase the breadth of the HSA experience in each of its 13 different agencies. Generally, student managers brainstorm topics applicable across the company, such as new software, processes, or skills, and take their initiative to present and teach their peers. In the past year, teach-in topics have ranged from how to use Hotjar presented by HSA Tutoring, to a social media marketing teach-in by Studio67, and even one on how to travel abroad by Let’s Go.


However, teach-ins are also a fantastic way to utilize the HSA alumni network. With so many of our dedicated alumni in Boston or returning frequently, student managers are also able to learn the complexities of different industries and connect with alumni who may have held similar roles as them. One teach-in that managers constantly point to as a great resource was the KPI teach-in, taught by Ryley Reynolds. Ryley, the FY15 President of HSA, currently works at Thrive Capital. Her teach-in presented the different KPIs that she looks for in portfolio companies, as well as some of the KPIs that she tracked during her time at HSA. Managers learned about NPS (Net Promoter Score) and CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost). Additionally, agencies broke off into small groups to brainstorm different KPIs to track in their agencies. HSA Tutoring came up with KPIs related to test scores, such as improvement over time compared to hours per week, while The Harvard Shop’s KPIs were more focused on average basket value, foot traffic patterns, and ratio of returns to orders.


Last week, we kicked off our summer teach-in series with a presentation on Drip, taught by The Harvard Shop. Now that Shopify no longer supports the Mailchimp app, all of our B2C agencies, which include HSA Tutoring, Cleaners and Dorm Essentials, and The Harvard Shop, are exploring different options that allow them to integrate customer lists on Shopify to launch targeted email campaigns. The Harvard Shop has chosen Drip in the transition, as it provides the same functionality as Mailchimp but also allows our marketing and web managers more control over email automation. Upcoming teach-ins include Sales, Marketing, and A/B Testing by The Academies at Harvard and Campus Insights, Press Releases by Let’s Go, and UI/UX Design by HSA Dev.


We’re excited to learn more from our student managers this summer and bolstering the business education that HSA provides.