Jason Ma, Contributor Forbes.com – In this article, I would like to help enlighten motivated high schoolers, college and university students, and parents by sharing some lessons learned, reflections, and advice from a dynamic college student leader. In the elite private college and university world, high achievers with notable accomplishments and experiences abound. One of the numerous young leaders who I’ve had the privilege of helping or knowing is Leila Pirbay from Harvard University. I believe she is an outstanding exemplar whom has demonstrated grit, curiosity, determination, humility, and helpfulness.
Leila has just obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology (with a minor in Economics) from Harvard in May 2014 and attended the 2014 Summer Institute for General Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
She grew up in Madagascar, an island country East of Africa known for its unique biodiversity and for the popular animated film named after the country. Her birth made her maternal Italian family and her paternal Indo-Malagasy family transcend their cultural, linguistic, religious, and social differences. Growing up in such a diverse environment made her celebrate cultural diversity and advocate for overcoming cultural misunderstandings. Her interest in people and cultures led her in high school to research and write a paper on the populating of Madagascar. Her paper was published in The Concord Review.
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