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  • Writer's pictureArjun Patel

The Harvard Young Leaders Program

Hi guys! This program teaches the lessons from Harvard’s leadership, critical thinking, negotiation, and rhetoric classes! I attended the Harvard Young Leaders Program on February 4, 5, 11, and 12, 2023, and I learned many excellent critical thinking skills and used them to solve real-world problems on the last day of the capstone project.

On Day 1, we learned about the case framework, which entails situation analysis, objectives and goals, recommendations, performance measurement, implications, and conclusion. The situational analysis involves analyzing a situation/problem and identifying the key challenges and opportunities through brainstorming and research. Then, you recognize the objectives and goals of the proposed solution(s). Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Recommendations are ideas used to achieve objectives and goals. Implications are analyses of the outcomes of the proposed solution(s), and the conclusion is an overall summary of key points. We practiced these new strategies with a decarbonization case study.

On Day 2, we learned about negotiation, which includes alternatives and BATNA, interests, options, and legitimacy. BATNA is your Best Alternate to a Negotiated Agreement, which entails what someone would do if their negotiating doesn’t work out. Interests differ between the two negotiating parties, so it is imperative that you look at both sides’ arguments and why they are arguing that way. Options are, well, options for the outcome of the negotiation, as there are an infinite number of possibilities. Lastly, we learned about legitimacy, talking about legal precedent, industry practice, market prices, expert opinion, community standards, reciprocity, etc.

On Day 3, we learned about rhetoric and persuasion. We learned how to use logos, pathos, and ethos to persuade an audience to take our side in the battle. Logos appeals to an audience’s reason and logic, so you can convince your audience by making your claim logical. Pathos appeals to emotions, so a speaker can make an audience feel a certain way through their presentation (i.e., sad, happy, angry). Ethos appeals to the speaker’s authority and credibility, so the audience will trust them more if they have a high status. I thought this was truly interesting because you can use rhetoric to persuade an audience effortlessly.

On Day 4, we worked on the capstone project—my group’s project was to find a way to reduce the rate of economic instability, inequality, and poverty and promote economic growth. We made a slideshow and presented it to everybody else. This link is our slideshow. Please do not copy and paste if you attend this program.


A picture of the first slide of my HPYL Capstone Project!

I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to learn more about solving problems using critical thinking. You can find out more here. Until next time!

- AnthroManTalks


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