Patrick Anquetil (NC), "Alumni Perspective - Orit Gadiesh, (MBA '77)," Harbus, the Independent Student Weekly for Harvard Business School since 1937, 4/7/08. The material below has been reorganized and summarized from this article.
Orit Gadiesh served in the military in Israel in the early 1970s and received a degree in psychology from Hebrew University. She was accepted at Harvard Business School despite her language deficit, as one can read below.
A diffcult start:
QUOTE: What was your most memorable experience as a student at HBS?
"I grew up in Israel and so HBS was my introduction to the United States. I did not speak English when I arrived. I would read cases with my dictionary. I still remember the first case: it was eleven pages including the exhibits and it took me six hours to read. I was pretty desperate because literally every second word I had to look up in the dictionary. And the dictionary didn't give any business meaning to most of the words. For example, the dictionary described the word "contribution" as being "something about giving to nonprofit organizations". So reading the cases was extremely time consuming. And then I would take my dictionary to the classes or to exams. Exams were the worst. It would take me three times as long to read an exam. I'd always sit in the first row and if it was a really long exam, I'd write at the end, "This took me three hours and twenty-five minutes to read, but here's what I would have done had I had time to actually run the calculator." END QUOTE
She graduated in 1977 as a Baker Scholar, which is the highest academic honor at Harvard Business School, given to the top 5% of the graduating MBA class. She was also the recipient of the Brown Award for the outstanding student in marketing. Immediately after graduation she joined Bain & Company. She was elected Chairman of the company in 1993. Forbes Magazine has ranked her amongst "The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World," and Fortune as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Business."