Harvard Business School Hosted A Class Reunion In Virtual Reality


The Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program class of 2017 began planning their five-year reunion in the month of December in 2021. they had to think about their former classmates’ absences from work, creating hotel and travel plans, as well as a variety of other aspects. They also had to contend with travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. They were also uncertain about what was to come in the near future.

To ensure that they can continue their reunion every year while ensuring safety for all the committee of planning made the choice to host the event online using the virtual reality platform The VR platform is Mesmerise.

Harvard alumni Sean West, who happens to be in the advisory committee of Mesmerise the company, hosted an event where more than 90 Harvard alumni from across 28 nations gather to attend a party on the internet. The reunion was also the launch of a book for the former Harvard professor Ramsay Gulati.

Some of their former classmates attended the event with the Meta Quest VR headset pre-loaded with the Mesmerise application. When they arrived the group was greeted by Gulati who divided them into two groups of 45, and then spent a half-hour with them for half an hour. Then, everyone went into Mesmerise’s digital area to chat, share stories and do some virtual networking.

To ensure that nobody could develop VR fatigue due to being in the headset for that lasted too long, the event was scheduled to last for 90 minutes. Naturally everyone was encouraged to keep meeting in VR following the event or connect in the traditional way.

Based on West, VR technology offered him and his colleagues the chance to connect “in-person” without the hassle of regular travel. “Nobody needed to be absent from work. There was no problem because people were unable to obtain a visa or even a COVID card,” said West during an interview with Business Insider. West added that nobody had to deal with jet lag or the expense of travel, which was an enormous benefit!

West also discussed the way this metaverse method was much more like a live reunion instead of the traditional Zoom call. “On a Zoom call, if you want to take people aside to talk to you one on one, it’s exclusionary, I have to create a break room and tell you to join me,” West said. West. “In VR we just hopped onto the plaza, you’re out of earshot of everyone else, It’s like in real life.”

Even though it wasn’t perfect the metaverse reunion did bring people to one another. From the point of view of West the experience could be somewhat difficult for people who are using VR at first.

“Today, VR is a ‘sometimes’ tool,”said West. “The portability and the price of devices can’t be overstated to the importance of the shift.”

The Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program class of 2017 will be having another reunion for October, however this time it will take place in person. But, West thinks the metaverse is inevitable, and it’s only the matter of time before virtual reunions are a common occurrence.


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