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Good Old Section K

Dear Deans Clark and Kester,

I agree with Louis P. DiLorenzo, Jr., the president of the penultimate Section K. In an open letter published in last week’s Harbus, he congratulated you on your decision to excise one section from Harvard Business School’s MBA class.

Yes, DiLorenzo offered you praise, praise that in my opinion you richly deserve. And yet, as I read his praise, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the words of Nobelist Pearl S. Buck. “Praise out of season, or tactlessly bestowed,” she said, “can freeze the heart as much as blame.” Haplessly, I read on as, after an auspicious first paragraph, DiLorenzo lost his bearing and meandered into a jealous rant.

Those in the HBS community unacquainted with the Section K of 2002 may have been surprised by this ill-tempered diatribe. We of the peaceful OI, OK’s nearest neighbor, were not. Contrary to DiLorenzo’s assertion, our time outside the classroom was not spent practicing basketball or soccer; we’re naturally gifted and as such require no practice. Rather, it was spent counseling friends in Section K who were bereft at the thought of spending another day in the sharking, sniping purgatory of Aldrich 110. One strains to fathom the sheer animosity that must have required the OK’ers in their first days together to vote on how to vote on their section norms. (It is this precedent, incidentally, that makes the alleged unanimous passage of “Special Order #1” seem a little far-fetched.)

It is heartening that, even as they are ushered toward the exit, these OK’ers at least remain true to their ungracious form. Let us regard DiLorenzo’s letter, then, as an apt epitaph for K. We of OI must concur with the administration’s finding; there was no wiser decision than to rid the business school of their bad karma. (Go K, indeed.) Yet, even in our jubilation in response to this latest example of continuous improvement at HBS, there is a note of tenderness. As a community, we must rally to offer our sympathy to the members of NK; alas, they started here one year too early.

Warmest regards,
Michael Echenberg

April 16, 2002
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