On March 30, Harvard Business School’s admissions board sent out final decisions to round 2 applicants. Shortly thereafter, sources reported that pop sensation Justin Bieber is among the batch accepted into HBS’ class of 2018. The cherry on top for HBS is that Bieber had been accepted into Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) earlier in the month, but he held out because “Justin has always appreciated brand over hype,” says Bieber’s spokesperson.
Breaking the mold set by supermodel Tyra Banks, NBA superstar Dwayne Wade and hit music producer Kasseam Dean (better known by his stage name, “Swizz Beatz”), who have all added Harvard credentials to their list of accomplishments, Bieber jumped in with two feet and applied to HBS’ full-time program. According to his management, Bieber had considered joining one of the HBS executive or extension programs, similar to the ones completed by other celebrities. However, Bieber’s management explained that, after much contemplation, the full-time program made the most sense given Bieber’s age and long-term vision for his career in the music industry. “Plus,” he added, “Justin was disappointed to learn that Section X and Yacht Week participation is limited to the full-time students.”
Debate has arisen about whether Bieber’s acceptance was merit-based or merely on account of his star power. As she wraps up her final year as the Director of Admissions, Dee Leopold firmly stands by her and the board’s decision and reminds skeptics that “few individuals have built a brand from the ground up and managed to influence the global community as powerfully as Justin has.” Co-signing on Dee’s statement, a member of the admissions team explained how no amount of criticism can change the fact that “Never Say Never was and is EVERYTHING.”
Many applicants get hung up on grades and test scores, forgetting that the school’s mission is to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. So while Bieber may not have the conventional background, there exists no better training ground to educate a young professional who has already demonstrated leadership ability in his own right. An LCA Professor, citing lyrics from Bieber’s Sorry track, rhetorically asked, “how many leaders do you think HBS has groomed who would openly admit to having made mistakes ‘a couple of hundred times’ and go so far as to ‘take every single piece of the blame’ if you wanted them to?” before he abruptly answered, “None. That’s how many.”
Responses from students interviewed by the Harbus were mixed. Members of the annual musical comedy, the HBS Show felt this was a big win. Now they will be justified in raising their already high ticket prices. Also, given HBS’ emphasis on a maintaining diverse and global student body, many believe Bieber’s fluency in French weighed in on the board’s decision. Vincent (HBS ’17) expressed how “it will be refreshing to have a classmate who actually speaks a language he lists on his CV. They let anybody put a flag up in classrooms these days. Seriously, c’est n’importe quoi,” he remarked with disappointment.
Some students felt Bieber’s recent DUI incident should have been cause for an automatic disqualification. One student who shared this sentiment, Barry Saultea (HBS ’16) appeared disgruntled by the decision, explaining that he was “heavily scrutinized for having a 4-month gap in employment” and was waitlisted the first time he applied for “needing more experience,” which he aggressively gestured with finger quotes.
Needless to say, some male partners (a term given to the significant others of HBS students) privately expressed discomfort with the idea of having Bieber on and around campus, especially fresh off of his Purpose album. HBS’ Male students, however, openly complained about the already hopeless dating dynamics on campus and how now they, as one student put it, “no longer see that dim light at the end of the now completely dark tunnel of dry spells.”
Bieber has been traveling for his Purpose World Tour, but the Harbus was able to briefly ask him about this shocking news. Bieber certainly wasn’t shy about sharing his reasons for choosing HBS. “Research has proven the interactive case method to be more effective than the traditional instruction-based teaching methods,” he asserted, “plus, I’ve grown to love the sound of my own voice. Bring on the cold call!”
When asked how he would handle the quantitative rigor of an MBA curriculum, he mentioned advice given to him by HBS alumni to “get in early with case facts or ask a clarifying question.” Bieber admits that he isn’t entirely sure what that advice means, but said that “the GSB students offered no such guidance” when he voiced that concern during his recent visit to Palo Alto.
In fact, Bieber felt he had overstayed his welcome there when numerous students repeatedly shouted “Disruption!” every time he asked about their career goals or the overall GSB culture. Unfamiliar with the Silicon Valley buzzword, Bieber assumed he had asked one too many questions and felt bad for disrupting them.
Before dropping off the call, Bieber nervously joked, “frankly, HBS is also the better option in the event that Trump wins. If he starts building walls around the U.S. I wanna make sure I’m close enough to home to get on the right side of the wall in time.” Bieber’s spokesperson apologized for the brevity of our interview, but the Harbus plans to continue the conversation on Bieber’s decision and academic goals more in depth. Stay tuned, Beliebers!
Note: Purpose World Tour scheduling may force Bieber to defer enrollment a year and join HBS’ class of 2019.
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