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A Midterm Status Update for Mom

Dear Mom,
Well, it?s been a while since I wrote to you, and I wish I could say life was getting easier, but the three case days now seem to show up more often than the two case days, the temperature has dropped like my FRC grade following the midterm, and the threat of laying drywall this summer as an unpaid carpenter?s apprentice seems more likely. The cases are getting to be more eye-opening, though, and this is what I?ve learned:

1) Of FIFO, LIFO, TiVo, and Fido, one means “first in first out,” one means “last in first out,” one is a poorly marketed set-top box, and one is the unlucky recipient of Oxyglobin.

2) I hope you took good care of that Calyx & Corolla birthday bouquet I bought you last year. It?s FTD from now on.

3) Apparently, my section didn?t do so well in the Sub-Arctic Survival exercise. HBS has decided to keep Aldrich 207 sub-arctic. This has led to a few problems, like sometimes I can?t hear my classmates? comments through my earmuffs, and my sled-dogs bark too much in class.

4) The day we discussed problems at Polaroid, it went out of business, and thousands lost their jobs. Hmm… HBS has a big endowment and weighty influence. HBS likes its cases to be relevant. You draw the conclusion.

5) The Mountain Dew case was great?a woman from the Company came with some giveaways. Two 20 ouncers of Dew, a 20 ounce of Code Red, and a small amount of some warm liquid so potent that they needed to keep it in a titanium can until they served it. I haven?t slept in 12 days.

6) According to the head of advertising for Caf‚ de Columbia, Juan Valdez?s image will be seen on “The FBI?s Most Wanted” more than on the side of Folger?s, as he moves to a more lucrative and illegal crop next year.

7) My skill set now includes: making greeting cards, making integrated circuit boards, and being able to masterfully integrate “phrases that pay” like, “Building on Mohamar Qadaffi?s point relating to fixed-asset turnover” during an FRC cold call.

8) The LEAD module on dealing with adversity was ingeniously set-up as a midterm exam. They told us we had to go home and access a file from an HBS server, and then they shut down the server for a few hours. I felt like I was in the Apollo 13 lunar landing module as the IT phone-support guided me through the download.

9) The movie Twelve Angry Men taught me some great lessons. Next time I?m in a knife fight, I know to stab upwards, not downwards, and it?s bad to send someone to the electric chair so that you can make it to a Yankees game.

As you can see, the value of this education is starting to shine through. I look forward to seeing you over Thanksgiving. I?ll bring the cranberries.
Love, Mike

November 5, 2001
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