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A Status Update for My Mom

Dear Mom,
School has been fun so far. The kids are really nice and they all like the new sneakers you bought me. My new N’Sync Trapper Keeper is perfect for holding all my cases. In addition to all the fun I’ve had, I actually have learned quite a bit. For the last few weeks, we’ve had Foundations. “Foundations” is Harvard’s fancy-pants term for Orientation. At Wharton and Kellogg, the students go on trips, plan team-building activities, and, at night, get to know each other through large-scale social events. Here we read about failed ice-cream businesses, stolen business plans, companies buying and selling the right to pollute the environment, and mislabeled products being shipped to Puerto Rico for quick sale. I want to share with you a little bit about what I’ve learned so far in “Foundations”:

1) I’ve met a guy who worked directly with Al Gore, a pop-star from Taiwan, a founder of a billion+ dollar business, an Olympic star, and a girl who had a column in the New York Post. It’s a good thing I served meals to homeless people last Thanksgiving and took Spanish in Junior High, or I never would have gotten in here.

2) That beautiful, soft area rug that Uncle John bought for you was made by the little, limber hands of children in chains and shackles who are given a slice of stale bread and a cup of water before going to sleep. I hope it keeps your toes warm this winter.

3) If the economy still stinks in 2003, and Goldman’s not hiring, I have enough skills producing low-quality Easter cards that Hallmark will surely be throwing a sweet offer my way.

4) When you hear about people getting ready to “drop the `H’ bomb,” don’t worry, no need to notify Donald Rumsfeld to arm the new missile defense system. It just means that one of my classmates is preparing to work some magic on a BU freshman.

5) Remember when you bought that huge jug of Kool-Aid from Costco and then learned how much sugar was in it, so you fed it to the neighbors kids when they came over. Well, not to scare you, but you can be sent to prison for that, so just think about what you’ve done.

6) My wife’s WTP, or willingness to pay, for a small wicker basket at Pottery Barn is roughly 12 times my WTP for the exact same item. I wish she could shift her demand curve in a little.

7) If the protagonist of a given case is an HBS grad, he’s a top-notch manager with a rock-solid ethical core and a true care for the community; otherwise he’s a big fat dummy or as crooked as those shelves I put up in the basement and will probably get fired, sent to jail, or publicly humiliated.

8) I’m a former Investment Banker, from New York City, and scored an ENTJ on the Myers-Briggs. In other words, I’m not an admissions mistake after all-everyone else here is exactly like me.

9) You don’t have to read anything here. When the professor calls on you, you just have to make up some assignment you did when you worked for McKinsey, change the subject, or quote a famous person.

10) 18 holes at Fresh Pond, 12 shots of Tequila at Shay’s, 7 Armani shirts, an IBM T22, a Palm M505, an HP1220, a week long trip to Asia, and an M3-thank you CitiAssist!

That’s all for now, mom. I hope all is well back home. It’s 2:00 in the afternoon, so my busy day is over and I am off to play in the gym with my new friends.
Love, Mike

September 24, 2001
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