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A Thanksgiving Status Update for Mom

Dear Mom,
Winter is peering its ugly head around the corner like the TOM write-up I have for Wednesday, and the HBS grounds crew has successfully stripped the leaves off all the trees so that they won?t fall on our precious grass. The cold weather has opened up a few slots on the Spangler bike rack, so I don?t have to lock my bike to the salad bar anymore. Last weekend was a long weekend, and it was great to “get away from it all” as I drove down to New York City with my fellow classmates and attended HBS parties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I feel like I?m well integrated into school, but a few things have been concerning me lately:

1) My finances have dwindled far quicker than anticipated. With new winter gear, a ski house quarter-share, four black-tie balls, a Harvard-Yale tailgate, Holidazzle (whatever that is), a section fleece, mittens and long-johns, and AfghaniTrek, it has become necessary for me to apply for a second tranche of CitiAssist funding and to list shares in myself on the troubled NASDAQ.

2) Midterms have become a little too complex. For LEAD we had to download the exam over a crashed server. For Marketing we had to download the exam, work with a small team, then on our own, then back with the team, and then come up with a group paper. I hear our TOM final involves us hitchhiking to Oklahoma to pick up our exam, canoeing to Brazil where we will find laptops with which to dial in remotely to small groups of third graders in Laos to develop a production plan for the new Audi A8 production plant in Turkey.

3) I may have screwed up my TOM grade last week during the Beer Game. I misunderstood the directions and spent the morning at John Harvard?s tossing back their new Arctic Winter Ale. I showed up in the Shad basement with a bag of pretzels, a couple of dice, a funnel, two quarters, and a shot glass and then threw up on my professor?s shoes. Apparently there was some computer simulation, but the screen was too blurry and I ended up not ordering any beer because I wanted to sober up. My “retailer” got upset at me too.

4) I may have upset my FRC Professor last week when I successfully used, “This course and fifty cents can buy my CFO a cup of coffee,” to win the Section G Phrase That Pays Championships. Fortunately, my Marketing Professor didn?t pick up on the classcard switch, and he called me Yassar Arafat all week without a second thought as I cruised into the Section G Classcard Switching Championships.

5) In addition to LIFO and FIFO that we learned about in FRC, we learned GIGO, or Garbage in, Garbage Out, in Finance as we built an assumption-filled model for the NetFlix case. As it turns out, by 2004 there will be 17 subscribers to NetFlix for every DVD player manufactured in the world. I put my name on the waiting list for some hot-IPO shares.

Well, that?s all for now. Thanksgiving is coming up and I look forward to telling you more about all my interesting cases during dinner. See you soon.
Love, Mike

November 19, 2001
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