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Hell Week Horror Stories

Let?s start looking at some fun interview foul-ups by looking at one that began during the application process. Our first protagonist decided he?d save time by reusing the cover letters he sent out last year. So he simply changed the recipient and company names, and off they went. Only later did he realize that the first sentence of each of his letters started, “I am a first year student at Harvard Business School looking for a summer internship.”

We move to a small, dimly lit basement interview room where our second protagonist sat across from two interviewers from a large Asian conglomerate that had invited, repeat invited, him to interview with them. The two interviewers were a self-effacing, but very large, American, and a small, but clearly important, Asian who had traveled from the corporate headquarters. The first question was, “Why are you interested in working for us?” an auspicious start to this invitation-only party. Once they opened the interview up for our protagonist to ask questions, he pondered what his wife might do in their land. The headquarters man fielded this one, which stretched the limits of his English, “Most of the wives…how do you say…breed.”

On Tuesday, our third protagonist showed up five minutes early for a 12:45 pm interview, and found no interviewer at the appointed location in Morris. He did find the usual evidence, however?a coat hung over a chair, and paperwork with the familiar HBS resume format. He figured the interviewers were still at lunch, so he waited. About ten minutes after the scheduled start, he got antsy and accosted the next well-dressed passerby, who said that this room was for Company X, and that their next scheduled interview was for 1:15. Now our protagonist was quick to realize that he is supposed to be meeting with Company Y, and that he was in the wrong place. After some fast investigation and footwork, he made it to the correct room in Spangler fifteen minutes late?for a 30-minute interview. Our protagonist then settled down into his chair, apologizing profusely and trying to regain his composure, when his cell phone rang. And suddenly he realized that programming the ringer on “ding” mode might not have been such a good idea.

Please send any additional stories to Uncle.Jordy@mba2002.hbs.edu.

November 5, 2001
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