A wave of prospective members of the HBS Class of 2003 will arrive on campus this Friday for Admitted Students Weekend. The weekend will provide the first peek behind the curtain for many at the place they will call home for the next two years. As they embark on their journey towards an MBA, they leave behind them the most uncertain U.S. economic environment in a decade. The collapse of the late-1990s bull market has, of course, wreaked havoc in the tech sector, with even ex-“Internet blue-chips” like Amazon.com and Yahoo struggling to hang on, to say nothing of dozens of less-fortunate dotcoms. Firms higher up the tech food chain have not been spared, with even names like Dell, Cisco and Intel trading at or below 50% of their one-year highs. The wider economic slowdown has affected the old economy as well, with the Dow temporarily dipping below 10,000 and regular blue-chips like Procter & Gamble and DuPont announcing deep job cuts.
But that is no longer the Class of 2003¡s problem. At least not until the Summer 2002 recruiting season begins. For the moment all they have to worry about is keeping up with the inside jokes in the Sections they visit on Friday, and not pigging out excessively during the clam-bake on Spangler lawn on Saturday. They can look forward to a year of cases, balls, Section socials, spams and the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting and accomplished people in the world. Please offer them a warm and enthusiastic welcome to HBS.