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Impressions of a First Year

Harvard Business School is begging for its own Real World season on MTV. If “incentivize” can be used as a word in all seriousness, where does the madness end? Anything is possible. I can hear the show’s introduction now:

…nine hundred and two strangers picked to live in Spangler…ready to stop being fake, and start being real!

After all, what does Las Vegas have on us? The business school is at least as opulent as the IKEA-heavy houses that those post-teen adolescents live in, and maybe twice as fancy as Sin City. Each morning a man takes the garbage out of my dorm room, which is completely unnecessary. Each Friday we have a freaking carnival behind Spangler.

Trees appear from nowhere. My friends from the Law School literally beg for me to help them get into Shad. Literally. I tell them that I will see what I can do.

Even better yet, we have all the characters we need for our own “reality”-based sitcom-only ours would air on Bloomberg because of the impact of our future actions on the market. We have “The Cut-Throat Capitalist” who feels okay with quantifying human life, while “The Bleeding-Heart” has trouble quantifying a bag of apples. You’ve got “The Spotlight” who needs to be loved, and “The Blinker,” who needs to work on his participation grade. And then you’ve got “The Mystery Person,” who is lurking behind your malformed assumptions. We all are members of these groups, some floating between roles, others resting idly. but don’t worry-the membership dues for these clubs are free.

The Cut-throat Capitalist
This person flat out loves profits, like Scooby loves Scooby snacks. That’s why he or she is the first person to recommend that someone get fired in the cases and that something get spun off because it’s dead weight. This person’s social responsibility is to get fabulously rich, and give the world jobs serving them hand and foot. Sell the mislabeled juice to a developing country, sure! Jack up prices, absolutely. The cut-throat capitalist hates deadweight and loves producer surplus and the invisible hand, which he will use to smack you around for the rest of your miserable working life.

Favorite Quote: “I think Friedman was absolutely right…”

The Bleeding Heart
Alternatively, there is The Bleeding Heart, who not only recommends that we keep deadweight employees, but also give them a raise while sending them and all of other our employees to empowerment training at a forest retreat. This person loves social responsibility over corporate wealth, and will have no problem sticking up for their point of view. Secretly, these people want the capitalist system brought to its knees, just as soon as they pay off their Citi-assist loans and buy an Audi A6.

Favorite Quote: “I think that we need to be careful not to slide down the slippery slope of…”

The Blinker
The Blinker is the person that comes up to you weeks after Foundations and tells you that you both were in the same Modern Capitalism class.

But as far as your mind recalls, this person never existed until fourteen seconds ago. Not known for a whole lot of talkie-talkie, this lovable person turns their head to wherever the comments are coming from, much like they are watching a tennis match. (Anyone that sees me in class knows that I’m a blinker. But they don’t know why; I’m deathly afraid of the next person.)

Favorite Quote: “I really liked your comment in class today…”

The guy or girl that will prove you wrong so be careful
This person is the Sadhu in your class, who can tell you definitively what the implications are of a Westerner carrying a near-dead Sadhu down a mountain. This is the former Enron trader that can tell you what it was really like in Houston during the high times. This is the woman that worked for IBM during the decision to make System 360 and the guy that lived next door to Wedgewood or something.

There is one in every class and on every topic, so watch out. Life was great when I could freelance and deliver more assumptions and half-truths than HBS clubs deliver e-mail into your inbox. Now, because of the frigging case method, I do so at the risk of being humiliated and shamed by one of my classmates.

Favorite Quote: “I personally knew James Burke, and it didn’t work that way at all. Let me explain.”

The Spotlight
This person’s comments quickly develop into a made-for-TV mini-series starring himself and himself, featuring himself. I won’t go so far as to say this person loves to hear himself talk, but it seems like it, and honestly, I love it when they talk too. This person usually leads in with a stage-stealing introduction like:

“I think that Peter Anderson is clinically insane and should have been fired.”

At that point, you’ve completely bought in. You grab a bag of popcorn and let the entertainer under the spotlight do their thing-which is get a better participation grade than you.

Favorite Quote: “You love me, you really, really love me….”

The author, Allen Narcisse, is an Aries, and enjoys long walks on the beach, Red Merlot, puppies, and 3 case days.

September 30, 2002
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