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They Said What?

This week, we have the honor of many great business insights from the weeks just before and just after spring break. Perhaps the air travel went to everyone’s heads. Reading through the quotes below, especially the ones about percentages and numbers, HBS may even be able to make the argument that we are even more quantitative than MIT’s Sloan School.

Please continue to submit all comments by email to quotes@mba2003.hbs.edu.

[on what is wrong in Russia in 2000] Josh Jarrett (NH): “I think this country is a little short on terror.”

Elizabeth Chirpich (NH): “I came up with this idea called the magic cake kit.”

Professor Huw Pill (BGIE): “So it sounds like the second part of your argument is that since it worked, it must be capitalism.”
Eric Mogelof (NH): “Which might not be the best argument.”

Max Yacoub (NH): “Us Europeans aren’t dumber than Americans. We want low prices as well.”

Drew Robinson (NH): “The world economy is a seductive force.”

[30 minutes into Finance class] Professor Josh Coval (Finance 2): “So you think they may not only have the labels on the graph wrong, but they may have run the regression wrong also.”
John Kelleher (NH): “We might as well pack up.”

Lisa Jacobs (NH): “We weren’t the next Amazon. Our business model was questionable, as I’ve said before.”

Pablo Fuentes (NH): “We failed because we underestimated the competition. We had this technology and we thought they would not be able to copy it in two years, and they copied it in one month.”

Brian Kline (NH) [on whether the UK should have protective tariffs for agriculture in 1845]: “The UK is an island with terrible weather. I was 8 years old when I realized I’m not gonna be a basketball player. You’ve got to realize what you’re good at.”

John Berger (NH): “You only have a kid for two to four years.”

Marc Zelanko (NH) [on the chances of failure in the magazine publishing industry]: “It’s a 90% chance you’ll be in the 9 of 10.”

Huw Pill: “How do you brand a banana?”
Elizabeth Chirpich (NH): “Put a sticker on it.”

Jenn Taylor (NH): “The 1-2% management fee is just for the VC partners to cover office expenses and Coke.”

Professor Nancy Koehn (The Entrepreneurial Manager): “Two percent of a billion dollar fund is a lot of Coke, or a lot of Liquid Paper.”

Chris Knop (NH): “Twenty to thirty percent of big is still big.”

Ari Terry (OC), role playing a customer of Ecolab, an industrial cleansing products company, on the ego expressive nature of his purchase: “I don’t wanna spend my time dreaming about industrial soap.”

Ecolab sales reps differentiate themselves from competitors by taking their customers to big sporting events. After his Ecolab sales rep defects to a rival company in the B case, Terry said: “I knew you were lying about [the advantages of Ecolab products] the whole time, and I just wanted your Super Bowl tickets.”

Professional Services Professor Ashish Nanda, at the end of class time: “Can I take two minutes extra today? Who says No?”

Real Estate Professor William Poorvu: “How would you like to see your town run?”

Mike McLellan (OK): “Probably with me as the emperor.”

Channels to Market Professor David Bell, on the opening cold call of the 21-page OSI Group case: “Michael, do you want to tell us about the first ten pages, or at least what you got up to?”

Michael Wang (OG), mid-cold call: “Well, there’s like, many pages on this.”

Bell, later in the class: “If you’re reading ahead, you’ll see that they get into China.”

Meka Millstone (OE): “I didn’t get the ‘bone-in’ chicken. I’m not sure why you would want to do that?!?”

And Bell again, “OSI knows its customer [McDonald’s] so well, one of the VPs changed his name to McDonald.”

April 1, 2002
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