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They Said What?

Welcome to the first edition for 2002-2003 of They Said What?, a featured column in Harbus Humor that relays some of the most humorous anecdotes heard around campus. We start the year off with the “Best Of” quotes from the 2001-2002 academic year.

Whether you’re an RC or an EC, anyone who catches an entertaining quote that they would like to submit should email their comments to quotes@mba2003.hbs.edu.


Professor Sam Hayes (Finance): “A good way to get air time is to come in late.”

Professor Frances Frei (Quantitave Methods, Analytics): “Prepare for the opener. Then go to bed.”

Professor Richard Tedlow (Creating Modern Capitalism): “I am always right. Some of your other professors who deal with the future, will frequently be wrong.”

[on writing on the projection screen] “I shouldn’t do that. They’ll have to raise your tuition, which is not a bad idea considering the number of applicants.”

[on Henry Ford] “In his spare time, what does he do? He takes watches apart and puts them back together. He’s trying to tell us something. He cares about time.”

Professor Greg Miller (FRC): “I’ll never force you to use T-accounts, but as an accountant, it’s my solemn duty to ensure that you’ve at least seen them before.”

“After class next Monday, we won’t meet for again for a while. If you really need to see me, there’s a picture of me on the course platform.”

“One student wrote me and said ‘I don’t know whether you need new glasses or if I should get you a cell phone, since you never call on me.’ That’s one way to get attention. He got attention.”

“You come out of a meeting and the bankers are saying, ‘Man, you’ve got to be kind of slow to be an accountant.’ That may be true, but I would just argue that it’s also true for investment bankers.”

“I’m all in favor of creating more work for accountants, but most of society might consider that a waste of money.”

Oscar Gil (OH): [on Erik Peterson] “He’s like a firefighter with a small hose.”

Professor Rakesh Khurana (LEAD): “The one thing you will learn before you leave the Harvard Business School is to speak with complete certainty in situations of utter ambiguity.”

Robert Kimmel (OH): “Sometimes the teams that aren’t the most effective learn the most, as we learned in Crimson Greetings.”

Amanda Provost (OH): [on proposed Mountain Dew ads] “I don’t think there’s anything exciting about fatherhood. If you’re going after teenage boys, I think the last thing they want to think about is getting their girlfriend pregnant.”

A student in Self Assessment and Career Development, reliving an involved exercise where the objective was to analyze another student: “I was thinking, ‘I don’t wanna look through all this other person’s data. This class is supposed to be about me!'”

Assistant Professor Greg Miller (Accounting): “I already drew a stick-person with glasses for the engineer. How do I draw the accountant?”
Russ DeMartino (OH): “Give him a big head.”
Miller: “I can make fun of myself. I just don’t like it when other people do it.”

Jenn Taylor (OH): “Anytime you can quote Kenny Rogers in class, it’s a good day.”

Ricardo Berner (OH): “Why don’t we cut SG&A? That’s where the biggest cost is in this case.”
Assistant Professor Greg Miller (Accounting): “Because that’s where all the accountants’ salaries are.”

Professor Monica Higgins in Self-Assessment and Career Development: “If there’s any herd out there this year, it’s ‘Get myself a job.'”

Brian Kline (OH): “My guest wants to see a typical HBS class, so please try hard.”
Professor Greg Miller (FRC): “Do you want the class to bring the level up or down?”
Kline: “Actually, Greg, I was talking to you.”
Miller: “Let’s see here…” [takes notes on section roster]Kline: “I think I can afford one more three.”
Miller: “Actually, the section professors were out drinking the other night, and I don’t think you can.”

On the full page Enron ad that appeared on the back cover of the December 3 issue of the Harbus, Brian Hoskins (OH): “Does The Harbus get paid in advance for their advertising?” (Editor-In-Chief: Uhhh… ya think?)

Assistant Professor Huw Pill (BGIE): “In traditional HBS fashion we give you the hardest thing first to make you worry, and then you’ll never see anything that hard again.”

“Nixon said, ‘I am not a crook,’ and he lied about that, so you shouldn’t take everything he said at face value.”

Professor Michael Roberto (Strategy): “Would you rather be a CEO in a great industry or in a crummy industry?”
John Berger (OH): “I would rather be a CEO in a crummy industry.”
Professor Roberto: “Why?”
Robert Kimmel (OH): “So he can fire people.”

[On his summer internship experience in consulting] Carl Petty (’02): “What is the deal with Power Point?”

Professor Nancy Koehn (The Entrepreneurial Manager): “We’re going to have a lot of guests, unlike Business History where all the guests are dead.”

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

[30 minutes into Finance class] Professor Josh Coval (FIN 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 (OH): “We might as well pack up.”

Brian Kline (OH) [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.”

Ari Terry (OC ’02), 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.”

Advanced Competitive Strategy Professor Jan Rivkin, on Ben & Jerry’s: “They’re a lot like Coors, except that they have hippies at the top instead of right-wing fascists.”

Ariba Tanvir (OH): “The McKinsey model is to hire insecure overachievers.”

Marc Zelanko (OH): “In every country in the world, there is nothing scarier than 20-year-old males. That’s why we create these militaries and send them overseas.”

Professor Josh Coval (FIN 2): “To heck with the working capital, let’s go straight to the free cash flows.”

Professor Nancy Koehn (The Entrepreneurial Manager): “Any other options?”
Troy Phillips (OH): “You can just put a bullet in the company. Shut it down. Turn the keys over to the bank, and say ‘Game over.'”

Max Yacoub (OH): “It was a great story of how a company went from a cute mouse and an incomprehensible duck to an entertainment powerhouse.”

…and the first quote from 2002-2003…

Professor Andre Perold [opening day in Investment Management]: “Do you buy stocks?”
Faith Kendrick (OD): “Not very well. That’s why I’m here.”

September 16, 2002
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