Simple Pleasures

CEOs flying half the way around the globe to make your breakfast date, jumping out of bed at 7am each morning to discuss accounting, chatting with a brain surgeon about the virtues of the Beetle – having become accustomed to the ‘normalities’ of HBS, Emma Wilkinson (NH), takes a look at the less celebrated pleasures of b-school life.

Frozen yogurt from The Grille: Carefully tucked away by the soup counter, the campus-dweller’s solution to Finale’s chocolate indulgence platter is something you will only stumble on by chance. Having enviously eyed someone else’s selection of M&Ms and colored sugar beads in the Crimson Cash queue, before long you will be on the phone to McKinsey persuading them to install a machine on your floor.

Polls: You either love them or you hate them and I love them. For a compulsive indecisive like myself the applications of HBS Poll Taker seem endless – you don’t know which dress to wear to a ball then poll your friends, you don’t know where your brother buys those electric blue sunglasses he wants for his birthday so you poll his friends. Like the results of Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s “Ask the Audience”, the answers you get might not be correct but at least you can back up your mistakes.

Impeccably dressed professors: Oxford University was not renowned for the dress sense of its professors. Maybe it was just the chemistry department but the abundance of men in paisley shirts could not be discounted as an unfortunate aligning of the stars. At HBS it couldn’t be more different. At 8.30am, when I begin to question whether the discussion on optimal drill color will help me in my future career, the power of a sharp suit can convince me that my preference for dark teal is definitely something worth sharing with the group.

Free newspapers: Even if you have no intention of reading it, there is something remarkably civilizing about picking up the thick tome of The Wall Street Journal on the way into Aldrich. This is one of the few accessories with the power to transform you from a baffled ex-bond trader still suffering from the night before to a cool, global citizen, ready to discuss the advantages of cell vs. line production.

Snapple: Did people drink this before they came here or is the MBA program secretly funding the buyout? Whatever the answer to this question, the preferred brand of Snapple is definitely a useful way to start a conversation with someone you have met three times but can’t quite remember the name of. Once you have found out someone is a ‘diet peach’, you won’t forget them again.