What I Learned This Year

We sent e-mails out to EC’s and RC’s asking what they learned over the past year and the following are the responses we received. Some responses were serious, others not so serious…but all were entertaining. Thanks to all who contributed!

“I learned that it is possible for an entire section to be reading off of the same write-up.”
“I learned that you can get a mid-class cold call based solely upon the “confused” look on your face (even if it was totally unrelated to the conversation).”
“I learned that it is possible to have a great point, open your mouth, and instantaneously forget everything you have ever known, including your own name.”
“I learned that the job market really, really, really, really sucks right now.”
“I learned that several people on the Garden Deck of Aldrich 208 have serious gas problems.”
“I learned that Section J makes one damn good bowl of chili.”
“I learned that as the number of people in a study group increases, the quality of write-ups decreases dramatically.”
“I learned that you can convince people of absolutely anything, no matter how wrong you might be, if you are Aaron Sandoski.”
Jordan Burton (NJ)

“Invest time in the things you love and don’t waste time and energy in work that does not interest you.”
“After 9/11 and after a war in Iraq I am putting the degree I am about to receive in the proper perspective.”
“You have allot to be grateful for so at some point you should give something your family, your community, to the world.”
“‘Success” as it is defined (even here at school) can mean very different things for different people.”
Walker Stapleton (OG)

“To command respect in any business discussion you must add the suffix “-ize” to your words: incentivize, synergize, collectivize, monetize, synchronize, jazzercize.”
“HBS sections strictly follow the “Rule of Thirds”: in any given section, one-third of the students are women, one-third are international, one-third are consultants, one-third want to be in private equity, one-third are hungover, one-third actually prepared the case, one-third are listening, and one-third are instant messaging.”
Spencer Kympton (ND)

“Marketing class is the best for giggling like Beavis & Butthead over stupid innuendos”
“That a promiscuous fishbowl isn’t a bunch of goldfishes making out, its HBS”
“That tan lines are sooooo frikkin cool and am so far away from getting any”
“That just because you dress and behave gay, doesn’t mean you are. May mean you are the most ravingly hetero person around.”
Gaurav Misra (NB)

“I’ve learned that the section bond has extended well beyond the walls of Aldrich 108 and that when one of us needs support, you can always count on the section.”
Jeni Golomb (OB)

“Upon coming to HBS, I wondered about the formula that made people here successful. After a year here, I’ve discovered that it’s a concoction of confidence (to some, arrogance) and relentless adherence to a vision to a dream, an idea, a project, and specifically anything they touch. It’s amazing how much I look up to my own peers and am inspired by them.”
Allen Narcisse (NJ)

“The HBS Financial Aid office budget: lies, lies, and more lies. Take the “personal expenses” line, multiply times 2 and that’s a more reasonable approximation of what to expect.”
Joyce Ramos (NB)

“During my RC year, I have learned a number of things. For instance, despite the bubble, apparently Willie Sutton never spent much time in Internet start ups; bottlenecks, in America, are not always associated with wine, and a Crystal Ball is not useful to wizards only (even though they remain the only ones who know how to use it!). I also found out that distress cannot always be healed with YOGA and, to my surprise, Modigliani is not just a painter, Miller not just a beer. On the other hand, market premium always equals 7.2%. In the end, it was frustrating realizing how limited my English vocabulary still was: I had never heard before of BATNA, DMP, TOM, BGIE, FRC, CT…”
Stefano Invernizzi (NC)

“I have learned that all business leaders (every single one of them) face “crossroads”.”
Adrian Katzew Corenstein (NB)

“What I’ve learned during my last year is that life does NOT go according to plan. Life is so much more enjoyable and less stressful if you live it without expectations. Enjoy and try to make the most of life’s surprises.”
Mia Mends (OG)

“Aaron, for the number of times you missed at least half of study group…you owe us enough breakfasts to last through all of EC.”
“Kathy, you brought us homebaked goods? Oh, they’re not for us… darn C-sorority.”
“Hmmm… Jordan’s mom’s maiden name is Currie and Lauren’s maiden name is Currie… coincidence? I think not.”
“I think someone in our Virtual Group said it best with the deep thoughts… if no one is doing write-ups, how come they still exist? “
Alice Prager (NF)

“I learned that cases are as much fiction as fact, and that, in real life crises, we’re usually armed with some relevant experience to help us through.”
“I found the end of my appetite for rice crispy treats, but I never found out why HBS calls candy in a cup a Harmony Snack.”
“And I learned that sometimes the handsome professor isn’t nearly as cute from the worm deck.”
Michelle Sullivan (OA)

“It is completely normal for HBS students, even when dressed up in formal wear to act like freshmen in college.”
Craig Lichtenstein (NB)

“I learned that it is hard to get out of bed at 7:00.”
“I learned that rebellious childhood movie stars turn out to be business school students.”
“I learned that the TOM department clearly did not design the salad bar at Spangler.”
“I learned that Aldrich 8 has a funky smell by the end of a three class day with a dance party lunch.”
Aaron Sandoski (NB)

“Using the pick-up line “I go to HBS” doesn’t work on women from HBS.”
“For most of us, it’s section experience and not sextion experience. Damn.”
“Your classmates want you to find section love more than you want to.”
“I’m safe from cold calls as long as Melissa Magnus (cold call Queen) is in my class.”
“Bouncy cranberries are good.”
“Running a country is hard.”
“Anything can be NPV positive if I change my assumptions.”
“Misaligned 7S = bad.”
“The 5 forces can be applied to anything, even marriage.”
“It takes 6 months to find a 10 week internship.”
“Take the extra vacation – what’s another $3000 on top of the $120,000 CitiAssist loan?”
“HBS Clubs – why did I join so many?”
“Boston drivers suck.”
“Admissions yield to HBS would be 100% if the weather in Boston was like the weather in California.”
“ECs – where does HBS hide them? We hardly knew y’all.”
Leon Wong (NC)

“How to manage my time, to roll with the things that aren’t planned but always give priority to what matters most to me”
“How to read very, very quickly”
“To use Outlook reminders instead of keeping hundreds of “To Do” lists spread all over my apartment.”
“If the professor doesn’t write anything on the blackboard it means your comment was useless, and if he underlines something that was already said, it is even worse.”
“If I left my apartment at 8:28 I would be on time for an 8:30, but if I left at 8:29… I would not.”
“And most importantly I learned how to completely tune out the construction noise coming through my SFP window every single day for two years…”
Erika Olson (OA)

“HBS indeed is not an education (which is why the administration euphemistically terms it a transformational experience).”
“The further you get into the academic year, the worse people’s bladder control during class.”
“Irrespective of subject matter, HBS cases almost always have 16 pages.”
“Important discussions can be held via the listserver.”
“Group identities are easily made and difficult to destroy (wouldn’t you say so, Section I?)”
Verbeeten (NB)

“There were at 3 days this year when there was no hummus at the salad bar.”
“At least three times a week someone is overheard saying that the set up of the salad bar creates a ‘bottleneck’ and the ‘line needs rebalancing'”
“The coffee at the coffee cart in Aldrich is not Starbucks. Worse, during the rush hour there may only be Hazelnut available.”
“The cobber offerings in the Grille have replaced by wings and potato skins. They are now only available after 2 pm.”
“The elevator in the SFP parking garage always stops on the 2nd floor, even if you don’t press the button for the 2nd floor (fyi, you can hold down the door close button to avoid this)”
“Sometimes when you want to get protective glasses to play squash they are in the washing machine and you only have 2 or 3 pairs to choose from.”
“At Shad there may be a wait for a treadmill. I only like the ones on the left and lately the one closest to the water fountain has been out of order.”
“The door to the stairs in SFP1 is not the door next to the elevators. That door leads to a utility closet. Sometimes it’s confusing.”
“Someone stole my “Money Issue” copy of The New Yorker when I put it down for 2 minutes in the Grille. If that was you, please fess up.”
“The latch on the door of the second stall in the Men’s bathroom next to the Grille is broken.”
“It is hard to find a plug for your laptop in the Spangler Lounge without unplugging a lamp.”
“Sometimes there is a line when I go to the post office. I don’t get cell phone reception in the basement of Spangler and I get bored. It seems like there’s no one good to talk to when I’m waiting in line in there.”
Patrick McGinnis (NG)

“I learned that revealing obsessions for boy band members like Justin Timberlake make people think you are gay.”
Nir Liberboim (NB)

“Getting into this place is much harder than staying in…..thank goodness”
“You all may laugh at section I, but just think what hbs would be like without us!”
Danielle Blumberg (NI)

“I’ve learned how to get credit for spending only eight hours a week in class…”
“I’ve learned how to spend five days weekends, every week…”
“I’ve learned how to play Robopound…”
“I’ve learned the best times to go to Shad…”
“I’ve learned not to sacrifice my own happiness just to avoid feeling guilty…”
“I’ve learned that I want a job in which I never open Excel or PowerPoint again…”
“I’ve learned that HBS has completely derailed my career…”
“I’ve learned that I’m definitely not ready to be an adult…”
“I’ve learned who can be trusted in my section…”
“I’ve learned nothing in class…”
Anonymous EC

“Bathe the squirrels at least monthly.”
“Re-sod regularly; the squirrels like it better that way.”
“Living in a 7×9 cell at age 29 is not so fun. (Who knew?)”
“Writing complete paragraphs in an exam will not get you a 1; using bullet points, however, may. (This is how I know I’m not meant to work at McKinsey.)”
“It’s really easy to borrow $120,000; figuring out how to pay it back is a lot harder.”
“What I didn’t learn: Who That Guy is. (And I’m the publisher of the paper!)”
Dan Erck (NF)

“Pizza in the square only tastes good after 2AM. Spangler Pizza only tastes good after TGIF.”
“No matter what you think you are an expert on, someone in class will know more than you, and it won’t necessarily be the professor.”
Charles Masters (OA)

May 5, 2003
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