On a Thursday night at Brother Jimmy’s, it is hard to distinguish a Section E student from the hordes of other RC’s drinking cheap beer from a can. We integrate well with others. But in our classroom, it is a different story.
A lot of the “getting-to-know-you” at HBS happens between the hours of 8:40am-2:30pm. When the doors close and the professors start to speak, the Section E norms set in.
Technical Questions: We don’t have them. Early on, we decided that we didn’t like knocking to remind people to speak up. So…we just yelled “Speak Up”! That got old after awhile because the class seemed a bit unruly. So we instead voted to wildly wave our name cards in the air when we want people to speak louder. Thus, no technical questions. We thought it might be a problem at first, but I guess everyone just figures stuff out on their own. Or maybe we just don’t care.
Clapping: All the time. For everything. We really don’t miss a beat. Several of us started to notice that we clap outside the section as well. As long as it is only us, it is fine. In front of others, it is potentially embarrassing. Though it could be worse; at least clapping is generally considered a nice thing in life. We make people feel good.
Sleeping: If you are seated in the side sections (especially the one to the left of the professors), you typically like to get a good snooze in once a day. In fact, most everyone has nodded off at some point during this semester. To counteract this uncontrollable narcolepsy, we have LOTS of Mountain Dew consumption in Section E. The consumption occurs during class, in between periods, and at lunch. We now understand why there is a case written about this magical beverage.
Hand Movements: Encouraged. We like lots of hand gestures, especially when you are making excellent points in class. It adds to our learning experience and the visual helps us out when we are trying to figure out where to focus our attention. Our favorite move involves creating a box with your hands. It’s a signature gesture that we are looking to trademark.
Buzz Words: Create a short list before each class and try to work them into every comment. Some that we find particularly useful are paradigm shift, tiger team, sigma six, slippery slope, ladder of influence, and our proprietary buzz word “Nori’s Triangle”.
Haiku: Our poor worm hole…not only do they get the pleasure of sitting front and center, susceptible to the professors’ roaming eyes…but we also gift them the tradition of the Haiku. Each Friday, after our SkyDeck awards, our clever first row puts together a quick poem to recite to the class. It’s a great tradition, one that we will be sure to pass down to the next Section E.
Cold Calling: We love to cold call each other during class. I don’t believe that these cold calls are premeditated. You just get so excited speaking about something and then realize that the person across the room has MUCH more experience in the subject area than you do…so you pass the conversation right to them. We find it’s a good check to see if people are involved in the discussion. And for those on the left side of the room, we consider it a courtesy to ask you a question before the professor has a chance to notice that you are sleeping.
Note Passing: Because we have such eager student-to-student cold calls, we balance it out with an efficient, friendly neighbor note passing system. You see, we actually know the information, but sometimes we are caught off guard and need a little reminder from the person next to us. Unfortunately this system might be on its way out soon, as Professor Marshall called us out on it several weeks ago. It hasn’t stopped us yet, but as other professors catch on, we may have to answer questions all on our own.
Building On: Every good comment begins with building on, especially if it doesn’t build on the previous comment. We think that it helps the flow of class to keep the previous student involved in whatever it is we would like to say.
Section Love: None Yet. But the year is only half over and we have a Section E ski trip planned for the end of January. The cold weather and altitude may change things up a little.
Professor Love: We are fond of them, and they are quite fond of us. Our proof is a quote from Professor Ton, “When I think of Section E, I’m struck by the wonderful sense of camaraderie and the degree to which members of the section support one another.” I guess there is Section Love!
Our Section E Norms are really an outgrowth of our culture as Section E has people with some interesting “non-traditional” backgrounds in it. We have doctors, sports heroes, and three people from the fashion industry (one was a model I might add)! We have really, really smart people that are practically teacher’s aids in our FIN and TOM classes. These people come in handy when we need a little extra help understanding those valuation models and process flows. Lots of people in Section E have been on TV, and we have two guys that competed professionally on Double Dare as children. We have cute Section E babies that showed us up by dancing the night away at our retreat. And we have Sub-Arctic survivors…you know… the people you would want to be stuck with on a desert island because they could build a house out of anything. We have “Tech geeks” that preferred to hang out at Borders before they got to HBS, a future lawyer that is a walking legal advice text-book, and people that have big, wonderful time-lapsed laughs.
From bowling to Pricilla Ball and flag football to intramural volleyball – our section is out and about making the most of the HBS experience. We like to sport our cool Section E tees almost everywhere we go, and the friendly “Good Game” pat that we give to our sectionmates is one of the best ways to spot a Section E’er outside of Aldrich 107. So the next time you are at the end of the hall, stop by and say hello. We love visitors!