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Just Another Three Case Day

You may have noticed that this article has been absent for a couple of weeks. Some of you are probably wondering why I’ve been so slack.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that I’ve been on a mental vacation for the past three weeks. Given that I have so much spare time on my hands, and that the workload has been so minimal lately, I have effectively switched my brain off and spent some quality time daydreaming, snoozing and watching copious quantities of The Simpsons reruns (except for Thursday nights when I’m all about The Apprentice).

As you can imagine, the continuous onslaught of three case days has been a breeze, since I’ve been using all of our days off to work ahead. Some people may not be maximizing their days off by doing things like career treks, interviews, sell trips, or network job searches, but not That Guy. I have been diligently doing cases on those blessed days off so that the impact of the 13 consecutive three case days (this Monday and Tuesday will make it 15) has gone virtually unnoticed, except for the aforementioned spare time. Besides, when you have consigned yourself to a job as a snorkel instructor on Lake Michigan for the summer, it frees up a lot of time that would otherwise be spent job hunting.

Recently, however, it has come to my attention that some people are complaining about the three case days. There have even been suggestions that the extra days off do not make up for them. To that I respond, “blame the ECs.” Yes, that’s right, previous generations of HBS students have made that bed and now we must lie in it. Many previous students complained that recruiting was next to impossible because they could not fit in company visits, treks, or out of town interviews. This leads us to the enviable situation of having non-stop three case days punctuated by frenetic recruiting and trekking long weekends. I know you want to lash out at someone, so if you are an RC, lash out at an EC. If you are an EC, and someone asks you what year you are in, play it safe and say “RC” until the rest of us get a chance to cool down. If you are really desperate, claim that you are late for your section Dessert Social and run for your life.

I’m afraid that I have to warn you though that this lashing out will only provide short term satisfaction. If you want long term satisfaction, I would like to make a suggestion. Soon, you will be given several opportunities to give feedback to the administration about this year’s schedule. When that time comes, I propose that you bend the truth slightly. Tell whoever will listen to you that this semester was a breeze and that the extra days off more than made up for the consecutive three case days. In the time honored tradition of gutting it out through any right of passage, just so you can dish it out to the group that follows, you owe this to yourself.

I think once the pain of this term is behind you, you will appreciate nothing more than the opportunity to sit back and watch someone else squirm through something you had to go through. All the while, you can tell them that “second term is easier,” or “it gets better after hell week”.

You will be able to derive great satisfaction knowing that you are helping to continue the HBS legacy just as those before you did. I think you owe this to yourself as you bask in the ease of our EC (note how similar that sounds to “easy”) year. I know this may not appeal to everyone, but remember this time last year when most of us were so glad to get into HBS that we would have gone for a month without sleep if they had asked us to. Why assume that the newbies will be any different?

Well, that is my little rant for this week. I have to get going because all of that talk about diligently doing my cases is an unadulterated lie. As I am writing this, the clock reads four hours past my deadline, and I have yet to prepare any cases for tomorrow which, by some cruel coincidence, happens to be a three case day.

March 8, 2004
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