On-Campus Interview Series: El Presidente

This week The Harbus has the honor of interviewing one of the Co-Presidents of Harvard Business School’s oldest sporting club. As a mergers and acquisitions lawyer for one of London’s most prestigious law firms, Mark’s career was a cross between ‘The Firm’ and ‘The Devils Advocate’. He tells us that although Lucifer is a difficult client, at least he pays the bills on time. He adds that the problem with working for the Mafia is that they’re always late with their accounts payable and have a tendency to leave a horse’s head in your bed if you lose their case. But this is all just background. The Harbus found Mark at The Grille (where else) and got down to the serious business of sport.

Fact File: Mark ‘Father’ Okerstrom (OE)
Height: 5ft 10
Weight: 180 pounds
Eyes: Greeny-blue
Hair: Light brown (it goes blonde in the summer)
Marital Status: Married with one daughter (4 months old)
Favorite Food: Grilled steak burrito at Picante in Central Square
Favorite Drink: Molson Canadian
Favorite Film: Apocalypse Now
Favorite Band: Celine Dion and Soundgarden
Nickname: Father Okerstrom
How Acquired Nickname: A steamy night 13 months ago

Harbus: What HBS sports team do you play for?
Mark Okerstrom: HBS Rugby football club.

Harbus: What a coincidence, we interviewed a rugby player last week! What position do you play?
MO: Scrum half.

Harbus: What does that involve?
MO: I’m like Luke Herbert (NE) – see previous interview – only I’m bigger and faster.

Harbus: Is there a correlation between leg length and speed?
MO: Yes!

Harbus: When did you start playing rugby? And why did you start playing it?
MO: In the 8th grade (aged 13) at junior high (Hastings junior secondary, British Columbia.) The school had no football team so I started playing Rugby.

Harbus: What has been your best sporting moment on the field?
MO: Scoring my first try (a try is 5 points) for HBS in my first MBA game. Spence Kympton (OD) set me up – I bobbed and weaved myself through the opposition’s entire back line. It’s all been downhill since…

Harbus: And your worst?
MO: Being sidelined in the 2003 MBA world championships in Duke. I had a fractured orbital socket from playing IM basketball (the most dangerous sport at HBS).

Harbus: How about your best moment off the field?
MO: Being elected by my peers to be the President of the RFC.

Harbus: How did that feel?
MO: I don’t remember much about that night.

Harbus: And you’re worst?
MO: Being elected President of the RFC.

Harbus: So what is it like to shoulder the responsibility of being President?
MO: It’s an amazing responsibility to be at the helm of the oldest HBS sports club. It’s a team steeped in tradition and rich in history.

Harbus: What’s your favorite tradition?
MO: The kangaroo court. It’s an internal discipline system.

Harbus: So is this kangaroo court like Community Standards?
MO: Yes. It’s a way of enforcing our own community standards. Which are consistent with, but often differ from, the HBS Community Standards. For example being delinquent in paying for tour fees would be inconsistent with RFC standards. You would be given an appropriate punishment commensurate with the offense.

Harbus: You say that you love the steak burrito at Picante. With your new daughter, do you get to eat out much?
MO: I very much like eating out!

Harbus: Where do you like eating out?
MO: I like warm comfortable places that are very clean. Oh, and fine wines and food are good too. Picante.

Harbus: So if a location is slightly dirty would you still eat out?
MO: No way, I’d go somewhere else to eat!

Harbus: Do you have any advice for young athletes out there?
MO: You’ve got to practice like you’re going to play. Stay away from IM basketball at HBS – it’s a dangerous sport.

Harbus: What additional pressures does having a wife and kid add?
MO: I’m lucky. The key is to have a very understanding and tolerant wife. She’s also a very beautiful woman.

Harbus: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
MO: I think I’d be exposing myself to editorial misquotes.

Harbus: On that note I think we’ll thank you for your time.
MO: Thank you.