Searching for the Ultimate HBS Wing-Man

Lately, I have been feeling a longing for a partner in crime. I have been envious of the great duos of our time. I keep picturing myself as a member of such dynamic duos as Batman and Robin, Butch and Sundance, or even our very own Les and Jeff. This prompted me to start a quest: the quest for the ultimate HBS wing-man.

I started out with one half of the HBS dream team, and partnered with Jeff Liaw in my first attempt. I was impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication to helping me in my cause, now that he’s officially “off the market”. However, I was somewhat disappointed when I realized that his only suggested strategy for meeting women in HBS was to hand out Wall Street Journals in front of Aldrich. This trouble was futher compounded when he recommended that impressing a woman with a romantic evening consisted of taking her to a tailgate for 900 people prior to a Harvard football game.

Realizing that trying to emulate the chemistry of one of the existing duos would never work, I knew I was going to have to create a duo of my own. In logical HBS fashion, I tried out a couple of case protagonists. I figured Rob Parsons would be a good start. He is a star performer – his aggression in building market share could certainly be applied to my dating franchise. So imagine my surprise when I paused in my conversation with a lovely young lady from the Law School to look over and see Rob scaring the living daylights out of her poor friend. He had her in a headlock, screaming, “When I told you to get me a beer, I meant NOW!!!” After that, it was a quick goodbye to the two of us.

Next I decided to give Arthur Dief a try. I thought to myself, here is a guy who knows how to get things done. His productivity is well beyond his peer group, so how can I go wrong? We made our way to Temple Bar and started a very nice conversation with two members of the fairer sex. I was having a lovely conversation with one of the ladies when Arthur just butted right into the middle of our conversation. I dismissed this as eagerness, and completely failed to notice that he had momentarily derailed the conversation. He went back to his previous conversation, and I was just putting the pieces back together in mine when it happened again. Instantly, my TOM lessons flooded back to me, and I remembered the potential downsides of an expediter. I decided that Arthur and I were not a dream duo.

Now the search for a wing-man was getting really desperate, so I decided to pull out the big guns. At HBS you know what that means. That’s right, Michael Porter. This was definitely an epic strategy problem requiring one of the great minds of all time, so I did what I had to do. I went to a spot frequented by fellow HBS classmates, grabbed two stools at the bar, and ordered two drinks. I strategically placed a monogrammed folder with the initials MEP on the chair next to me. As unsuspecting RC ladies would stop by and engage me in conversation, I would assure them that I was in fact Michael Porter’s EC prot‚g‚ and that we were just out having a drink to discuss “strategy”. Each group of girls was skeptical of the truth of this, but unwilling to risk a true-to-life “Porter Sighting”, they suffered through my boring conversation. In the end, however, they each realized that Michael Porter probably wasn’t actually in the Shay’s bathroom all that time. At one point, I thought I had acquired the Holy Grail (a phone number) when one girl gave me a slip of paper, but when I opened it up, all she had written on it was “pathetic”.

This was devastating for me. Not only was I failing miserably in my attempts to chat up girls, but I was starting to think that I was incapable of being a part of a truly fantastic duo. Maybe there are some people that are just meant to travel alone. Maybe I was meant to spend the rest of my days with my PS2 and my tattered copy of Creating Modern Capitalism. And then it struck me. How could I have missed the most fundamental lesson that last year’s HBS Show taught me? How could I have failed to glean the most critical instruction that Dean Clark had ever provided? Instantly my problem was solved and I knew that my days of bachelorhood were over: Carl Kester can make anyone look good!

October 18, 2004
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