Hawes 102, MA: After passing on a cold call in his Leadership and Corporate Accountability class, Vishal Rao of Section OD provided his class with the longest single “Make Up” comment recorded in HBS history. Determined to redeem himself from the previous day’s mishap, Mr. Rao returned to class armed with several pages of notes, graphs and several textbooks.
“I knew I needed to make up for the pass,” commented an obviously satisfied Mr. Rao after class.” I wanted to make sure that the Professor knew I cared, not just about the course but about him and HBS.
Mr. Rao’s comment incorporated theories and exhibits from a variety of RC courses including TOM, Marketing and Fin 2. Concepts such as the bullwhip effect, hot boning, the Dupont Formula and Moore’s Law were carefully woven in-in a surprisingly tactful way. He then proceeded to calculate his own WACC, using assumptions from companies encountered in his various portfolio companies. After walking through the economic calculations, Mr. Rao concluded his commentary with a description of his very own two-by-two. The comment lasted twenty-five minutes, easily breaking the 21.2 minute mark set by George W. Bush in 1971, whose “one-comment per course” strategy was well known on campus in those days.
“After awhile, I took a seat, picked up a candy bar and just let him go,” commented Professor Hank Reiling. “It was fun to watch him pull all these ideas together. Of course, none of it was at all coherent, but somewhere, deep down inside, I knew somebody was learning a lesson.”
“Somebody should have reminded Vishal that this was a Lead class-and we were talking about Mexican fire fighters,” commented Sean Cantwell. “I’m still wondering where the Black Scholes model came from-I mean for all I know, he could have used page numbers to run that model.”
“He actually took out the book Good to Great at some point during his comment and started quoting passages from it,” remarked a surprised Petrus Gunadi. “To be honest, I was a little moved by it.”
“I needed to take a personal time-out to get some me-time, and I went back to look at my application essays,” recollected Vishal. “I wanted to remember why I was here at HBS. Only then did I finally put pencil to paper… and didn’t stop. The results were obvious: I hit the ball out of the park, and this time it was fair.
The Harbus congratulates you, Vishal, on your hard work and guilt complex. We look forward to your next achievement at HBS and wish you all the best.