I remember when applying for business school, that among all the advice from the HBS alumni that I had met, the most useful was this: “David, no HBS transformational experience is complete without being a part of the HBS Show.” RC commeth, and I, blessed with an imposing physical stature and striking good looks, felt it was my chance to be awarded that cool-guy-who-gets-all-the-girls role. I showed up to the auditions full of confidence, eagerly awaiting the foregone conclusion of my impending stardom. Sadly for me, that role went to Patrick Bosworth (OI), who as Hugh Jeego IV wooed the audience with his rendition of “I’m a name dropper,” and I, they said, was more suited to quirky, slightly sinister and twisted roles like Lt. Woods from the HMS Thetis, the head of the HBS Sperm donors club, the former HBS Dean, Kim Clark, and of course the former MBA program chair, Rick Ruback. Ouch, reality bites!
So what is this show all about, you might ask. Simple. It is the one event at HBS every year where everyone gets involved (RCs, ECs, Partners, staff and faculty) and show ourselves (and the odd person from outside the bubble) that we do have a sense of humor and can poke fun at ourselves and the HBS way of life. Last year’s show, Indecent Disclosure, was a perfect example of this. The story followed the school’s search for a new dean. Erik Peterson, fueled with anger after years of torment from fresh HBS grads, plotted to bring the school down by installing Robo Dean, his remote controlled android. Other candidates for the Dean’s post, which included Pope Benedict (Sandy Scott, OD), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Tobias Hartmann, OD), and Martha Stewart didn’t stand a chance against this life like Robot who could solve the Cranberry case in a flash and memorize every detail of each student’s application letter.
Dumbfounding the dean selection committee, which included President Summers (Dylan Bourguignon, OH), his two newly elected faculty and former adult film stars Skye (Sandra Nudelman, OI) and Sapphire (Margarita Golod, OC), Professor Bob Merton (Nikhil Kacker, OI), Professor Frances Frei (Maya Bourdeau, OC) and Clay Christensen, the Robo Dean set out on his path to destroy HBS. But Petersen underestimated the will and ingenuity of HBS students, and by designing a time machine and heading back to 1982, Mike Rochip (Matt Mindrum, OD), Hugh Jeego IV, Ivana Greenkard and Beth-Anne Phetamine, managed to convince Tim Butler to brainwash a young Erik Peterson (Charles De Segundo, OB) into avoiding a career in cellular communications. The show ended with a big dance number to the tune of A Chorus Line’s “One” (of course referring to our position in the global business school hierarchy), and music throughout the show included famous rock/pop and musical tunes with their lyrics altered to fit the HBS context (for example, “Screw LCA” to the tune of “Y.M.C.A.”).
Interestingly enough, the real announcement of our new Dean (Jay Light) came only a week or two after the show, and inside sources tell us the selection committee wanted some time to consider the candidates put forth in the show, before making their final decision.
As you can imagine the show involved a large number of people. Others (now ECs) to be front and centre stage included Kirsten Hassert (OC), the ever energetic news reporter, Tish Justin, Sharmil Modi (OE) as the cunning Jack Thomas and leg-splitting break dancer, Jiao Ziang (OC) as Sim-Sim, the Oxford educated Panda, Heidi Kuglin (OF), the statue of liberty award winning JD/MBA Sue Yerpantzoff, Eric Young (OB), the outsourcing club guy that outsourced his membership years ago, Soura Bhattacharyya (OC) and Chris Tan (OJ) as the Tech-media club nerds, Jamie Linden (OC) as the always drunk Ben Enebriated, Pouyan Salehi (OF) and Amit Goyal (OB) as Tim Butler’s back up break dancing crew, and Zori Miltcheva (OC) & Lauren Moses (OE), as our fearless singing and dancing duo. Beyond these stage performers, countless other RCs, ECs and their Partners were involved in bringing the magic of the show to life, from the Orchestra, to the direction and choreography, to the back stage team and production crew.
Looking back on my RC year, the HBS Show was perhaps the most memorable activity that I took part in at school. I made lasting friendships with cast members I did not know before the show, and have memories I will never forget (or others won’t seem to let me forget). In fact I enjoyed the show so much I decided to throw my hat in the ring to be a writer this year, and likewise many of my fellow cast members from last year are now taking an active role in this year’s show. With that I would ask all of you for a moment to put your cases aside, turn a blind eye to grade disclosure and consider getting involved with the show this year, whether on stage or behind the scenes. It is a time commitment yes, but a very memorable and enjoyable time commitment. We already have a great script in place (ok, I am biased), and a rock star production team (led by Manish Dalmia (NF) as Producer, and Kent Bennett (NF) as Director), and all we need is you to get involved. If you are still not convinced, then come ask questions and watch the showing of last year’s show tonight (Monday, January 22) in Aldrich 112, or just simply try out and see if you like it. Break a leg!
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