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HBS Triumphs in KSG Debate

The HBS debate team recorded an historic victory against KSG in the annual grudge match on April 12th. Hundreds of supporters crammed into the Forum at the Kennedy School to hear the teams debate the motion “Most of the world’s problems are created by governments (and then solved by businesses).”
Michael Walsh, Sridevi Raghavan and Neil Mahapatra battled to be heard at times against the heckles of a predominantly hostile and vocal crowd but ultimately claimed victory against a KSG team that was large on laughs but short on substance.
Michael Walsh set the tone with his opening remarks. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Business people and bureaucrats. People of action and people of inaction.” He went on to argue that the gravest problems facing the world (war, poverty, disease, terrorism) were usually made worse by governments whilst business battled to find solutions. Rupert Simmons responded for KSG by attacking HBS and mocking a recent Harbus
article on recycling plastic bottles.
Sridevi Raghavan fought back citing powerful examples where business is helping to tackle global issues such as the AIDs epidemic thanks to a natural alignment of interests. “Governments on the other hand have three objectives,” she argued, “Remain in power, remain in power, remain in power.” In response, KSG again took a personal line of attack accusing HBS students of wearing Gucci shoes whilst tapping on Excel spreadsheets!
Neil Mahapatra closed for HBS with a searing attack on the quality of the opposition’s arguments and their shameless pursuit of cheap laughs. “Well, all that may be true, but I’m reassured by the fact that in 30 years we’re going to come back and take all the jobs that you want anyway” he declared to roars of approval from the appreciative crowd of HBS supporters who’d braved a damp evening to witness the spectacle. Sarada Peri closed for KSG but failed to land a killer blow and HBS was awarded a victory after a carefully weighted audience vote.
The HBS win represented a first in the competition’s three year history and closed a successful season for the debate team who also triumphed over Yale last semester. Outgoing Leadership & Ethics Forum president Adrian Brown summed up the mood. “The HBS team are on unstoppable form and are now a force to be reckoned with.”
The debating season reopens in the Fall. Contact Neil Mahapatra for more information.

April 23, 2007
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