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Is HBS just like Disney World?

As you arrive for the first time, you’re taking photos, buying t-shirts at the gift shop, sending “wish you were here” postcards, and you know you are in for a thrilling ride. Sound familiar?

Have you ever noticed how much the “West Point of Capitalism” has in common with the “Happiest Place on Earth”?

– Disney’s park icon – Cinderella Castle – serves as a popular photo backdrop for visitors.
– HBS’ campus icon – Baker Library – serves as a popular photo backdrop for visitors.

– Disney guests visit “Pirates of the Caribbean”, a lighthearted look at sea borne raiders.
– HBS students watch “Barbarians at the Gate”, a lighthearted look at corporate raiders.

– Disney’s world-famous Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are admired by kids everywhere.
– HBS’ world-famous Michael Porter and Clay Christensen are admired by strategists everywhere.

– Disney has international pavilions featuring cuisine from all over the world.
– Spangler’s International Table features exotic foods from France, Hawaii, and “Southern U.S.A.”

– Disney guests visit the terrifying Haunted Mansion, where they’re chased by ghostly apparitions.
– HBS students go through the terrifying Hell Week, where they chase vanishing jobs.

– Disney’s Expedition Everest takes guests on an exciting excursion into the frozen wild.
– HBS’ Subarctic Exercise teaches students to survive using an inner tube, a broken alarm clock, and a rubber band.

– Disney has Euro Disney and Tokyo Disneyland.
– HBS has a European Immersion and the Japan Trek.

– Disney cast members use a subterranean tunnel system to travel around without being noticed.
– HBS faculty and students use a subterranean tunnel system to travel around without freezing.

– At Disney World, your ticket will get you on all the rides, but the popular ones have long lines.
– At HBS, any MBA can apply for a
class, but the popular ones are always oversubscribed.

– Disney’s grounds and rides are always well-groomed and spotless, despite the rowdy kids.
– HBS grounds and classrooms are always well-groomed and spotless, despite the MBAs.

– Disney’s Magic Kingdom has a wishing well that is said to make all your dreams come true.
– HBS has a Job Bank that is said to serve a similar purpose.

Disney encourages adults to return to the park and feel like kids again.
HBS encourages alumni to return to Exec Ed and feel like students again.

So if you find yourself wearing a funny-looking cap and you’re not sure where you are, there’s a good chance you’re either at a Disney gift shop or at the HBS graduation ceremony.

AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHY
Humberto Moreira is an EC student at HBS (Section D). His interests include high tech and new media as well as raw building materials.

April 27, 2009
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