Hello classmates. Look at your Deadbeat Harbus Representative. Now back to me. Now back to your representative. Now back to me. Sadly, they aren’t me. But if they got off their lazy ass and started contributing to the Harbus, they could write like they’re me. Or they could write like they’re themselves. Or they could just write at all.
By rough estimates, 40 percent of RC Harbus section representatives are fulfilling none of the responsibilities that the position entails. They are not directly contributing to the Harbus, nor are they engaging their sectionmates to contribute themselves. Buy why should you care? It’s not like your HBS experience is in some way being limited by their dereliction. Or is it?
What is a Harbus Representative supposed to do anyway?
The Harbus is a great medium to reach out to the HBS community through news articles, short stories, comics, or any other form that can fit in a newspaper. Believe it or not, people actually read the Harbus and not just students, but alums, recruiters, professors, and many hundreds of other random individuals. Since you are currently reading this article, you have just proven my point. A good Harbus representative facilitates his or her section’s contributions to the Harbus through encouragement, ideas on articles, or simply a reminder every so often on how easy and straightforward it is to write for the Harbus.
The Harbus representative has the additional opportunity to highlight individuals in his or her section by writing in the Harbus directly. This publicity can lead job offers, invitations to conferences and events, further publications, and various other prospects. The Harbus representative also assists the section historian in documenting and recording section achievements, and in doing so through the Harbus allows the entire HBS community to respond to each success.
In not fulfilling his responsibilities, the Deadbeat Harbus representative limits the methods by which his section can communicate with the rest of the HBS community. In addition, he fails to encourage the creativity of members of his section who want to contribute to the Harbus but require a starting point or a slight nudge.
Why you should care more generally
HBS provides its students with hundreds of different leadership positions, many of which have real significant responsibilities. Unfortunately, some of those positions can be abused to be just a simple way to pad a resume, given the relatively vague nature of the position and/or a lack of real accountability to any organization or individual to fulfill specific duties.
Most individuals at HBS have had the experience of signing up for a club which does basically nothing. They hold no events. They don’t send emails. It leaves me to wonder where the club fees are actually going. What is strange is that for these positions, this has become the norm. It is now ok for the [REDACTED] club to never meet, or individuals who have volunteered or been elected to leadership positions to not fulfill any of their duties. “I’m too busy” or complete silence have become acceptable responses, even if the individual knew what he or she was signing up for in the first place. Individuals who sign up for leadership positions and then do nothing are both limiting the value of HBS to students who would have gained something from their service and diluting the value of the leadership positions in which individuals contribute significant time and effort. To me, this degrades the entire HBS experience and is at odds with what business leaders should be learning from leadership positions at a business school.
How do I know if my Harbus representative is a deadbeat?
Do you know who your Harbus representative is? If so, your representative is likely doing a great job. If not, having a small conversation with them might be a good idea.