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Kwama Sutra

Sectionmate Brian San’s bluntness is always appreciated. “Now is not the time to get fat,” he said on the second floor of Spangler. The comment came while I was finishing off my second cupcake.

“It’s getting warm outside and you know what that means.”

Sadly, I did know what the warm weather brought – the only uncertainty that lingered on was if I was up to the challenge.

Would I look good in sear suckers and a muscle polo? Could I unbutton one more button from my J.Crew shirt and not gross anyone out? What do kankles look like, and do I have them?

This phenomenon happens every year. After a long winter filled with snow, freezing rain and sub-arctic temperatures, the first days of spring allow students to remove their clothes faster than. well.. I think I’m going to stop there. Subsequently, the warm weather forces your body to be on display, preventing the warm confines of sweaters and jackets from covering up blemishes. You need to be up to the challenge – are you?

Personally, I use the winter as a time to hibernate with some of my favorite friends – Mr. Goodbar, Slim Jim, and both Ben and Jerry (and yes, I think their management style is problematic – I have told them as much).

I had thought I’d have at least until the middle of April to rid myself of these vices, but last week’s 80+ degree weather has escalated the situation.

This is typically the point in the column where my groundbreaking analysis is questioned. But take a second and think about your classmates and ask yourself if anyone looks unhealthy.

I firmly believe the admissions interview is the most important piece of your application to HBS. As evident from your classes, most of your classmates have some not-so-desirable verbal skills, and as evident from the write-ups, not everyone here did well at quantitative analysis (you can place Kwama under this bracket). So what gives? Why are we here?

My theory is simple: the interview is a screen for attractiveness. During your 30 minutes, your pleasantness (aka looks) is examined in a potentially awkward, intense situation. Does the anxiety make you look more like George Clooney or Nicholas Cage?

There, I said it. Somebody had to. The interview is a way to judge your beauty.

Now I don’t want to start a war here by proclaiming that those who did not get into HBS are unattractive. This is a classic necessary vs. sufficient conversation that translates into the following: it is necessary to be attractive to enter into the school, but surely not sufficient. Moreover, there are many attractive people not fortunate enough to gain admission to Harvard – isn’t that why God created Stanford?

The point here is not to doubt your admission to HBS, but rather to embrace it. As the weather warms up, I am asking you as an HBS student to take another oath – shed those clothes. But in doing so, take the proper steps to ensure a smooth transition into summer wear.

Shad is a wonderful building. The Charles River is so scenic. There’s really no excuse to not be presentable immediately. Think of the remaining weeks as if you were running a P&L statement. Decrease your costs (calories) and increase your sales (athletically speaking).

As I conclude, I should qualify how in shape one actually needs to be. No one needs to look like Mike “the Situation” from Jersey Shore. His rock hard abs, while admirable, are not required.

Just don’t embarrass yourself. And most importantly, let’s make sure the admissions office didn’t make any mistakes.

April 12, 2010
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