This column will follow the weekly triumphs and tribulations of Spencer, Andrew and Felicity, three housemates in One Western 451, as they navigate the coming academic year at Harvard Business School.
Andrew, an EC, worked for Deloitte in Phoenix, AZ, is home town. You’d be hard-pressed to find this out, because he talks about his two-month stint at yetanotherecommercesite.com in San Francisco an awful lot. The West Coast also taught him about thick-rimmed glasses, three-day beards, and ‘disrupting’, his favorite word, as in ‘disrupting the cotton bud market’ (his FIELD 3 idea).
Spencer, another EC, grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, which is really the Upper East Side but sounds a touch edgier. Just a touch of edginess is what Spencer is going for: Harvard undergrad, the right finals club, banking at Lazard, impeccable pastel corduroys, his life is ‘basically a dream. But you know, I’m open-minded and I don’t do the trustafarian scene’.
Felicity (‘Flick’) hails from the UK and just moved over to start her RC year. The social frenzy is all a bit overwhelming still, and why do Americans have to bear hug like that all the time?
The Harvard Campaign
Spencer walks in, wearing his finest monogrammed shirt and English brogues, the ones that say ‘I’m in finnnance, friend, deal with it’
Andrew: Hey Spencer, where are you coming from?
Spencer: From the launch celebration for the Harvard Campaign. The University plans to raise another $6.5bn to support ‘the creation of knowledge and its deployment in service of the world’.
Andrew: Oh yeah. How was it?
Spencer: Well, I was able to pounce on President Faust as I was deftly lurking behind the canapé stand, so I had a chance to impart my suggestions as to how to best use this new funding at HBS.
Andrew: More financial aid?
Spencer: Actually, on a late-night deambulation through campus I had one of those moments of exceptional discernment which advanced inebriation can sometimes bring on: the little rabbits which saunter around campus most evenings seem to have lost some of their luster this year. At boarding school we had spotted owls, and they were pretty badass. I can’t help but think that a parliament of owls would better embody the dignity of our institution.
Andrew: Good to see Rawi’s new EC course on collective nouns is already paying dividends… Flick, you’re new here. Where do you think proceeds of the Campaign would best be spent at HBS?
Flick: As I was just telling mum back home, my most transformational moment at HBS so far has been the realization that windows are important. Every case seems to begin with the protagonist contemplating a problem of earth-shattering managerial complexity as he or she is staring out the window. ‘Erik Petersen was looking out the window as he asked himself why everyone hated his guts’.
‘The Toyota plant manager was staring out the window as he was wondering when the goddam car seats were going to get here’. ‘The Chateau Margaux woman was gazing out the window as she pondered the merits of a JV with Snapple’.
Spencer: Oh yes, like ‘the Polyface farmer was peering from inside his barn at the cows that were fertilizing the grass for the ostridges’. Or maybe, come to think of it, it was the other way around.
Flick: Anyway, the answer to me is clear as day: I’ve already started an RC-wide petition for the piercing of windows into the Aldrich classrooms. We’re clearly missing out. What happens next to Spencer, Andrew and Flick? You decide! Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.