This column will follow the 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?
‘I shouldn’t have to deal with this’
It’s 11am and Flick should be in her second class, but she walks in to OW451, to the surprise of bleary-eyed Andrew .He thought he had at least a couple hours of snoozing to look forward to before his own schedule kicked in with JARGON (‘Joint Authentic Reimagination of Global Organizational Negotiations’) and WTF (‘World Teacup Finance’).
Andrew: Flick, what happened?
Flick: Well, our FIN professor Anthony Baller came marching in as usual, and was mid-way through his cold-call, tyrannizing one of the more disengaged PE-ers at the back, with his usual ‘I’m a tenured professor, I shouldn’t have to deal with this sh*t’ attitude.
Andrew: Hmm. My FIN professor used to arrive in each class in his chair, borne aloft by his course assistant and a PHD student. His feet never touched the ground.
Flick: At any rate, when Prof. Baller was finally done with the emotional mauling of his cold call victim, he turned around. There, to his dismay, was a diagram of cranberries bobbing up and down on the black board. Evidently, a TOM professor had come in early to prepare his class and had forgotten it was only scheduled for the afternoon. Well, our Prof. stopped dead in his tracks, gave a moment’s thought to engaging in manual labor by wiping the board clean himself, and then obviously dismissed that thought. Instead, he intoned: ‘I’m a tenured professor, I shouldn’t have to deal with this sh*t’, before breaking down in tears. The L&V rep ran over to give him a big hug and ask him about his childhood, the Tech Rep tried to engineer a pulley system to wipe the boards clean with rain water, and the rest of us just left.
Spencer walks in, in his finest suit. The one his grandfather wore at his great-great-grandfather’s HBS graduation.
Andrew: Spencer, I haven’t seen you for days.
Spencer: Consulting interviews. I took out a suite at each of the Doubletree and the Charles Hotel to be closer to the action.
Andrew: What’s this? Spencer, the budding titan of Wall Street, Ray Dalio’s future ex-son in law, applying for consulting? Did you trip, fall over, and land in a McKinsey recruiting dinner?
Spencer: Ah, yes. Well, you see… PE funds aren’t hiring like they used to. I was hoping McBCBain might value my hard-earned finance skills.
Flick: You mean staunch masochism, attention to detail, and a personality kept well-concealed ever since junior year in college?
Spencer: Something like that. Anyway, it turns out they ask for more than an LBO model with peerless formatting in case interviews. I shouldn’t have to deal with this sh*t.
What happens next to Flick, Spencer and Andrew? Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. ■