Welcome to HBS, RCs! It’s fantastic to have a brand-new group of 900-odd students (as opposed to 900 odd students) who will neither understand the jokes ECs will be making at your expense nor, if my experience was any guide, even be exposed to ECs at all – until your old section decides to finally get their act together and stomp into your new classroom to terrify you with stories about how much fun you are now contractually and financially obligated to have.
You are about to embark on an incredible adventure, one for which you are completely, utterly, and woefully underprepared. You will meet amazing new people and underwhelm them, try incredible new things and fail at them, and take on exciting new responsibilities and tragically underperform – all in the name of personal and professional development. But never fear, I am here to guide you on your journey! So, without further ado, please enjoy this List Of Things RCs Must Absolutely, Positively Not Do Or Else Be Judged Harshly By Their Peers:
- Complain about the lack of meeting rooms on campus while reclining on leather couches and sipping hot chocolate in front of a lit fireplace in Spangler
- Be late to / flake out on every single meeting / social gathering / date / doctor’s appointment ever scheduled
- Ask any of your classmates how much progress they’ve made on their commitments to save the world (see admissions essays)
- Refuse to share your meticulous case notes with your unprepared and slightly hungover seatmate when he/she gets cold-called
- Take longer than 30 seconds to introduce yourself when you meet someone new
This last point deserves some special mention. Sure, this school has its problems – like not earning SPG points for nights spent in dorm rooms, and outdoor walkways with puddles eight to twelve feet deep when it rains – but perhaps the most glaring omission concerns the “personal introduction elevator pitch”. You will learn the art of the “elevator pitch in second semester – but by then, first semester will have passed, and this is the very moment when you need this skill the most, the moment when you are introducing yourself to literally hundreds of new people over the span of just a few days.
But never fear, I have your back. Stand up straight! Be concise! Shake hands firmly, but not too firmly! Always have a hook and an ask! And if that boilerplate advice wasn’t generic enough, memorize the following script and you’ll fit right in:
“Hi, my name is [Aiden/Brad/Will/Tanmay]! I’m originally from [Scarsdale/Orange County/the indeterminate “Bay Area”/New Delhi], but I spent the last two years working for [TPG/Carlyle/Blackstone/my family’s private wealth fund] in [New York/New York/New York/Stamford, CT]. Before that I spent three years working at [McKinsey/Bain/BCG/hahahahahh seriously?] in [do you honestly remember what city your apartment was in? Make something up.]. I did my undergrad at [Harvard/UPenn/Columbia/IIT] where I studied [who the hell cares?/you seriously want to know?/I don’t even remember/I’m a 2+2 and let me tell you all about my undergrad experience!]. In my free time, I like to [whitewater raft/mountain climb/kayak /insert other awkwardly-specific, high-cost-of-entry sport here]. So what section are you in? I hear Section J is pretty incredible… And how crazy was that Erik Peterson case? No way is any protagonist going to be easier to make fun of than him!”