Has Covid-19 really changed the RC experience?
Thanks to Covid-19, the MBA Class of 2022 had a very unusual start to their HBS experience. We interviewed an extensive number of RCs on their day-to-day experiences, trying to understand what has stayed the same, what has changed, their fears and their joys, and how they are making the most out of this new reality. For this column, we did the following experiment: we mashed up several experiences and created what would be a completely average day in the life of a very average HBS RC student.
6:30 Alarm goes off. It’s time to decide if today I want to be my discussion’s group Baker Scholar, be a full-on procrastinator or just try to get through the day unnoticed.
6:38 Snooze alarm for the second time. Baker Scholar is off the table.
6:45 Aim to snooze my alarm for the fifth time and accidentally turn it off instead of snoozing again. This has been a common practice in the last few weeks.
7:55 Wake up in panic realizing I only have five minutes to get up, splash water on my face, open my laptop and mumble a mostly inaudible good morning. Still in my pajamas.
8:10 Become aware that we are already discussing the case.
8:11 Realize I read the wrong case. Which sub-section am I in again?
8:27 Discreetly turn off my camera to make breakfast while our PE discussion groupmate explains the intricacies of their FIN1 model, which makes me feel straight out of kindergarten. I honestly just see colors.
9:00 Decide between reviewing the first case of the day and a snack.
9:40 Class starts. Try to put my virtual hand up ASAP to speak before we get to the calculations part. Talking at the beginning feels easier.
9:42:00 The Professor asks about calculations.
9:42:01 Put my hand down.
9:42:02 The Professor calls my name (I think).
9:42:03 The Professor calls my name again (this time calling my last name as well). Decide among my most realistic options: say that I raised my hand by mistake, pretend I have a poor connection or just close my computer. Worst part, I cannot use the catchphrase “building up on” and then just basically repeat what others have said, because nobody has really spoken.
11:00 Try to go through my 256 new slack notifications. Decide to sign-up for underwater apple-picking on Sunday morning because it is the only activity with spots left and, you know, FOMO.
11:31 Discover a hidden assignment on Canvas. I have been assigned to another random group. Hope they want to meet through Zoom so I do not have to leave my apartment.
15:04 Put in my backpack tomorrow’s three cases and two cases for the day after tomorrow, because maybe today I will actually be productive. Head to Schawrtz to study.
15:10 Start highlighting the first case, two paragraphs down, I am on fire!
15:14 Overhear group next to me talking about FRC. Was not FRC supposed to be on Friday?
15:17 Become unable to stand the anxiety and head over to ask. They are actually talking about their new start-up, so I decide to listen for five minutes. They have found a new niche in the renewables industry; it turns out you can actually obtain energy from baby Elephant tears. This is definitely going to change the world!
16:17 Head back to my laptop to join the Super Clean Energy club; they are hosting a welcome party tonight!
16:20 Go back to the case and start underlining the third paragraph. I am still on track. HBS is all about meeting diverse people and connections. You should remember that.
16:29 Have to check Slack. It is easy to get sidetracked here.
16:30 See that someone posted on “Free and for Sale” a brand new beer producing machine from the Marketing case! It is half the price. I cannot waste this opportunity, and it would not be rational.
16:49 Pick up a beer making machine from Harvard Square, realizing I have just enough time to head back to the club party.
17:14 Meet yet another PE at the party. At least he is not a consultant.
18:33 Check my IKEA order to see if the desk I bought five weeks ago is finally arriving.
19:00 – 21:00 Rush through the three cases. Tomorrow I’ll definitely be more productive!
21:01 Connect to a coffee chat on Zoom with a classmate in Singapore.
21:34 Finally have time to talk to my partner.
23:00 Fall asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow.
Felipe Cerón (MBA ’22) is a Chilean who previously worked in consulting and retail. He considers himself to be a lifelong musician and actor, and he is an avid fan of film and television. Having a laugh over a beer, getting in a challenging workout, and reading inspiring books are among his favorite pastimes. While he thinks sparkling water is the best beverage ever created, he is also currently the owner of the most luxurious home bar in SFP.
Noelia Lombardo (MBA ‘22) was born in Argentina but identifies herself as a global citizen. She is a Biomedical Engineer and a management consultant. She is a storyteller and a lifelong migrant. She loves the outdoors, yoga, reading and good debates.