Saturday, October 09, 2004

FRC Champion 
I think I finally had one of those comments that really set the tone for the discussion. Most of my comments range from "not on topic" to "chip shot" to "fairly solid." That's the standard range of comments, and probably 80% of the discussion in a class is in that range. Very few comments are worse than "not on topic," and there are a lot that are better than "fairly solid" but not quite to the level where they seriously impact the discussion. The heavy hitter comments usually come only 1-3 times per discussion, but my FRC class today was a target rich environment. We had an interesting case comparing Sears to Wal-mart based upon 1997 financial statements. At that time WM was a pure retailer and Sears was a budding credit card company that also happened to have a retail operation. There are many layers to the case, and I contributed early on by explaining in some detail one of the more interesting layers. There were several other heavy hitter comments, and then a grand slam at the end when a former hedge fund analyst who had covered Sears gave us the full rundown. Good stuff.

In case anyone cares, the TOM exam wasn't too bad. I have to wait until Thursday to get my score, but I can tell you with reasonable certainty that I scored between 70 and 100.

Someone asked in a comment about the arrogance of the student body, particularly with regards to less prestigious schools/companies from one's past. I haven't seen this at all, though I imagine that it exists to one extent or another. Coming from UT, and having worked at a boring old utility, you might think that the investment bankers and consultants of HBS would not be real interested in my point of view. On the contrary, all they know is banking or consulting, so the idea of actually managing people or working for a boring company is usually something they consider novel and interesting.

I think the arrogance comes into play not between students, but rather student's view of the outside. One of my professors told me that we don't seem to be arrogant now, but HBS students seem to change during their years here and when they leave they're all arrogant as hell. My sister tells me that all the b-school grads from the top schools that she met had that attitude. I think that being told you're the best in the world on an almost daily basis for 2 solid years must have some sort of effect on people.

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