Evaluations: S01E01–Fall

Autri Chattopadhyay, Contributor
Nishkam Prabodh, Satire Editor

RCs share a brutally honest critique of the RC Fall Term that no one asked for.

Since it is evaluation season and all of us will be getting a one-sentence note summarizing how much we have contributed on the perpetual video conference call that is the Fall term, we thought it was only fair to return the favor with our own ratings of the courses we have been taking this RC fall. Ratings range from 0 to 5 Patagonia Jackets.

FIN1: It’s pronounced Fin-ance

Seriously, fin-ance. Calling it fine-ance makes every PE bro within a one-mile radius die a little on the inside. 

Real talk though, this course lays the groundwork for what will form the basis of the majority of our class’s contribution to society: delivering higher returns than the market. The class mainly consists of finance bros (and biddies) twiddling their thumbs, itching to make comments which are not relevant to the discussion but clearly demonstrate their superior understanding of the subject. Ex-Investment bankers and PE associates jockey for positions of dominance in FIN classes. Consultants spend most of class scratching their heads wondering how clients paid for the models that they built. For those not from finance backgrounds, the beauty of FIN is that it provides an open view into how the sausage is really made.

If you take nothing else away from the class, here are three takeaways:

  1.     Diversify your assets (this includes friends, lovers, Sweetgreen orders)
  2.     When in doubt, allocate to PE
  3.     Capital begets capital

Class Rating: 3.5 Patagonias

FRC: Addition and subtraction, but nuanced

In the biggest surprise of the Fall, many of us are enjoying accounting. The class is in some ways a crash course in how to avoid tax obligations, fraud and jail time, but we would not have it any other way. We typically get one of two reactions from our resident CPAs. They are either frothing at the mouth to make a comment or trying to hold back the tears as the class elicits flashbacks to horrible audits of Fortune 500 companies.

The class is basically teaching us how to hold our accountants more accountable. If you take nothing else away from the class, you will at least be able to know if your accountants are stealing from you and avoid white-collar prison. 

Class Rating: 3.5 Patagonias

LEAD: Tackling real issues with frameworks

The class is largely predicated on the belief that the most effective way to navigate complex, emotionally strenuous situations as a leader is through plotting our feelings on a 2 by 2. Yikes!

I can think of countless situations in the future where I will be presented with a challenge and immediately think there is a framework for that. After years of being trained to actively suppress feelings in professional contexts, it does feel good to explore those feelings in more detail. If anything, the class has made a strong case for many of us to seek out the services of a therapist.

Highlights of class thus far have included:

  1.     Male section mates mansplaining why being a female CEO of a technology company is going to present unique challenges.
  2.     Classmates embracing role plays to a degree that surprises everybody in the room, and sometimes their partners when they go home.
  3.     Perusing the LinkedIn profiles, fake and real, of case protagonists.
  4.     Learning that large investment banks care as much about culture as they do about profits.
  5.     Watching associates at a particular hedge fund (which is totally not a cult) try to hold back tears as they reminisce on getting torn a new one every other day. Publicly. In group meetings.

Class Rating: 2 Patagonias to 4 Patagonias (depending on the case)

MKT: Aka how to make rational millennials choose irrationally

With a fully revamped syllabus adjusted for the digital world, the class is teaching us how to waste money on online ads instead of TV or magazine ads. Or is it not wasted money? We are not entirely sure. We have covered everything from the best ways to position a new ED drug on the market (SPOILER: the answer is NASCAR ads) to the most effective strategies for selling music festival tickets to teenagers on Snapchat.

On a brighter note, the class has really helped increase the self-esteem of the RC class. We have learned that the bar for having an HBS case written about you is not necessarily as high as we thought before we came here. If we identify a common household item that we can sell to millennials at an absurdly high price, build a cool website with serif fonts, and manage to convince a VC to invest, we may just get that call to be featured in an HBS case.

Class Rating: 4 Patagonias (mostly because the editor enjoys marketing)

TOM: Everything except tech; also, there are graphs

For many, a third class in RC Fall which requires manipulation of numbers came as a surprise—a getting-hit-by-a-truck-while-you-cross-the-street kind of surprise. Few things induce as much stress as being called to do live multiplication on Zoom while classmates judge your mistakes. Additionally, since most of our classmates intend to work in factory settings after graduating, this class is immensely useful for our future careers.

Since taking TOM, RCs have exponentially increased their use of words like “buffer” and “bottleneck,” particularly in the context of drinking games. Sorry, did we say drinking games? We are definitely not playing any drinking games in light of the pandemic. We promise we have never pointed at a person on our flip cup team and yelled the word “bottleneck” at the top of our lungs. We promise.

Class Rating: 3.5 Patagonias

Autri Chattopadhyay (MBA ’22) lived in San Diego prior to coming to HBS. When not writing a satirical article the day before the deadline, you can find him occasionally singing or talking about Duke basketball or LA sports teams.

Nishkam Prabodh (MBA ’22) lived and worked in India prior to coming to HBS. An alum of IIT Delhi, Nishkam is deeply passionate about hammy comedy, happy music and trashy fiction.