Crimson Reflections

According to Crimson Greetings organizer Nigel Downing, the event remains unchanged from year to year. “The method is tried and true,” he says. While it’s true that this year’s event, like last year’s, takes place in glitter-filled universes under the watchful eye of well-dressed upper management, it’s in fact an entirely different event. Why? Because last year’s event had no John Kelleher, no Malkah Buchweitz, and certainly no Amanda Provost.

The class of 2003–a class that organizer Mary deManbey describes as more energetic than any class before–makes this year’s event special. So rather than describe the event in my words, I will turn to those who know best. I’ll start by pairing the comments of students with those of faculty and staff who seem to be reflecting on a similar aspect of the experience:

“My hope is that they realize that this is as much about working with other people, about meshing personalities, as it is about anything else. If they leave here with a sense of how important it is to work well with other people, then it doesn’t matter how many greeting cards they made.” –Susan Edlinger, Upper Management

“He’s full of crap.” –Carolyn Wolff ’03, in response to her teammate’s proclamation about how effective the team is at crisis management.

“I think (former) Dean McArthur said it best: ‘How we teach is what we teach.’ It’s a full immersion in being active in just the way they’ll need to be for years to come.” –Professor Hank Chesborough, Upper Management

“I’m the chief administrator…so I have nothing to do.” –Tom Russell ’03

“There’s more energy this year than I’ve ever seen before.” –Mary deManbey, Upper Management

“I can’t believe there’s another six hours of this.” –John Kelleher ’03

“Some people have a low tolerance for ambiguity… They want directions, but the whole point of this is that you don’t get directions.” –David Crockett, Upper Management

“Aaaaaaaaaaah!” –Amanda Provost ’03

But in all seriousness, Crimson Greetings has, from its very beginning,
played a tremendously important role in launching each new class of Harvard’s MBA program. It’s about learning of all sorts: learning about Harvard,learning about running a business and, perhaps most important of all, learning about the amazing people around you. For more on learning, let’s go back to the participants:

“It’s a fantastic process. It’s getting easier as we go along. I’m seeing learning instantaneously.” –Maya Walrond ’03

“This is a terribly stressful little exercise. But I’ve learned something: I know how to make flowcharts now.” –Ashleigh Davis ’03

“The best way to learn is to absolutely screw up the first time.” –Brad Colton ’03

“Blue collar work is very, very good.” –Malkah Buchweitz ’03, Anthony Keizner ’03, and Amy Rabinowitz ’03

“The most exciting thing to watch is the development of women and international students as leaders of sub-groups.” –Ellen Mahoney, Supplier

“It’s inspiring to see faculty, staff, and consultants from around the world come together to devote themselves to nothing but student learning.” –Richard Smith, Upper Management

“It’s about as expensive a thing as we do… It’s a substantial investment in building the class… And it works: the graduating class of 2001 was still having Crimson Greetings reunions at commencement time.” –Carl Kester, MBA Program Chair