Fake Fowl, Beach Balls and the Cha-Cha:

What do flicking rubber chickens, bouncing beach balls in Burden, naming the top four richest people in the world, posing as ducks on the Boston Common, and learning to do the West Coast Swing dance have in common? These were all new activities that the HBS Class of 2006 experienced during Orientation 2004, which kicked off two weeks ago here on campus.

The Student Association’s Welcome Reception, “HBS Apprentice Games”, Speed Mixing, Boston Scavenger Hunt, Quiz Night, and Swing Dancing were just some of the activities enjoyed by the RC class, in addition to traditional favorites such as the Boston Harbor Cruise, Club Night, Partners BBQ and Casino Night. This year’s Orientation Committee was instrumental in procuring sponsorship monies which enabled the SA to offer a wider range of activities

The Welcome Reception on Friday August 20th set the fun and informal mood for Orientation 2004. Upon entering Burden Auditorium, the incoming RCs were greeted by 25 beach balls bouncing around the auditorium while popular summer hits (such as ‘Yeah’ by Usher, Ludacris and Lil’ John) were broadcast throughout the building. This was the perfect set-up for SA co-Presidents Les Williams (OC) and Jeff Liaw (OA) to prepare the RCs for the tough and challenging HBS experience ahead of them, such as choosing the right feather boa for the Priscilla Ball (bright pink is not recommended for sallow complexions) and figuring out why all the restaurants in Harvard Square seem to be Thai. No doubt inspired by photos of the Class of 2005 acting like, well, themselves, RCs who had awkwardly registered just the day before found it easy to talk (and drink) the night away with their newfound friends. Even a sudden summer thunderstorm, courtesy of Boston’s infamous weather, could not dampen their indomitable HBS spirit.

The following day, the Partners Club and MBA Student & Academic Services welcomed partners and children to HBS with their annual BBQ. HBS’s youngest members found out quickly that life here is really just one big bouncy adventure as they jumped about on inflatables specially set up for them in the Williams Room, while their parents did the rounds of the ‘Pram Network’ exchanging critical information on baby sitters and the cheapest retail outlets for diapers. Families are an integral and important part of the HBS community, and all were warmly welcomed to Boston.

Anyone in the vicinity of HBS on Sunday August 22nd would have been undoubtedly mowed down by a multi-colored crush of “Apprentice” teams tearing around campus looking for the ‘Key To Success’ at HBS. All 900 RC students and their families were divided into color-coded teams for the first-ever “HBS Apprentice Games” and given the task of finding the ‘Key To Success’. Along the way, the creativity of the Class of 2006 shone through in the team names, dances, cheers, mascots and advertisements.

Who can forget classics such as “Team Light Blue, We’re Better Than You!”, “Moss (Green) is Boss”, “Black MaMBAs”, “The Dream Cream Team” and “Red Red Red White Red”? Competition among the teams was tough as they tackled challenges such as flicking rubber chickens, running inside rubber tubes, balancing multi-colored balls on parachutes on Baker Lawn, and jumping through hoops. Ultimately, the teams learned that teamwork is the key to success, and unlike what they taught a certain real-estate mogul at a certain business school, everyone was HIRED.

With HBS campus covered, it was time to head further afield to Boston! Armed with digital cameras, over 100 RCs descended on famous city sights such as the Boston Common, Boston Public Library and the State House during the Boston Hunt on Sunday August 28th. Their task: to come up with creative photos at each site encompassing elements of the attraction’s history as well as the Class of 2006. The results? Well can anyone say ‘Duck!’?

HBS is about peer teaching, and Shawn Tobias (NF) and his wife Brandi demonstrated just that during Orientation. Brandi, a professional dance instructor who has competed internationally, took on the task of teaching 50 HBS students – many of whom had always believed they were born with two left feet – and their partners how to West Coast Swing and Latin dance. No doubt these skills came in handy at the Boston Harbor Boat Cruise on Thursday August 26th as well as at Club Night at The Roxy on Saturday August 28th where it was proven once again that a single boat CAN hold 1,000 jiving bodies, a DJ and four bars. Stay tuned to the Harbus: Brandi may be competing in a Country-Western dance competition to be televised live on ESPN this year.

How much does a pineapple yogurt with granola cost at Spangler? Who is the President of Nigeria? What is the name of Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua? (we’ll give this one away, it is Tinkerbell) What is the state beverage of Massachusetts? Team “Destroying Modern Capitalism” – their name paying due homage to their favorite Foundations class – destroyed the tough competition from their peers by correctly answering these and other trivia questions during Quiz Night last Tuesday. Their impressive trove of knowledge demonstrated once again that there is more to your HBS classmates than you’ll ever realize in case discussions.

Orientation 2004 came to a close last Friday with Casino Night, where the Class of 2006 got their first opportunity to dress up and the night’s lucky winners walked away with attractive prizes such as iPods and gift certificates. It also marked the finale of six months of planning and hard work by the Orientation committee. Special thanks also go to the HBS administration and staff for their unwavering support, to name a few; Ron Peracchio, Co-Director, MBA Student and Academic Services, Barbara Siegfriedt, Co-Director, MBA Student and Academic Services, Kelly Diamond, Associate Director, MBA Student and Academic Services and Rachel Cohen, Manager, Student and Academic Services.

Class of 2006, please carry on the tradition of making orientation a special occasion by preparing even more activities for the Class of 2007 Orientation. We at HBS pride ourselves on our strong alumni network, but before we can develop a cohesive alumni network we first must establish camaraderie while still in school. SA Orientation is the primary catalyst for this bond that will last a lifetime.

The SA Executive Committee consists of Les Williams (OC), Co-President; Jeff Liaw (OA), Co-President; Krishna Mahesh (OB), COO; Ivan Moller (OI), CFO. The SA Orientation Committee consists of chairperson Adeline Ng (OI) and members, Staffan Andersson (OD), Dave McCann (OF), Asim Hussain (OG), Jennifer Smith (OB), Les Williams (OC), Indy Ratnathicam (OE), GD Orsi (OA) and Giacomo Picco (OJ).