Grades? What Grades?

Tuesday, January 14, 2003. 2:39:59. Overheard in the hallway: “Yeah, Whatever, Man. I’m not going to check my grades. Who really cares? Everyone knows that they don’t matter. Plus, what do I care how I did on the LEAD exam? What do they expect with that kind of exam? There should be a rule that you can’t use cases that are more than 20 years old. I heard some kid in my section actually recommended an Internet-based solution. At least that means there are only 8 more three’s to go around.”

I’ve got to tell you, hearing that kind of rhetoric is impressive. Why then does the person quoted above dash away five minutes later to “go to the bathroom,” only to be found in an alcove on the 2nd floor of Aldrich logging into My HBS where nobody from his section will see him?

I’m kind of surprised that some of us would sneak out of public view and log in to check grades on the afternoon of the 14th. Didn’t page 3 of the Erik Peterson case clearly tell us how Erik used to diligently monitor his grades during the first year?

Still, as much as people want to deny it, grades do play some kind of role at HBS. The administration knows it. For the last 2 weeks, the announcements page at My HBS has advertised academic counseling services for beleaguered students. Already, two of my professors have noted that there are ample “resources” available to traumatized students who were shafted by the grades/job bank juggernaut. I even overheard from a friend that one of the members of his study group was briefly admitted to Bellevue over break due to what doctors classified as “an extreme aversion to both showerheads and alkaline batteries.” The student was found wandering Manhattan unshowered and muttering about “those Brazilian bastards and their insatiable need for batteries.”

Despite these seemingly isolated incidents, however, I have to ask myself why we might feel the need to feign disinterest yet still answer that “secret question” on the My HBS page that yields our results for the semester (did anyone else choose the name of a dead pet as their password)? Maybe the answer lies in the fact that in our desire to deemphasize results, we’d rather not haul out the T30 and, by our actions, suggest that any of us is focused on the numbers.

So, by now you are probably asking yourself what I was doing at 2:39:59 last Wednesday afternoon. Somehow I lost track of time and found myself at the K-mart in Allston glaring bitterly at a Duracell display and muttering under my breath about the Brazilians and their selfish demand for batteries. Don’t worry about me, though. I have resumed taking showers.