HBS Defeats Yale SOM in Annual Debate Tournament

The HBS Debate Team successfully defeated the Yale School of Management Debate Team in the Sixth Annual HBS-Yale SOM Debate Tournament. A celebrated tradition between these business schools, this year’s debate was held at the Yale Law School Levinson Auditorium on Friday evening, November 21.

The teams debated an issue of current contention in the business world – Resolved: Today’s Executive Compensation is Misaligned with Shareholder Interests. The HBS team won the coin toss and chose to debate the affirmative against Yale SOM’s opposition team. The debate was conducted parliamentary style. In parliamentary debate, the affirmative has the burden of presenting a cogent and topical argument proving the resolution true. The opposition must respond to the affirmative’s argument by presenting counterproof, disproving the affirmative’s logic, and building their own set of arguments opposing the resolution. Points were awarded based on strength of argument (content), delivery style, and persuasiveness.

The HBS Debate Team was comprised of Pankaj Soni (OB) in the affirmative role, Steve Shaheen (NE) as affirmative rebuttal, Kevin Kelley (NC) as the affirmative cross-examination, Suni Chundru (OB) as affirmative closing, Analisa Balares (NH) as alternate, and Yuri Feldman (OF) as debate coach. Chundru and Feldman both debated against Yale last year, in a debate won by the HBS Team.

Feldman reflects on the tournament: “HBS came to Yale and won a decisive victory to retain the Harvard Cup in the first away from home victory in the series. Despite facing a largely partisan crowd of 200-300 people at Yale, our team kept their composure and delivered. The judges at the debate agreed that HBS had the stronger debate performance. It was a great win for our squad, and next year they’ll go for 3 in a row at the house that Burden built.”

Comprising the Yale SOM Debate Team were Francesco Bova as opposition first speaker, Paul Escott as opposition rebuttal, Sean Hundtofte as opposition cross-examination, Eric Poolman as opposition closing, with Kat Cross and Joel Stevenson as alternates, and Oliver Popov as debate coach.

The debate was judged by Paul Hannah, Yale College ’58, HBS ’61, and First Selectman (chief elected officer) of Wilton, CT; Judyth Pendell, Yale SOM ’82 and a Senior Fellow at the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies; and David Rothberg, HBS ’78 and CEO of LATICRETE International and a member of the Young Presidents Organization. Next year’s debate tournament will be hosted by HBS.