K's Don't Cry – Or Do They?

The last week of fall classes, I flipped to the last page of my schedule, read “FINAL CLASS,” and burst into tears.

I cried (or at least got choked up) quite a bit towards the end of fall term, and I attribute a lot of those tears to Prof. Joshua Margolis, whose inspirational teaching in LEAD will stay with me for life. Who in Section K can forget the discussion about September 11 graced by the presence of Margolis’ wife, the rousing standing ovation, and the extra 15 minutes of discussion?

How will we live our lives going forward after having gone through the exercise of writing our theoretical 10-year memoirs? I got choked up during that discussion too, mostly because I found it surprisingly hard to verbalize how difficult it is for women to make choices between career and family. I wish we had spent more time focusing on this issue during class, and I was heartened that so many people (women and men) agreed.

I had doubted that Margolis would be able to top all the amazing wrap-ups he had done over the course of the term, convincing us that someday, we will get the call to Leadership (“with a capital L”), and that he believes in us. But I think everyone agrees that his final summary was the most moving of all (after, of course, Rayford Davis actually received the call to Leadership on his cell phone). Was there a dry eye in the house when Margolis said, “I am your teacher for only one term, but you are my students for life”? I will probably get teary-eyed for the rest of my life whenever I think about that.

Prof. Amy Hutton suggested that it’s helpful for each of us to have a little figure on our shoulder, whispering advice in our ear and essentially serving as our conscience. Just when I got misty-eyed thinking about this, Patrick O’Neil suggested that Margolis should be that figure–then visualized it for me. “He would be all over the place, running over your head from shoulder to shoulder. You wouldn’t be able to keep track of him! He’d be like the Tasmanian Devil!”

But, seriously, what really made me lose it when I read the words “FINAL CLASS” on the last week’s schedule was the realization that we had made it through the first term. That may sound obvious, but think about it, think about what we had gone through in less than four months. It was an intense, powerful, and transformational experience, at least for me. Between cases, company presentations, r‚sum‚s, exams, clubs, and planning for treks (all of which would probably kill lesser beings), we somehow managed to be transformed from MBA colleagues just “networking” to friends actually enjoying time together. We managed to beat the rap that HBS is a competitive and cutthroat place and found the strength to open up to each other.

Okay, so I’m going to cry again. Maybe I should just move on to Section K’s most memorable moments of fall term (some captured during the final Sky Deck Awards, some not). Cut out this article and put it in your scrapbook because otherwise you will forget all these nuggets…

 The very first section party (hosted by Nick Stacker) where we
all tried to memorize everyone’s name.
 Martin Brand telling Prof. Amy Hutton that he was “just hung over.”
 Catching Arash Farin in a fabrication about his mother’s lipstick-buying
 Jaime Alvarez falling asleep and hitting his head on the desk behind him.
 Old K’s surprises for us, like the Special K cereal, Smurf Day,
and the enigmatic notes.
 Elizabeth Clark talking about Dell.
 Chris Howard: “It was my third solo mission, so I was flying alone.”
 Prof. Kent Bowen repeatedly pulling an imaginary andon cord
and Russell Constantine finally replying, “Da-da-da-da…”
 Jos‚ Ureta’s new innovation in role-playing: managing relationships
with yourself.
 The first time Tim Jenkins did The Velociraptor impression.
(If you have to ask, don’t.)
 Owen Wilson: “Sticking your hand down a cheetah’s throat…strikes
me as exhilarating.”
 Sunny Sunagawa in his monkey costume.
 Jonathan Guo: “I think humans are more intelligent than
machines…in some sense.”
 Claudia Onofrio referring to her imaginary world.
 Gloriously bad singing at karaoke night.
 Playing paint-ball in the woods.
 Murat Ozyegin opening the Southwest case with what was perhaps
the longest case introduction known to man.
 Josh Haacker holding up the “2-Minute Warning” sign for
Prof. Bowen. (How appropriate that Josh would later earn the
nickname “Halftime Haacker.”)
 Discussing the section K singles “market” at John Harvard’s Brew House.
 Lance Archibald yawning. Loudly.
 Olya Khomenko’s example of a labor strike representing a s
ystematic problem: “France.”
 Gaurav “G-Ram” Grover admitting he is an expert on vacuum cleaners.
 Nick Stacker referring to “five-kilo bags” and kidnapping-were
they in the same discussion?
 Angie Liu: “He checked his ego at the door. I don’t know what
that means though.”
 Mah-jongg Night at O’s apartment. We could have fit two sections in there.
 Will Azeff’s holiday lingerie, which caused Prof. Mihir Desai to
announce that the holiday season had begun.
 Shark Day.
 Masood Razaq: “In Pakistan, sometimes you have to get old-school
on someone.”
 Pat Eskew doing impersonations of everyone in the section.
 Brian Landrum: “Houston, we have a problem.”
 Inaugurating the Special K 20-Minute Party(r).
 Ken Kajii: “My name is Ken Kajii and I want to be King of K.”
 Amanda Morris dusting herself and, on another occasion, whipping
out the binoculars during class.
 Nirav Shah’s legendary “I’m A Little Teapot” routine. Despite all
the controversy it caused, 20 years from now we will still be talking about it.
 The “Jeopardy!” and “Family Feud” games at Holidazzle.
 Laurent de Vitton coming out of nowhere, somersaulting onto
the stage, and impersonating Prof. Dave Godes at Holidazzle.
(Thanks to Godes for being such a great sport during the in-class
encore performance later on!)
 Melanie da Trindade-Asher dancing on tables at Trio.
 Patrick “T-Pat Screwed” O’Neil telling Prof. Kent Bowen:
“I don’t buy this case one friggin’ bit.”
 Angela Cheng singing onstage at the Cantab Lounge.
 John Koski: “My snowblower got stuck so let me stick my hand
down there… Well, HELLO?!”
 Dave Covolesky attributing his entire comment to his study group
(and basically admitting that he hadn’t read the case).
 Li-Meng Koh asserting that Charmin is a brand she is loyal to
and having to explain why-in detail.
 Michael Applebaum’s birthday party at Trio, where Section K became a legend.
 Rayford Davis high-stepping through class after receiving the
call to Leadership.
 Armen Panossian impersonating Jos‚, Rosalia Morquecho
impersonating Li-Meng, and all the other impersonations during the last class.
 Jeff LeBlanc’s many, many cold calls.
Doug Smith continuously trying to be creative with his duties as
Clapping Rep.
o Post-finals celebrations, boat-racing, and other unmentionable
shenanigans at the House of Blues.
We’re a quarter of the way done with HBS! I get nostalgic just thinking
about it…