Miller Said What?

Welcome to the third edition of They Said What?, featuring some of the most humorous anecdotes heard around campus at HBS. Our special guest this week is Assistant Professor Greg Miller, from the Accounting Department, and we feature some of his more notable comments from Financial Reporting and Control. As you can see, most student quotes are from Section NH, so contributions from other sections are highly desirable.

Anyone who catches an entertaining comment that they would like to submit, please email your comments to

Professor Emeritus Sam Hayes:
“The financial textbook is the tail on the `case’ dog. It is not the dog.”
“A good way to get air time is to come in late.”
“I can’t help but have a negative feeling about guys with hats on in class.”
“And that brings us to another one of my stories…”

Professor Hank Reiling:
[On the 1982 Tylenol poisonings] “Maybe we lower the price a little bit because of the risk?”

Professor Greg Miller:
“I’m one of my favorite topics.”
[On Jake Cohen] “I see him in a suit a lot. Which means he’s teaching, since when he’s not teaching, he normally dresses kind of scruffy.”
“Maybe someday I’ll tell you where I was born, because that obviously influences a lot of my views about accounting.”
“When you talk in class, don’t make fun of other people. Leave that to me.”
“Harvard cashes checks quickly, and they pay back slowly.”
“I’m a sloppy, messy person. I need any advantage I can get.”
“Those of you who have met Jake before, you’ll remember that this is him.”
“I’ll never force you to use T-accounts, but as an accountant, it’s my solemn duty to ensure that you’ve at least seen them before.”
“All of you seem pretty enthusiastic this morning except for Samir, so my goal for today is to make all of you feel like Samir by the end of class.”
“After class next Monday, we won’t meet for again for a while. If you really need to see me, there’s a picture of me on the course platform.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, so is materiality. Only people can get sued over materiality.”
“I’m all in favor of creating more work for accountants, but most of society might consider that a waste of money.”
“Sometimes you make a remark and the rest of the class will ignore it. That doesn’t mean that I will.”
“One student wrote me and said `I don’t know whether you need new glasses or if I should get you a cell phone, since you never call on me.’ That’s one way to get attention. He got attention.”
“Circuit City-what did you learn? If nothing else, you’re getting some of your MBA money back because you won’t waste money on warranties.”
“Obviously, you guys want to talk about accounting now. That’s one of the things I like about this section.”
“What does this say about management? They’re either unethical or incompetent. I don’t know which you’d rather have people think you are. I guess if you’re incompetent, you can be trained.”
[To Lucy Foster (NH)] “Since I admire the way you’ve been able to stare at me without blinking your eyes, I’ll call on someone else.”
“When I was little, I didn’t like spinach, so my mom would chop it up and mix it in with other stuff like spaghetti sauce. When my mom visits now, I chop up tofu because she doesn’t like it and mix it in with other stuff.”
“You do learn things on Howard Stern.”
“This is the first case you’ve had with no name on it. Generally at Harvard, we’re all running around stamping our name on everything.”
“I ran into one of the other faculty this morning, and he said, `What’s the matter, are your lifts off a little bit?'”
“I think I’m funnier than Dilbert.”
“I know I look like I can read minds, but actually when I get in a room full of you, it gets kind of fuzzy.”

Oscar Gil (NH):
[On Erik Peterson] “He’s like a firefighter with a small hose.”
Chris Knop (NH):
[On what do you do when the focus groups tell you they love your product] “I would order more research.”
[On the TiVo case] “You can give three thumbs up to the Brady Bunch, but I don’t even know what it is.”
Elizabeth Chang (NH):
“Consumers don’t know what they want. Sony makes stuff all the time that consumers don’t really need.”
Jun Jang (NH):
“There is nothing that binds people together stronger than doing something illegal together.”

Assistant Professor Frances Frei: “Who’s the target market?”
Lisa Bourne (OE): “The customers.”