They Said What?

Welcome to the first edition for 2002-2003 of They Said What?, a featured column in Harbus Humor that relays some of the most humorous anecdotes heard around campus. We start the year off with the “Best Of” quotes from the 2001-2002 academic year.

Whether you’re an RC or an EC, anyone who catches an entertaining quote that they would like to submit should email their comments to

Professor Sam Hayes (Finance): “A good way to get air time is to come in late.”

Professor Frances Frei (Quantitave Methods, Analytics): “Prepare for the opener. Then go to bed.”

Professor Richard Tedlow (Creating Modern Capitalism): “I am always right. Some of your other professors who deal with the future, will frequently be wrong.”

[on writing on the projection screen] “I shouldn’t do that. They’ll have to raise your tuition, which is not a bad idea considering the number of applicants.”

[on Henry Ford] “In his spare time, what does he do? He takes watches apart and puts them back together. He’s trying to tell us something. He cares about time.”

Professor Greg Miller (FRC): “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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“You come out of a meeting and the bankers are saying, ‘Man, you’ve got to be kind of slow to be an accountant.’ That may be true, but I would just argue that it’s also true for investment bankers.”

“I’m all in favor of creating more work for accountants, but most of society might consider that a waste of money.”

Oscar Gil (OH): [on Erik Peterson] “He’s like a firefighter with a small hose.”

Professor Rakesh Khurana (LEAD): “The one thing you will learn before you leave the Harvard Business School is to speak with complete certainty in situations of utter ambiguity.”

Robert Kimmel (OH): “Sometimes the teams that aren’t the most effective learn the most, as we learned in Crimson Greetings.”

Amanda Provost (OH): [on proposed Mountain Dew ads] “I don’t think there’s anything exciting about fatherhood. If you’re going after teenage boys, I think the last thing they want to think about is getting their girlfriend pregnant.”

A student in Self Assessment and Career Development, reliving an involved exercise where the objective was to analyze another student: “I was thinking, ‘I don’t wanna look through all this other person’s data. This class is supposed to be about me!'”

Assistant Professor Greg Miller (Accounting): “I already drew a stick-person with glasses for the engineer. How do I draw the accountant?”
Russ DeMartino (OH): “Give him a big head.”
Miller: “I can make fun of myself. I just don’t like it when other people do it.”

Jenn Taylor (OH): “Anytime you can quote Kenny Rogers in class, it’s a good day.”

Ricardo Berner (OH): “Why don’t we cut SG&A? That’s where the biggest cost is in this case.”
Assistant Professor Greg Miller (Accounting): “Because that’s where all the accountants’ salaries are.”

Professor Monica Higgins in Self-Assessment and Career Development: “If there’s any herd out there this year, it’s ‘Get myself a job.'”

Brian Kline (OH): “My guest wants to see a typical HBS class, so please try hard.”
Professor Greg Miller (FRC): “Do you want the class to bring the level up or down?”
Kline: “Actually, Greg, I was talking to you.”
Miller: “Let’s see here…” [takes notes on section roster]Kline: “I think I can afford one more three.”
Miller: “Actually, the section professors were out drinking the other night, and I don’t think you can.”

On the full page Enron ad that appeared on the back cover of the December 3 issue of the Harbus, Brian Hoskins (OH): “Does The Harbus get paid in advance for their advertising?” (Editor-In-Chief: Uhhh… ya think?)

Assistant Professor Huw Pill (BGIE): “In traditional HBS fashion we give you the hardest thing first to make you worry, and then you’ll never see anything that hard again.”

“Nixon said, ‘I am not a crook,’ and he lied about that, so you shouldn’t take everything he said at face value.”

Professor Michael Roberto (Strategy): “Would you rather be a CEO in a great industry or in a crummy industry?”
John Berger (OH): “I would rather be a CEO in a crummy industry.”
Professor Roberto: “Why?”
Robert Kimmel (OH): “So he can fire people.”

[On his summer internship experience in consulting] Carl Petty (’02): “What is the deal with Power Point?”

Professor Nancy Koehn (The Entrepreneurial Manager): “We’re going to have a lot of guests, unlike Business History where all the guests are dead.”

Max Yacoub (OH): “Us Europeans aren’t dumber than Americans. We want low prices as well.”

[30 minutes into Finance class] Professor Josh Coval (FIN 2): “So you think they may not only have the labels on the graph wrong, but they may have run the regression wrong also.”
John Kelleher (OH): “We might as well pack up.”

Brian Kline (OH) [on whether the UK should have protective tariffs for agriculture in 1845]: “The UK is an island with terrible weather. I was 8-years-old when I realized I’m not gonna be a basketball player. You’ve got to realize what you’re good at.”

Ari Terry (OC ’02), role playing a customer of Ecolab, an industrial cleansing products company, on the ego expressive nature of his purchase: “I don’t wanna spend my time dreaming about industrial soap.”

Ecolab sales reps differentiate themselves from competitors by taking their customers to big sporting events. After his Ecolab sales rep defects to a rival company in the B case, Terry said: “I knew you were lying about [the advantages of Ecolab products] the whole time, and I just wanted your Super Bowl tickets.”

Advanced Competitive Strategy Professor Jan Rivkin, on Ben & Jerry’s: “They’re a lot like Coors, except that they have hippies at the top instead of right-wing fascists.”

Ariba Tanvir (OH): “The McKinsey model is to hire insecure overachievers.”

Marc Zelanko (OH): “In every country in the world, there is nothing scarier than 20-year-old males. That’s why we create these militaries and send them overseas.”

Professor Josh Coval (FIN 2): “To heck with the working capital, let’s go straight to the free cash flows.”

Professor Nancy Koehn (The Entrepreneurial Manager): “Any other options?”
Troy Phillips (OH): “You can just put a bullet in the company. Shut it down. Turn the keys over to the bank, and say ‘Game over.'”

Max Yacoub (OH): “It was a great story of how a company went from a cute mouse and an incomprehensible duck to an entertainment powerhouse.”

…and the first quote from 2002-2003…

Professor Andre Perold [opening day in Investment Management]: “Do you buy stocks?”
Faith Kendrick (OD): “Not very well. That’s why I’m here.”