S*** MBAs say: Week 1 Class highlights

Though I've been at HBS for 7 months, I haven't interacted terribly much with the MBA students, first- or second-years. The life of a research associate is fairly solitary--your work life revolves around your professor's information needs and whims. In my case, it's been a less than thrilling time as my work has been on the more editorial and even secretarial side since the end of November. So when my professor started teaching last Tuesday, I hoped things might take a turn for the interesting: finally, a chance to understand these elusive people who take weekend trips to Iceland, plan fake weddings in Cancun, and act like overgrown college students.

I wasn't disappointed. Here are my two favorite moments from the opening classes:

1. A petite Chinese-American girl wearing a stylish black winter coat less-than-masterfully makes her way into class on crutches with a full-on knee brace. My professor recognizes her and says, "[Name], good to see you! What happened?"

She responds, "Oh, courtesy of the Alps."

Not "I tore my ACL skiing," or even "I hurt myself skiing in the Alps." No. It was "courtesy of the Alps." In this moment, I wonder if HBS MBAs consider going to Aspen instead of the Alps as sign of poverty and consider those who ski in Vermont among the "Untouchables," to use the analogy of the Indian caste system.

2. We have a case on a company called Esquel, which makes premium shirts for Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, and Polo Ralph Lauren, among other middle- and high-end brands. My professor tries to make a point about the wide reach of the company by asking a few male MBAs the brands of the button-down shirts they have worn to class today.

The first person he asks is not wearing a shirt manufactured by Esquel.

My professor, not discouraged, asks another student where his shirt came from.

Student 2: "Oh, it's custom tailored."

Bemused, twice thwarted, and looking for the third time to be the charm, my professor asks a third student the brand of his shirt.

Student 3: "It's from my tailor in London." This guy doesn't just have his shirt tailored, but tailored in London.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your next generation of one percent-ers.