Even though week 2 had none of the hilarity of what I'll consider an "I'm-too-good-for-department-store-shirts-they-must-be-custom-tailored-or-I'll-go-bare-chested" attitude, the topic of skiing once again emerged in my professor's class. What is it with these MBAs? And where do they go when the snow melts?
My professor has said (correctly) that most of the people who take his classes, Chinese nationals included, can't fill out a map of China. So he decided to schedule a map quiz testing students on Chinese provinces, river systems, and urban business centers as part of the course. It's only 5% of the final grade, so not terribly much, but enough to distinguish the hard working from the hardest working and also to really weed out the slacker students. He schedules the quiz on February 14 (could a professor use a better gesture to say "I love you" to his students on V-day?) Lo and behold, the HBS Students' Association has scheduled a 2nd Year MBA ski trip that begins (presumably the evening of) February 14 and going through Presidents' Weekend. Since the MBAs have less than a week off, the Alps wouldn't make sense, and they had to settle on Breckenridge, Colorado. (Again, skiing in Vermont is an option exclusively reserved for pond scum/the 99%).
HBS has a hardcore absence policy--even being conventionally sick could be considered an unexcused absence from class. So naturally if being sick can be unexcused, a leisure trip such as this ski trip is certainly an unexcused absence. Nevertheless, I receive the following email:
Unfortunately, I will have to miss class this Thursday because of the EC ski trip. Would it be possible to take the map quiz on Wednesday instead?
I think the following:
1. Why didn't this kid lie? A ski trip is a glaringly unexcused absence.
2. I guess it's good he didn't lie, but "unfortunately" he will have to miss class? "Unfortunately?" This is as rhetorically laughable as saying you tore your ACL "courtesy of the Alps." "Unfortunately," sir, I think you are trying to manipulate me and my professor into thinking you have an excuse to take this quiz at your leisure despite your highly illegitimate excuse to miss class.
After a day of communicating with my professor and at least 3 higher-ups, I respond with this message. Of course, I wanted to use the word "unfortunately.":
Unfortunately, after checking out the HBS absence policy, communicating with the MBA program coordinator and the Registrar, I've confirmed that the EC ski trip is not an excused absence. As for the quiz, I will speak with Bill and get back to you.
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact the registrar,
He responds, obviously not reading the "I'll talk to Bill" part:
Thanks for the reply. I completely understand that the EC ski trip is unexcused. My primary concern is whether it would be okay to take the quiz tomorrow, rather than on Thursday.
Ok, friend. You understand the trip is unexcused, so why don't you understand that if your trip is unexcused, you don't have a legitimate excuse to reschedule? And if you're paying an exorbitant amount of money to come here, why not attend class? #entitlement? #don'tmatteridowhatiwant? #stilllookingforagoodhashtagtoassociatewithmycourseliasionexperience.
Days later, this issue remains unresolved. Why? Because my professor wants to "make sure he knows his provinces!" He has a point on the student learning the material, but it's problematic to let highly-privileged students, even on small assignments, get away with nonsense and do things at their own convenience and with others catering to them. It may be a business school, but this place is still a school, right? Right?
In other words, this week I tip my hat to Princeton for providing me with a critical education in being around goobers like these and knowing the importance of calling them out.