Oftentimes at this place, individuals' sense of entitlement makes me want to pull my hair out or similarly express my frustration. So when my professor puts people in their place, it's a glorious thing to behold. And so in anticipation of the end of 'Doing Business in China' tomorrow, I felt the need to share the following email exchanges between students of the course and my professor.
Email 1, from a MBA:
Student: Dear Professor: For the map quiz, I wasn't aware the instruction was provinces + rivers...so I only filled in the provinces…may I redo [the map quiz] with rivers? --[Student]
Professor: [Student], No need at this point. I had mentioned the need to draw in rivers a number of times in class before the quiz, and you must have forgotten. Best--
Boss man owns it. Couldn't have done it better myself.
Email 2, from a member of the auditor community, also known as the biggest headache-causing group of people in the course.
Student: Dear Professor: Three fellow schoolmates of mine from [the Harvard Education School], would like to audit our last class on Friday when [visitor] comes to speak. Would this be ok? Should they arrive at 1:15 or 1:30pm since the first 15 min will be for class evaluation? Thanks a lot.
(sends another email)
Sorry, one more, also an [Ed School] student. Thanks.
Professor: Dear [Student]: Sorry. I've been generous in allowing auditors on an ad hoc basis, but the class is for those who are taking it for credit. Friday is the last class and there is much to do even beyond the visit of [vistor], so I have to say no, and focus on the students who have been taking the class all term long.
Boss man kills it! But student feels compelled to respond:
Student: Oh, I thought we had always had some guests every class, and they would just sit there quietly and listen, but this is totally understandable and not a problem, I'll let them know. By the way, may I have [previous visitor's] email address? I talked to her and needed to follow up with her, but she was in a hurry that day. Thanks.
The things I wanted to say in response to this email/things I would hope my professor would express if he had responded to the latter email:
1. Hey friend, 60% of those "guests" weren't supposed to be there. There were some real randos there who were usually brought in by people who gave me a hard time to begin with. It's one thing if someone in the class emailed me and my professor in advance to ask if it's ok to bring someone in, and arguably, it's part of MBA culture here to bring a friend to sit in on the class you're taking. But the reality was more like the following: there was this one cross-registrant who, on at least 4 occasions, brought in his "friend" without informing me or my professor in advance and never explained the person's presence at all after the fact.
2. You're an auditor, bro. You don't get the privilege to bring friends. You, fair freeloader, should consider yourself lucky that you're sitting in this class since it's reserved for the MBAs and for the people who are paying to take the course.
3. It's one thing if you're bringing in one friend, but really, four?!
4. Because of 2 and 3, you're not exactly entitled to that email address, either. Stop expecting.
Email 3: Bonus email about MBA athletics!
Student: Hi Erica,
I noticed that we have [class]time scheduled...on Friday from 4-415. I was wondering what that's for?...I'm supposed to play squash that afternoon so wanted to make sure to schedule around whatever we're doing Friday.
This student is all right, but I can safely say that there are at least ten other people in this course who, if they had a squash commitment during a class block, would have expected that class be scheduled around their squash game.
I just realized that with all the stories and jokes about skiing in these posts, I never took the time to call attention to and make fun of the MBA squash culture and its socioeconomic implications. So now I have.