Why All The Fuss About Section X?


wealthymatters

Have you been following all the animated discussions about Section X of the HBS?

If you haven’t,here’s the gist :Apparently in HBS there is an ultra-exclusive clique of students from uber-wealthy backgrounds .They are mostly male and mostly international students from South America, the Middle East and Asia. They organize parties where there’s a really limited list of invitees and organize supposedly extravagant vacations such as weekends in Moscow. The Instagram feed of Michael Hess, a member of the class of 2013, who posted photographs of Mick Jagger close-up in concert, courtside seats at a Knicks game and stops on his trips around the world is cited as evidence. Apparently,these men of Section X drink hard,party hard and have their pick of women on the campus.Some live in penthouse suites of top end hotels and the group drives round in luxury-cars.There are surmises that Section X’ers never need work in their lives and that they are in HBS to mark time and get credentials,There is also criticism against women who decide to play the dating game with these men,in the hopes of landing a rich catch.In fact there are complaints that these men have their own lists of hot and not so hot women.

I’m struck by how much wealth envy there is in the HBS,Common,the world is a deeply unequal place wealth-wise. Some are born rich and a lot of others in varying degrees of poverty.In every country,and in every university round the world,there are places where the rich go to get a degree.There are always women who choose to pursue such men in college.The reverse too is true,Universities are places where a lot of people meet their mates,rich or otherwise.

None of the students who got to HBS have risen from dire poverty,even those on scholarships.Harvard is itself a result of endowments from the rich. HBS merely reflects the realities of the world.There are rich people and not so rich people.Some with money choose conspicuous consumption. Others without money choose the same too.If the latter get into a mess,they can’t absolve themselves of blame.Some choose to party others not.To each their own!Who says everybody “MUST”outdo every body else in lifestyle?

Every person has a right to have on opinion on what they consider ‘hot’ in a mate.No one needs to make a secret of their preferences.Just because somebody had made a huge effort to attract another,doesn’t mean that that person must respond positively.So far there are no complaints of sexual harassment or sexual depredations from Section X ,so why over-react?Some women choose to play up their feminine attractions to get ahead in life,others choose not to.To each their own.Who is to say that they have each not made a decision that’s right for them?

And all the calls for rich applicants to have a philanthropic record before admission?I find it distasteful.Charity comes automatically from a full heart.when a person has enough and freely wishes to give away their surplus.A lot of the wealthy get wealthy because they have  deep sense of deprivation inside themselves,which they fight by accumulating more material goods.The whole concept of forcing people to give doesn’t sit well with me.Once compulsion to give is accepted,how far is it to accepting coercion to give?And then what’s the distance to expropriating from the rich for the benefit of society?And we know where that ideology took the world.

Presumably every student in the HBS is interested in money.Otherwise why go to an Ivy League B-school or for that matter any B-school?Why complain that the HBS reflects life?Other than the course content, students have obviously signed up to the program for the net-working opportunities.Money and resources are at the heart of many entrepreneurial successes out of the HBS and undoubtedly many would like to cultivate the Section X for cash.How different is this from entrepreneurs chasing angels in real life?Sometimes you luck out. other times not.All entrepreneurs have the choice of bootstrapping,All of them have the option of traditional financing,and a Harvard MBA is definitely going to be a plus here.A Section X person could also be the road to a well paid job.But there are other avenues open to job-hunting Harvard MBAs. So If a person can get a class mate to help,its great,if not where’s the great loss?

During their time in Harvard did the majority of students really get to know the Section X and connect with them at a human level?Or was every interaction influenced by material considerations?If the have-not’s judge the have’s by their net-worth, have they the right to expect anything different from the have’s?

About Keerthika Singaravel
Engineer,Investor,Businessperson

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