"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, May 25, 2006


If you should visit the Harvard Business School's website, you will find this statement of "community standards:"
The HBS community defines itself by and actively embraces three fundamental standards:
* Respect for the rights, differences, and dignity of others

* Honesty and integrity in dealing with all members of the community

* Accountability for personal behavior

Developed through a student-led initiative, these clear, simple principles underlie our strong sense of community at HBS. They help create a lively, open, inspiring atmosphere for learning and growth, and they represent the bedrock standards effective leaders instill in their organizations and uphold in their daily lives. Everyone in the HBS community—MBA students, executive program participants, faculty, staff, and alumni—accepts a personal responsibility to integrate these standards into all aspects of their experience at HBS.

Posted on the wall of every classroom, our standards come through clearly in how we conduct ourselves and treat each other in and out of class. Ethical issues are also woven deeply throughout our curriculum, teaching, and research. For example, MBA students start their HBS experience with a "Foundations" class in which they create an ethical framework for decision making. More than 500 current HBS cases focus explicitly on a range of ethical questions entangled, as in life, with other business issues; faculty use them to help students grapple with the troubling tradeoffs and dilemmas real managers sometimes confront.

Bear all that in mind as I introduce you to Blake Gottesman:
A 26-year-old college dropout who carries President Bush’s breath mints and makes him peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches will follow in his boss’s footsteps this fall when he enrolls at Harvard Business School (HBS).

Though it is rare for HBS—or any other professional or graduate school—to admit a student who does not have an undergraduate degree, admissions officers made an exception for Blake Gottesman, who for four years has served as special assistant and personal aide to Bush.

Gottesman, a Texas native who attended Claremont-McKenna College in California for one year, has long had ties to the Bush family. He dated the president’s daughter, Jenna Bush, nearly ten years ago when he attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal School of Austin....

In his current role, Gottesman performs a wide range of duties, from dog-sitting the president’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, to carrying the president’s speeches and giving him the “two-minute warning” before a speech begins....

HBS spokesman James E. Aisner ’68 explained the decision to accept Gottesman, even though he is not a college graduate, by telling The Economist that “extraordinary circumstances will sometimes compel it to drop [its] rule” of only admitting students who hold bachelor's degrees.

Here's my question - how long do you suppose it will be before all of Gottesman's new classmates start calling him "Smithers" behind his back?

(Hat tip to Political Wire.)




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