We are proud to continue our agony advice column, Dear Oppy: B-School Advice for the Everyday Sternie – “real questions, terrible advice.”
The Oppy can be quite Stern at times but is here to answer the queries and qualms of all MBA students so send them his/her/their way at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill this out, anonymously.
I’m writing in response to your Prom question. Burning Heart is a friend of mine, but what she doesn’t realize is that the object of her desires is also mine. I was there when she lit the fire…but the fire in my heart was already burning bright.
I feel our classmate likes me too, but I don’t know how to go for it without hurting my friend. Should I tell Burning Heart her shot went up in flames along with his couch, or should I keep my feelings to myself? One night with my crush might be worth more than the friendship…thoughts?
Bad Friend, Good Lover
Dear Bad Friend,
I’m sorry. Is this business school? Did you even take your core Strategy courses? Today’s modern world is not for the faint of heart, whether or not that heart happens to be burning. In the current environment we are all our own brand. Our own corporation. What you need to do is take a frank, practical look at the options available and make the correct choice for your corporation. Does this particular acquisition make sense for your romantic future? Does your current friendship take up perhaps too much market share in your personal life? Is it a dead dog ruining your future growth when you need to develop a shooting star?
Remember, we’re all trying to succeed here, personally and professionally. S.W.O.T. the hell out of this crush and see if that merger makes sense for you. Maybe even throw some Game Theory in there, too and map out a decision tree. Your friend might not even care if they recognize your first-mover advantage by having a crush before they did! And that’s if your friend is even out of the hospital. I mean, they’re going to literally light themselves on fire. Who knows how they got that idea, right?
Also, maybe the crush is super hot. Super hot people are always worth the effort and collateral damage. Always.
Be Michael and not Fredo,
I got rejected from all the top consulting firms AND I didn’t win the Prom Royalty title at MBA Prom. I don’t think life can get much worse. How can I get through so much rejection?
Unemployed and crownless
Dude, buck the f@ck up.
Let’s get a few things straight here. 1) Consulting isn’t the only way to make good money in this world. 2) Do you even want to be a consultant in a post-Covid environment? Sure, the money will still be there, but there’s nothing like a global pandemic to crack the code of working remotely. Consulting will almost certainly never again be the four-days-a-week-on-the-road lifestyle, and that means no airline miles or hotel points. It’s like not even getting paid! I certainly know I wouldn’t be able to put up with that job without my Elite Gold status on Spirit Airlines. What’s the point?
If I were you, I’d pivot toward an MBA job that carries some real life perks, like doing whatever it is that VC firms do. If your major concern is that you have no idea what they do, that’s ok. No one does.
Now in regards to your other problem, let me ask you this: Do you remember the King and Queen from your high school prom? Did it change their lives? MBA Prom Royals are purely figureheads while bigwigs behind the curtain get to pull all the strings and play Richelieu.
If you really want to exercise power you need to aim for the roles that truly wield influence. That’s right, I’m talking about chairing the wine and cheese club, or, if you’re really lucky, The Oppy board. Just like Stringer says, “There’s games beyond The Game.” Prom Royals? They don’t even get food tasters. No one’s trying to poison their dinners. Please.
We all face bumps in the road sometimes, but do what that MBA taught you to do and innovate. Find a new path. Create the trajectory that truly puts you on the path to success.
Besides, there’s always law school.
Photo credit: https://www.sweetyhigh.com/read/single-prom-memes-031020