Cold Call with Tom Humphrey (OC) & Bob Evans (OI)
Cold calls. Your professors love them. You fear them. Your ed rep crushes them. We think it’s about time that this HBS staple gets the rebranding it deserves. Each week, The Harbus chats with a randomly selected member of the student body. This week, Katie Peek approached Tom Humphrey (OC); to the surprise of no one, Tom’s compliance was immediately conditional upon the inclusion of his roommate, fellow Aussie and general helpmate Bob Evans (OI). Thus, something new for Cold Call: our first threeway! Wait, what?
KP: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you were doing before HBS and what made you take the b-school plunge?
TH: Bobby worked at McKinsey [SQUARE] in London and I was working for a Groupon knockoff in Australia.
KP: How did it feel to make money off an idea not your own?
BE: They didn’t make any money, don’t worry.
TH: (Sheepishly) We didn’t actually.
BE: For me, I just really wanted to extend my business education and get deeper into my core passion [muffled hysteria] of operations [uproarious laughter] and entrepreneurship. [Long pause]. Wait, does the administration read The Harbus?
TH: I came to business school because I was working in high-tech in Australia, which is a very small industry and about two years behind the US. I thought it would be a good way to get into a much bigger market.
KP: Is your long-term goal to take the tech industry by storm? Humphrey Inc.?
TH: I’m working on a business my sister and I started in Australia actually—it’s called Kanopy and it’s effectively like Hulu for universities.
KP: What had you heard about Harvard that made you decide it was the one?
BE: I was at McKinsey in London, and you know most consultants go away for two years (which isn’t exactly a death sentence) so I thought coming to the States would be a great way to… (long pause as he figures out exactly how to phrase this)… live the international lifestyle?
KP: What was the biggest surprise about RC year? If there was one piece of advice you could give to RCs what would it be?
TH: The biggest surprise for me was, you hear all the time about how intense it is, but looking back I didn’t read a single book, or watch a single movie, I went to the cinema (Americans: movie theater) once. You end up sacrificing a lot of things sub-consciously without really noticing it, so my advice would be to find balance. Lock it in on the calendar to do those things, otherwise they won’t get done.
BE: For me, I expected everyone to be way more competitive in the academics. Coming from law school (nice L-bomb Bob!) everyone was just trying to beat the guy next to them, but it’s so unlike that. My piece of advice would be the sooner you realize the person sitting next to you is not someone you have to beat, but is just your mate, the better.
KP: What are you looking to get out of EC year? Any different priorities from last year?
BE: Last year there were a lot of subjects I had absolutely no interest in, and while I recognize it’s part of the business degree, it’s awesome to do courses I really enjoy. And then I think you have more time to create lasting friendships and networks—
TH: Oh god.
BE: Ok don’t say that. Or can you make that funny?
TH: Just write “vomit.”
KP (snarkily): Can you go on record Bob that what you really mean is you’re happy to be doing more math?
TH: (Bristling immediately on Bob’s behalf) Well you know Bobby does have a competitive advantage in maths…
BE: I’ll go on record that I do think the courses could be more quantitative [KP’s note: STUPID IDEA].
KP: Why don’t you tell me what drew you to the rugby team, and what positions you play?
TH: I kind of got crash-tackled into it really—at ASW there was an Australian here and I didn’t really have much of a choice. Anyone who comes from England, Australia, or South Africa doesn’t really have a choice—military has half a choice.
BE: One of my managers in Sydney played here, and he said it was one of the absolute best things he did here.
KP: What positions do you play?
TH: Bobby plays the Clydesdale, I play the stallion [“IN THE BEDROOM” SUFFIX: Too obvious??].
KP: How do you think your MBA is going to help you in the future?
TH: [Long Pause.]
BE: [Long Pause.]
TH: [Ruminatively] Well, it’s definitely not going to help the liver… But… Uh, it’s pretty good for [trails off]. Bobby?
BE: I think it’s good to get a different perspective on business problems than I had in the old job, and then knowing anywhere I go in the world there’s someone I can call up for dinner.
TH: [Brightening considerably] Yeah, the people, the people!
KP: Odds of you guys going back to Sydney?
BE: Short-term don’t know, long-term 50-70%
TH: I’ve probably 2 or 3 years in the US, then I’m heading back and Bobby [suggestive, possibly flirtatious eye contact between subjects].
BE: [Joyfully] I’m open to offers!
In another innovation, Cold Call gave these Just Good Friends the opportunity to deliver a little feedback via our version of the Newlywed game (also, a convenient way to offload some of the transcription work! Journalistic integrity: no match for The HARBUS!) To the written!
1. If you had to describe the other in 3 words, what would they be?
Bob on Tom: James Dean Wannabe. It’s not just his over-the-top sense of 1950s urban style, but I often see him pondering tough decisions asking “WWJDD?” (What would James Dean Do?).
Tom on Bob: “Jambox”, because he’s only ever invited to parties for his speakers. ”Eliptical”, because he won’t stop using it at the gym (although I saw Pedro on it the other day — makes me slightly more sympathetic.) ”Baba ghanoush”, because he’s the big clumsy one like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers. He always breaks things, its so annoying.
2. What’s one thing the women of HBS should know about the other?
Bob on Tom: Last time Tom got his haircut they charged him womens’ prices. He was even bragging about it! Ridiculous… He also spent 2 weeks last year walking around with his arm in a sling telling everyone he had suffered a rugby injury—he had actually sneezed so hard he tore his pec muscle!
Tom on Bob: Bobby was under 11 figure ice-skating champion of Australia. No joke! I forced him to try and find his former partner on Facebook — her name is Genevieve but we failed. Apparently, his Dad eventually put the foot down and converted Bob to Ice hockey. His figure skating days have certainly contributed to his prowess on the rugby pitch—his dummy-one-two has often been confused for a swan-dive pirouette.
3. If you could change one thing about the other, what would it be?
Tom on Bob: He could be a bit nicer, especially in the mornings. I’d also get him off the elliptical. It’s embarrassing.
Bob on Tom: I wish he’d stop teasing me about using the elliptical… so mean, and poorly informed…
4. Is it true you two share a bank account?
Bob on Tom: No—although we do make a lot of joint purchases and this might be more efficient. That said, not having oversight into each others finances generally results in more fun and bad decisions, so I’m happy with the current situation…
Tom on Bob: Practically. We have a silent agreement—Bobby buys the concert tickets, I take care of the Whole Foods shops. Fortunately, we tend to party a lot more than we cook so I think he carries the fat in the arrangement. Mums the word.
5. Through personal reconnaissance (/creeping), Tom I can tell you are an avid gym-goer! If forced to choose between a life without Bob and a life at 300lbs where do you come down?
Tom on Bob: 300 lbs?! is that the objective?! I’ve got a fair way to go. Living with Bob is like living with a 300 pound gorilla, so I guess I can end out on top on both fronts.
6. You two know each other better than anyone else. What do you think is the perfect job for the other (money, lifestyle no object) and why?
Bob on Tom: Well, Tom would say that he loves the outdoors and is a true entrepreneur, so running a tech startup in the Bay Area would be his thing. However, having witnessed his general lack of productivity over the summer, I’d say a cashier in a surf shop is far more likely
Tom on Bob: Bobby came here headstrong on mining. Summer at an eBay-funded start-up spiraled him off on another trajectory. So I’d have to say working for a company mining silicon in California. He’s got to get out of school first though…
7. Fantasy celebrity mate for the other, and why.
Bob on Tom: He talks about Kelly Slater ALOT, although I think he might be a bit out of Tom’s pay grade. So I guess that, whilst it will be hard to find a mate with skinnier legs than him, ultimately Kate Bosworth (following her Oscar-worthy performance in Blue Crush) would fit the bill nicely
Tom on Bob: Can I say Katie Peek? If not, it would have to be Regina Spektor — he doesnt shut up about her.
8. If the other could teach any class at HBS, what should it be and why?
Bob on Tom: Games of Chance and Strategy…but without the Strategy.
Tom on Bob: LCA or the Moral Leader. They often say that ethics is best taught by the unethical.