Just as every great sports team has a mascot, every great section has an icon. For the class of 2013’s section E, that icon is Subodh Kumar. Subodh, an engineer from India’s Punjab province, is a soft-spoken man with a cheerful disposition that quickly charmed his section-mates in the first days of last year’s fall semester.
As an RC, Subodh did not speak especially often in class. But when he did, people listened. In TOM, Subodh cracked the Jet Blue de-icing case in the first 20 minutes of the discussion. He single-handedly restructured Greece’s debt in BGIE. But Subodh’s ability to articulate an unwavering moral compass in LCA was most impressive to his section-mates.
Fellow Emu Dave Werry, whose performance in preliminary LCA classes left something to be desired, began to improve his class participation by asking himself “What would Subodh do?” before raising his hand. It worked. Werry says, “Subodh makes good decisions. I knew I couldn’t go wrong if I followed his lead.”
Beyond his exemplary demonstration of the “quality over quantity” rule of class participation, Subodh’s ability to overcome section cliques to connect with all members of Section E cemented his role as section icon. As the RC year was drawing to a close Werry decided to commemorate Subodh’s special role as all important things at HBS are commemorated: with a t-shirt.
The t-shirt, featuring an image of Subodh’s likeness on the back, took on an iconic life of its own as Section E Emus kept the listserv alive over the summer. As section members worked in and traveled to exotic locations around the globe, pictures of the Subodh t-shirt in various remarkable settings were added to a Facebook album dedicated to the theme.
It all started with OE’s Tom Flahive, who posted a photograph of him and Subodh next to Seattle’s Space Needle. As internships, treks, and impromptu travels brought Emus to all corners of the earth, Subodh was photographed partaking in a wide range of activities, from kickboxing in Los Angeles and indoor skiing in Dubai to tasting delicacies in South Korea.
Subodh is a reluctant leader when it comes to his new-found role as section icon. What does he think about all of this summer hullabullo? When asked at a recent section reunion, Subodh summed it up nicely: “Well, this summer I became very well-traveled.”