A month into your first year at HBS, you will receive a note from the Student Association in all caps, prompting you to “Order your section fleece today” followed by an endless stream of exclamation points. This email will use all available marketing tactics we have been so well-taught in the Required Curriculum to suck you into whipping out your credit card and clicking buy. To make sure they cover all their bases, they will go after every possible emotion you may be feeling as a newly minted first year.
Here is a sampling of emotions and appropriate marketing responses available as a menu for our future Student Association leaders.
- Elicit fear: Winter is coming. Your Section Fleece will save from frostbite and freezing to death en route to Aldrich. You know what they say about Boston winters.
- Elicit more fear: Unless you have a veritas emblem permanently emblazoned onto your right breast, no one will ever believe you went here. Your Section Fleece is the answer to all those doubts your old boss cast upon hearing you’re quitting for b-school.
- Make it a status symbol: All the cool kids are wearing them. Did you see that second-year who just waltzed down Spangler lawn? Didn’t that jacket just move so smoothly against his/her perfectly toned body? Your Section Fleece will make heads turn– what more could you want?
Remember: The Section Fleece is the most famous, tradition-ridden article of HBS swag you will ever own. Ever. And, you’ll wear it all the time: Sipping your cappuccino on Spangler lawn, raising your hand up high in Aldrich, building those abs in Shad. All. The. Time. You will be part of the history of HBS students who have donned these blessed Patagonian threads. I would put money down that everyone from Bill Ackman to Tyra Banks (they must have fleeces in Exec Ed, no?) has their Patagonias tucked away in their sentimental HBS memory boxes. It’s like how you keep that raggedy sweater of your first love– don’t deny it.
For those of you still battling your fear of missing out, wondering “To buy or not to buy a section fleece?,” just think– if you buy your Section Fleece, you will finally be part of your Section Family. After all, the best way to demonstrate your loyalty is to don your section letter for the world to see. At least be grateful it isn’t scarlet. You will look just like everyone else at section events. This is the perfect opportunity for you to duck out of your sponsorship agreement. The Firm will never be able to find you in the sea of black and gray.
It is true, you’ll be out $130 bucks. That’s two whole weeks of meals in Spangler. Or one bottle of champagne at Yacht Week. But you will have a whole however many “it’s just chilly enough for a fleece” months here on campus to don your veritas emblem with pride. And at the very least, that public display of your section affiliation will make you that much easier to check up on Classcards. You will be one step closer to that MR/MRS degree.
That brings us to what you will do after you graduate from these ivy-covered walls. Ask yourself: Will you be screaming “I go to… The. Harvard. Business. School.” if you wear your Section Fleece off-campus? Probably. So just in case, maybe wear another jacket over your fleece to cover the veritas.
Kit Robbins is part of Section Z, the best-looking, most politically correct and inclusive section at HBS. Aside from sitting in Spangler drinking coffee and pretending to read cases, Kit does pretty much nothing at HBS. When it’s cold out, you can find Kit wearing flip-flops in the tunnels and stealing/enjoying Chex mix and M&M’s from the i-Lab.