Surviving the Holidays Outside the GSBubble

We all have them — family traditions. Try surviving this one — the Annual Dachille Pyramid of Cousins.

The holidays are finally here. This means that many of us will be venturing outside the 200-meter radius we call home to re-engage with friends, family, and people who actually have jobs.

As a survivor of three holiday excursions outside the GSB, I consider myself expert enough to provide some tips for re-entering the real world.

  1. Use real words.

Aunt Susan and Uncle Bob have just arrived at your parents’ house for dinner. You happily grab their coats, and show them to the EANABs[1]. The football games are playing in the living room — no game-day FOMO[2] in this house, amirite? School’s great, thanks for asking. I’m looking at VC or PE post-graduation. Hopefully having the GSB on my CV will get me there. OCR[3] was definitely rough, but things have settled down. How are you guys?


Using words that are just a compilation of random letters may be a warning sign that you sound like a douchebag. It’s not a big deal — people expected this would happen the day you accepted your offer to come to business school. But if you’d like to avoid this pitfall, try replacing these GSB-isms with words that can be found in a dictionary.

2. Feedback may be on your holiday gift list, but you’re probably alone.

Yes, that’s right — you’ll need to purchase real presents again this year, because we’re the only 900 people in the world who’ve been suckered into believing that action-impact is a framework for gift giving.

Telling your mom that the holiday turkey is dry is not a “datapoint” — it’s just rude. So slap some gravy on that sucker and start eating.

3. Dress appropriately; temperatures may drop below 50 degrees.

If you’re like me and you’re traveling to the godforsaken tundra that is the Northeast, you may have to pack winter clothes. No, I’m not talking about your sweet BCG vest. I mean something with sleeves.

4. Other people need to eat too.

Eating at your parents’ house is exciting. There’s tons of food and best of all, no scales. It’s like Arbuckle circa 2015. But, before you fill your plate to the brim like it’s a small salad container, remember that you’re not the only hungry one.

5. Broach tough conversations with humility.

If your family holiday card looks anything like the Dean’s Year in Review, there’s a good chance one or more of your relatives voted for Trump in this election. While only 3% of the GSB community voted that way, almost half the country did.[4] Our limited view has made it all too easy for us to become an echo chamber of sameness that doesn’t leave room for other views. As the holiday dinner conversations venture into the world of politics, don’t forget to listen.

And with that, my friends, I bid you farewell, and good luck. Stay #GSBlessed (just don’t use that hashtag out loud).

[1] Equally appealing non-alcoholic beverage.

[2] Fear of missing out.

[3] On-campus recruiting.

[4] Self-reported from Jack Seaver’s very official survey.

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