Haas Fiascos – 1: Accounting, 2: Haas_at_work and counting (?)

This is the second incident in two weeks, and I am getting a bit worried now. So there’s a group called Haas@work which organizes 3-4 week projects with companies, where students get to work on real problems, with real data ….and recommend solution to organizations. These organizations often take the recommendations and implement them. Its free consulting for organizations, for spending some time with the students. Obviously, students love such projects. The company in question is Sunpower, who were participating in this program for the next 3 weeks. These opportunities come every 5-6 months or so..

Since I am very interested in clean energy, this seemed like a golden opportunity to participate. But it was not meant to be….as you will see.

It started with an error on my part. I did not fill the online survey which closed at 5:00 on a Wednesday. I was assuming end of day is 12:00 at midnight. Obviously the survey was closed by then, so I send an email, at 12:20 am on the Thursday to associated group, at the group alias list, stating my interest in the program. I referred back to my application as well, which only talks about clean energy. But I did not hear back from them.

I checked later to see that the same email which talked about the Sunpower project, mentioned in bold that if students are interested in the Haas@work at Cisco (not Sunpower), please fill the survey. I knew about the Cisco projects, so I gathered the survey was probably for the Cisco students, and that I could walk into the workshop today, and we would make teams during the workshop. As I realized that was a typo in bold letters!!!

I call up in the today morning to speak to the director of the program – as it turns out I had to register for it. And the director had missed my email. The director’s remarks were – “we missed your email” .. “you should have followed up”… “we have 40 seats and 6 waiting”… “if we had seen the email on Thursday you still had a chance” (I read this as everyone did not fill the survey)…” please don’t come to the school”, …”I am not sure which class its being held in…somewhere in Cheit building”

I drive down anyways….there are always no-shows etc. I was hoping that if there were any no-shows, they would accommodate me since the both the institute and I were at fault partially. I might not have gotten the choice of a team….but I could live with that.

Sparing further details, I waited outside the class to see any no-shows. 30-min into the workshop, there were still 3-4 unused name-tags. I assume that those were no-shows,so I ask the coordinator if I had a chance, and that started a series of explanations I have no idea how to interprete …let’ssee

1) We would give the no-show seats to the people in the waiting list. But since they are not here, they will not get in either. But I can’t get it because I did not fill the survey !!!”

2) We screened the resumes to match backgrounds!. There was a selection criterion. I don’t know the criterion…ask the Director” (nothing like this was in the initial message, and how many times does one have to justify the diversity of backgrounds in business schools???)

3) It was on a first come first serve basis”…which I think does not jive with (2)

4) “We have formed the teams” ….but nothing had happened before. People were still submitting their NDAs. I suggested if I could speak to a team, which had fewer members than the others to see if they can accommodate me. “Sorry, we cannot do that”.

5) “We were already over-capacity, and we were expecting no-shows anyways.”…seriously …is this an airlines?

6) Earlier I was told that there were only 40 seats, but I counted the participants …and there were 48. So I guess they already accommodated the waiting list. Why not one more?

7) “You call follow-up with the Director later”. I can’t do anything right now ….”which means I can go for other projects, I don’t really care about…I guess.

8′) “You could have followed-up. Its not your fault. But we can’t do anything”!!!

I will take this up with Haas authorities. For the loads of money they are charging me, I at least expect a rationale!!

(Update – 11/7/07 – I raised this issue with the Program Office. As it turns out the coordinator for the workshop had had bad experiences with last minute entrants in the past!!. But he was unhappy at how my experience had turned out and I would get a preferential treatment for the next Haas@work. But I feel I just lost an opportunity. I don’t think that can be compensated)

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