Yesterday we tweeted this:
— Essay Snark (@EssaySnark) November 10, 2014
The tl;dr of it is, a first-year (first-term, really) student at Harvard who campaigns against chemicals in beauty products received one of the standard recruiting emails that many companies blanket the bschool campuses with at this time of year – but this email came from L’Oreal, a company that this woman really dislikes. And so she responded, quite publicly, on her blog. (Our comment “REAL passion” is just a contrast to all the BSers who claim to have “passion” for stuff in their bschool essays – but really, they don’t. That’s not really the point of our post today, though we should probably circle back to that, too!)
Here’s the first line of the email that she sent to the L’Oreal recruiter – who’s an HBS alum by the way – you can read the whole thing in her first post (there’s quite a few now about this):
I guess you didn’t get a chance to review my resume before sending this email, because if you had you would have realized that I am definitely not the right candidate for an internship at L’Oreal. I have been a chemical activist since the age of fifteen, committed specifically to spreading awareness about the unregulated cosmetic industry and the unnecessary chemicals in our beauty products.
She then basically goes on to challenge the recruiter on L’Oreal’s practices of deceptive advertising and including bad chemicals in their products.
Now, most of the readers of the EssaySnark blahg are on the opposite side of the equation; they (err, you) are not yet students at any school, Harvard or otherwise. They (you) are not currently being wooed with recruiting emails from companies that are eager to have you join them at six-figure salaries. They (you) are instead nervously awaiting news of the fate of your applications to the bschool that will hopefully give you the ticket to be so wooed in about a year’s time (after you dump six figures on them for the privilege of it all!).
Right now, your perspective as a hopeful is likely a little different than that of this HBS RC. (“RC” means “Required Curriculum” which is what first-years at Harvard are called.)
Or maybe not. We’re wondering what your reaction is to this? Would you have done the same? We don’t know of any beauty industry activists currently among our readership nor have we, this year, come across many with strong political views (not that they’ve revealed to us), so we have no idea if you feel similarly about this or any other topic. But we’re curious.
The blogger, Jessica Assaf, said in her posts about this that she’d been criticized for, among other things, posting the L’Oreal recruiter’s name and email address. How do you feel about that?
What about the fact that HBS works hard to develop relationships with these companies and bring their recruiters to campus, and that there’s likely a bunch of people at Harvard that actually want to work for L’Oreal, and now may have some fallout to deal with? Do you think that a student owes any allegiance to the school? Or are your own beliefs always paramount and you should stand up for them at every opportunity? What about loyalty to the school, does that matter?
These are just some questions that came up for us. It’s an interesting situation (it’s very Millennial).
We put together a little survey to collect some views on this – we probably could’ve spent more time exploring other issues surrounding this but these came to mind right away. If you have other thoughts on it we’re very curious to hear about them!
Quick survey on students, bschools and recruiting relationships
We’re curious what you all have to say!
Update: There have been some very interesting comments left on the survey… We’ll be compiling the results and posting a few highlights in the next day or so. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!