“Get Your S**t Together”

February 23, 2010 in Misc by RangelMD

This is the take-home message that NYU Stern School of Business professor Scott Galloway sent in an email to a “graduate student” during a recent email exchange. It appears that the graduate business student purposely walked into Galloway’s 6 PM Brand Strategy lecture an hour late and was promptly thrown out by Galloway for violating the course’s 15 minute  policy (i.e. those being more than 15 minutes late to a lecture will not be allowed to attend).

Instead of forgetting about the incident, the student felt compelled – for reasons known perhaps only to Rushmore’s  Max Fischer – to email the professor in order to explain and defend the reasons for the tardiness. Never mind that any rationalization is irrelevant since it is the professor’s lecture and it is the professor who makes the rules. And a 15 minute leeway for tardy students is massively generous in my opinion since any late entry can be disruptive. But the kicker is the complete lack of any apology or even an apologetic tone in an email that seemed more like a arrogant complaint to the hired help for shooing one’s self out of a room that needed cleaning.

Prof. Galloway, I would like to discuss a matter with you that bothered me. . . As of yesterday evening, I was interested in three different Monday night classes that all occurred simultaneously. In order to decide which class to select, my plan for the evening was to sample all three and see which one I like most. Since I had never taken your class, I was unaware of your class policy. I was disappointed that you dismissed me from class considering (1) there is no way I could have been aware of your policy and (2) considering that it was the first day of evening classes and I arrived 1 hour late (not a few minutes), it was more probable that my tardiness was due to my desire to sample different classes rather than sheer complacency.

I have already registered for another class but I just wanted to be open and provide my opinion on the matter.

Translation: “How dare you throw me out of your class! Don’t you know who the f**k I am? I can do whatever the f**k I want!” However, the good professor is not one to be trifeled with and proply sent his response (the “student’s” name has been withheld).

Thanks for the feedback. I, too, would like to offer some feedback.

Just so I’ve got this straight…you started in one class, left 15-20 minutes into it (stood up, walked out mid-lecture), went to another class (walked in 20 minutes late), left that class (again, presumably, in the middle of the lecture), and then came to my class. At that point (walking in an hour late) I asked you to come to the next class which “bothered” you.


You state that, having not taken my class, it would be impossible to know our policy of not allowing people to walk in an hour late. Most risk analysis offers that in the face of substantial uncertainty, you opt for the more conservative path or hedge your bet (e.g., do not show up an hour late until you know the professor has an explicit policy for tolerating disrespectful behavior, check with the TA before class, etc.). I hope the lottery winner that is your recently crowned Monday evening Professor is teaching Judgement and Decision Making or Critical Thinking.

In addition, your logic effectively means you cannot be held accountable for any code of conduct before taking a class. For the record, we also have no stated policy against bursting into show tunes in the middle of class, urinating on desks or taking that revolutionary hair removal system for a spin. However, xxxx, there is a baseline level of decorum (i.e., manners) that we expect of grown men and women who the admissions department have deemed tomorrow’s business leaders.

xxxx, let me be more serious for a moment. I do not know you, will not know you and have no real affinity or animosity for you. You are an anonymous student who is now regretting the send button on his laptop. It’s with this context I hope you register pause…REAL pause xxxx and take to heart what I am about to tell you:

xxxx, get your shit together.

Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant, navigating the politics of an organization, finding a live/work balance…these are all really hard, xxxx. In contrast, respecting institutions, having manners, demonstrating a level of humility…these are all (relatively) easy. Get the easy stuff right xxxx. In and of themselves they will not make you successful. However, not possessing them will hold you back and you will not achieve your potential which, by virtue of you being admitted to Stern, you must have in spades. It’s not too late xxxx…

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Professor Galloway

Yes Virgina, there IS a Santa Clause!

Far from being unique to NYU or even intelligent students, the modern university system is peppered with arrogant pricks who feel entitled to every excuse and undeserved leniency irrespective of their actions and have no respect for institution, little manners, or any level of humility. This graduate student is a perfect example and certainly not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. What type of unstructured Montessori-style undergraduate institution did this student come from that he was so oblivious to the extremely common 15 minute rule? And what rational did he have for being able to determine the inherent value of a graduate course from a brief 15-20 minute exposure to the professor’s first lecture? To paraphrase Dean Wormer, “entitled, arrogant, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

The entitled, arrogant, and stupid (EAS) mentality extends far beyond the graduate levels. The prevailing strategy at our local university appears to be see at how low a level one can perform and still achieve a significantly good outcome, i.e. to see how many lectures and assignment deadlines can be missed and exams bombed and yet still get a better than passing grade. Once the reality of this paradoxical strategy sets in is when the excuses and complaining start to fly.

Every professor has at least one of these students. Every doctor has at least one or more of these patients. The ones who miss their appointments, don’t get their tests done or take their medications, and fail to follow their doctor’s recommendations and then turn on a dime and file a lawsuit because of and despite their compliance issues.

America has become infested with excuse making morons who feel entitled to have a better life than what one would normally expect from being an entitled moron. Maybe this is why we have so many lawyers?

At least there are a few brave souls like Professor Galloway who takes time out of his busy schedule to try and teach manners to  some entitled moron that should have been learned in kindergarten.

Please share.