At this year’s Harvard Class Day ceremonies, Student Association Co-President Kunal Modi noted that some graduating MBAs might even measure their Harvard experience by “the number of stamps in our passport” and the number of likes on an Instagram post. “We measured ourselves before we got to HBS with our GMAT, our GPA, and job promotions,” said Modi. “And there certainly have been a number of quantifiable elements of our HBS experience: the number of cases, the number of job interviews, the number of stamps in our passport and the number of likes on that last post on Instagram.”
If those metrics reflect success at Harvard Business School then Hess was clearly a highly successful Harvard MBA. Among the pictures is one of the tuxedo-clad groomsmen at classmate’s Alex Blankfein’s wedding this past March. Blankfein is the son of Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Hess was one of his groomsmen. One photo, of several HBS classmates swimming in a pool, featured the caption: “Last #ladz standing Customary late night post vodka dip.”
Yet another picture, apparently a shot of the last pre-graduation party, captured the guys in a black-and-white photograph, with the caption: “#nerds by day, #lads by night. Last class and party.” Wearing a bow tie without a shirt in the photo is HBS classmate Hayk Sarkissian who called Hess his “Instagram daddy.” Sarkissian, an ex-attorney who claims proficiency in Armenian, Russian, French and English, had worked in London and Hong Kong before going to Harvard.
After posting a photo of himself graduating from HBS on Instagram, Hess was offered a public congratulations from socialite and fashion model Nicky Hilton. Hess had gotten party-girl extraordinaire Paris Hilton, described as a friend, to come to Harvard when he was an undergrad and treasurer of the Lampoon.
There are no photos of anyone actually studying for a class, giving the impression that the group was at Harvard for a two-year-long party. Though singled out by the Times, Hess’ Instragram posts are relatively tame. Some of his HBS friends, however, have posted photographs that show them clearly glassly-eyed and wasted, including one of Sarkissian with a shot glass in hand (see following page).
Nonetheless, Hess’ feed brings to mind the famous line from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Let me tell you about the very rich,” he wrote. “They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them…”
According to the Times, the men at the top of the male hierarchy at Harvard Business School most typically work in finance, drive expensive luxury cars and advertise “lavish weekend getaways on Instagram”–just like Hess and a few of his friends. “Some belong to Section X, an “on-again-off-again secret society of ultra-wealthy, mostly male, mostly international students known for decadent parties and travel,” according to the Times account.