When it comes to choosing the songs for the parody performances, Kamaly says that there’s a pitch night. Those who want to write a song parody will bring their lyrics and put them up on a board. Then, the club sings the songs together (usually 20 to 30 songs) and chooses the best ones.
On top of these three parodies, the club also published five other skits, such as Follies Update: Evil Emails, Telenova CBS, Inside Out: OCR, Clubs You May Have Missed, Club Uris, and two Follies Dance videos featuring choreographed routines and synchronized outfits on school campus. One dance video features choreographed dance routines to songs such as Jalebi Baby Desi Mix by Tesher and Jason Derulo, Loading by Olamide and Bad Boy Timz, and Industry by Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow. The next features choreographed dance routines to songs such as Starving by Hailee Steinfeld, Grey, and Zedd, Somebody Else by Isaac Elliot, and Love Again by Dua Lipa.
How do they create each video in a mere three-month period? Kamaly says it’s an intensive process. “People really have to step up and be there for one another,” he explains.
A BREAK FROM BUSINESS SCHOOL STRESS
While an audition is required when recruiting Follies members, Kaminski says becoming a member is less about talent and more about being “willing to screech like a banshee,” i.e. dedicating oneself to showing up to the meetings, rehearsals, and shooting days.
“The big thing about Follies is that it’s supposed to be a break from all the stress and craziness of business school. If we become exclusive and restrictive, then it’s just another stressor and another interview,” she explains.
“In Follies, and much like in life, showing up is half the battle,” continues Kamaly. “People who show up at our meetings are going to have a bigger part in the show and organization because it’s a matter of who’s there and who’s putting in the time.”
FOLLIES: A TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY
Showing up in Follies has helped people like Kaminsky and Kamaly build community – something that often feels scarce when living through a pandemic.
“Last year it was really hard to make friends and get to know people in business school,” says Kaminski. “Having Follies and finding this group of weirdos was an amazing way to meet like-minded people that want to goof off and have fun. Some of the closest friends I’ve made are through Follies.”
According to Kaminki, even CBS alumni from over 10 years ago come to the live shows.
“Follies was such an important part of their business school experience and still has a big place in their hearts,” she continues. “They still want to come see the show, even if they don’t know anyone in it and if they don’t get half the jokes.”
INTO THE FUTURE: LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Not only does the CBS Follies experience help to build a creative community, it’s also helped to equip students with skills that they’ll carry into their future careers. “From a managerial and people management perspective, this has been the most challenging thing I’ve done at business school,” says Kamaly.
“Our former Follies presidents said that being in charge of Follies was the best leadership experience they’d had in their lives,” adds Kaminski. “I totally relate with this.”
For the Follies’ members, there isn’t much better than building community and lifelong skills – all while keeping life light, goofy, and fun. Perhaps other MBAs could learn to take themselves less seriously, too. To watch the latest Follies’ parodies, visit their YouTube channel.