Student Wins $23K on 'Jeopardy!'

Jessica E. Schumer

GEORGE W. HICKS ’99-’00

First-year Harvard Law School student George W. Hicks ’99-’00 was knocked out of “Jeopardy!” competition in a show that aired Monday—but not before taking home $23,000 in winnings.

Hicks won last Friday’s show, pulling in $22,000, and earned $1,000 and a consolation prize for finishing third in the next round.

“If anyone wants the home computer version of ‘Jeopardy!,’ give me a call,” Hicks joked.

Hicks won in dramatic fashion in Friday’s show, wagering all but $2 of his $11,000 total on a Final Jeopardy question in the “Business Geography” category.

The answer: “The U.S. company now with the largest revenue is located in this state, which has the lowest per capita income.”

The winning question—which Hicks was the only contestant to get right—was “What is Arkansas?”

Arkansas is home to Wal-Mart, and Hicks’ correct response and bold wager were enough to boost him over a retired rocket scientist into first place.

Hicks said he felt very confident about the final category given his experience after graduating from the College as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.

In the next game, which aired three days later, Hicks said the competition was much more intense.

“I would have won more on the second show,” he said, “but the other contestants were ringers.”

The two other contestants on Monday—whom Hicks said were “overly aggressive” and “extremely annoying”—were a high school teacher who teaches Quiz Bowl in the summer and a translator for the State Department.

“I thought the guy was going to have a seizure every time he buzzed in,” said Hicks of the Quiz Bowl teacher. “It was like he was getting electric shocks.”

The category for Final Jeopardy on Monday’s show was “Official Languages.” Hicks wagered everything he had and answered correctly, but so did the translator, who was already ahead of Hicks.

Hicks decided to try out for the show after seeing an advertisement for auditions in Washington, D.C. while surfing the Internet last spring.

He had just quit his job at Morgan Stanley and was waiting to enter the Law School in the fall.

“The timing was perfect,” Hicks said.