FM wanted to find out what it’s like to be kind of a big deal in the Harvard business world. To get the scoop, we sat down with Evan W. Eachus ’08 and Scott A. Wilmore ’08, the producers of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
1.So first off, here’s an easy one—they get progressively harder, so watch out. Exactly how much money are you in charge of handling?
Evan: Well, we like to keep the information private, but it is in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
2. What kind of training process did you go through to prove that you were capable and/or trustworthy enough to be in charge of all of that dough? I’m envisioning a Jack Bauer, “24”-inspired interrogation.
Scott: Last year we were the sales managers together, and we were in charge of most of the income for the Pudding, so we learned a lot of where the money comes from and where it goes. So throughout that experience, along with talking with the previous producers, we learned...how the business works.
Evan: Basically, the new producers are selected by the old producers and then the graduate board so by that time you’ve been working for over a year, so you have a pretty good judge of character.
3. What exactly are your duties as HPT business managers—selling tickets, managing funds, making sure construction never finishes on the HPT playhouse so you can remain close to the Crêperie forever?
Evan: We basically manage the business...which consists of ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, advertisements.
Scott: We manage somewhere around 70 people and I guess you could say that we’re the head financial advisers. We deal with everything administrative and financial, not as much on the creative side.
4.Have you guys ever had a Google moment? What about an Enron moment?
Evan: Not yet, because most of our stuff hasn’t taken off yet. We’re still just in the set-up mode, gearing up for the show this spring, HPT 159: “The Tent Commandments.” Last year we just basically handled all the transactions and credit card billing, and all the interactions with the customers.
Scott: It was a lot of face-time with happy, and sometimes angry, people. The problem with being a ticket sales manager is that you’re the scapegoat for problems that other people may cause.
5.So now you’re not going to be blamed for anything?
Evan: Oh no, now we shoulder all of it.
6.In February 2002, some of your predecessors at HPT were accused of embezzling $100,000 from the organization to throw lavish parties and buy drugs. Do you ever feel the weight of your forebears?
Evan: I think the Hasty Pudding is a completely different organization now with a lot more checks and balances and a lot more guidance from the graduate board, so I can’t foresee anything like that ever happening again.
Scott: Yeah, the entire system was revamped after that situation happened so that...it would be nearly impossible to get away with skimming.
7.Do you have trouble balancing your time as undergraduates versus your time as important businessmen?
Evan: It’s tricky when you have to contact people because I do most of my stuff at night, or tend to, so e-mail usually works best. Time hasn’t been that much of an issue this far, though I know it will be. It’ll be tight.
8.So, I know it sounds scary, but you can’t run HPT forever. Are you considering a career in business post-college?
Evan: I want to be the Fun Czar.
Scott: Yeah, I’m definitely thinking about getting into business, some sort of general management. Hopefully, way down the line, working for myself, owning a business or something.
9.When I think of business at Harvard, HPT isn’t the first campus organization that comes to mind. Why didn’t you join HSA?
Evan: Well, I’ve always been attracted to Societies of Arts and Letters, and I thought the Hasty Pudding was the best way to do this from a business aspect.
Scott: I was looking for an organization that was fun, had good people, and would give me practical business experience.
10. Do you find that there are a lot of opportunities for Harvard undergrads to get a meaningful business experience on campus?
Scott: I think there are many opportunities out there. It’s hard to find them. You have to look for them.
Evan: My advice to freshmen is e-mail us and become a business assistant and join the HPT team!
11.Do you think Harvard students use these extracurriculars to focus too much on their future business careers, or do they strike a good balance?
Scott: I don’t think many people who do business for [campus] organizations do it specifically because it will give them a leg up later. You know, people do it for a social aspect. I think too many people concentrate on taking business-geared classes.
12.Neither of you concentrate in what is commonly considered Harvard’s pre-business concentration, Economics. Evan, you’re History of Science, and Scott, you’re Psychology. Why didn’t you decide to concentrate in Ec?
Evan: I’ve taken a few economics classes.
FM: You have?
Evan: I took one.
Scott: I knew I wanted to get into business after college and by doing that I’d be studying economics for the rest of my life. I figured I’d do psychology and kind of look at it from a different perspective...I’m also taking accounting at MIT. It’s not too bad. The travel sucks.
Evan: He’s doing it for the girls at MIT.
13. Have you ever considered dressing up in drag just to fit in? Seriously, though, do you suits ever feel out of place with all those theater kids?
Evan: No, I think that’s what makes it exciting. And Scott’s been known to dress up in the office.
Scott: One of the best things about the Pudding is how it draws so many different groups of people together and gives us a common ground.
Evan: No, but in all seriousness, Scott has dressed up before.
14. As an actor in one of the productions?
Scott: No, it was more like an initiation thing...we were kind of standing on the side of the road. It’s something the new producers do every year.
15.So this year do you have to dress up in drag again to sell tickets?
Scott: No, that will be [the sales managers] next year, whoever that may be.
FM: Any ideas on what they’ll have to wear?
Scott: It depends on what people are wearing this year. We’ll go for the most embarrassing.
Evan: Scott likes to follow the trends. We might wear the skinny black pants next year.