How to get a Harvard MBA: serve Bush
Harvard, another bottle of Jack,
Administration - 'Johnny Harvard')
© National Journal Group, Inc.
For someone whose White House job description demands pseudo-invisibility, Blake Gottesman has made himself a standout. And not just to President Bush and his team, most of whom have known him as a trusted young aide since he joined Bush's 1999 presidential campaign in Austin.
Since 2002, Gottesman has been the president's personal aide, a clean-cut, sweet-faced shadow who minds Bush's needs everywhere except at Camp David, at church, and on bike trails. In White House lingo, he's known as Bush's "body man" or, more colloquially, his "butt boy," sticking close behind the president for 14 to 18 hours a day in global palaces and presidential suites, in farm fields and disaster zones. He's always among the first to greet the president in the morning and the last on hand at night. In June, Gottesman will be leaving the White House to continue his education.
And that is where the story gets interesting: Harvard plans to welcome the 26-year-old Texas native as a graduate student in business this fall, despite the fact that Gottesman left California's Claremont McKenna College after his freshman year to join the Bush campaign.
Of course, the leader of the free world -- who snagged his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1975 -- helped out with a written endorsement. As an alum, the president also made a friendly call to Harvard on his aide's behalf, as did former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, Gottesman's first boss in the White House, who counts a number of Harvard officials among his home-state friends.
Gottesman briefly dated Jenna Bush when he was a high school junior in Austin and she was a freshman, and her dad was governor. When Bush decided to run for president, Gottesman put college on pause. What he thought might be a brief interlude turned into a seven-year hitch. The president's nicknames for his $95,000-a-year special assistant have evolved from "Mini-Me," to "Soldier" and "Private" and "Peanut," to the more recent "Johnny Harvard," eventually simplified to "Harvard."
The Harvard Business School application instructions state that an M.B.A. candidate must have completed a four-year undergraduate degree "or its equivalent in another country." A spokeswoman declined to discuss Gottesman's admission, except to say that enrollment without an undergraduate degree is "highly unusual" but not unprecedented. According to published accounts, more than a dozen Harvard Business School alumni never received undergraduate degrees.
Friends report that Gottesman -- who prefers preparation to improvisation at work and in his personal life -- boned up on Harvard's history about nondegreed applicants. Even with the president's help -- "A letter from the president doesn't have to emphasize very much," deadpanned Logan Walters, Bush's previous personal aide -- Gottesman still had to score well on the grad school exam known as GMAT, ace two personal interviews, and craft seven short essays.
In solidarity with a long line of presidential aides who favor silence, Gottesman declined to be interviewed.
All of that suggests that someday well beyond 2008 -- after Gottesman finishes at Harvard and Bush moves back to Dallas -- the up-and-comer from Austin and the nation's 43rd president might find themselves reunited in a boardroom someplace, or at a benefit for a good cause. But as of this writing, Gottesman does not imagine ever needing George W. Bush for a political endorsement.
"He does not want a career in politics, which kind of surprised me," Tubb said. "With the talents he has, he would make a great politician or a great public servant. And he has the desire to do that, to serve, but Blake wants to do it through the business arena."
I'm sorry, Mr.Patel, we had to admit the president's butt boy despite your GPA. You'll love Wharton, really. Of course, he only has a year of college at a middle ranked school, but he served the President. The pretzels in Philly rock, Mr. Patel.
Have a good time someplace else.
The fucked up part is that this guy isn't even close to qualifying to go to HBS, except for his boss. He should be going to Parris Island and then off to Iraq, but we can't have the King's manservant serve his country. So it's off to Cambridge and HBS, taking the spot of a qualified candidate.
posted by Steve @ 5:26:00 PM