Don't get excited. Haas doesn't have a REAL improv class. But last week, my Power and Politics class took a hiatus from case analyses and organizational behavior theories when our professor invited Roy Jenkins to Berkeley.
The name may mean nothing to you, but this guy is the real deal. He was a writer for Conan O'Brien, and his film credits include "Anchorman" and "Thank You for Smoking." Even more impressive was his patience as he lead a bunch of MBA students through a series of improv exercises...which was probably more than a little bit excruciating for him (but hilarious for us).
One of the exercises went like this: five students had to pretend to be experts in a certain field (which Jenkins called out on the spot). The rest of the class had to ask questions of the five students, which they had to answer convincingly and authoritatively, even if they had no idea what they were talking about.
The first group of five had to be experts on the Protestant Reformation. Hilarious, right? We can tell you what our favorite Excel keyboard shortcuts are, but chances are, not many of us know much about the Reformation. Or maybe I'm just projecting. So my friend Jeff, who was in my study group last year and was also a teammate of mine during our IBD project in Ghana, asked, "What role did Korea play in the Reformation?"
I nearly fell off my chair. He didn't miss a beat.
I laughed pretty consistently throughout the 90-minute class - so much so that a few of us may start an informal improv group at Haas in the coming months. We're telling ourselves we're doing it for stress relief, but we'll probably be legends in our own minds in no time.