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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 7:14am

At Harvard, Gerald Chow took tutoring to the extreme

Wouldn't you jump at the chance to study at the august John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard? I know I would, at least until I started looking into the calibre of some of its graduates.

This came to light when jewellery giant Chow Sang Sang boss Gerald Chow King-sing sued Mark Zimny, a US education consultant, to get back US$2.2 million after an unsuccessful bid to get his two sons into Harvard as undergraduates. But as documents submitted by Chow's lawyers to a US court show, a tutor affiliated with the company of the same consultant coached the jewellery magnate extensively as he studied for a master's degree at the Kennedy School in 2007-08.

A November 2007 billing for tutoring in late September and October amounted to more than 100 hours at US$80 per hour, or US$8,100. The December bill came to a whopping US$15,184. For March 2008, it was US$10,777. One entry mentioned hunting down Confucius quotes to insert in an essay, which was billable as part of a four-hour, 25-minute exercise. The June billing, when the course wound down, was US$26,583! This last major bill included "audit lectures", whatever that means, which amounted to 1,364 minutes, or 22.73 billable hours.

David Gorman, a lawyer for Chow's tutor, Jane Cassie, told The Harvard Crimson the tutoring rendered was entirely appropriate and much needed for many foreign students like Chow.

"There are a lot of foreign students that have these tutors," he was quoted saying in the paper. "I know it's very commonplace. [Cassie] spent hours with Mr Chow going over books with him. She said sometimes he completely missed the point. He was struggling with some of the material and she helped him."

So, how difficult was the course? It's a lot of reading, but still it's just a bit of Machiavelli and Max Weber; US foreign policy and conservatism; the non-violent resistance of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela; the bond market and corporate ethics; standard stuff that any smart politics undergraduate could handle with ease. Yet Chow advised our government's Central Policy Unit.

Oh, ex-chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was a fellow alumnus, too. A lot of good that did us.


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This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
"Chow advised our government's Central Policy Unit.
Oh, ex-chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was a fellow alumnus, too. A lot of good that did us"
My comment ?
AMEN and AMEN to your column, Alex
Few German architects fled to America from Hitler. Walter Gropius became the dean of Harvard’s school of design that accounted for breeding few luminaries including I.M.Pei. Mies van der Rohe, another architect, settled in Chicago and industrialized the construction in modern highrises. Others too strived well with creativity and contributed in their new adopted country. Here I find historical evidence the connection between sensible tactic and preservation of creative space.
And I also want to talk or write about such connection that take place in the realm of politic only. Politic creates leaders and silent majority. They preserve each other. Unfortunately the Occupy Wall Street movement attested that such preservation in relationship eventually proves to be unequal. The silent majority gets the short end.
Silence is not gold as we are taught it is. The silent majority suffers at the end because of their silence. The habitual silence or being apolitical towards politic is difficult to change overnight. A year past since the Occupy, any proposed agenda has yet to be heard. The occupiers dissolved into further silence. Long silence incapacitates our mind.
Can a voice from a majority be a tactical one?Perhaps history has yet to discover an example. So makes the differentiation in sensible tactic or not a moot.
Abundant examples will demonstrate all success come from sensible tactic even in politic and especially even in revolution. But then not keeping silence is much in the domain of the leaders. The majority is still followers -- much in their silence to be one.
Those architects aren’t the majority who are meek, overly pragmatic or selfish. Their voices were being heard in order to lead in their work.
I believe top schools only make smarter people better but makes not so smart people worst.....and in fact often makes the super smarter worst that's why Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs and Ellison alike never finished n dropped out earlier.....
HK becomes laughing stock worldwide because our moneyed tycoons splash money around foolishly: Cecil Chao, Xiao Timtim, S T Lee, and now Chow.
Donald took a few courses at Harvard (did he have a "tutor" to write his papers too?) and Regina took a break at Stanford. I hope taxpayers did not foot the bill.
holy moley! $26,000 USD for writing papers for Chow? Good job! Wonder if he's still hiring.
i think this is the link posted by Chow's lawyers: ****www.boston.com/multimedia/2012/10/09zimny/invoices.pdf
its just cheating, not tutoring. like Henry mentioned last article, Harvard should take away degree.


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