Application Harvard Business School
Paul hung up his cell phone. Sophie, a younger woman and a candidate for the two-year Harvard MBA program, had called and asked for his help and guidance with her
application. His sister Leeann who was Sophie’s best friend, had asked him for this favor, and so he could not refuse. Harvard Business School
Paul had graduated from the very same school and had successfully helped guide many applicants from his home in
. Paul was always the giving type of character; he helped younger students who wanted to study in the States on a voluntary basis. Athens, Greece
“Oh,” he thought, “Just another mediocre candidate, again. However, if she is an exception, I will help her out,’”
Paul lived alone in downtown
Athens near the Presidential palace, and his only companion was his Labrador, Ben. His penthouse on the fashionable Herodus Atticus Street had a splendid view of the Acropolis. He was very happy with his successful career at Procter & Gamble. His father Mike and his mother Elizabeth lived in the family villa near , as did his younger sister Leeann. Athens
After returning from Harvard to
Athens, not wanting to get emotionally involved Paul occasionally saw Foxie, when he returned to after his studies. Foxie was a knock-out bombshell of a blonde that Paul would see rather rarely and she would always invite him to her apartment and cook him delicious meals. But it was not the delicious meals that Paul visited Foxie for. Rather, it was for the “desert” that followed. Foxie wanted nothing else from Paul, only the “desert”. Greece
Paul was a very romantic man. He loved reading or writing romantic poetry and had taken several poetry courses during his undergraduate studies at
. Some of his work had been published in the States and he had won an award. In a relationship he dreamed that his lover would share his romantic sensitivities and return all his love for her. He found neither in Wendy, his former girl friend at Harvard for two years, and expected nothing from Foxie. His goal in life would be to find the ideal woman, if she existed and, also to live in his beloved homeland, Brown University and excel in his Procter & Gamble career. Something he detested was what his married friend Patrick had experienced; constant interference in his marriage by his in-laws. Greece
Sophie came from the city of
Patras in the west of . She had studied civil engineering with honors in Salonika, in the north of Greece . She excelled in both her jobs after engineering. Actually, she had won a bonus and a promotion for being, at the age of 22 , the first Engineer in Greece to manage to successfully install and operate a sophisticated American computer aided design program, when other more senior engineers had failed for years. She had won a national contest in violin playing and national awards in singing contests. Sophie had written a few romance fiction books and had won awards at her high school as she was so talented in writing, but her work had never been published. Sophie also loved and read a lot about philosophy. Her dream in life was to find a man who would love her back just as strongly as she loved him and also be very sensitive and passionately romantic. Unfortunately, all the men she had dated so far in her life never, even remotely fulfilled her dreams. And another thing Sophie definitely did not want, was her disastrous experience with Robert. Robert had never forgotten and still loved to this very day, his previous girlfriend Fiona. Fiona’s ghost chased Sophie every day. By now, she had become very disillusioned from her life, persuaded that her dreams would never come true. But her dream was to find her ideal man and then live and work for a very long time in the States, as the higher salaries over there would allow her to repay her huge MBA loan. Greece
Sophie had a twin but not identical sister, Alice, also an excellent engineer.
was not as romantic as her sister was, but she was beautiful and sexy. Her wish was certainly to marry her steady boy friend Larry, but as she adored the company of handsome men, she slept around a lot. Alice had only one anxiety in her life, to be rejected by a man, but that had never happened and she was determined that she would never be rejected by anyone. Alice
Her mother Christie, her father Nasos and Sophie’s sister all shared the family apartment in Patras.
A few days later, Sophie arrived promptly on time for her appointment—first, a good sign, Paul thought. She had brought him some cookies—nice, he thought. She was very polite and they just greeted each other but they didn’t shake hands. She sat opposite him at the dining room table. Although he was a professional, he could not help but look at her. Although she was twenty-four and he was thirty-two, he was a man and she a woman, after all. Mediocre looks was the word that crossed his mind. She had awful green glasses, her hair was straggly, thin and all over the place and to top it all, she was wearing a ruffled dress with awful color combinations. Nothing to write home about, as his father would say.
Paul, a smoker, took care not to smoke during their meeting because it might disturb Sophie who he noticed was not a smoker.
But as they talked he quickly realized that she was very bright and a well organized person. She grasped everything he explained to her instantly, made focused comments and had an analytic mind. How extremely multitalented and gifted this woman is, he thought. She left late.
Carrie, a much younger girl friend of Sophie’s called and Sophie answered the phone.
“Sophie, I have the greatest news, I passed my engineering finals. You were so kind and caring to help me so much and for such a long time and now you are applying to Harvard, you are so driven. Sweet, loving and motivated, that’s what you are and I admire you so much, you have a great heart.” Carrie said.
“Congratulations from me and good luck,” Sophie answered.
Sophie always loved to help other people. I t was not only Carrie, she had also actively helped her boy friend Robert make it through engineering school. She had a very kind heart. She even managed her father’s drugstore business when her father was seriously ill for a period.
During the week following their first meeting Paul and Sophie exchanged many, many e-mails, texts, and phones that clearly showed that she was so professional in her work and so prompt in answering her communications. She worked so hard to follow all his advice and researched what he asked her to the exact point. Their cooperation was superb, he never had to repeat something twice, and she grasped it all immediately and several times made constructive remarks on her own initiative. This woman was so determined to achieve her goal. He realized that this woman possessed the magic word that gets you into the
: drive. Paul was very impressed by Sophie’s abilities, he admired her. She was such an achiever! Harvard Business School
Paul was very giving. He had helped many candidates who were applying to the schools he had attended in the States,
and Harvard business school. He would give advice on their applications and sometimes help them apply for financial aid. Several times, he had helped people find a job. Paul believed very firmly that when you’ve received all God’s gifts in your life you should give back, help out other people. That was the way his heart felt, give, help and take care of people. And that’s why he decided he would help such a very capable person like Sophie, with all his soul, one thousand percent. Brown University
Meanwhile, Sophie thought to herself “Paul is so good looking, so smart and such a go-getter and he seems to take great care and interest in helping me out. He’s so sweet, so clever and so romantic. What an athlete too, captain of the national Greek youth basketball team when he studied at the Moraitis high school. And what a stud he is, he’s tall and masculine, and dark with beautiful black hair as his tanned gorgeous face contrasts so with his striking blue eyes. I love his Bruce Springsteen muscular arms. He’s a winner. I might think of examining the possibilities, let me try and impress him during our second meeting, I’ll dress up for him,”
A week passed following their first meeting. It was one of those early-December evenings before Christmas that
was famous for: cool and crisp and in the low forties. The evening was magic because the atmosphere was razor-sharp clear. It seemed crafted for those people who marvel at a beautiful, distinct sunset, for those who treasure a crisp, bright starlit winter sky and for those who stand in awe marveling at a beautiful, shiny winter moon. Greece
The doorbell rang for Paul’s and Sophie’s second meeting. When he opened the door, Paul was shocked by the difference in her looks. Was this the same Sophie? Gone were the awful green glasses and she had beautifully pulled up her hair, natural authentic and sensuous. She had hair with an amour-propre and hair with an attitude. Gentle but unmediated and determined to be free, long hair in the color of a warm brown was pulled up to a tight bond. Her typical casual business attire had a benefit because it would easily direct Paul to her gorgeous deep blue eyes, constantly. Her smile was stunning, her smile was a winner. The constant eye contact made him feel an interest in this woman. He was impressed by the combination of beauty, intelligence and the obvious interest in him she was projecting with these very eyes. An off-white blouse under a closed blue jacket formed an area of vividness near her exquisite, winning white face. A contrasting bright scarf sharpened this effect. This crimson-red scarf helped direct his eyes to her eyes, constantly. Her face was stunning with its perfectly balanced characteristics, higher cheek bones, her narrow distinct nose with its nicely tanned but perfect silk-fine skin searing warmth, and her deep blue eyes with their long eye lashes radiating beauty. She was like a gorgeous lotus flower blossoming in the autumn. Could this Goddess be the same Sophie? Was she Helen of Troy? Was she real?
This time they shook hands, and he had a second powerful shock. Since he was tall and slim his palms were long and thin and when he shook hands, he had the habit to squeeze the other person’s hands to show his warmth. But Sophie’s hands were so long, feminine and slim that he had trouble even holding them. He was overcome.
Her amazing, piercing blue eyes impressed him. She was stunningly attractive and good-looking! He had to take time to relax and absorb the shock.
They sat at the table and started to begin their work and the very meaningful constant eye contact between their blue eyes was only to be interrupted by Paul’s occasional glimpse of admiration at Sophie’s hands. Slim, long and white they could only belong to a pianist or even project the uniquely beautiful hands of the best ancient Greek statue. He was having difficulty in balancing the feelings the eye contact generated, the elegance of the glimpses of her hands touching him and concentrating in their work.
The long, professional application meeting that followed only strengthened his impression that she was a very, very exceptional, extraordinary individual. She had it all: she was sharp, sensitive, and sentimental; a true leader and a professional manager and a knock out. After she left, he wondered if she could have become so beautiful for him.
“This is wishful thinking, dreaming, Paul.”
And, so, equally well did the next two professional meetings go that they had, and, every time she came, she brought chocolates, coffee, wine. She is very sweet, he thought, she must have a good heart. As he was having dinner that night he had a glass of the bottle of white Kyr Yannis Greek wine Sophie had brought him. It was really very tasty and so he called her and told her how much he had enjoyed it.
But he could not forget those eyes, that smile.
Their intervening communications made him admire Sophie more and more. Then came a few signs that she liked him too from the manner she addressed him in her communications: “Dear Mr. Paul Vasilatos” changed to “Dear Paul Vasilatos” then to “Dear Paul.”
She was speaking to him on a first name basis. This, is very serious business in Greece. People are very formal and first name basis is used only in very close relationships.
Then, some parts of her e-mails seemed significant to Paul. The punctuation was certainly not business-like. She was sending him clear messages that she wanted a closer, different friendship.
Thank you very much,,,,,,,,,
Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!
With all my warm heart,
Your concern is really moving,
He noticed the accentuated punctuation marks and the content, certainly not business-like he thought. She was taking steps; she was sending him signals so he had to return the small, but definitely flirting signals in a stronger way.