How to Spot a Savage in a Sea of Try Hards

By: Talal Dajani '17

Talal Dajani '17

Talal Dajani '17

Many of you may have read Tim Bechtold ‘17’s article in the last edition “How to spot a Try-Hard.” While you may have sat back thinking “I didn’t score too high on the TH index”, the fact of the matter is, you are at Booth, and we are all try-hards. Therefore, the question you should be asking yourself is not “how do I spot a try-hard”, but rather, “how do I spot the savage in a sea of try-hards?”  

Why should you spot the savage? A savage has influence. A savage can turn two years of thriving in one of the most enriching academic environments in the world into two years of benders.  Two years of Pedialyte. Two years of having no answer when your mother asks “What did you do this weekend?” Two years of complaining about textbook prices, then spending $387 at Underground in a night.

What is a savage you ask? Is it the banking recruit sitting alone at the Public House bar with no tie and an untucked shirt at 3:00pm, or is it the techie in a hoodie in the corner of the Winter Garden writing code for their new app while sipping wine from their eco-friendly water bottle at 9:00am? The truth is, they are both savages.

We’ve all seen them, taking Wild Turkey shots at the bar by themselves, pregaming their Meet and Greet at Ida Noyes, or crushing frosty beverages at a dinner party only to realize they’re six deep while everyone else is still sipping their first. By the time you spot them, it’s too late, they already have one arm around you, pouring frosty beverages down your throat and turning that casual night out you had planned into a Fireball filled fiasco ending with a 4:00am breakfast skillet at Eggsperience that tastes like chorizo with a large side of regret.

So how can you spot these savages before they fill your night with questionable decisions?

I give you, the savage scale (SS). Modigliani and Miller are at it again with another Nobel Prize worthy formula. By inverting the Try-Hard (TH) scale and stripping it of its complexity, M&M created an easy to understand formula that can point out the savage in the group with 100% certainty. Think of this as more of a “Yes/No” type of determination for an individual’s savagery based on four categories where savage behavior can arise during life at Booth: Frosty Beverage Consumption, TNDC, Recruiting, and Leadership.

The benefit of the SS is that there is no grey area up for interpretation. Each category is scored on a binary scale, meaning any score above 0 indicates a savage, but the scale determines to what degree:

Frosty Beverage Mix

Ca = Moderation means <10 drinks per night

AO = “Alcohol Only” – ABV > 30% only


Ta = Attends every TNDC, no exceptions


Rm = Consumes multiple frosty beverages at every recruiting event

Leadership Roles

LD = Always the first to buy shots….always

As you can see, there are a number of characteristics that may cause one to be labeled as a savage, but there is little room for debate as to whether someone who scores > 0 on the SS is a savage or not. In a recent interview, Franco Modigliani commented, “I think Merton and I finally got it right with the Savage Scale, my only regret is not coming up with it years ago when we were too busy dinking around with economic issues to see the real problem facing society”.

Avoiding the savage at all costs is the first step to ensure a successful career at Booth, so next time you are out, bring the savage scale with you and retake control of your life.

Talal is a first year who has already made one too many questionable decisions this quarter.