Thursday, January 20

Elon Musk graded school papers up for auction

(CNN) — Today, many business students would probably pay a lot of money for Elon Musk’s opinion of their school work.

However, in 1995, long before he took control of Tesla and later found SpaceX, Musk was an assistant professor who helped grade exams and papers at the famous Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

At the time, Musk was also studying economics and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the Administration 231 class, “Business Innovation: Implementation and Operations,” taught by Professor Myles Bass.

Some schoolwork that Musk qualified for that class decades ago recently sold at an online auction for $ 7,753. The price includes a 25% commission paid to the auction house.

Qualified Elon Musk auction

The auction company did not identify the buyer of the school papers.

One of Bass’s former students Brian Thomas, recognizing the potential value of some of the course work from long ago, consigned the papers to RR Auctions in Boston to sell at an online auction. RR Auctions specializes in autographs and manuscripts, and has in the past sold writings by the likes of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs for hundreds of thousands and up to more than a million dollars.

Musk’s “popcorn” and point deductions weren’t worth that much money. None of the papers contained Musk’s full signature, only the initials “EM.” There were very few full-word writing.

Musk signatures are rare, said Bobby Livingston of RR Auctions. The auction house previously sold an autographed photo of Musk for $ 1,383.

Einstein’s strange relativity manuscript goes up for auction 1:08

The only comment preserved in the class papers concerned Thomas’ use of the phrase “s – t hits the fan”, which is a colloquial way of explaining why a company might need an “exit strategy” . Musk underlined the words, wrote “Graphic” over them, and deducted two points from Thomas’ rating.

Thomas explained that the term had been a kind of inside joke meant to amuse his teacher. He didn’t realize that it was Musk, and not the professor, who was grading the exam.

“Silly of me,” Thomas said.

Today, Musk himself is known for using sometimes graphic language and obscene references in his own speech and in his social media posts.

Thomas and his son found the papers in a bag in the family’s garage while looking for some old high school yearbooks, Thomas said. His son saw Musk’s name and initials among the class papers.

Thomas has no specific recollections of Musk, he said.

“Even talking to you now, I can’t conjure up an image of him in class,” he said.

The only reason she had kept those papers was because she remembered Bass and that class so fondly. Today, Thomas is a financial advisor living in Southern California, and many of his clients are tech entrepreneurs.

Although he doesn’t remember Musk at all, he said, he continues to quote Professor Bass, who died in 2010.

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