"... thus, if you want to have a much easier time managing your company's products, it's advised you conduct proper research and join the corresponding clusters into Strategic Business Units, SBUs for short. As I've mentioned before, there are no perfect ways to categorize the units or a decade-old script to follow. We usually use letters to divide them. You have to properly analyze your organization. Everyone following? Anything to clear up?"
With that question, I finish drawing simple lines with arrows around some squares with text on the blackboard. Or rather on the e-board, since I’ve been using a pen-like device on the newest model of an interactive school board.
Technology definitely is the best. No chalk on your clothes, no dry fingers from hours of holding one and no irritated nose. Sometimes I pity those teachers and professors in old schools and universities. Not having to deal with shiploads of paperwork and educational utensils is bliss.
My eyes fall on the usual sight of five people sitting in what looks like a very modern classroom. Each of them basically having a full-size office desk, equipped to the brim with useful resources. On top of that, they own tablets or laptops, depending on the personal preference of the student.
The classroom itself isn’t anything special. It’s more like a tiny office area with some shelves and drawers. Well, maybe besides the top of the top 80” 8K display mounted on the back wall. On the side, a row of windows with automatic shutters. If some random person from the street were to be invited inside, they’d definitely proclaim it’s some kind of classroom for the elites.
And that is exactly right. My name is Alastair Carter, a British blood full-fledged elite teacher for the most prodigious youngsters from all around the world. Twenty-seven and single right now, by the way.
This classroom is part of the highest-ranking private school building, or rather instead of school, I’d use the term tutoring. I work for an organization called Future is in our hands, which basically is a gathering of people with great knowledge and experience in various fields.
Anyway, to not blabber about pointless details, let’s just say I’m one of the pro teachers, in my case of marketing and management, and each one of us is tutoring a small group of some of the best kids, but not only, in the world. Kind of like homeroom teachers, but we are paid astronomically better since parents of the kids are stuffed obviously.
Even though I’m British, we are all currently in Sweden, where most of our organization’s establishments are located. And obviously, the kids are from a wide range of nationalities themselves.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, my classroom counts up to five individuals. Three girls and two boys.
First from the left is a girl from the USA. Her name is Natalie Reevus. She’s the daughter of one of the most well-known Hollywood actors. Like you would suspect, she’s already slowly following in her father’s footsteps, and with her captivating beauty and acting talent, it’s nothing unusual. Her waist-long straight blond hair is covering her shoulders and back. With a face you’d exactly expect from a teenage actress or model. As for the eyes, they perfectly fit with everything, being crystal blue. Ideal depiction of blonde beauty, with a slim figure and slowly developing womanly charms. She’s still only 16 years old, yet already over 169cm in height. She will definitely be one of those tall world-class beauties in the future.
Currently sitting in some expensive, custom order sneakers, high-quality tight jeans, a grey t-shirt with one of the most overused quotes “You are breathtaking!” and a black leather jacket. Even though she wears a kind of uninterested expression, I can clearly see she’s taking notes on her tablet. Lucky me. Frederic got himself a typical temper-tantrum actress in his class.
Next. To her right. A boy. Or I should say, a man. He’s twenty-six, a year younger than me. Born and raised in Germany, son of some big guy in the IT software industry. They just suddenly popped out of nowhere one day with their revolutionary engineering process and claimed their place at the top.
At first glance, you can already guess a lot about that person. Military freak. Yes, as you’d suspect, he’s wearing full camo pants and jacket, a light brown t-shirt and heavy boots. As for the guy himself, again no surprises, short black hair, kind of a tough-looking face, brown eyes and a pair of rimless glasses. And obviously well built. He definitely keeps his training schedule perfected. Oh, the name. It’s Paul Fischer. A calm and motivated guy. He’s not particularly fond of my field of expertise, but due to his army grade discipline, he never stirs up any trouble.
Close to the window, the last person in the front row, a girl from what you’d call an exotic country. Brazil to be exact. I don’t want to give in to the usual stereotypes, but that’s pretty hard in this case. She’s a picture-perfect hot Brazilian girl with a bombastic figure. Bountiful, shoulder-long, wavy red hair and green eyes. Light brown skin with a lot of freckles on her face, which is decorated with an enthusiastic smile all the time. Chest so large, her breasts are almost spilling out of the tank top she wears and… For god’s sake… She doesn’t wear a bra again…
「Okay, calm your mind, Alastair. You are not gonna get caught ogling your student. Eyes up!」
Well, besides that little detail, she wears black material bell-bottoms. She’s twenty and supposedly a daughter of a guy controlling most of the real estate market in Brazil. Her name is Marcia Santos. She has a pretty straightforward and open personality. You can say that the socializing part of the group is her territory. For the most part, she tries to pay attention.
Then, we are hitting the back row with the last two students. To the left, we have Asakura Shino, a seventeen-year-old petite Japanese girl with quite long black hair, tied up into a ponytail and two cute wisps, hanging on the sides of her face, clipped in their middle with metal pins. Currently frantically trying her best to pretend that her charming purplish eyes did not meet mine when I glanced at her. At which she is failing fabulously, stealing a peek up from behind her laptop every other second to check if I’m still looking at her.
She is quite a shy girl and you can tell even without her reacting like this.
「Is she blushing? I better not catch you reading that stuff which should not be named in the likes of a classroom…」
Usually wearing her signature black hoodie without any details and black pants. A typical girl you can find anywhere in Japan. Somehow she doesn’t seem to fit into this whole celebrity-like atmosphere. But that’s just an illusion. Supposedly, she’s a member of one of these emperor bloodline families back at her place. Her parents are some big shots, like her whole lineage. If I’m not mistaken, they are upholding the traditions everyone respects. So, basically, she’s like the beautiful princess from the novels and anime. Additionally, she’s quite skilled with her hands. I’ve seen some of her art she’s posting online. Top tier content I must say. Definitely going the artist path.
The final person in the back row is yet another boy. And the sole problem of my class. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to break the rule of having at least one delinquent in your group.
Short blond hair on the sides of his head and spiky, pulled up top with dark, dyed tips. Pretty handsome, mature and manly face as for a nineteen-year-old. Worthy of being called the next Tim Voyage somewhere in the future.
Wearing ripped jeans with some chains at the side and a black sweatshirt with a yellow Metallurgy logo. He has a pretty firm figure. Not as chiselled as Paul, but still fit enough to win girls over, parading without the top covered. His father is a big figure on the streaming platform T-watch.tv and his mother is a singer. I guess it’s one of these cases where a child without enough attention from the parents becomes an attention-seeking delinquent. His name is Kamil Lewandowski. Like that famous football player.
But enough of the compliments. Sitting in his chair like the whole world is his property, he is completely oblivious to what is happening around him. I’ve seen this gaze out of the window many times already.
Looking straight at this punk I pick up a rubber eraser lying on my desk. And while tossing it up and down in my hand I call to him.
No reaction. He’s still deep in his thoughts. Everyone starts looking his way, already experienced enough to figure out what’s going to happen.
Without much care, like it’s a daily thing for me, I throw the eraser, with perfectly calculated force, straight at his forehead, hitting the target without a millimetre of error.
“Kurwa!” he shouts, startled, and glares my way rubbing his forehead.
“Twoja stara to dziwka.”
“Look now. I get it, we're all geniuses here, but not everyone has to know every language in the world. That’s why we speak English in this class. So, care to translate for others?”
I already know what he meant. If it’s not obvious enough, he’s Polish. And that’s actually one of the languages I picked up in the past. Looking at it now, I know all of my students' national languages besides Marcia’s, which is Portuguese. How and why? Well, I always had a knack for languages and loved learning them. I finished my uni with German, Japanese, French and a bit of Chinese already. Picked up Polish solely for the memes and out of boredom.
Anyway, we don’t keep that usual, tense atmosphere in my class. I like to be on the same level with my students, thus they all know swearing is not something I abhor. We even throw casual insults at each other from time to time, with a joking undertone and a grain of salt obviously. As an elite teacher, basically a private tutor, I have free reins over my class, with just some typical, content-based guidelines.
Kamil, knowing I’m not going to let it go, complies with my request. A rogue smirk appears on his face.
“Your mother is a whore.”
Paul snickers and the girls chuckle at that remark. Well, all of them besides Shino. She keeps quiet, and with a slightly annoyed expression, she stares at him.
Everyone falls silent, shocked.
“I’d give you her number, but I don’t think you can handle her blowjobs.”
Within all this silence a muffled giggle can be heard. Everyone turns around to locate the source, which to their surprise is Shino, trying to hide her mouth within the hoodie's sleeves.
Now, now… I know what you think, and no, I’m not one of those transcendent monks of the self-burn order. My mother is literally a whore. A prostitute. Shocking, isn’t it? Thus, I’m immune to this kind of insults. Why is everyone silent and shocked while Shino is giggling? Well, she’s the only one who knew of that little fact beforehand.
Kamil clicks his tongue in defeat. Score for me.
“Now then. With that out of the window, here’s an exercise for you. Your company is manufacturing pressure tanks, compressor units, safety gauges and spare parts for these. You are providing the services of transportation, technical consultation and additionally, you recently picked up a hotel with a restaurant. I’m not going to list the clients you usually supply, because that would take too long, so let’s just say you have local and foreign clients interested in your products. Please, suggest your idea of creating Strategic Business Units appropriate to your situation.”
And with that, a minute in silence passes. Then another. And one more. Kamil’s eyes wander all over the e-board, trying to figure out the correct answer. But it doesn’t look like I’ll hear even a try at it.
Shino raises her hand. “Carter-sensei! May I answer this question? There’s no need to waste any more time of your lesson,” she speaks up quietly, earning herself a glare from a certain guy.
Now then, some may wonder why she is using foreign words coming from Japanese while we all are speaking English here, and so did I in the past, but it's not due to her being that kind of obsessed otaku which is usually found around. She has a strong sense of respect and it's all thanks to the very royal environment she had grown up in.
As she once explained to me quite shyly, she believes that the English language doesn't do justice in showing respect to others and thus she still inserts these formal additions into most of her speech, unless it's improper to do so. Everyone quickly got used to that and it became something normal in our small classroom.
Anyway, let's turn the spotlight to her.
“Naturally. Remember, there are no wrong answers here. There may be inefficient ones, but still, we are here to learn.”
“Okay. So… First I’d create an SBU A for the production of spare parts for all of our products. Next would be SBU B, C and D responsible for manufacturing the main products. Hmm… I’d throw transportation services into two SBUs, E and F, one for local and the other for foreign operations. As for technical consulting, one SBU is fine, I think, so that would be SBU G. And finally, since hotel and restaurant services are immobile, a single SBU H, for local usage is enough. Would… would that be fine sensei?”
Following through her whole suggestion, I can’t stop myself from feeling more and more proud of the fact that she managed to create a pretty much perfect answer. Obviously within the provided information, which was very vague. BUT. That doesn’t matter. Trying not to look like a villain with a beaming smile over his world-ending creation, I reply.
“Beautiful! That was a great example of how you can create SBUs in the given scenario.”
Shino not-so-stealthily pumps her fist behind her laptop and smiles back at me.
「Seriously, she can be such a cutie sometimes.」
“Ummm… Is it okay to lump all of the services into one SBU, as the one to be fully responsible for them, maybe besides the hotel? I don’t think it is necessary to split them for foreign clients. And instead of creating an SBU for the spare parts of all products, have the SBUs which hold that exact product to focus on its spare parts too?”
Natalie chimes in, tapping on her tablet. I come closer to her desk so that I can take a look at what she is pointing. With a quick glance, I can see that she sketched an alternate plan, just as she described.
“Yes, it looks quite good. By that, I don’t mean it’s worse than Shino's. The description I provided obviously lacks some more detailed information, thus in the given state both of your answers are correct. Good job Natalie.”
I stroll back to my desk, feeling proud since 2 of my students tackled the problem out of their own volition and even provided satisfactory solutions.
“So yeah, just remember there are no perfect ways to utilize SBUs and it all depends on the amount of data you gather in the research beforehand.”
I sit in my chair in a perpendicular position to them so that I can see both the students and the board. I wave my hand.
“With that accent, let’s finish this class. There’s no point in me keeping the monologue up while you are clearly starting to get bored. We are pretty much caught up with the schedule, so it’s fine to end a little bit early. I hope to see all of you tomorrow!”
Everyone starts stuffing their bags, backpacks, or other containers with whatever items they brought in, which is actually not that much since, besides tablets and laptops, lots of stuff is at their everyday use inside the desks.
Naturally, the troublemaker darts off to the entrance first, followed by Marcia and Paul. Meanwhile, I slowly turn off all the devices around. After I finish, only Natalie and Shino are still standing by my desk.
“Some questions? Or perhaps you have something to discuss with me?”
“Thank you for today, sensei. As usual, your lectures are very easy to follow. There’s no way they are boring.”
Shino bows lightly in front of me and Natalie chimes in. The usual polite, Japanese bow you see everywhere.
「Ah… My job is really the best… Who has never dreamt of being on a receiving end of such courtesy from a Japanese cutie… I’m really blessed. Now, if only she had one of those iconic uniforms with a short skirt, black stockings and…
Okay, stop. No fantasizing about real people. You have plenty of material for that at home. You have to protect the cute not lewd it. Well, that's certainly hard when in front of a beauty with like 160cm in height and a decent chest… Again! Fuck! Cute girls are just too strong! Clear thoughts…」
“There’s no need for that Shino. You know I consider us all equal and friends. I’m glad to hear that I’m doing a fine job. Now, don’t waste your precious time on this old geezer and go have some fun.”
I stand up and give them a nice smile.
“Mou~ But you are only twenty-seven years old, sensei. You are basically in your prime.”
Unexpectedly Shino tries to make her best pouting face. Why tries? Because that’s not something that comes to her naturally and I’m pretty much aware of the fact that she knows I was a deep weeb in my teens. Still smiling, I pat her head and ruffle her hair a bit. She’s a nice height for that. Oh, I’m 177 cm by the way. Not the highest tree in the park, but that never bothered me.
She steps away visibly blushing.
「Oh? Now that I see her expression, maybe she can naturally pout?」
“Sorry, you are just too cute. And besides, that’s still a decade more than you. Go now, you both should spend your time amongst friends, not with some cringy old man. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Shino, slightly discontent with the whole situation, leaves. Natalie chuckles a bit and follows her shortly.
「Now, time to finally go home… My emporium, my den, my mancave is waiting for me… Ah! Today’s the day when the next chapter of The Fourth Pillar arrives! It ended at quite a spicy moment! Onwards!」