In the academic circle last lecture is a tradition, where the professor delivers his final lecture to his students, but as a student you can give a lecture, but nobody will listen. Hence, I decided to write my last blog entry of the year. As I began to think on what I should write (in MBA parlance it’s called reflection), only one thought came to my mind and it was about the people, who shared this journey with me.
As I began the journey in January, I knew I will meet a bunch of individuals who will have a different perspective than me. At the end of this journey in December, I can confidently say although there were different perspectives, there was always a converging point. As every journey has its ups and down so did this one, however when you are with people who go the extra mile for you, even the failures were not difficult to accept and move on. The journey was crazy, freaky and even sometimes scary, but it was never mundane and it was this way because of the few noble souls who shared this journey with me. George Washington once remarked “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” and this year was the trial to find those rare few and I can proudly say that I found those rare gems.
As I now move on from the small world that we created as ESMT MBA 2011, there are bigger challenges and even greater opportunities and to both tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities, I know I have my friends by my side. Now what did I get out the journey, did I become wiser than I was before? No. Did I become a better person than I was? Maybe not, however what I did get out of this journey is a few friendships that will last a life-time and no one can better phrase it than the words of Albert Camus when he remarked “ Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” and I can proudly say this journey will continue as we walk forward continuously towards our goals as friends side by side. Finally, to conclude in a few words of what this year meant to me, it is okay to be a rebel, but find a cause worthy enough to rebel for. Carpe Diem.
(The last post)
I once read a famous man remark victory and defeat are two impostors and one should treat both the same. However, when you go to business school you are taught, how to make a winning strategy, how to win a negotiation, how to win a simulation and finally how to win games. It seems almost losing is never an option, but if winning and losing are two sides of the same coin then shouldn’t one learn about losing as well. This idea made me think about when is it good to lose?
After two glasses of tea (due to the unavailability of beer in the college) this is the best I could come up with. When someone comes up with an idea better than yours, it is better to lose than to win. When your team needs to succeed, it is better to lose your individual ego than to win. When your goals conflict with the welfare of the people you love, it is better to lose your goal than to win. When your pursuits make the friendships that you cherish to be lost, it is better to lose your pursuits than to win. When you’re single minded focus takes you away from the vision that you had for yourself, it is better to lose your focus than to win. When your loved ones want to win, it is better to lose than to win. When your defeat provides comfort and relief to the people around you it is better to lose than to win. Above all when your thirst for winning takes hold of your true identity, it is better to lose the thirst for winning than to win. Having said all this, there is only one situation, where winning really matters, it is to keep the people you love and cherish with you through any struggle. Although, I learnt much about winning in the business school, but my process of self realization (luckily without any alcohol) has taught me losing is what makes anyone complete.
It’s been five months since I started my MBA journey and looking back what did I really learn in these five action packed months? Well first, I learned some elegant formulas that can ruin the entire financial system. Second, I learned that it does not matter what one learns about anchoring and its impact on decision making in the classroom, they tend to forget it faster than they learnt it in the first place (This inference is from a practical experiment tried on a sufficiently large sample size, of course some outliers were removed). Three, I learned that competition is not just about winning and losing but it is about playing with the right spirit. Four, success in the program does not guarantee happiness; however failure to do well will certainly lead to sadness (at least to most of the people in this journey)
Now all these statements look very cliché and although all the above mentioned points are important component of an MBA program, what is even more important are the people involved in this journey.
I have met dreamers, realist, philosophers and gamblers, but I have never met all of them in one place and an MBA is the right place to find all of them together. Well for someone, who is reading it might seem like the place with such individuals would be in utter chaos. Yes it is chaos, but it is creative chaos that leads to fruitful outcomes. Besides, this goes to prove the point that there is no single way to characterize a typical MBA. ‘People are who they are’ and in the context of the MBA, it is this trueness that makes this journey and the people involved in it memorable. In six months, this journey will end like every journey does, but the people involved in it will continue to haunt you (couldn’t find a better word) for the rest of your life and this is something worth paying the price for.