Journey to a fake city (Halle or Halle)- The journey continues

When my Mexican friend uttered those five fateful words “I will never smile again”, we were taken aback and as you would have expected we burst out in laughter. This is the situation about which philosophers often narrate, that if you want to smile, you can smile even in the worst situation. However the laughter was short lived, because we really wanted to watch the tennis match and had to come up with a backup plan. Never mention the word backup plan or brain storming to a bunch of MBA students, because once they hear these words they think about every possible thing except the one that actually can be done. Unfortunately, I created the mess by mentioning those accursed words “backup plan”, in a moment we had five suggestions ranging from how sunk costs needs to be ignored to going to the fake Halle and spending the weekend. My Mexican friend by this time was almost in tears, and thought his childhood dream of watching the tennis match at Halle will come to a crashing end. It is just like I read in the stories, when all that you held dear in your crazy life comes to a momentary halt that you realize that everything in life is unfair. But complaining will not solve the problem and that is a lesson my Mexican friend understood better than anyone there in the group. Finally the other Mexican friend (who we call Jack) came up with the only sensible idea, let’s rent a car. Those were the magical words that energized the entire team and called us to unite for a common cause “a trip to real Halle”. Sometimes you wonder why leaders cannot come up with such magical words. I realized my second lesson, that participation in class discussion is good (helps some people get grades), but what really matters is participation outside the class. This was one of many such participation by our Mexican friend Jack and we really appreciate him for coming alive in the trip. Immediately, the action started, after scouting across three car rentals, we found the car that would take us to Halle, but time was running out as our Mexican friend really wanted to watch the first semi-finals.  The Car trip could have been the most memorable one in our lives, because in the first two minutes of the drive, we could have been killed three times. I for a moment could see the sky opening wide with outstretched arms to welcome these travelers to the fake Halle. The car journey was also something unique because the driver had an international license, but was driving as if he would do in a local Indian town. This was when I learnt my third lesson, when you split responsibility and delegate without accountability, you can be sure the line between heaven and hell is very thin. After those closed calls, we decided it was time for a change of leadership, so we demoted the man with the international Indian license and nominated Jack with the Mexican license. Surprisingly, we never were in a close call again, however we were on the road to real Halle with the only problem instead of two hours the journey will now take 2 days and no one realized it.

More to continue on the German trick word that almost changed our lives forever, illuminating McDonald’s stopover and the tennis match itself…



Journey to a fake city (Halle or Halle) for a Tennis Match

I have often heard people say that a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. My journey started with a single step as well, but it was a wrong one. It was a warm day and rushed out of my place all excited to go watch a tennis match at Halle. As I boarded the train, one of my friends, who was supposed to travel with me showed up in the station. He was surprised to see me and told me that the trip might not happen as there were two Halle’s and the room bookings were done in the wrong Halle. He continued with this exciting news and told me that the real Halle that we were supposed to go was four hours drive and the train tickets were as expensive as the tickets for the tennis match and there was no way we could get there on time. He even asked me what I would do in this situation and asked me to come up with a strategic solution to the problem. I thought to myself what was wrong with him, both of us are in the same situation and he speaks to me as if I was not connected to the incident. For a moment, I even thought he was drunk. As I was thinking that nothing can beat this, he said bye to me and informed that he is going to meet our other friends. I asked him, why did he wish me bye and he looked puzzled and said that he is going to Halle and asked me where am I going. Apparently he had no clue that I am supposed to travel with him. This is the first lesson I learnt from this incident, before you talk about where you are going and the problem please check with the other person what the hell is he doing there in the first place. This was not the situation to meditate on learning so I informed him and we rushed to meet our fellow travelers.

Not surprisingly the journey team comprised of two Mexicans and three Indians, you might be wondering, what else can you expect from such a team except a failed plan. Hold your biases for a moment, because what happened next was the best part, when my Mexican friend said that he will never smile again in his life if we couldn’t make the trip on time. It was crisis of epic proportion.

What did we do? Did we make it to Halle wait for the next part… will continue…


Angela in Wunderland

Interesting Economist article about the German economy. I’d recommend a closer look at “Hidden Champions” about Germany’s unknown SME world beaters.

But to get a job in the SME sector, you need to speak German. Watch this space for an innovative tie up between ESMT and the Goethe Institute Berlin for applicants for the 2012 MBA. Info coming next week.