Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mind over matter ...

It feels good to be back home, a day after possibly the longest day we will have in the program. For most of us, yesterday began really early (for some the night before ended very late). We had classes from 9.30-12.30, 1.30-4.30, 4.45-6.45 and to top it all, a two-hour exam on leadership from 7.30-9.30 where we had to write essays on leadership related issues based on cases we had learnt. Did I mention that we had two homeworks assignments due as well?

 Hats off to fellow 36ers who survived the day and came out unscathed. Many of us went back and celebrated at the Wharton Pub at the end of it all. The day started with Bretton Woods and the Big Mac Index, gained momentum with Monte Carlo simulations and exotic option pricing, and led us into dinner with volatility smiles and Mahalanobis distances. If you didn't follow me through the end of that sentence, not to worry. I didn't either - now the lecture notes would have to rescue me. After all that, we got time to hurry and huddle together for a quick dinner and then take the test of our lives. I don't think I've written so much since my English exam in 12th grade, where I had to critique Pygmalion, Lord of the Flies and Macbeth over three hours. Since then, laptops arrived and the clickety-clack of the keyboard has replaced writing for most of us. Getting my fingers and shoulder used to writing for that long again was definitely an interesting experience. Studying for the test was a worthwhile exercise as well, tying together the different concepts we learnt in the leadership class.

In the middle of all this, several of my classmates were busy preparing to deliver their presentations for the International Study Tour choices. This year the top three contenders were Turkey, China and Brazil. The extent of research done by the teams and the quality of their presentations was just remarkable! These guys should work the tourism departments of those countries. Thank you guys for giving us a quick crash course on the business potential and party potential of all these countries. Whichever we end up picking, I'm sure that many of us would visit the other options as well in the future, so we will rely on your expertise and contacts to guide us then.

And just when I thought that class 36ers (yours truly included) had minds of steel that could conquer it all, today put things in perspective. Unfortunately, the day began with one of our faculty having a medical emergency and canceling his session in the morning. While we had a joint session for the other class in the morning, we waited to hear that he was well and was going to be taking time off to rest and recover while we figure out how to reschedule the class. But he had other ideas. He rushed out of the hospital at the first chance he got back to campus, so he could teach us what would be one of the most interesting topics we have covered in the class so far. Despite appearing to be tired, it was clear how excited he was to teach the same topic that he has probably taught to Wharton students for decades. The commitment, dedication, and pure mastery over the subject were just inspiring to watch and an experience to be part of. We all wish him the best of health and speedy recovery!

In journeys like this one, it is often the quality of the minds (like the one above) that you encounter that matter. The nuances of their commentary, the sophistication of their world view on their subject matter, their keen senses of humor - these are experiencies that will get etched in our memories forever. For that, I'm glad to be back in school, and to be back at a place like this where one sees the mind transcending physical limits and achieving what one would think was not possible.

1 comment:

  1. Life is really hard, we i read your article i realized same with my life, work, eat sleep nothing else, we came in the world to those stuff only.

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