Friday, April 22, 2011

Crossroads ...

Growing up in a small town in South India, traveling by train was the affordable and preferred means of long distance travel. Since the town itself only had trains to a few larger cities, one typically had to take a train to one of the larger cities that was a hub and then transfer over to another that took one to the desired destination. It was an interesting experience traveling with people planning to go North, West and East on the same train, all waiting to reach the hub. On getting there, people took breaks, stretched out, exchanged contact information with newly formed friends and moved on to the next train.

The first year at Wharton felt a lot like that. We came into class 36 with several destinations in mind – investment banking, consulting, marketing, entrepreneurship – and traveled this journey together to the end of year one; getting to know a bit more about other destinations that you may not travel to on this journey, listening to the excited voices of other passengers talk about the exciting vistas they plan to travel to and wonder if your destination sounded too ordinary in the face of that.

Having reached the crossroads now, it is time to pick one’s destination. And catch the right train. Some of the passengers who came with you so far will follow you through to your electives, new learning teams will be formed and new seating preferences sealed. But all that's for another day. Now's the time to rejoice over the journey behind us, for the year that whizzed past in a crazy stream of hyperstimulated consciousness. What better way to do that than a class toast to seal the deal?

We had corporate finance finals as well as marketing strategy finals to close the term. We had an exciting farewell to SABRE as the winners were announced to an Oscar-like suspense-filled crowd. The winners won the adulation and cheers of the cognoscenti that knew what it took to win the crown. The losers trash-talked each other in jest about how badly they performed. It was a fun exercise that will definitely be missed. Relief was writ large on every face on Saturday, as a grueling Term 3 came to an end. Congratulations to all class 36ers for staying the course and fighting it out to the end - its an amazing achievement that I'm sure all our predecessors would be proud of as well!

Meanwhile class 37 is ramping up to make its history.  We're all meeting with different subsets of them and responding to their questions and concerns and helping them make the right decision about which MBA program to join in case they are undecided. Good luck to all of you as you start your journey! I look forward to a few of you stepping up to share your thoughts on this blog.

The Bard said "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well It were done quickly". But alas one can only wish for speed and there are always consequences to the choices one makes to apportion time between life's commitments. Henceforth, you would be hearing less from me on this blog for a while, and I look forward to hearing the voices of other members of class 36 that will lend more color, excitement and perspective to this blog.

It has been a wonderful year, and thank you all for sharing the journey!


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