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THE SLOAN WAR GAMES

Posted by: Ritu

Term 1 ended in a tizzy! I have never had a more challenging academic tenure or a more demanding social life, packed neatly into 3 months. Come April, I packed memories of my Term 1 ‘all-nighters’ in the library and the Windsor Castle pub and headed home. Term 2 will definitely be easier…

Term 2 whizzed past in a ‘motion blur’! The core courses were significantly reduced and my electives occupied a significant mind and time share. Electives meant studying with a new cohort of people – with a new study group of mixed blood… from courses across the school. This was a bitter-sweet experience! The term 1 battlefield was still fresh with blood shed during Sloan study group ‘guns and roses’ sessions. We had called each other names and sworn ‘life-long’ enmity, yet combated deadlines together in the still of the ‘last’ hour, drunken each other under the table and sometimes even found soul mates! And here was this new cohort of young blood (MiMs, MIFs, MBAs and Exec MBAs) to deal with to pass Term 2 electives. Let the war-games begin!

If you have studied business education or worked in a study group before, I have probably lost you to nostalgia already. Some of you might even be calling your soul-mate long distance just about now! So adieus amigos!

For the rest of you, study groups are extremely tricky swamps. ‘No-hierarchy’ flat groups, forced together without any ‘for-profit’ motivations… often resembling ‘headless’ chickens with sharp and shiny canine teeth!

However, interacting with the younger LBS blood in Term 2 study groups made me come face to face with my ‘mirror-mirror on the wall’ moment…

In one’s twenties, a business program mirrors ‘who and what’ to expect in your new workplace and arms you with ammunition to best deal with the external enemy to reach given goals.

At a more mature age (and you thought I would reveal our age? Fat chance!), a business program mirrors ‘who and what’ we have become fighting that workplace. It arms us with ammunition to best deal with the internal strife and redefine goals (as we all know by now – monetary goals are mere carrots; there has to be more to this rat race).

Term 3 will be all about stepping back from the battlefield, arriving at that elusive goal that would probably define a deeper meaning and lunging forward.

As the Sloan class of 2012 dives inward, the clock is relentlessly ticking away and we must remember to savour the last few months with our sworn enemies and soul mates! For, at the end of the day, isn’t that what life’s really about?

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Only a few days ago, all 52 of us sat ensconced in our comfort zones trying to reach out to our to-be classmates, somewhat reticently, on linked-in. Then in January, we all crashed into each other… 51 strangers privy to our dreams and fears, exposed to our lacunas and party to our strengths. Its probably the most naked most of us have ever felt!

But there was another person lurking in the shadows of LT10 (lecture theatre 10). I would catch a glimpse at times, but couldn’t put a name to her face. Oddly familiar…strangely new! The more I was made to introspect, the more familiar this person became. Somewhere in the middle of week 5, I befriended her. I had crashed into myself!

In my hurry-sickness of yesteryears, an almost terminal condition (curable by Sloan I am told!), I had never really gotten the time to sit back and figure out the ‘WHO, WHAT and HOW’ that defined brand ‘me’.

After a few cold Windsor beers on Thursdays, you can often hear a Sloan fellow marvel at ‘how well he/she has gotten to know the 51 others, so soon’. But if you close your eyes real tight (ok I am being a girl here) you will be amazed at how well you are getting to know yourself.

I see my negatives and strive to turn them around. The stuff new age ideal leaders are made of – all in the new me! The Sloan will change me!

But the fact is that I am always a little late! (Personal Development Plan: better time management :()

My dream job, eulogy, timeline…and all the ‘soft’ stuff most investment bankers and consultants hate…reeks of me! So is the challenge really to ‘change’ myself… or is the Sloan really about ‘celebrating’ myself? Strengthen my strengths or weaken my weaknesses?

(Carrie Bradshaw would probably end with that open-ended question!)

I am inclined to work on my strengths. Everyday, the 51others help me find my strengths (and the elusive chalice of leadership :)). I grow in their tall shadow… And celebrate each moment at Sloan 2012.

Yes, the Sloan will ‘celebrate’ me!

My co-author (Lee-Ann) is a strong as nails Colonel (well most of the times!). I crashed into her before I came to London. The electronic media brought us together and we have already built memories together in London that will last a lifetime… Go Colonel…

Read about Lee-Ann’s Sloan journey so far.

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