The past week was truly one of the most memorable ones ever, so far. My expectations have again been raised and I expect to witness more of such days in the future. It all began with a Talent Management Forum organized by Dr. Kudisch. Dr. K., as everyone knows him, is a Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow and Senior Executive Education Fellow at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and he takes our Leadership and Human Capital Management course. We have had a fun learning experience with him and he had promised us an opportunity to interact with and know about Leadership and its real time implications in the industry through leaders from the industry. So, on Tuesday, the 28th of October 2008 in Frank Auditorium, between 7 to 9 PM, we got to hear from people from firms as E.K. Fox & Associates, GE, Lockheed Martin, McCormick & Company, Mitre, and M&T Bank. The purpose of the discussion was to highlight the growing trends and human capital challenges facing organizations competing and surviving in a global marketplace regardless of organization size, location or industry. It was truly and engaging and an amazing learning experience. That it was Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, the same day and we were attending a seminar instead of partying is another story. Having spent the whole day in class followed by a professional event in the evening, we had no more time nor energy to go back home and even think of doing something traditional or truly Indian. So, I had some regular Indian food, did the readings for the classes next day and went to bed!
Wednesday was a lot more exciting, especially because it was the Halloween week and the International Club had organized the Halloween Pumpkin Carving Night. We could not dress up appropriately for the event, given that we had classes but we all were in high spirits and excited, for it was the first Halloween for many of us, the first years! After some beer and light chit chat, I formed a team with some friends and grabbed a large pumpkin and the tools to get started on the job.
Many of the classmates had brought their spouse and kids to the event, so the atrium on the third floor of Van Munching hall was more lively than ever, with a lot of bright and cute kids, all in their pretty dresses and accessories. With no idea about how to proceed, I got my hands dirty with the pumpkin and started extracting the seeds and pulp from its insides. I especially enjoyed the part when a toddler kept coming back and smiled looking inside the pumpkin. I wonder what amazing things she was able to see which made her laugh that we grownups couldn’t. Well, we humans do stop appreciating the beauty in small things as we grow up, so I just let her enjoy that part and helped her see whatever she was excited about.
Having spent some time carving pumpkins, it was time for me to attend another event, “Finance in the City,” organized by the Finance fellows and the Smith School’s Women’s Society. The event was put together to help students of the Smith School of Business gain an insight into the strategies required for succeeding in the Finance sector in the current downturn economy. So, I had to leave the Halloween event abruptly to take pictures and notes for my write-up for the article as part of my GA at the Office Of Marketing Communications. I guess, we have to balance it out and cannot have it all. The event turned out to be much more engaging that I had imagined and I did get a lot of insights from the people in the Finance Sector on how the Students could better prepare themselves for getting jobs in the current economic scenario. It was time well spent and a perfect ending to another day of learning.
Thursdays, as always, at least every alternate Thursdays, are days all MBA students wait for. For, it is the day for the MBAA Happy Hour. During the Corporate Finance class just before the “Hour,” we discussed about the value of a Pizza to a person who is hungry, with professor Prabhala, and we realized that most of us had become hungrier than ever. More so because many of us had skipped lunch for lack of time as we had to take print-outs of our Data Modeling assignment due that day. To our surprise we found pizza’s being served, along with the main course, which is of course Beer.
Free Beer is the single most important driver which holds the power to attract MBA students from all nationalities, backgrounds, interests or career goals equally, no matter how much work is pending. A little beer before an assignment could do no harm, trust me. So, beer was flowing all over the place, along with some wine and chips, and the whole Smith MBA community was at its best, discussing anything and everything from politics, to finance, to jobs and what not. With the beer ended yet another day of learning and fun. Hey, I almost forgot, the day ended but the night ahead offered more! The Indian MBA students at Smith, both first and second years had decided to get together on Thursday night at the Club-house at University View apartments to celebrate Diwali. So, after a short break, we were back to what we’re best at, partying. Some of our International friends had joined in too, for who doesn’t like Indian food. So, we had another round of discussions, some good food, few hours of Dumb Charades and another couple hours spent playing the Indian version of Poker. We finally called it a day and returned home at 2 AM that night.
Saturday was no less, for the Student Council of India for the University of Maryland had organized the Diwali Night. So, we had yet another fun filed light, good food, a lot of dancing, Indian style. But, this time I was in traditional attire, the Kurta Pyjama with hand-sewn Jaipuri Jooties, which I had brought especially for this festival, and so was everybody else there. Also, there were some people from other countries who had come dressed in Indian attire and were as involved in the fun as we Indians were. I really admire and appreciate their spirit. So, having spent an entire week, learning concepts and applying some of them outside it, networking and partying, it was the beginning of a weekend which implies different things for different people. Some spend the weekend with the family, some just sleep, some eat some real food, some go out and have some more beer, some just laze around, watch a movie or two, see some exciting place, visit a friend or family. And all this apart from catching up on the studies, doing the readings due for the next week, some assignments, and spending some time on the job/internship search.
Exciting as always!