A Path with a Heart
The MBA journey (that is what it is, a journey not a destination...Follow on to know more) is something which I have taken after a lot of deliberation. It is important to realise to a few things before we take any step in life. But, the most important part of the decision we need to remember that "is it a journey you will enjoy" or you are taking the decision for some perceived benefit from the destination.
The MBA as we all know is a course which we embark on for a specific reason. The reasons range from,
1. I need a better job.
2. Since everybody is doing it I better do it.
3. I want to enter a specific field.
4. I want to be the CEO/Vp of a organisation.
5. I want to educate myself to be able to be make a difference.
The MBA is not an end, it is a small part of a bigger journey which you have started and it is a tool which will help you "live that journey better".
There are many Why's? for doing an MBA and my Why? is :
I do not see an MBA as an education to manage a business but a "set of codified knowledge" which will help me to create, run and manage varied institutions which will help to bring about change in the society.Atanu Dey writes a wonderful blog post about the Path. He quotes from Carlos Casteneda's The Teachings of don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge:
I can very well relate to this. If you did check my profile, you would know that I worked in ADP, a US based MNC and the largest payroll administrator in the US, in their brokerage services division in Hyderabad for four years managing outsourced projects of the top Investment banks in the US and Europe. Those four years brought me experience, money, a good working environment, one of the best workplaces in India and a great organisation culture. My assignments were successful and it provided me a chance to work in the US of A for a short while. However, something was missing. It was not correct. It did not make me happy and at the end I started cursing my life.
Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you fell you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free from fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is. Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are path going through the bush or into the bush...In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I an not anywhere. My benefactor's question has meaning now. Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
This took a very different turn when I met Rajesh Jain. Rajesh was dotcom millionaire from India who wanted to make a difference to society and the millions of Indians in India. This resonated with me perfectly. I was always wanting to work on something which would make a difference to the teeming millions in India. It does not always mean to eradicate poverty. It could mean things like providing a services at a affordable price so that they can benefit from it. In fact, it can be as small as selling an ice cream for Rs. 1 so that many of the poorest children can enjoy the joy of licking an ice cream.
(In the meantime I started meeting other people who were walking on similar paths and who helped me clarify my goals, my ambitions and my need to live a meaningful life. Some of them are, Robin Good, Bala Pillai, Sepp Hassberger, Edward Hugh from the Living Network, Andrius Kulikauskas of Minciu Sodas)
Rajesh introduced me to Atanu. Atanu is a razor sharp, highly motivated Indian with an extra large dose of empathy who lived a large part of his life in California, USA,. He developed this idea called Rural Infrastructure and Services Commons which if implemented would change the face of rural India and thereby India as a whole.
If I can distill my short experience in the world and put it down : The second most important part of a decision to work, is the "people" you would work with. The first, obviously, would be the work itself. I wanted to join Deeshaa and work with the people whom I would respect and love working with coupled with a great project. There was one caveat though, it was a risky and tough decision to make.
There were a couple of reasons for this. One, I was joining a start up which had a high probability of failure and two, I needed to relocate to the city of Mumbai (Bombay) from the safe haven of Hyderabad (small city, native place, parents, friends). To top it all, I was married. But, the decision had to be taken. Anyway Safe is Risky.
My experience in this one year has been tremendous. I met and worked with one of the most wonderful people I know. The city of Bombay changed my wife, myself and our relationship to the better. A lot of intuitions and thoughts got confirmed and I learnt a lot more about life.
In short, I grew and I loved the work I was doing. In fact, the whole experience made me a stronger and a better person.
I cannot write about the changes I have experienced as a person, but I do want to list some of things I did in this last year.
WorldisGreen.com : My blog on rural India. A one of a kind blog which helped me learn a lot about rural India, its problems and the possible prescriptions. It also connected to lot of people I would not have connected to and it gave me a good online presence.
Deeshaa Network : The Deeshaa group is 11 months old (started on Dec 12, 2003) with a membership of 220+ members from all over world who want to see a better India. I plan to take this forward and connect to more people.
BPODigest.com : I met some wonderful people (Ram Dhan, Sri Hari, Anand....) with whom I launched India's first Interactive portal on Outsourcing. The portal was officially launched by the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Rajashekar Reddy.
The point is : If you follow the path which has a heart then you are guaranteed to enjoy the journey irrespective of the fruits of that journey.