Monday, August 15, 2011

Of Added Value, Lakeside BBQs And More

The following article, capturing my first couple of months at Kellogg, was published in my Financial Times blog today. Reproducing without any edits.


Before I reached this pleasant university town of Evanston I had heard a lot about the ‘global exposure’ that a Kellogg MBA provides. However it wasn’t until the 86 of us, from 26 different countries, were put in a room that the word ‘diversity’ assumed a real form. We have an ophthalmologist, an Olympic participant, a few that have served their national armies, some entrepreneurs, a fruit marketer and a fruit exporter (they had a lot of notes to exchange), a Jeopardy champion and a crazy, funny Belgian, as well as a host of equally fascinating people among us.

Suhel Banerjee in class
Classes started where our undergrad ones had finished, conveniently forgetting the fact that most of us had lost all touch with books for at least five years! The first few weeks were spent in trying to keep terms such as “added value” and “value added” at arm’s length from each other.
We learnt how a fat boy in a hike is actually a bottleneck in a manufacturing operations process and spent time in malls taking notes of how different brands organise their clothes in stores, as well as paying attention to the distinct sounds and smell in every store. The one woman in our team of three was of the opinion that we spend a few days instead of hours in the store for best observations. She was overruled.
Personally the highlight has been that I now have friends from all over the world, including countries such as Venezuela, Slovakia and Peru, places which I mostly associated with the soccer world cup and Miss World pageants. Oh, and of course the food! How could I forget the lakeside barbecues.
This past weekend we organised a ‘Global Food Festival’ where we had food stalls from India, Korea, Israel, France, Brazil, Chile, Holland and many other countries. All the food was prepared by the students and their partners and what an evening it was! Takeaway from the evening, the Brazilians get quite mad if you call their mojitos anything but caipirinhas!

The August 2011 global cuisine festival
It’s almost surreal that we’ve already completed two months of our one-year programme, and with the end of the first quarter coming up this week we are almost quarter MBAs!
Looking forward to the coming months, and am shocked to find out that what is described as summer here in Chicago, is what is described as a mild winter in most places of India.


PG said...

I love this article! so fascinating and envy inducing all at the same time, Suhel!

Suhel Banerjee said...

Why don't we have you guys over sometime soon Ma'am?