This letter is meant for all students who would soon be joining the MBA class of 2016-18 or the graduate class of 2016-20. It is personal. It is heartfelt.
You would soon be getting into a great B-School. Very soon, you will have a peer group that is intelligent, smart, young and with an aggressive attitude. The next 18 -21 months will determine your future, in the professional sense. However, this letter of mine is to determine your personal life, to determine your own personality. As you sit at the cusp of your dreams becoming a realty, here is my bit of advice:
1. Increasingly, the difference between personal and professional is narrowed down. Attitude, integrity, truthfulness, boldness etc. don’t change no matter the situation. Rather, it must not change. What you are is what you must live, behave and breathe – in every and all situations.
2. Have a voice. If you don’t have one, Find your voice in the next two years. You can debate without being defiant. Never be scared of voicing your opinion. People who don’t have an opinion will remain in the fringes, always doing others bidding. Leaders have an opinion, and those who don’t have one just become followers.
3. Get noticed. Let every one know your true personality through your acts, your opinions, your voice, your deeds. If you act against your own conscience, that will also get noticed. If you are silent when the need is to speak up, that will also get noticed. So, get noticed for what you want to be.
4. Pick your battles. There are some battles that are not worth your time, and some that are worth all your time. You can pick only so many battles to fight. Choose them carefully.
5. Don’t compromise on your principles. Don’t get into the habit of buying peace. It will cost you your personality. Slowly it will eat into your pride. Over a period, you will not be your own but moulded to what others want you to be. You will are soon be a puppet. Don’t be a puppet.
6. Live a truthful life. Never tell a lie. There is no reason good enough to tell a lie. Do only those things that you can tell the truth and never do anything that will want you to lie.
7. At home, at office, in your neighbourhoods and in the society – take a stand. Always be seen with what is right and condemn what is wrong. Don’t be silent. Don’t pass it over. In every conflict, there is one party that is more right than the other. It can be within your family, within your office, within your neighbourhood etc. At least voice your opinion. Let the incident not pass. It is the only way to build a great family, a great office and a great neighbourhood. If you love them, tell them the truth, even if it hurts or gets you into trouble or loses you some relationships. Truth is bitter but needs to be told.
8. Be humane. Feel the pain of others. Have empathy. Don’t just sympathise. When some one is suffering, you must move to alleviate that suffering.
9. Find your own small zone that gives you satisfaction and happiness. You don’t need to be an activist to make a difference. Wherever you are headed, ensure that you are transparent, honest and fair. That way, you will be punishing dishonest people and promoting honest people. It will give you immense satisfaction.
10. Lastly and most importantly, develop friends, nurture relationships, cherish these moments. You will be living with friends in a hostel, possibly for the first time. These friends will stay with you. Many years from now, we will not be around but these friends will be standing next to you.
May you be the best that you want to be, can be and will be, when you pass out as class of 2016-18.