Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Its been 3 Years!

When I woke up today, I got a knacking feeling that today is a special day.
Putting my thinking caps on, I wondered what’s so special about today. Isn’t today just another mundane Tuesday where I continue spreading the evils of consumerism by selling more useless stuff to Americans who probably don’t need it at the first place.
And then this realization hit me. It’s the June 26th. My first thought was – Gosh!!! Is it already 3 years?? Wow!! Three years since we started our journey towards the best days of our lives.
Rolling back 3 years, on 26th June 2009, a gang of wannabe MBAs embarked at the Beijing airport. They were a gang of over-enthusiastic, inquisitive and idealistic students who were in fantasy land. They didn't know that in the next 15 months, some would find everlasting love, some exciting lucrative careers and all of them would  find friends who would last a life time. Little did they knew that they were starting upon a journey which would forever change their lives. 
The gang was Nikhil, Hitesh, Karan, Mohit, Asanka,Aakanksha and me. I wrote about each one of them on June 26th, 2010 when we completed a year so will not describe what Asanka or Mohit or Nikhil are all about. If you want to know more, click here - http://blog2glory.blogspot.com/2010/06/its-been-year.html however, I would recommend you to read on …
So what were we in Beijing for ?? To learn Mandarin prior to commence our Masters degree in Business Administration from University of Hong Kong and London Business School for the class of 2009-10.
Not sure how much Mandarin we learnt, but we definitely learnt all about the party scene in the city. I am confident that most of us faintly remember any Mandarin, however we definitely remember Papparazzi and Ganges!!
Beijing was all about hunting to find vegetarian food, partying, hunting to find more vegetarian food and testing our disastrous culinary skills. So, after a month long ‘Chinese cultural exploration’ in Beijing, we finally were on our way to Hong Kong to start the academic part of the MBA.
With fierce ambitions and sparkling dreams, we reached Hong Kong aspiring to be the next Finance Gurus and Business Tycoons. What happened next was a roller coaster ride – one you will experience only when you are out of your comfort zone in a remote country.
With one step inside the Hong Kong airport, we already knew that next few months are going to one cracking time. While Beijing was distant and unemotional, Hong Kong had its own charm. It was vibrant, lively and very cosmopolitan. We all were so looking forward to experience and drink into this vibrance
The opening to our MBA was at a swanky Marriot hotel and we got an indication that we will be treated well during this course. After inspirational speeches by the Dean and Head of Department, we were very tactfully given our course material and schedules. MBA was busy, but we did found time to follow our passions. Some went hiking through the fantastic trails around the island, some preferred sleeping off to de-stress the grueling hours and some liked to explore this never ending puzzle called Hong Kong. I belonged to the latter group and looked forward to every Sunday when I would experience Hong Kong at its fullest.  Not to forget that every Friday night was a night VERY well spent at LKF for memorable times with the gang!
The gurudwara, harbor near Wah Ming, Starbucks inside HKU, Bossini in Causeway Bay -  these were all routine places but held special emotional attachments to our lives. 
The irony of a 14 month MBA is that you lose track when does it start and when does it end. Soon, we were packing our bags to start our next leg which was a 3 month course at London Business School. If our time at Hong Kong University was excellent, the English Pundits will have to create another 'far superior word to excellence' to define our experience in London. LBS is the top ranked B school in the world so we were sure that we will be challenged academically. What we didn’t know was that the school very seriously believed in the proverb that “All work and No play makes Jack a dull boy”. What could have been a bigger example than having a pub inside the campus and getting free drinks every Thursday!!! Not only did we thoroughly enjoy our experience at LBS, we made sure to tour across UK and Europe in those 3 months. Some went to Greece, some went to Paris and careless people like me who didn’t apply for the Schengen visa, had to compensate with visiting around UK which I did extensively.Once the London chapter was over, we did come back to Hong Kong briefly for one last MBA course to Shanghai before we could finally say … YEAH It’s over.
During the MBA, every night before a project or assignment submission when we would be severely time constrained and behind schedule, we would swear at our wretched decision to join this MBA. However the night when we were suppose to submit our final project, none of us wanted to finish this assignment. That night, it was not about grades or marks at all, It was all about wanting to live another night as students… as MBA students at HKU.
Once, the MBA was over, everyone took to the frustrating path of looking for jobs. Some were lucky to get jobs in Hong Kong while some had to globe trot to build their careers in Singapore, Mainland China or India. Nikhil left HK to look for opportunities in Mumbai. With a very heavy heart, we let him board his flight to India. He was first to go, followed by me and finally a few more. 
On 30th November 2010, it was time for our graduation ceremony. Most of us made it here from around the world and it was absolutely amazing to meet the HKU MBA students of 2010 whom we had gradually learnt to call family.
That was  was November 2010… When I think about it in June of 2012, all this seems so fresh in my mind. In the last 18 months, so much has changed. Many of us got married including Hitesh, Mohit, Shuchi and Dipti while many of us are on our paths to realizing our professional dreams. Nikhil is turning into a hot shot Investment Banker in Mumbai while Hitesh is attaining ground breaking success as a trader. Asanka has found his solace in his role at HSBC while Aakanksha is achieving greater heights as a Financial Analyst at Intel. Mohit got married this year and is enjoying his extended honeymoon while Karan recently got engaged to Jessica whom he had met at our student boarding in London.
When I look back to our time as students in Beijing, Hong Kong and London, I realize that what we had back then, was something extra special. Something so rare and so special, that it comes to us once in a lifetime. Today, all of us are on our paths to family, success and glory but during this journey I hope that we don’t fade away from each other’s lives. Today, let’s live these memories and hope that there will be more new ones to cherish for a life time.    

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