There is a chaat (Indian fast food, spicy or sweet, hot or cold, but always delicious) joint on Fergusson College Road back home in Pune called Manmeet. The reason I am starting this post with reminisces of time spent there is because today I tried something I haven’t had till now – rice had with ready-to-eat Rajma Masala by ITC. It’s the ready-to-eat part that I haven’t had before. I always expected ready-to-eat stuff to have tonnes of preservatives. However, ITC uses some new technology developed by DFRL and DRDO to pack ready-to-eat meals without using preservatives. This dish of Rajma Masala and rice brought back memories of Manmeet and my favourite paani-puri and gajar-ka-halwa and jalebis and masala-doodh and of Mukesh Yadav – that fabulous cook who prepares those delicious jalebis.
Back to Cranfield – the first term of the one year MBA at Cranfield came to an end on Thursday 21st December. We had one week of Project Management which ended with a project management simulation. Remember I told you about we going through this simulation with a new learning team? Well, my new team bonded well, infact very well. We were not bogged down with adjustment issues. This is partly due to the emphasis Cranfield places on team building, but more importantly due to the focussed and dedicated people who believe in teams and make my new team.
We came up with a great plan, the result of hours of work, and for the most part of the simulation, implemented it well. There was a last minute change in the scope of work – which we incorporated into our plan very efficiently. Two of our team (Adrian and Ravi) were taken away, substituted by two fellow MBA students (Kevin and Manish) from a different stream, and they were great too. We had established a system of double checking decisions and that had resulted in us being comfortably placed financially. Then we got complacent and made one tiny error – we lost track of how many workers we had on site and ended up firing all our labourers. This launched us into deep trouble orbit and we had to sit without work progressing for some time. We never recovered from this – we ended up making a loss.
Looking at the bright side of things, I believe we as a team learnt more from this simulation than others – we learnt the importance of keeping track of everything the hard way, and none of us are likely to forget the damage one tiny error can cause. We also learnt that we can plan very well, and when we keep our focus, we can be well ahead of the task. Then, after the simulation, we had to make a presentation – which ofcourse we did well. Although I must say that presenting to a class full of dead tired MBA students – and getting them to listen and clap and laugh with you – is a hard ask.
The presentation is also an important learning point for me – personally. For the first time in my life – as far back as I can remember, I was too tired and let that get to me. At the end of our presentation, Rohit, a fellow MBA student – whom I truly respect – asked a question. And I snapped at him. It took time for me to realise what I had done, immediately after which I apologised to him, but hey! What was I thinking? What had happened to me? He had a perfectly valid question, he had every right to ask, and I snap at him! I don’t do this – it is not me. The learning here is ofcourse something that I have always followed – treat other people as you would like them to treat you. Always, no matter what you think you have gone through.
Then in the evening, we had our Christmas party at the CMDC, most of the MBAs were in attendance, along with partners, a few alumni, teachers and the Grad Admin ladies. The Cranfield MBA band - The Oligopolists - made its first live performance. The highlight - for me - was when a fellow MBA student - John - sang (!) (tried to sing – but don’t tell him that), with Steve on the guitar, a song that summed up the first term in a humorous way – from the students point of view. We all said our bye byes for the Christmas break, and then, late in the night, I returned to my hired university accomodation to rest my tired self. It has been a great first term spent in Cranfield, and I have enjoyed every single moment here.