Shailendra Nama









By Shailendra Nama

On a journey!

It’s been around 6 months from when I was offered a place on the Oxford MBA and 3 months from when I accepted it. My (and most of the folks around) first impression of Oxford was this:


And now, in another week I reach Oxford and in another two I start a fascinating journey with 339 wonderful folks. This is one of the mesmerizing views of the place I will be spending the next year.


Despite the satisfaction of an incredible destination, my last four-week stretch post moving out of my lovely job has been full of hustles. List of errands, pending pre-requisites, roof searching, a lovely family and lip smacking food has been keeping me surprisingly occupied. The last wonderful thing I wrote was an algorithm code for handling inventory replacements. Switching back to write mode has been more herculean than understanding the judgement calls on Brexit.

The first time, as I recollect, I thought about doing an MBA was around 7 years ago. There were several not so convincing superficially thought reasons for pursuing an MBA. Over the course of these 7 years, I realized some super convincing reasons to pursue an MBA, secured offers from some of the top 10 Indian B-Schools to decline them eventually, and improved at being a responsible human being (and not being human).

So, background check is done?! The right time to cut cords with ‘I’ and ‘me’ content before you shun this post by judging it as another self-boasting-bragging piece of write-up. Let’s talk about the key takeaways which might be helpful to people in their transformational journey.

1. Nay:

Statistically, the chances of you getting something effortlessly are highest when you are least interested in it. And a lot of times the game is saying no to this and continuing in your quest for the bigger victory. Well, it gets tricky when you have to say no to that super-saver Amazon deal or the Girl With a Dragon Tattoo or your favorite double-cheese-burst pizza or the b-school offer you might not ever be able to convert again. Trust me, saying no at some of these points has been the biggest pump-up for my motivation hormones, keeping me focused throughout.

“If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely. Are you ready to begin?”

2. Fight:

There is competition everywhere and it is fierce. It becomes Google’s share to the power Uber’s valuation tougher (now you know I am from tech) if you are an Average-General-Indian-engineer-middle class-male. But, to win this battle you are not competing with the sharpest, the fastest, the richest or sharmaji’s son (an Indian imaginary student, created by Indian parents, who is successful in everything). You are competing with yourself. You need to understand your strengths. You need to defeat yourself. You need to beat your weaknesses.

“You have to fight and win. There is no middle ground; either don’t throw any punches, or strike hard and end it quickly.”

3. Responsibility:

“All Rhodes scholars had a great future in the past.” This is such a powerful statement especially when you are going to attend an institute like Oxford. Remember, great institutions provide an opportunity to prepare you for the best, but the magic wand lies in your hand to cast the correct spell at the correct place at the correct time.

Credentials can open doors. But don’t let them become an end in themselves. Each community, region, group, individual today has some issues that needs to be fixed. If you are able to read and infer this, you owe a liability in fixing those issues. That’s where you change the world and create a legacy to be followed.

An MBA school, as said by a wise man, can simply be looked upon as a higher education place where people who had big plans in high school get stuck in fierce rivalries with equally smart peers over conventional careers like management consulting and investment banking.

Jot this down in the solid state part of your limbic system. I know all you MBA aspirants and candidates want your MBA to be more than this. Something which upgrades you to a better version. Something which transforms the life of people you love. And something which leaves a long lasting impact for coming generations to cherish.

Stating one of my motivation mantra that keeps me sane:

“Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”


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