Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Condi and Ann - Learning from Practitioners

I was unsure as to whether I can ask one of the most senior executives of HP how it felt not to be nominated as CEO. I was also unsure as to whether I can ask whether recognition and admiration by others has been one of the driving forces in her career. I was also unsure if I can ask about sacrificing family for career.

I asked and Ann Livermore answered. Ann has taught my "Managerial Skills" class and just had lunch with me and four other classmates. She was amazingly open and offered advice to everyone of us. She was also honest about her feelings and emotions. Something very few executives that I have met so far have been. It is amazing that I can have lunch with someone like that if I feel like it. And I am sure that if I had a follow-up question, she would reply my email within 2 hours.

My Next Class
Will be taught by Prof. Condoleeza Rice and therefore by one of the most powerful women on earth. We will talk about the rise of India and China, about foreign politics and about developing economies. On Friday we will discuss sanctioning Iran for their nuclear activities. And she will give her insights how it was negotiating with the leaders of the world. It is amazing to see everyone reading more thoroughly than usual, taking notes and showing up to class five minutes early. Yes, we only have Condi twice this year and yes, she will probably not know by name afterwards. But I will get to sit in the first row and feel immensely privileged.

Both things remind me how great my life is right now. I don't know when I will ever have the chance to be amongst 400 great people, being taught by superstars from academia, business and politics in an environment that does everything to bring the best out of me. It reminds me how little I should care about that consulting mixer where I have to make a good impression or that follow-up email to the engineering student I met yesterday or that Ethics case that I find so boring and don't want to read. Everything will work out, I will have enough money and I can grow as a person.

What better can there be?

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