Musings on books, technology, entrepreneurship, nonprofits and umm.. everything else …

It was Newton who famously remarked that if he was able to see farther that was by standing on the shoulders of giants. The past session at Wharton was a good reminder of that facet of our lives on several fronts.

It was one of the lightest weeks in a long time, given that we had just two days of two classes each. The first evening ended with a partners event at Lucky Strike where we met several spouses and significant others and many children of our classmates as well. It was amazing to see folks driving up with two kids after a day at work, or flying in from another city with an infant to be there for the event. Needless to say, for the parents in the program such as myself, we are in this program because of the unstinting support from our spouses and support system in our homes, that allows us to keep our jobs, be in this program, and be a parent and be part of significant moments in our children’s lives. A big shout out to them, for letting us work towards our dreams and supporting us through it. Also big high fives to the understanding children in our lives that ask us “how come you have a call every night?” yet keep their peace and love us anyway. The success we get out of our careers would owe a lot to these giant shoulders of support and caring within our lives.

In International Corporate Finance, the session was a marriage of international finance topics along with corporate finance. Without questioning the shortcomings of CAPM here, the model itself gives one a great start in terms of asset pricing. Modern finance owes so much to several academics that defined this field and set the foundation to analyze wide-ranging issues with a basic toolset in finance and arrive at results accurate to the first-order. It remains to be seen how far theories based on Gaussian models remain in the mainstream given the past several years of shocks to the financial world that were “black swan” events which may not have fit neatly into these asymptotic or equilibrium models. In our lives, thanks to people like Bodnar, we can actually make more sense out of headlines as the world of finance seems to be shaking at its foundation all around us.

Which brings me to the other class we had this weekend on legal and ethics issues in business. We went over contract law and intellectual property protection.  The class provides great perspective to see the world of business through a different lens – in terms of relationships between the different parties and the implications of actions from a legal and ethical standpoint. As Prof. Werbach mentioned in class, law provides the floor in terms of acceptable behavior, and ethics sets the ceiling. Its pretty interesting to see how often the world stays at the floor, and who the rare leaders are that elevate us to the ceiling on issues that matter. A mentor that sets the stage for us by leading through example often leaves an indelible mark in our lives and makes it easier for us to assume that the floor is just not enough and it doesn’t hurt to aspire for the ceiling in terms of our behavior.

Outside of classes, I managed to get myself out of bed early to join some classmates for a short  three mile run in the morning as well. Its been three years since I put on my running shoes and I pretty much wimped out after 2.5 miles, but man did it feel good to run down Embarcadero on a chilly morning! A big shout out to Tony Fong and the Team Asha program to for bringing running into my life. Granted, I’m a bad example for the program given I don’t run often enough, but I learnt a lot watching so many of my peers scale new heights – be it the Western States 100, Ironman events or just the sheer magnitude of ultra marathons and crazy triathlon events.

Hmm..almost looks like a Thanksgiving post. But can we ever thank people in our lives often enough?

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