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

Archive for March, 2013

Reflections from Heartbreak Hill …

Image

Three more weekends to completion. Seven more days of classes. And then its done. Hard to believe, hard to wrap my head around. Life has been so busy since the program began! As we head towards the finish line, sure enough comes Heartbreak Hill to make things harder. A busy-as-hell three-day weekend of classes coming up this week with tons of deliverables. As we huff and puff along, this uphill climb needs more energy than what our tired limbs have .. so we’re taking it one step at a time up the hill..

So many things happened since I applied to the program. I changed jobs and joined a startup which at that time had two founders and a Series A check. Moved two homes. Had a baby. Took a year off from the WEMBA program to spend more time with my kids. Moved from engineering to product management. Joined the leadership teams for the Wharton Nonprofit Board Leadership Program and the Energy and Cleantech Club in my first year. Helped organize the first Wharton Social Impact Conference at Wharton SF in conjunction with the Wharton Social Impact Initiative in 2012, and am in the process of helping with the second one with a rockstar team of classmates. Helped put together the Startup Pavilion at the Wharton India Economic Forum 2013. Took part in the Wharton Business Plan Competition and lost. Represented Wharton and won at the Western Regional Finals of the CFA Global Investment Research Challenge 2011 and went all the way to the semi-finals where we lost. Paid forward the amazing help that Wharton students and alums were when I applied by helping others through the process.

I cheered from the sidelines as several classmates carved out their own career paths and built startups, listening to their stories of battle-bruised wisdom and wondering whether I would ever take the plunge myself. I celebrated with my class as people got married, had kids or changed jobs or careers. I spent the year trying to get to know as many of my classmates as possible – I wish had had the full two years.

On the volunteering front, I joined Mindful Schools as a board member and watched it grow so much under an amazing leadership team. Helped start Energize the Chain with Prof. Kent Smetters and Dr. Harvey Rubin and tried to keep pace as an amazingly talented set of volunteers came on board, taking us to so many new directions. Started volunteering with One Million Lights to the extent I could to help donate solar lanterns to thousands of needy children and families. Started volunteering with Milaap Social Ventures to transform lives in India through affordable micro-credit.

And revived my passion for reading books .. and writing and started writing at the class 36 blog and the Wharton Magazine blog and then this one.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a sea of talent around me on every front to make all this happen. Continued support at home to keep me going at breakneck speed through all this while my kids were being taken care of in my absence through all those grueling weekends of school and other evenings and weekends of study team work or assignment deadlines. Study team members and classmates that helped me through the complexities of classes and homework … and organized amazing events and talks to keep us entertained and informed. Inspirational team mates in every one of those non-profits who’s lives I could live vicariously by participating in their work.

Here’s a shout out to all those amazing folks that made this possible .. few more weeks and I will have a lot more time to thank you in person!

Advertisements