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October 13, 2012

Why MBE?

When I am beginning to reflect on what I have learnt so far after the first week of MBE comes to an end, working on my laptop on a Saturday evening, I think of something that I came across whilst I was going through my father’s notes recently. I found that it could in fact be the most truthful account of what I have been learning since I made a conscious choice few years back. Let me share this with you at the end of my reflection.

Being born into a family which placed great emphasis on morals, values and principles, I grew up learning good manners, high social etiquettes, respect for myself and others, honesty, humility, dignity and integrity. Valuing relationships was the fundamental principle taught, learnt and integrated into my system from a very young age. Thus, from early childhood, I realised that I had to live up to my family's ideals and high expectations. These expectations were neither explained through a formal channel, nor taught through any systematic means, but something which I took as a birthright; as a genetic transmission into my anatomy. The mode and means of learning the fundamental concepts of life was simple; it was general observation of life around me. As much as the term ‘high expectations' referred to my personal self and development as a person, it equally referred to my professional career. Everyone I knew, from my grandfather to uncles and aunts, led prestigious professional lives, and therefore it was something that I saw as very natural. Family orientation has been a key aspect of my childhood and life so far, which is why I knew that my personal and professional life will be strictly interlinked. There was a natural and subtle pressure to be highly ambitious.

From wanting to become a Fighter Pilot in the Air Force to a Fashion Designer, my career ambitions had varied throughout childhood and mid-teens. However, despite the adventurous journeys and uncertainties of my naive mind at an early age, there is one thing that has remained strong and consistent throughout life. It is looking at my father as a role model and as an inspirational and hero-esque figure, and aiming to walk in his footsteps.

From an agriculturist family, my grandfather was the first to join the Civil Service. His district administration job took my father to several parts of his home country. My father developed courage to deal with the challenges of their frequent relocations from a very young age and his experience has taught me flexibility, adaptability and change management. He strived to be the top student of every grade and made long time good friends wherever they moved. In March 1981, just two weeks before his secondary school final exam, he had the greatest tragedy of his life with the sudden death of his only sister, a post graduate student of Fine Arts, in a car accident. He was devastated and his dream of getting the School Gold Medal for top position naturally appeared impossible to realise. This time again, he developed the courage and reminded himself of the dream his sister had about his success. He returned to school not to disappoint his parents and the soul of his late sister, who witnessed a few months later that he got the prestigious Gold Medal he had promised for.

I am deeply inspired by my father’s career as a highly accomplished business professional with 22 years of very fulfilling and rewarding career with leading British-American Blue Chip FMCG & Foods companies. He became a board member of Bestfoods at the age of thirty after having worked for Unilever for eight and a half years. This is the kind of professional career I dream of. I believe that studying Management for Business Excellence is increasingly important as we live in a dynamic, evolving and technology advanced world where new global organisational concepts are emerging rapidly. The global business market involves intellectual, creative and emotional challenges, and challenges have always inspired me. The whole idea of carrying a business forward and taking it to new levels fascinates me and I had long aspired to study business excellence at an illustrious academic institution.

Whilst reflecting on my journey and personal development so far, I have realised that life is difficult. I have learnt to accept this fact and this has given me a new perspective in going through my life. I have learnt to accept that life is full of challenges and hard work, along with perseverance, is the key to success. Having high ambitions in life is important and it is imperative to understand that leadership and striving for excellence at both a personal and professional level is a choice - the journey is indeed both difficult and challenging, but the result would be highly rewarding. The first week of MBE, with the transition into Masters and the intensifying pressure, has only affirmed by committment to stay in Management for Business Excellence.

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