Bala’s Day Out

Author: Balaji R., India

It has been 8 months since I packed my bags and set sail from the land of the vikings and landed in the ‘Lion-city’ Singapore. And phew… what eventful months have they been!

So let me introduce myself: I am Balaji Raghavan (bala, henceforth) an engineer in my previous life and now, as you might have already guessed a participant of The Nanyang MBA. I have traveled widely and lived in different countries over the last 10 years… I have seen the sakura blossom in Japan in Spring, auroras snake their way across the sky in the depths of snow-covered winter and the sun set over the British empire along the coasts of England, to mention a few. Ok enough said… There will be time for an autobiography later—when I am more closer to senility, that is.

I will attempt, over a series of posts, to introduce life as part of the MBA program and at times even beyond it! Yes, even poor sods laboring their way through intensive B-school courses do have time to party and bring the roof down once in a while! I will endeavor to capture in the blog the highs and the lows of the program, the events
that occurred, the classes that we enjoyed, the wonderful memories of the times we spent together, the many laughs we shared and the unforgettable friendships and relationships forged with fellow students, faculty, and the people of Singapore. So buckle up, sit tight and enjoy the ride!

Let me begin, with the story of a trip we made to Pulau Ubin– a small island located north-east of Singapore– during the beginning of the program. This trip packaged under the guise of team-building and orientation, seemed pretty innocuous at first; It even began well with a scenic boat ride to the islet and relatively simple and fun
activities involving hula hoops and an alphabet counting game. As we were just beginning to have fun, we were thrown a seemingly insurmountable organizational challenge. We had to coordinate a class of close to 150 members in concurrent tasks of varying difficulty to earn $$ for building a real boat, more of a raft actually. One of the tasks even involved scaling a wicked climb. Now as we got down to business we realized that it was a difficult challenge that required coordination, courage, motivation and above all dealing with a whole ambiguity under time pressure. In the end, some astonishing acts of team work and individual brilliance got us to the target and we were able to buy enough raw materials to build the raft in time!

However, hold on! there was yet another twist in the tale, as we had to use the raft to navigate the seas around Pulau Ubin to plant a flag on a nearby islet. We had a raft ready but no way of knowing whether it was seaworthy. Some brave souls volunteered to take the raft out for a spin and their courage got us to the target on time! In retrospect, the orientation was a resounding success: it got us together working as a team, introduced us to the challenges faced in management, and gave us a whole day of fun and a heapload of memories that we will cherish! And if you are one to believe in good beginnings, the raft that did not sink might bode well for the class of 2009!

Leave a Reply