Chaos, Creativity, & Connection

In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity‘  
— Sun-Tzu 

How has have been this year for you? For me, it’s great, pretty good or awesome, depending on the day. I have a habit of looking on the bright side of life. Although this year has been challenging, I’m reverting to that positive-outlook habit and I realize how rewarding it has been in terms of learning.  

So, what did we learn?  

1. Superheroes are real. Avengers might wear capes in the Marvel Universe, but in reality, they wear scrubs as frontline workers have quite literally saved our lives during the pandemic.  

2. Priorities change. We’ve spent so long in the rat race that we forgot about the importance of our health and most of us are learning new ways to stay physically and mentally strong in quarantine.  

3. Family can make your day or drive you crazy.  

4. 2020 is not the best year if you’re a travel blogger, but it is a year for hope. 

As I’m writing this, we just learned that Kamala Harris has become the first female Vice President of the United States, an inspiration for many young girls across the globe for many generations to come. I write this from Raipur, India, where I have been connected to global events – including undertaking my MBA at UCD Smurfit. 

The UCD Smurfit MBA gave me an opportunity to meet and interact with 36 talented individuals from very diverse backgrounds. Originally, I had planned to join my class in September, then another lockdown hit my locale, so it was pushed to October. Then, Ireland was placed in Level 5 restrictions. Now, it’s November and I will be connecting to Ireland virtually from India for the foreseeable future.  

Even though I have worked with global virtual teams for many years, and I know how difficult it can be to build trust among your team members–especially when you have not met them in person–nothing prepares you for long-term virtual collaboration for an ever-changing curriculum across time zones.  

Thanks to Caitlin McBride, Thomas McNamara and Fernando Muller for agreeing to post a photo of us together on LinkedIn.

However, the best part of my MBA so far has been my MBA team. All four of us belong to completely different backgrounds and have varied experiences from which we can learn. One thing we all have in common though is empathy and a mutual respect for each other.

Back in September, which feels like a lifetime ago, we were first up to present. At the time, Smurfit lectures were still being held in person and my virtual attendance meant we had to get creative. I created a video for my part of the presentation and my team showcased it during the presentation. 

Working with my MBA group, I have learned that as a team you can practically achieve anything you want and we might be the most organized group in our cohort (although I am biased!).  

The lecturers at Smurfit have been amazing during this period of transition. Even though we are in a difficult situation, they have done well in delivering lectures remotely and making their session interactive. In just two months, I have learned a lot about different themes ranging from finance, strategy, marketing, economics to marketing.  

An MBA is never about reading from books but is always about sharing experiences and learning from those experiences. Right now, this is the most unique experience anyone can offer me. In just two months, I have learned so much about team collaboration and bonding.  

By the time I am done with all this chaos I will be ready for the next opportunity, or maybe in the midst of this chaos I will get my next opportunity. 

Bhupendra Sahu, FTMBA Class of 2021