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Reflection – Rachel Elkington

by on November 28, 2007

Inspiration Much Needed From Mr. Ramani

Today our class had the great opportunity to hear some absolutely great remarks from Lokesh’s Dad Mr. Ramani. I had been looking forward to hearing him talk since it was announced that he was coming to class.
Mr. Ramani touched on a topic near and dear to my heart – the importance of an education in The Classics in the context of working in business. At times in the course of my MSIM education, I have felt that I am at a disadvantage to many of my peers in the program. I had never written a line of code before our technology class last spring. XML sounded like the most intimidating undertaking I’d had since my undergraduate run-in with a required Math class. I have at times envied those with professional experience with anything technical. My undergraduate degree in Religious Studies (to which I added other liberal arts electives just for the heck of it: Latin, Creative Writing, British Culture Seminar, Art History, etc.) has at times looked to me about as useful in my current context as day old sushi. I took heart listening to Mr. Ramani explain how an acquaintance with the classics helps you make good decision in business. He cited one of my all-time favorite works: The Bhagavad Gita. I first encountered this work in one of my religious studies classes that focused on the history of India. Now, my worn-out, marked-up, post-it-noted copy is one of my most treasured books. I come back to it again and again to review how a person should act in the world. Of course, we will get more about systems of thought and action in our ethics class next quarter, but it was good to hear the subject touched upon today.
The business experience Mr. Ramani talked about was very interesting. He spoke about the market factors in India in the context of selling air conditioners. He identified specific reasons why certain companies had succeeded and other had failed in the market. There was much to be learned from his perspective, the most important of which is set a good price.
I found all of what Mr. Ramani had to say uplifting. On a gray, dark day on which I happen to have a cold, it was really fantastic to hear that it is okay not to get things right the first time. The examples given of great people in history who had failed before was particularly heartening to me. I think we should have Mr. Ramani come back in the dark, cold end of winter quarter to give us a dose of optimism and focus again, I know I’ll be able to use it.

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