Immersive journeys to help leaders make more impact in the world.

Ready to Launch

December 28th 2012 14:12
Luzerne McAlister is a first year student at NYU Stern School of Business. There he is a Consortium Fellow and scholarship recipient. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania—Wharton and worked for the past six years at Accenture.
Excited to explore a new definition of business success
During the first two weeks of the semester, the first year MBA candidates at NYU Stern go through an experience called “Launch.” This includes many events and activities that help us learn about and engage one another, as well as opportunities to hear from phenomenal speakers about, well…the world. Throughout these two weeks, one of the major themes I heard was the idea that due to recent historical events in business that threw the world into states of panic and uncertainty, as well as the global realization that more than ever we cannot think in silos, the world of business is adding another level of complexity to the question, “What is business success?” The response: A successful business should not only do well, it should also do good.
This simple phrase of doing well by doing good has stuck with me. It is a far departure from my undergraduate business school days a mere seven years ago, where the criteria for success was squarely placed on bottom line results that only benefitted shareholders; the method for achieving that success was based purely on competitive action. Now, as MBA students, we are challenged to understand the complexity of every action, to consider not just shareholders, but also all other stakeholders, and to figure out ways to collaborate with others in order to not only compete better, but also provide true value in the world. So how the heck do you do that? That is my question. That is why I’m here...well, it’s one of the reasons!
Preparing to enter a complex land
Once upon a time in a far, far away place, there existed the mystical land of India….Ok, so it’s not once upon a time, and for me it’s only two plane rides away, and I actually know a lot of people who are from or still live here, but for me India is one the most far, far away lands that I could think of both physically and otherwise. Already within the last three or four days prior to arrival I went through a period of hesitation, preparation, and then excited anticipation about my upcoming trip. The reason for this is, because upon mention that I would be traveling to India everyone and their mothers had something to offer about what I might encounter – and the advice had a polarizing effect.
“There’s a lot of dust, it’s so crowded, you can’t drink the water, and you will experience bowel moments like never before, BUT I love India and I’m so excited for you.” Wait, what?! “Be sure to get all of your injections, medications, and if you’re in crowded areas guard your belongings against pickpockets, BUT you are going to have a blast.” Huh?! I know India is a place that has so many infrastructure issues, and that even those visiting briefly can find it to be a challenge. Yet, at the same time, India is the most culturally diverse country in the world—with beautiful landscapes and architecture, a rich history going back many of thousands of years B.C., and a people that seem to have a very helpful and friendly disposition. So naturally, I felt a sense of hesitation given all of the warnings, and I did my best to prepare physically and otherwise; but now that I’m here, and I cannot wait to see where this experience takes me.
Landing with purpose
I have carved out a mantra for myself that helps me define every action or decision I am taking over my two years as an MBA student. It is “Exploration, Inspiration, Learning, and Impact.” As my flight descended down towards the Bangalore airport, I took the opportunity to reflect on what the heck was about to happen and I just smiled, because I knew that I was doing what I set out to do – seek change and be changed. And so while I am dead tired from my plane ride and really ready for a nap, I am also so very excited to get out and explore India, to meet the other student participants whose brilliant bios have already humbled me, to meet the staff who have dedicated their lives to showing people how to do both good and well, and to learn and be inspired by those who are currently doing just that.