Friday, September 7, 2012

Why is all this so important?

Thanks to Post Oak parent Vikas Mittal for the following story from the summer:
Very late in college--graduate school--I realized that to be successful I needed to be organized. Making lists, having an organizer and a calendar all became part of my functioning as a graduate student and now as a professor. My daughter, Sukul (now 12 years old), has always bugged me for a nice planner. Why would a kid want that? Well I see now. She is on summer vacation--every morning she gets ready, writes in her planner what she has to do, and how she is going to accomplish it. Sometimes, we nag her--"Have you done your Cello?" or "When will you ...". Her answer: "I have it on my planner, and it will be done -----." 

Sukul likes cooking, and Indian culture like many  eastern cultures is centered on food. Rather than just cook, she explores--she is a food entrepreneur. When she cooks breakfast for the family, it has unusual garnishes. She likes to make coffee for me, but will ask me to try different garnishes--chocolate, vanilla, and yes even herbs. Many of them have turned out to have great taste, tastes that I would never explore on my own. That she can take risks, and not worry if the outcome is not always positive shows she will not hesitate to be creative.

Why is all this so important? I am a professor of business, and have a biased view informed by my own experiences. In my own career, I've observed now over hundreds of business students--undergrads, MBAs, and phDs--graduate, and can monitor their success prospectively. Typically, the ones who are successful are NOT the ones who are unusually smart or have the highest grades. Yes, they are academically successful. But they have a high level of organizational skills, social skills, and entrepreneurship--no fearing new things and failure.  Coupled with academic success these qualities make for lasting and enduring success. I've seen met smart CEOs, VPs, company presidents --- all successful by virtue of skills that cannot be captured in "grades" or "test scores."

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