There are other fringe-benefits too (specially, if for someone who has stuck around in the campus for now 2 decades): e.g., one meets some of the brightest, most talented - and weirdest - of people in the class, and gets in touch with real "Lives in Progress" (an old book by Robert White, which used to be my favourite back in 70s); one learns the changing values and perspectives across generations (and learns to accept the feeling of having played one's inning); one learns to live and underand the consequence of one's actions over years; and in one of routine days, one gets a chance of getting that snuggly-warm feeling for being remembered by someone whose life one touched inadvertantly, completely out of the blue...
That's what happened to me this evening, when I received this mail. Though I know the exercise which he mentioned, but frankly, I don't even recall if I ever used it in XL... Maybe I did, or maybe he mistook me for some other colleague... In any case, the very fact that after almost a decade he still remembered something which he learned during an hour of interaction with someone - me or someone else - made my day :).
This is the mail I received:
I am sure you won't know me - I joined BM(D) in 20xx, but discontinued after completing a year. Since then, it has been pretty much a tumultuous but enjoyable journey for me. Right after dropping out from XLRI, I took the entrepreneurial plunge and co-founded XXX in 20..., a test prep providing company. It had been a great learning story there - we pooled in all our savings, launched our products, incurred losses in the 1st year, faced death, raised angel investment, bounced back and now it is growing at about 100% every year.
I moved out of XXX in 20..., and went solo. I founded YYY, a technology enabled test preparation solution provider for Aus, UK, Ireland and New Zealand tests. I had assumed my prior experience of XXX would make the 2nd round of entreprenuership easier, but I realized that labour pain is as painful the 2nd time as it is the 1st time. The 1st year in YYY was equally tough. However, we have now crossed that blink-and-you-die phase, and slowly but surely moving towards stability. We are now a 38 strong team, and growing pretty fast.
Sir, I wanted to mail you to say a big THANK YOU. I did not have a chance to attend your courses, but you took an one hour session for our batch in the initial months. While you were discussing a lot of things, the seniors were preparing for the dunking phase of Bxxxxd :) [die-hard Xlers of recent years will know what the 'xxxx' stands for:0)]. You made us play a game that explained how we human beings have a great sense of timing, hence speed, but a terrible sense of direction. (You had asked us to guess the time, and also the north direction. While were were spot on about the time stuff, our sense of direction was wayward).
Many of the last 8 years I spent was in the wilderness.
That small game helped me understand how important it was to set a direction, and work towards it. And, that is one exercise that I share with all my team members.
So, what was my learning for the day?
Many actually, but perhaps most importantly...
In any case, it is a snuggly feeling to have, when one hits the sack! :)