An ode to EWMBA Class of 2012

On my flight back to Berkeley for commencement tomorrow. Can’t help but reflect back on the experiences from the last three years.

On one hand, time has flown by as it always does when one is having delirious fun. On the other hand, it feels like so much has happened in the past three years. We no longer live in the same world. Steve Jobs, one of our greatest inspirations, is no longer with us. USA is no longer a AAA rated country. Most surprising of all, vampires are not cool anymore *ahem*.

Some events are so dramatic that I will always remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news. One such event that will stay with me forever was Navy SEAL 6 team taking out Bin Laden. The operation was convoluted, risky and heroic. But against all odds, the team executed it flawlessly. For days, I stayed obsessed and followed every update on the mission. After a week of irrational “event-stalking,” I stopped to wonder what about this incident got me so fascinated.

Then it hit me.

The Navy SEALs remind me of someone very close to me – The Class of 2012. In some cases, I feel my class is even more accomplished than the SEALs.

I should explain.

The Navy SEAL program is famed to be tough – physically, emotionally and mentally. Sound familiar? That was first-year MBA. Now try first year along with full-time work, commute and family.

Only about 33% of the candidates that enter the SEAL program make it through. I believe almost all of the original class will walk tomorrow.

SEALs are trained to do impossible tasks. Well so are we. I need to use only two words to make my case – Amit Paka. Amit, a classmate of mine (and a total BFF), quit Microsoft about a year ago. He moved to the Bay Area to start his own company. In the past year, he has not only envisioned Flockish and released initial versions on iPhone and Android, he has also successfully navigated his company through an acquisition by eBay. Impressed yet?

To sum up – this is what I have to say to The Class:

Be bold. Stay inspired. Do fabulous things.

Most importantly, remember me when you achieve super-success.

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