Shantanu Pande, MBA ’21, began the program at WashU Olin in June and participated as part of the inaugural class in the MBA global immersion. He wrote this for the Olin Blog.
I am a first-year MBA student at Olin and I just returned from the inaugural global immersion program for MBAs. At the start of our MBA experience, we visited Washington, DC, Barcelona and Shanghai, learning about their cultures and business practices. During our assignments, I noticed how values from different cultures played a role in the business decisions.
Our stay in Washington, DC, was a huge eye-opener for us. The guest speakers were excellent about exposing us to their expert views on different economies around the world. We also had museum visits describing different eras of American history, with the assignment forcing us to think about values in a very detailed way. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what I saw and learned.
Since our first day at Olin, we have been exposed to the values of Olin. A presentation was made and we all listened, absorbed some and let most of it pass. From an individual’s point of view, the Olin values are all very important and when we look at them, we would think that these are pretty standard and should be important for others too.
But then I started working on different tasks with my classmates and traveling with them. This was when I realized how difficult it is always to stay true to these values.
In DC, we looked at different museums and learned how American values have been tested time and again. The fight for these 250-year-old values is a constant one. The one thing that struck me the most was the overriding courage of the people who have led this fight. They believed in these values and they lived with these values.
Listing a few values on the paper are well and good, but sticking to them when it is easier to just reach a compromise can be very challenging task. There will be times when your commitment to including diverse point of views is tested severely. It is easy to listen to, but not include these diverse views. Real strength is needed to fight when that point is not to everyone’s liking or is an unpopular choice.
It is easier said than done to strive for excellence in every task you pursue when the alternate could be shorter and easier way to get the task done. We must be resilient to stay true to our values when there is pressure to make the wrong choice.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that values require courage. As business leaders of the future, we need to be mindful of this and remember this relationship when it comes to creating goals around our values.
Pictured above: Shantanu Pande, MBA ’21, in DC during the WashU Olin MBA global immersion, which took nearly 100 students from St. Louis around the globe to DC, Barcelona, Beijing and Shanghai.