Mike Zani

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Mike Zani, CEMBA '13

Apr 2

Written by: Mike Zani
4/2/2012 5:03 PM  RssIcon

The spiritual path is not a solo endeavor. In fact, the very notion of a self who is trying to free her/himself is a delusion. We are in it together and the company of spiritual friends helps us realize our interconnectedness.” – Tara Brach

OK, so before anyone begins thinking that our program is a deeply spiritual experience where we begin each day holding hands, singing Kumbaya, and pass around the peyote in a quest for enlightenment… Just stop right there… That’s not exactly the mental picture I am intending to paint right now. Today’s blog is about…. Well, just keep reading and hopefully you’ll understand.

It’s unbelievable to think that we are fast approaching the midway point of our CEMBA experience. As we reach “the turn”, I am sensing that the range of emotions that come with the experience are expanding and intensifying. It’s difficult to figure out why exactly, though there are multiple factors for certain. I am sure one component is our witnessing the Class of 2012 coming closer to the end of their graduate program (seeing then fitted for caps and gowns, taking graduation pictures, talking about final projects, and simply their growing anticipation of reaching graduation). In addition, there is a realization that soon we will be the veteran class, and the ambassadors to the new incoming Class of 2014. In the past few months, we have had the pleasure to host many prospective Class of 2014 students during our classes. As these individuals draw closer to matriculating as students, it feels as if they are also drawing closer to our class. This makes perfect sense as we will all be together in the next academic year. The Class of 2013 is highly enthused to welcome and get to really know the next class into the Cornell community. Hmmm…. Community….

I want to really focus on this word because it is probably the finest word to describe what it is to be in the CEMBA program… the Johnson school… and the entire Cornell ecosystem. This past class weekend we were addressed by Dean Joe Thomas who introduced Dean-designate Soumitra Dutta to the classes. The Dean-designate was asked to elaborate on what enticed him to join the Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management. Of his multiple reasons for being drawn to Johnson, he specifically keyed on the sense of community that Cornell offers. This could not be more accurate. In my opinion, it is this community that we have been privileged to enter that is our distinguishing characteristic, and what makes the CEMBA program so special. So what makes this so special, and why should be paying any attention to this? Well, I think it is easily summarized in an Anthony Burgess quote, “Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.” Brilliantly simple considering he also holds the unique brain who penned the novel, A Clockwork Orange.

Here at Johson, people care. It’s really just that simple. Whether it be the faculty, the administration, the alumni, and (most notably) your classmates... everybody cares. Success in this program requires a large commitment, let’s not deny that. Yet, as time goes on, you actually find yourself abandoning the stresses of the commitments because you are surrounded by people that care.

Our class has adopted a “No man left behind” personality, which is pretty special in itself given we are all driven, type-A over-achievers. We are not only willing, but WANT to help fellow classmates rather than watch them struggle and potentially do poorly in a class. We are a blend of personalities from a breadth of professional and educational backgrounds, and as we go from course to course, there are classmates that have obvious expertise and clear knowledge advantage above others. Now I am willing to make a bold assumption here and venture to say that in other MBA programs there exists a “dog eat dog” mentality where individuals relish being superior than those around them. But you won’t find that "every man for himself" attitude here. This is a community, and a very special one at that.

New Dean-desingate Soumitra Dutta addressing the Classes of 2012 & 2013 for the first time. Welcome Dean Dutta!

Spencer Carter '13 and soon to be Class of 2014 Melissa Cortale taking in some refreshments during a class break.

Pictured from l to r: Aditya Misra '13, Kaushik Bhattacharya (aka: KB) '13, Professor Vishal Narayan, Crystal Marsh, Jay Boera '13 and Allison Watters '13.

Dean's reception after Saturday classes. If you were wondering, KB does smile every now and then (we think).

Categories: Student, CEMBA
Location: Blogs Parent Separator Mike Zani

11 comment(s) so far...

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

don't worry Mike, we won't leave you behind!

By Sang Lee on   4/2/2012 7:06 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?


Here is the first comment. Looks like you have already promoted few of our classmates to 2012 batch. Aditya, KB, Jay, Allison, and KB are part of 2012.

By Balaji Krish on   4/2/2012 7:08 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Ironically Sang, I was talking about you not being left behind!

By Mike Zani on   4/2/2012 7:07 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Yet again corrected by Balaji. I have made the change thy master! (Balaji is our class' Statistics wizard. If it has to do with numbers, Balaji is the go to guy. I guess that now even includes years). Thanks my brother!!!

By Mike Zani on   4/2/2012 7:11 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Welcome Dean Dutta! With the arrival of Dean Dutta, I look forward to our EMBA Community becoming more global in nature, meaning more global opportunities in the program (i.e. possibly doing a residential session abroad) as well as post EMBA (i.e. job opportunities).

By Rosa Ailabouni on   4/4/2012 7:20 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Well said Mike. Best aspect of the program thus far.

By Tom Procida on   4/4/2012 7:20 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Mike you are a much better blogger than golfer! Wait is that the pot calling the kettle black??

By Spencer Carter on   4/10/2012 6:38 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Spence, let's just say that under no circumstances should you and I ever pair up as a twosome. It would be a looong day. We'd be the best looking twosome, though!

By Mike Zani on   4/10/2012 6:40 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Well said Mike. No doubt, sense of a community in CEMBA is core of the program.

By Sachin Maheshwari on   4/11/2012 10:22 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

One of the best aspects of this program is the variety of professional backgrounds and open information sharing between us. Everyone has great respect for others' area of expertise. From finance to non-profit to technology -- it's illuminating and fascinating. A community relies on individual strengths to make the whole greater, and that's exactly what one finds here. I love our classroom discussions, where our classmates in the automotive industry explain how a classroom concept is applicable in their industry, and then the folks in the healthcare industry contrast that insight with the way they conduct business. Learning in Cornell's eMBA program comes from the professors and our fellow classmates, and it makes a very strong community.

By Allison Watters on   4/17/2012 2:16 PM

Re: Are communities common? Come on!?!?

Perfectly said, Allison!

By Mike Zani on   4/17/2012 2:17 PM

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