Thursday, September 11, 2008

I am an AIESECer!

I am going to be popular among students in Estonia and in Kazakhstan. Big posters below will be distributed in universities there. It was nice to be recognized in this way by AIESECers who are organizing new members' recruitment at the moment.

Well, if my face and words would attract to AIESEC at least some proactive and amibitious young people in Estonia and in Kazakhstan, it won't be a waste of colour and paper. My mom will be proud of me anyway ;)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Feel stupid? Make most of it!

It is great to feel stupid again. Because when I feel like that, I have the urge to do everything possible to eliminate this feeling. Usually the way to do it is through learning.

I am now in the period of my life when this learning is institutionalized. In other words, I spend a lot of time in the learning institution.

This institution is called BI Norwegian School of Management (Handelshøyskolen BI), where I am pursuing two-years degree of Master in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. One of the leading business schools in Scandinavia, one of the few private institutions of higher education in Norway has to manage to attract good students, while they have chance to get their education for free in any of Norwegian public schools. When one competes against others who have certain natural advantage, one has to be better in certain things.

I definitely feel that studying here. The school itself is very innovative and studying-friendly. I have never had that good conditions to study. The university building is one of the most beautiful and impressive I have seen in my life. I have access to all kind of business books and all kind of scientific databases around the world. Connections between university and business sphere are very strong and learning methods are very practical.

Coming back to feeling stupid - I have subjects such as Financial Management and Theories of Business and Economic Development, which are very intensive and require a lot of dedication. I have a bachelor degree in social sciences, therefore, I literally felt stupid in some classes. - I just didn't understand many things as they were said. This has led to many hours of reading, exercising, writing and thinking afterwards on my own and talking to my class-mates with previous financial education. Sometimes I have the feeling that I would be a great accountant, should I study like that for some time more :)

My first three weeks of studies have taught me enormously much about financial and business world. Interesting conclusion I have come to is that, in my opinion, it is a good idea to receive a business education after a social one (or maybe vice versa). Because, in fact, these two are like two different worlds.

Social paradigm of the world is all about humans, their behaviour, their interaction, institutions they create, societies and communities they participate in, policies and structures they think of to make the world easier to grasp.

Financial/business paradigm of the world (in its pure setting) is all about profits, earnings, rational investment, innovations to create more value.

And it is interesting to see that there are two distinct types of people who think in one or another paradigm. It is also interesting to ask yourself which of them is governing societies and the world as such. If you don't have money, you cannot build society or any kind of relationship, can you? Can anyone say for sure what kind of impact on societies have had people like Warren Buffett, one of the world's greatest investors?

Anyway, I am glad BI gives an opportunity to open up another paradigm of understanding the world.

Another interesting discovery is that it is really great to be a Master student after having lived and worked in different countries for three years without being enrolled in university. I feel I understand much better what I want and what I need from my studies. I can focus my attention on what truly interests me, not on what is "good to learn". I can judge the things being learnt in my classes from perspective of my past real-life experiences.

The soft-skills and the world-view which I have acquired thanks to AIESEC, are of a great importance. To work on presentation in a group, to drive fast conclusions, to hold a presentation in class, to have a broad perspective on learning material, to set clear objectives for your studies - I feel my AIESEC experience has helped me enormously to make all of that better and easier than if I would not have had AIESEC career behind me. Global perspective of thinking is another valuable asset I have acquired thanks to leading AIESEC chapters in Estonia and Kazakhstan, interacting with hundreds of young leaders from all around the globe.

I suppose I will fully grasp the importance of my AIESEC experience in years from now, after some more discoveries of how cool it is sometimes to feel yourself stupid ;)
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