Today was the MBA association club fair for the current academic year. For the uninitiated, this is an annual event that packs the entire first year MBA class, a number of second year club representatives, assorted tables, banners, sign-up sheets, treats to entice prospective new members, and about two hundred degrees of heat into the quite aesthetic, yet limited courtyard space at the Haas school. If you're the half-full type, the conditions actually work for you because the students are incentivized to meet the club reps, sign up for the groups they're serious about, and then immediately seek shelter while avoiding direct contact with anything else that is hot and/or sweaty. If you were particularly chatty, you may or may not have second degree burns. All things considered, my sentiment as I left the courtyard was no less than impressed.
There's something about passion that is magnetic. I think there's a great deal to be said for people's energy. Even the skeptics among us are forced to concede that there is something at work here beyond measurable emotions. If not, I'm sure this afternoon would have convinced them.
Passion is inspiring. It's contagious and motivating. It has the ability to mobilize the sedentary and non-convicted to explore their potential and push their boundaries. Passion is the experience of life. And though it takes a number of forms, I am mostly drawn to its inextricable link with possibility and hope.
The energy at the club fair was all of these things. I made my way through the stations, trying to at least stop by each one, and once again happy that I chose Haas for the numerous opportunities I saw to get involved in projects that would provide me with experiential learning at the same time they gave back to the community. Haas is a clear stand-out in this space. So many of these clubs are focused on charity, community building, social responsibility and service to others, and it makes me proud to be a part of an institution that propagates this. I also couldn't help but get excited about the possibilities for me, and how I can bake these ideals into my future career.
My background is in finance, and I plan to continue my career in the same field. Excepting politics, one would be hard pressed to name another industry that has become so well associated with greed and the relentless pursuit of wealth. In my experience, I have certainly encountered that. There's no denying that many are motivated by status, excess or the accumulation of personal wealth. This will always be the case. And, without opening up a topic that could fill a number of separate blogs, I think that's a shame. For some, it has even given the term "capitalism" (a good thing) a negative connotation as they see such pursuits as limiting and de-humanizing.
But I have also encountered those who are motivated by something completely different. I count myself among these people, and it's what I saw in the courtyard today. I saw people willing to stand outside in the sun for two hours for no other reason than to share the experiences they had in a club or on a project that inspired them. These people, who will rank among the top paid professionals in the country, get no pecuniary benefit for their effort. They have discovered something better, which is something worth devoting their limited, valuable time. It is all at once intoxicating and refreshing, and I'm looking forward to putting my passion to work here, too.