Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Endurance for Life: Lessons from Mr. Ariel Aisiks’ visit to IU

By Tulio Bracho, Second-year MBA, Finance

IGOE MBA and PhD Fellows with Ariel Aisiks

Mr. Ariel Aisiks, Founder and President of the Geo Global Foundation and Chair of the Advisory Board of Kelley’s Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (IGOE) visited IU and met with the IGOE MBA and PhD Fellows. During the meeting, Mr. Aisiks shared a couple of stories that captured my attention, both of which related to competitive environments. 

In his first story, he shared how the professional scene for MBAs has changed dramatically in the last few decades. He pointed out that in the 1960s a few thousand MBA students graduated every year in the USA. Nowadays, more than 100,000 MBA students graduate each year and fiercely compete for job opportunities. This point was especially relevant to me as an MBA as I look forward to my future career. 

In a second story, he shared a more personal anecdote about his life. In addition to the success that he has had in his professional life, Mr. Aisiks also successfully completed many triathlons, including the Avignon ITU Triathlon World Championship and two Hawaii Ironman World Championships. Many of us know that a triathlon is one the most challenging competitions that exists. What maybe fewer people know is that the key to success in such a physically demanding competition is to have the right mind set.

Mr. Ariel Aisiks
As I thought about those stories, I reflected upon how each of us deals with competition on a daily basis and in nearly everything we do. Whether we are entering the job market in search of a career or participating in a sports event, we face a myriad of strong competitors. 

However, the toughest competitors that we will face are not other MBA students that are applying for the same job nor the athlete that is running in front of us. That competitor is ourselves. Once we understand that the real challenge is not to beat out all of the other applicants for a job or to cross the finish line first, but instead to do the things that we are passionate about in life and continue to make personal improvements, then we will be in a virtuous cycle of creation and development. 

Mr. Aisiks is an example of that; he came from Argentina to study in the USA (University of Southern California, Harvard), and developed a successful career in the financial industry (Prudential, Oppenheimer & Co., Morgan Stanley). Rather than defining himself solely by the professional positions he has held, he continues to develop himself by leading initiatives that support the causes he believes in such as the Geo Global Foundation (http://geoglobalfoundation.org/) and Kelley’s Institute for Global Organizational Effectiveness (http://kelley.iu.edu/igoe/) and by getting involved in entrepreneurial environments that are shaping the future (http://www.endeavor.org/, www.ribbitcap.com). The key is that Ariel found and has enjoyed success not because he beat out his competition, but because he relied upon his personal strengths and was persistent in following his passions.

In the end, I believe that when you look back on your life, the accomplishments that will give you the most satisfaction will be the ones that seemed impossible. They will be the ones that you pursued because you believed they were important, not because they were easy. That sense of accomplishment is what makes us feel proud and motivates us to continue moving forward, with persistence and discipline. So if we want to enjoy our lives’ journey, then we must build the endurance required to go the extra mile when necessary. As Lord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses,

“…And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”



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