When I first came to the US I never imagined myself having the opportunity to be in an environment of so many different cultures. While going to my first ESL classes at Baruch CAPS, one of the first expressions I learned was that New York City was a “melting pot’! I started translating this to myself and realized what the meaning really was – a melting pot was a pot with so many different ingredients that mixed together make a great tasting “dish”. Poor me, I wasn’t sure if that was right but later on I realized that this was a great description of what our city was all about – a mixture of incredible people with different pasts, sufferings, loves, religions, families, sorrows and futures.
From my four- year experience in Baruch I met many students, with some I stayed in touch, with others our ways split but what unified us all was our similar values and our motivation of successful future ahead of us. As Collins and Porras mention in their article values hold the core “independent of the current environment, competitive requirements, or management fads.” Let me remind you that we all live in the same city, the most amazing city in the world. No matter what values you bring in the “melting pot” sooner or later they change or at least some of them shift. The city changes you as one of my friends said to me and I came to the realization that it did. I believe that once we became part of the Baruch community all of us adapted to similar values. Seeing the competitive students at Baruch made me more competitive. I was striving for excellence at all times. Honesty and integrity was another one strongly enforced throughout the college. In addition, hard work and individual productivity but also team work and collaboration were supported by all of my professors.
I went to university of Sofia in Bulgaria where I was raised but throughout my years of education I didn’t think I was encouraged to innovate or think outside of the box. Everything seemed to be true or false, or in other words “no short-essay questions”. My inspiration was immense when I saw the difference at Baruch College – encouraging creativity and innovation was a big part of daily classes. And that became one of my core values.
All my Baruch friends are very competitive so it is not a surprise that most of us see ourselves 10-to-30 years from now as being CEO’s of super successful companies in the country. Or being the next Steve Jobs with revolutionary ideas and turning them into something that will change people’s lives forever. Baruch College’s students have BHAGs that make them hungrier for adventure and risks because of our passion and conviction. Not many of us has the resources that a student at MIT Sloan School of Business has but we have us and this is what we offer to the world and the big companies – our great capabilities, convictions and values that we will carry throughout our lives.