Compartmentalization – Sequential narrative

Compartmentalization – Sequential narrative

Time and again we hear the words – I will work hard and make money and after I have made X dollars, I will quit and do what I love doing.

I was also happily living this narrative, in compartments, isolated from each other. Study. Earn. Save. And maybe live a little before departing. And then I turned 40. I realised that if I wait to do things that I am really passionate about, it may be too late. The time to follow your heart is NOW…

I was always drawn to the world of academia and lady luck appeared, in a somewhat unglamorous form of Prof Madhav. I met Prof at a party, one of those parties, where you don’t know anyone and you try to strike up a conversation with anybody who looks approachable. It turned out that this Prof and I shared a common interest in the book Poor Economics by the now famous authors, Banerjee and Duflo. They are Nobel Prize winners, but 6 years back, they were only amazing academics who taught this course at MIT. Prof was kind enough to invite me to his class and let me indulge the students by framing the question of economic development differently. So I asked the students - who is responsible for making this world a better place?

This question evolved into a long standing and humbling relationship with Singapore Management University, students of the SMU-X class and Prof Madhav. Over the years, we have worked on multiple projects and partnered with Social Service Agencies in Singapore. The projects help address real life problem statements for these Agencies and what amazes me the most is the level of thinking and maturity displayed by the students. They have not even graduated, and yet they quickly comprehend the subject and underlying relationships between various stakeholders. The projects produce innovative solutions and insights that can only be achieved through a public / private / academic partnership. It also creates a sense of ownership of a problem, beyond the narrow dimension of – this is not my problem. I had never anticipated posing a simple question - who is responsible for economic development? – would take me on such an amazing journey.

So go ahead and challenge your personal narrative and try to discover yourself. You never know, the next conversation at a boring party may lead you to an interesting journey.

About Author

Swapnil Mishra Caricature

After two decades in private banking and six years in academia, I want to bring this confluence of business and education to life by building a platform that combines empowerment and education to help us make better financial decisions. Currently, I’m writing a book on financial literacy.

Swapnil Mishra
Founder, WealthZen.AI