The Heart of Success

As I was reading the February issue of Forbes Magazine for India, I came to realize something that I would like to share with you today.

From a Western point of view, sending your child to MPA feels like sending him or her to the other side of the globe, to some kind of wild place, unknown and therefore slightly frightening. It somehow resonates in my mind with the famous Heart of Darkness, in which our dear Joseph Conrad describes, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Congo as the black hole of the African continent, where all fantasies about wildness meet prejudices about civilization.

Current media coverage of India is pretty selective, and we hear mostly about rapes and acid attacks, which makes us forget that India is the second most populated country in the world and the seventh biggest in terms of area. So there must be more than that going on here! And, as R. Jagannathan, editor-in-chief of Forbes India, mentions, we are talking about “a country where 60 percent of the population is under 30[1]”, which represents, dear reader, “736 million people under 30, and 121 million in that sweet spot between the ages of 18 and 30, where one tends to find creativity that is noticeable in the world at large.[2]” Forbes then presents a review of 30 Indian super-achievers under 30 –among thousands.

At that point, I started to laugh. I laughed because we hear very often, at MPA and in our community, that the school is a sort of bubble. We, and I humbly include myself, also refer to the world outside the school as “the real world”, as if coming and studying at MPA, in India, was entering into some kind of dreamtime, keeping us away from the serious stuff (real job, real school, real social interactions, real relationships and so on). Maybe this just suggests that we are missing the entire point of having this school, our school, in India, right here, right now.

Let me explain: studying in India is not a parenthesis in your child’s life. Being a student in India is to be given the opportunity to learn something from an outstanding and successful nation, that, despite its social struggles (and there are many, and they are scary from a Western point of view), is taking over the leadership of the world as we know it. As an example, check out who became the new CEO of Microsoft[3]. Talk about real world then!

I am not pretending here to prove anything to you. I am simply sharing one of those moments where consciousness shifts and makes you see things differently and, I believe, more intelligently. Often, I hear people mentioning the location of our school in India as a limitation, but I dare to believe that it gives our students the opportunity to realize, one, the value of education, two, the value of hard work in school, and three, the value of success in such a dynamic environment.

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Pooja Dhingra, Macaroon Entrepreneur

If you need to be convinced, open the February issue of Forbes India and read about Pooja Dhingra[4], 27, a graduate of the Canadian branch of the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school who brought French macaroons to India and opened a series of pastry shops all over the country. I mean macaroons! In Mumbai! These two things do not exactly go together, as I am sure you know if you have ever tried to bake macaroons yourself or if you have had the chance to walk into the famous Parisian pastry shop Ladurée[5], the one and only reference on this matter.

I might have a sweet tooth and be French, but this success story stroked my mind more than the others because it is all about having passion, it is about having a project, it is about having the grit to go get what you want and be good at it to the point where you become successful on your own terms. And that is what we want for our students at MPA. As the Dalai Lama said, the world does not need more successful people, as defined in the Pisces Age. The world needs more caring, authentic, strong people, capable of bringing prosperity through calibre and success.

It just makes sense then to have MPA in India. We should take advantage of our being here, open our minds toward this culture and its values to get the best of it and grow, not only spiritually but also intellectually. In this connection, our academic program can play a great part, if we give it the support to take our students in that direction. But for that, we need first to recognize this.

-Meherpal Kaur


[1] R. Jagannathan, Forbes India, February 21, 2014, Volume 6 Issue 4, p.3.

[2] Ib., p.3.

[3] Satya Nadella, Indian-born, 46, working for Microsoft since 22 years.

[4] Forbes India, February 21, 2014, Volume 6 Issue 4, “French Revolutionary”, p.58-59.

[5] Luxury Parisan pastry shop founded in 1862 and specialized in double-decker macaroons.