Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stanford, December 5th

When I went through my MBA at Stanford University I didn’t talk openly about my Andes ordeal. Although I have to admit that I stated it in my Application Form. But no one ever asked me about it, no one brought up the issue to me, and very seldom any one did later in my life.

When we came back from the 25th annual reunion, I sent an e mail to the Life Long Learning people telling them about my case. I told them that now I was willing to talk, that I wanted to conceptualize more what had happened to me 35 years before in order to find out the lessons that could be drawn from my ordeal. Their reaction was immediate; they asked me to be interviewed for the next GSB Magazine, they invited me to talk to students and alumni at the GSB and asked me to participate as a judge in the Executive Experience, organized by the Center for Leadership and Research, an activity within the new curricula for MBA students.

Everything went fine; my presentation was attended by a nice group of my class of 82, eager to know more about my story of which they had only heard rumors. The interview is expected to appear in the next March issue of the GSB Magazine and the Executive Experience was a great experience for me too.

In my presentation, I was asked a difficult question. Someone mentioned a quote in Jim Collins´ book, “Good to Great”, relating the attitude of soldiers in war to the fact that they might come back or not. Did the ones that came back from our mountain have a different attitude from those who didn’t come back? I think that that was not our case, because what I saw was that as long we were alive and we had hope to make it through we all fought to survive. Implying that those who didn’t come back did not have the right attitude was not true in our case, because some of the most optimistic and inspiring guys, boys that would have helped a lot because of their strength and willingness to survive, happened to be sitting in the wrong place the day we crashed in the mountains, happened to be sleeping in the wrong place the night of the avalanche, and they did not come back.

At Stanford, everything went well and my classmates were impressed by the fact that I didn’t talk about my ordeal for so long. They really appreciated the fact that I was opening my story to them. Upon my return home, the Stanford University invited me to participate in an Alumni meeting to be held next February in London. In this meeting I will be sharing my presentation with Prof. Charles O´Reilly, the top big shot in Human Resources at Stanford! What an honor. There we go, London!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I attended your Stanford presentation and was moved both by your story and by your honesty, humility and courage in telling it.

From the blog we see that your
Palo Alto presentation already incorporated what you had learned or reflected on as you traveled across the US from east to west, telling your story. The story itself continues to be a dynamic organism, affected by the teller and the listener. It will be interesting to read what you learn in London. Enjoy!