From Mauritius to Harvard
For those who don’t know, Mauritius is a faint dot in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar. Our marketing strategy is “we are out of this world.” And yes, paradise it is.
‘Life is journey, not a destination.’ As I ponder on this wonderful Chinese proverb (I add the Chinese proverb to give more weight to the statement), I wonder whether I have not reached the destination too early in my life. At the age of thirty four, I have achieved all my dreams (Mauritians don’t dream. We snore under the mango tree) and ended up in my home paradise of Mauritius. For those who don’t know, Mauritius is a faint dot in the Indian Ocean off Madagascar. Our marketing strategy is “we are out of this world.” And yes, paradise it is. This is a country where a successful person goes home after work at five, picks up the family and has dinner on the beach watching the golden yellow sunset. This is the country where streets have no names (Sorry Bono!) but you don’t get lost as it takes 4 hours to go from North to South and this travel time includes traffic. This is also a country where week-end hobbies revolve around hiking on green mountains, blue lagoon swimming, deep sea fishing and pinacoladas. And so after 10 years in the UK, I ended up in paradise and pondered. What next.?
Mauritius has 1.2-million happy go very lucky people. It has a surface area ofÿ2,000 square kilometers. The main economy revolves around tourism, textile (high end shirts and sweaters), sugar and financial services – mainly offshore banking with a unique double tax treaty agreement with India; hence, we can happily claim to be the largest investor in one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Most of the island is covered with green sugar fields, 5-star hotels and locals sipping beer under the mango tree. The GDP per capita is $10,000 and personal tax has recently dropped from 25% to 15%. This has in turn bumped up the beer per capita ratio. The country is multi-culturally composed of happy Hindus, happy Muslims, happy Christians and happy Chinese.
ÿYou would think that after 10-years of fish and chips and 10-years of black umbrella lifestyle, one should be more than content to be in paradise. That is absolutely true except that the human mind does not quite work that way. The sad thing in life is that if you are trained to search, you will keep on searching..
Hence after 3 years in paradise, I needed some new perspective (other than a beer perspective) and what better than the General Management Executive Program. It did feel like an executive summer camp for the first 3 days (the business case) but rapidly moved into a rapid-fire intense management Olympics-brain-gymnastics program. Cases were somersaulting and swinging from one neuron to another in fuzzy memory space. Whilst challenging, cases are clearly a fun way to learn about what we will surely go wrong in the future.
Now here comes my dilemma. Harvard educates people who will make a difference in the world. With this as perspective, my big debate is whether I should stick to selling credit cards to fishermen under the coconut trees (see picture) or should I leave paradise and continue the journey….
Please discuss and send me your thoughts by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Best recommendation wins a dinner at Harvard Square.