India mini-Reunion (MBA 05, 06, 07)
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
Atlanta (a long, but interesting post):
India trip mini-reunion with my Emory MBA classmates, Calvin Clark (MBA 05), his wife Davida Steinberg (MBA 07), Sarah Greenberg Sachs (MBA 05), Robert Janke (MBA 06), and Bob's wife Emily Janke.
Thanks to Emily Janke for making reservations and organizing our dinner reunion during my visit brief in Atlanta. This is why she’s so popular among our b-school friends. She participated and helped in so many social events during our time in b-school.
During dinner, I gave them the longer story of all my visits with other classmates on my 38-day trip. I also showed them my Swarm Buddy app.
More importantly during the evening, I got to catch up and learn all the interesting and exciting things in their lives (e.g., They all have kids).
Sarah Greenberg Sachs still works at Coke, now as the Director of Innovation with their Nutrition, Juices, Dairy and Plant products. Her marketing team was responsible for the launch of the Coke Freestyle Machines (mix & match flavors).
Bob Janke worked many years at Delta Airlines as a General Manager in various roles (Procurement, Receivable Services, Capital Markets, Corporate Real Estate Strategy & Asset Management). Then he moved on to Georgia-Pacific in Corporate Finance and Treasury. Another 1 year stint at Koch Industries. And most recently, Director of Strategic Finance (FP&A) at Artera Services.
Bob explained to me the difference between the 3 Finance functions in a corporate environment: 1. Controller, 2. Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A), and 3. Treasury. Traditionally working in the Controller department leads to the most CFO appointments (depends on industry). But more recently companies are promoting talent from FP&A and Treasury to the CFO suite.
Alternatively, maybe Bob just needs to play more golf with the CEO.
Emily is an experienced Healthcare Actuary. She studied her actuary certification while Bob was in b-school and also did consulting work for a while. The pair has always been quite popular in b-school, but even they didn't expect to be a celebrity at the Taj Mahal. Random Indian strangers were trying to get photo ops with them due to their height and ethnicity being a novelty.
Davida just started a new job with Wells Fargo … more on her later because she had most interesting story of the night.
Calvin (Davida’s husband) loves his job right now. Some of his previous roles were quite stressful: 2 years in I-banking, an Institutional Financial Adviser role in Washington DC for 4 years, and then back to Atlanta.
Somewhere between Washington, DC and Atlanta, Calvin and Davida moved to India for 3 months (Calvin’s work). Now here’s where the story gets interesting.
India was quite the culture shock for the couple. We’ve all been to India, but we traveled in style at the Taj Hotels. Davida and Calvin moved to a city in south India.
Now imagine India for a sec. Did the couple move to a city like Bangalore? Or was it more like Mumbai? Did Calvin commute to work with a crazy auto rickshaw driver or did he to go to work in a chauffeured car?
Two stories told by Davida stood out about raising their firstborn son in India.
1. Davida dropped her son off with another parent on a playdate. Well, she learned later that day that apparently her son was playing with the other kids on the roof of an Indian apartment. Apparently that’s normal. She smiled and really hoped the children were supervised by a parent.
2. One day her firstborn son comes back with a big smile on his face. He said, “Mommy, have you ever ridden a motorcycle?” Picture this: On our b-school India trip, we saw families of 7 riding on a motorcycle through crazy traffic with no one driving within traffic lanes. This is enough to give any mother a heart attack.
Let’s just say she was probably urging Calvin to wrap up his work in India and move the family back to the United States ASAP.
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