Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Re-Thinking...Design' made possible by Roger Martin

Lately, I have been having a fantastic design time in San Francisco.

I have met several design minds...some through informational meetings while others through connections. The strongest connection with the design world was probably being able to attend the Design Management Institute (DMI) conference called,'Re-Thinking..Design' in June.

The ticket was priced high at $1400+ and well beyond what my pocket allowed.

Our dean - Roger Martin was one of the keynote speakers at the conference. I emailed Roger and requested whether he would be able to get me a student price. And, viola! He spoke with the conference lead and I was able to attend the conference for $500, which is the student price.

I was quite impressed with the fact that Roger is extremely collaborative and sees value-add in a recent Rotman graduate. He did not have to respond to my email, or accommodate my request for that matter. However, he chose to do so. I wish the entire Rotman community was like him. I also wish all the business leaders were like him i.e. see value-add in students, graduates, alumni, employees and collaborators.

The conference not only gave me an opportunity to network in SF, but it also introduced me to the fact that business will turn into design in future and vice-versa!

Thank you Roger for making the conference a possibility for me :)

So, how did all this happen?

  • Heather at Designworks casually mentioned in May that since I am moving to SF, I should check out DMI's conference.
  • I go online and check and price; Immediate reaction - forget it! too expensive.
  • I keep thinking in my head that if I miss this opportunity, I will regret it.
  • I talk to my friend Angela and mention the conference. Angela suggests emailing Roger and asking for a ticket.
  • I think,"Well, why would Roger answer my email? Oh well! I have to give it a shot!"
  • I email Roger and I am all set to go to the conference :)
While Roger's input was crucial here, I want to make a note of the fact that life is about availing opportunities (in a good way) and listening to people intently. Had I not paid attention to Heather's casual remark and Angela's advice, I would not have been able to become a part of the conference.

Like I said before, I wish the entire Rotman community was like Roger. I emailed Rotman's PSO (Financial Aid Admin) a few weeks prior to the conference. Usually, Rotman provides conference subsidies. However, my request was declined since I was going to graduat 3 days prior to the conference. The reasoning being that I was no longer a registered student and hence not value-add (implied).

PSO should really work on establishing and maintaining relationships with alumni. I may be unemployed now, but I will be employed in time. I am not sure how PSO hopes to maintain a strong alumni relationship if they find no value in a graduate just 3 days after convocation!

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