December 22, 2015Brown University

The Value of Hard Work and the Lasting Bonds It Creates

By Bilal Arif, IE Brown Alum and Head of Due Diligence, Integration & Alliance Management-Technical Operations, at Shire

I won’t kid you. The IE Brown Executive program was brutal - especially with a full time job and three kids. But what I gained from that hard work was life changing in ways that I would never have thought.

Personal Stamina: For the duration of the program, I couldn’t wait for an end to the hard work. But to my surprise, I continued to work as intensely after I graduated. Why? Because I could. Keeping up with the relentless pace of the program taught me the depths of my reserves. It took the edge off work because I knew I could do it. Plus, IE Brown gave me the experiences and tools to engage at a deeper and more intellectual level that made my contributions more powerful and work more rewarding.

The power of teamwork: I will never again doubt human potential when we work together aligned around a well articulated goal. During the program, we worked in groups to accomplish what seemed like impossible tasks. But we all made it because of our clarity of purpose which pushed us past the end goal with new and exciting ideas. In my area of M&A, this lesson is equally valuable for assessing performance at a team or corporate level. Is everyone motivated to row toward the same goal?

Bonds that last: The strongest bonds come from working with others to overcome challenges and achieve new goals. Because we all joined this program to grow, we could let our guards down in a way that professional lives don’t allow. We were able to talk about our fears, concerns, weaknesses because we were there to overcome them. And we did. I’m forever grateful to IE Brown for the amazing network of colleagues that it gave me. The program ended but our camaraderie and mutual support lives on.

For example, on a recent trip to Germany a couple of my cohort members who happened to be nearby - Lenny Kessler in Berlin and Rainer Odermatt from Zurich joined me to tour the sites of Berlin. We hadn’t seen each other since the program ended six months ago but it was like we hadn’t missed a beat.

bilal

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