Thursday, December 31, 2009

Even an MBA can become a chess master

Yes, in this time of recession and crisis, I have realized the often-used adage "crisis is opportunity" and took the opportunity to accomplish my old ambitions by attaining a title of FIDE master in Chess. And this is the result of my victory in the strong chess tournament held in Zagreb last month and of my successful leadership of the local chess team "HRT Zagreb" named after the Croatian National Television. The picture above is taken at the closing ceremony of the tournament, while I was receiving cup and money prize. This easily describes a smile on my face :-)

For those of you more interested in chess, you can find final ranking in the torunament I won on this page and final standings of the team competition I won with my team on on this page. Also, description of chess titles could be found on this page.

It's not easy to achieve this level in chess, or to be first in the torunament, that's reason I'm bragging about it. Chess requires from you to put a lof of effort in playing and studying of the game to achieve a success, but after all it's still a game and no one guarantees that you will outplay your opponent and won a game, no matter how knowledgeable you are. You need a lot of knowledge, but also a lof of skill and the iron determination to achieve a success in it. Those characteristics compelled many people to draw parallels between chess and life, or between chess and business. Good examples could be famous world champion Garry Kasparov who wrote a book "How Life Imitates Chess", and good Grandmaster Lars Bo Hansen who wrote a book "Foundations of Chess Strategy".

I encourage the people who don't play chess to read Kasparov's book, it has many interesting points and you don't need to know how to play chess to read it. And those with chess and business background, like me, could find interesting ideas on the subject in Hansen's book.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Even an MBA can do IT

The above title is a little game of words taken from the famous FedEx ad shown at the beginning of this post. Since I have recently finished my MBA studies, and I'm working in the IT field for more than 5 years, I would like through this blog to overcome the gap between these two interconnected fields: Business and Information Technology.

The ad is basically reinforcing the common prejudice among technical people that managers (especially those with MBA title) are just a bunch of mediocre guys in fancy suits who are only competent in talking and making life tougher for the people who do the real work. On the other hand, the reality is that MBA is now on the height of its popularity, and more and more people with technical and engineering background are graduating from MBA studies and filling the ranks of managers and consultants.

The world is never black-and-white, and there are few businesspeople that are incompetent and arrogant as the guy in the above ad, as there are really few IT persons that are experts only in IT and dysfunctional in any other aspect of life - which is other misconception commonly held among businesspersons (and technical people too!) In modern world spheres of business and IT are so interconnected that good understanding between these two "worlds" is crucial for the progress of the many aspects of society. So, in the next few posts I will try to explain a difference in perception between these two groups of people that is causing a lot of misunderstanding in the work.