Lessons Learnt During My Internship With Michael

4 minute

Before I go on and on about why the one month I spent in the office of Michael E. Mitscher will go down as the best time I've ever had in my life, I want to introduce Michael and the team. I want to list down a few things I learned as I worked with this dynamic team for the best 30 days of my life, most of it passed down directly from Michael.

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From left: Jamey Loux, Emma, Jill, Alex and Michael

  1. Network like your life depends on it: Many people you encounter are approachable, but they are waiting for you to take the first step. Do not miss this chance.

At a networking event, everyone is there for the same purpose: networking. So why not greet with a couple of strangers within the room? Why not tell them what you’re working on and learn what they are doing so as to ascertain if you'll be of help to each other? When you do this repeatedly you increase your chances to meet someone interesting. With practice, talking to others becomes comfortable; and that there’s nothing to be scared of at the end.

2. Find what you're really passionate about and let the culture drive down: I also learned that a corporation must be driven by values, they're the guiding principles for how work should be done or which decisions to require . They’ll not only drive your actions but also the actions of your team.

Michael once told me that his first employees must embrace the values of the corporate . Thus, his employees wouldn’t have to be told exactly what to try  and the way to try to do it. albeit the startup fails, the team will learn from this experience and therefore the values they shared will help them to stay going. 

3. Go out of your comfort zone to get rid of your pre-conceived notions: When you go away from everything you know, you make your own experience and go over your prejudices.

When I arrived in Oklahoma, I went out of my comfort zone. I had never visited the United States and the culture was different to the culture I am exposed to. Lots of things were new to me. When you’re as far from everything familiar, well you better be humble, because you’ll learn a lot.

4. Be Transparent: You have to be transparent with your customers, your co-workers and yourself if you want to succeed both in your business and in life. The three steps to crisis management: 1)Find the problem 2) Acknowledge the problem 3) Always try to go further than just solving his problem.

5. It's all about sharing: Give without counting to others and you’ll receive much more. Michael resonated with the fact that leadership is all about sharing. The leader is not the one that only tells the others what to do, he’s the one that empowers them to become great leaders too. He has to teach and help them to develop their capabilities.

With the professional advice, came the fun filled days, almost immediately. It would be a long list if I were to thank Michael and the team for having made me feel so welcomed, however short the stay was.

I'd still tell you that Emma would be the first one to help you with warm clothes, because you did not think Oklahoma would get that cold (-5 degrees on most of the days), Jill would be the first one to try your Indian cooking (even when it is spicy, even for Indian standards), Alex would try all the sodas that were available and tell you which one you could try, Jamie would be the perfect food partner who'd eat a level 4 Thai Green curry with you, his eyes watering throughout and Michael would be the father figure who'd help you grow, while making sure you gain at-least 10 pounds when you leave Oklahoma.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of this amazing family at the office of Michael E. Mitscher.

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Signing off,

Puja Arti


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The Bois Locker Room: An Instagram Chat Or A Wake-up Call?

3 minute

If you’re not already aware of what this case is all about, a group of young boys in Delhi on a private Instagram chat (screenshots of which were shared around later) called “Bois Locker Room” were seen objectifying, degrading, rating, demeaning young girls, sharing their pictures (some of this girls were only 14-15 years old) and even threatening to rape or kill them in case they got exposed. 

Screenshots of this group chat were shared across social media platforms - predominantly Instagram and Twitter, after which the school authorities of these students (the 20+ boys) requested the Delhi police to investigate the incident.

The Delhi police have so far found that some students of leading South Delhi schools created the Instagram group in the last week of March and started adding their friends. “A few members are in college. Some of the teens allegedly started sharing photos posted by schoolgirls on their Instagram accounts, and passing sexually explicit comments,” an officer said, adding that the purported chats also included threats of sexual violence.

DCP  Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express, “After we came to know, we registered an FIR under Sections 465 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and Sections 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) and 67A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act in electronic form) of the IT Act. 

The case is still under investigation. But..

All the right things that could’ve gone wrong: 

First off, the boys on the group chat threatened some of the girls to rape, kill, and humiliate them if they dared to share any of this information with anyone. But the girls, being well-educated (and smart) enough to know that no such thing could actually take place if a complaint was lodged, went ahead to expose them anyways. But you see, things like this happen EVERY DAY and young girls are often a) either too ignorant to pay attention and brush off these issues as “minor” or b) scared of the empty threats that honestly have no real follow-throughs.

Second, the school authorities specifically requested the police to investigate the incident. Now again, this may not have happened in many other cases. A lot of times, any kind of vulgar behaviour, especially in schools and colleges in India, is looked upon as high risk to the reputations of these institutions so they prefer to sweep it all under a carpet

And third, social shaming. In cases like these, we bless the speed of the internet. Social media fastens the process of information spreading, and it is necessary for people to acknowledge this pro of social media platforms. But more often than not, a lot of serious issues may be lost under all that is glitter and jolly good, unicorns and rainbows - But this piece of incident DIDN’T. Imagine the number of people that want to have a voice to socially bring shame to their oppressors, but are unsuccessful. At least this one caught the eye - and the punishment of being recognized as a “so and so” in case of this incident will stick with the boys for a lifetime. 

Now, the case is under investigation, and a judgment has not yet been made. But it’s clear to the general audience that since some of the girls (whose pictures had been shared on the group chat) were underage, this is child porn. So not only are what these boys doing morally incorrect, but also illegal under IP section 292, 293. 

We hope for the best outcomes.

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What Is Herd Immunity? Everything You Need To Know

2 minute

Picture a herd or community of healthy people. An infectious virus or disease would pass easily through the community from person to person. Vaccines train our immune system to protect us from diseases it hasn’t come in contact with before. For example, the MMR vaccine provides immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. During an outbreak of a disease, vaccinated people will remain healthy. As they won't become infected, they won't pass on the disease. Hence, if most of the community is vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to actually spread to the rest of the community. This is the basis of herd immunity. 

If most people in the community are not vaccinated, herd immunity can break down, allowing the disease to spread more easily.

Herd immunity becomes especially important for the individuals in a herd who can't be vaccinated. These could be people who are either too old, too young or have weaker immune systems

Herd Immunity without Vaccination: Another way the building of herd immunity could happen is if many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity). In this case, the herd would have to be fit enough to contract the disease, survive it and then become immune towards it. 

 It is important to note that in order for herd immunity to take action, the disease/virus must be categorized as a Contagious one. (capable of spreading)

COVID-19 and Herd Immunity In India

Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly has said that one of the only hopes in defeating the novel coronavirus is by developing ‘herd immunity,’ 

In an interview with news9, he said, “This coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strand remains. The virus will keep infecting people until a large population develops immunity against it.”

He has also stated that immunity could only be achieved through a vaccine or by getting infected by the virus. “Since developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is not an easy task and it is unlikely that we will get one soon, the only hope that remains is that of herd immunity and it is bound to happen.”

Explaining the idea of herd immunity further, he said, “The virus is going to infect a large number of populations in India. When a large number of people get infected, their bodies will develop natural immunity. They will stop the virus from spreading further by breaking the chain of infections transmitted from one person to another.” “Since I am closely monitoring the situation, I am sure that we are moving towards herd immunity,” he added. 

Studying infection trends in India, he said that most coronavirus cases will be asymptomatic. Patients will recover through natural immunity and vitamin boosting medication suggested by doctors. However, those with existing health conditions could develop severe complications as the virus is shown to aggravate symptoms. 

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