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Lucky 13

Work hard and surround yourself with people smarter than you, and you can be awfully lucky.” 

As I read this quote in a blog by Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, it brought to mind Northwestern and my 2013 MSC cohort.

The day I received my acceptance letter into Northwestern’s MSC Program, I felt like I won the lottery. As I first listened to each member of my cohort introduce themselves on orientation day, I thought, how did I become fortunate enough be in this program and among this amazing, talented group of individuals?

Hard work was definitely a part of it, but a lot of luck was also involved.

It was clear from the start that we were as interested in the value of coming together as a cohort as we were in the content of our classes. As the year progressed, we became a tightly knit group, helping and supporting each other along the way.

Even now, seven months after graduation, our bonds remain strong. If anyone needs advice on a work project, a new opportunity or an upcoming interview, an inquiry on our Facebook page instantly brings a dozen or more responses. Announcements of new jobs are greeted with a barrage of well wishes and congratulations. Happy hours, lunches, dinners and other outings help us strengthen our resolve and celebrate our successes.

In our final term of the Program, our Ethics professor Dr. Hariman spoke on Aristotle’s theory of friendship. According to this theory, there are three types of friends:

  • Pleasure friends are the people you have fun with – they are like your Facebook friends.
  • Utility friends are the people that are useful to you – your networks. In other words, your LinkedIn friends.
  • Virtue friends help you become a better person. They understand who you truly are and hold you to a higher standard. They are your moral compass.

Virtue friendship resonated with MSC 2013. We now had a term to explain what we were experiencing. In 10 intense months, we had learned what we were capable of and challenged each other to become our best, even when we felt our worst.  And, we continue to do so. As one of my fellow cohort members often says, “We have each others backs and always will.”

I am still in awe of and learning from MSC13. Our cohort is one of the most enduring and valuable aspects of the MSC Program. During my time at Northwestern I not only gained an incredible amount of knowledge, I also earned true virtue friends. We are – and always will be – lucky 13.

By Barb Lack, MSC Class of 2013