It was still dark in the early morning of July three years ago that upon waking up and checking my email, I jumped and shouted “Yes!” That came about when I read an email from the organizers of the Peter Drucker Challenge (PDC) informing me that the essay I submitted to them ranked 10th in the essay writing competition.
I can’t exactly remember what was my epiphany of Dr. Peter F. Drucker or his writings, but what came after reading his works was to me of profound significance! I find the things I learned from his books to be very helpful and it helped me a lot in my work and later on in the business I put up. So, I decided to honor him by writing an essay and submitting it to the Peter Drucker Challenge.
Moving forward, my travel from Singapore to Vienna to collect my award was quite long but exciting. As a competition winner, I was entitled to attend the Peter Drucker Forum free of charge. Our first activity there was a reception for the PDC winners which took place at a hall in the Austrian National Library. During that time, I met Ms. Deepa Prahalad, the daughter of C.K. Prahalad who is the author of my favorite Harvard Business Review (HBR) article entitled “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.” After the cocktails, we were toured inside the library itself which to bibliophile like myself is a haven for intellectual pursuits. The library has enormous collection of books which dates back to antiquity and its ceiling is painted with magnificent frescoes. According to our tour guide, the Austrian National Library is second only to the Pope’s library in terms of grandeur and book collections. After our visit to the library, we had a long walk to Rathaus, the city hall of Vienna, for a banquet. The banquet was exquisitely elegant that we were brought back in time to the Habsburg era. In the party, I had the privilege of chatting with Robin Chase, the co-founder of ZipCar, the progenitor of Uber/Grab. It so happened that the ZipCar Case is one of my most favorite cases at AIM. I also had a good chat with Cecily Drucker, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the daughter of Dr. Peter F. Drucker.
The next day was the formal start of Peter Drucker Forum at the Jesuit Hall of the Aula der Wissenschaften. The speakers were great and the topics discussed I believe complemented my learnings from MBA. Among our speakers for the two-day event were the renowned social philosopher Charles Handy, McGill University professor Henry Mintzberg, HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius, Haier CEO Zhang Ruimin, renowned economist Dambisa Moyo, and a host of other influential thinkers.
The awarding ceremony took place during a banquet at Marx Halle which was reminiscent of the distinctive Austrian imperial banquet. There was also a segment in the forum where some of the winners were interviewed to share their insights about the forum’s theme.
If you want to experience what I experienced in Vienna, then join the Peter Drucker Challenge this year. Deadline of Submisions is on June 24, 4:00 PM (CET). The theme is “How to stay human in a robot society?” More information is available in the Peter Drucker Challenge website www.druckerchallenge.org.
Words Photos by Jed M. Bellen, SCPM, PMP, Founder, Prodigy’s Athenaeum
Cover photo: With Ms. Namita Narkar, a fellow AIMer who won the 1st place and Jed Belen, the Author, got the 10th place.