Sachin Kumar Badkas '08 (India)

This entry has been long due and in the making. In fact, by now, it combines what could have been several. Wrapping up affairs in Lund, bidding farewell to Sweden, the galas in Budapest, a short getaway, hop in Maastricht and leaving Europe from it's putative capital to arrive in the Indian one. Back in India, deep into introspection on what had changed in my perspective, if anything. And now back in the EU via Brussels again. This could get long.

John came visiting from Manchester right after we handed in the masters thesis. He followed Yanin and Demetrius in reply to Karen, Shahzia and Melissa who travelled from Lund to Manchester - the small elite group to have visited all the 4 partners. About the same time, a friend from the room next door invited (read pestered) me to visit his summer house far out on the archipelago off Stockholm. It was among the best decisions in my life that I finally gave in. The time spent with his family was easily my most memorable time so far.

As many then said, having the graduation in Budapest is a perfect climax to the program. Some of us got to live at our old addresses, visit the same joints and renew some old complaints. Our metro station - Ors Vezer Tere - and several others on the red line had transformed for the better. This was a special year at CEU as George Soros sort of retired from active engagement. The university thought up a very meaningful gift and it was an honour to be asked to hand over to him the scroll with the names of all graduates of the institution. As if one respectable celebrity was not enough, Kofi Annan graced the graduation ceremony the next day. The latter name matters a lot to me personally, because he is among people my family discussed over dinners when I was younger. It is a name they perhaps wanted me to grow up and relate - look up - to.

Not everyone joined in on the short trip to Balaton that most had earlier agreed would be a fitting goodbye setting, as that was where we got to know the class and others. All I remember from the trip now is shifting in my shoes during the prolonged goodbye scene. I left for Brussels and, wihtin a few days, to New Delhi.

My reflections from the 6 weeks back in India belong on a different blog as they have very little to do with MESPOM. Suffice it to put here that at the end of the trip, concluding the aforementioned introspection, I decided that my perspective and person had both changed less that those of others I leave there.

Moving on from MESPOM, to take a quick look back. I had almost settled this before joining MESPOM. I had been eyeing academics as the only suitable career for myself. My area of work is public policy. The best place to undertake that work is at the helm of government affairs, as one of my MBA teachers put it, at 'hotel policy'. Been there, done that, and done with it. Also, the two year stint left a bad taste of IGOs and NGOs in my mouth. To take up international research and teaching in public policy, I needed to further master my chosen policy sector. That called for turning down a very responsible position at the Swiss headquarters of a renowned NGO to return to classes at MESPOM.

The decision was made within weeks of starting MESPOM. All I could assure myself I deserved to be was a university professor of the kind that teach at MESPOM. I had brought along several copies of transcripts. Just needed to take GRE in the summer between the two years. Fortune, meanwhile, decided to try and tease. The offer came without me knowing of or applying for it - a lucrative contract with a UN body in Rome, with a hint of continued employment there - but by then my mind was set. Without going deeper into the ups and downs or reasons and choices involved in the doctoral applications process, let me just mention my current whereabouts. Am now at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, about to commence a PhD in Policy Analysis.

Imagine the state of a person who has repeatedly taken decisions and risks in the past and asserted himself and his confidence in his goals. All eyes on Sachin. Let's see where he takes of all of this...