I had my first MBA class this weekend. It’s an intro management course that spans two weekends, designed to jump start you into the program. Right before class, I got an email from my professor. It included the following:
“Create a Personal Coat of Arms.”
What kind of sick and twisted European feudal system are we running over here? What’s next, tithing? Or maybe we have to manually recreate the 95 Theses with our own personal beliefs on indulgences? No wonder everyone at Goldman Sachs screwed over American taxpayers and ruined the international financial system. It’s because they were asked to make coats of arms in business school, already inflating their self-sense of worth.
After I’m done railing about the indignity of this exercise, though, let me tell you that making your own personal coat of arms does make you feel GREAT and important and stuff. Also, it is a fulfillment of my deepest desires. It was just last week, still coming off a Europe high, that I casually remarked to Mr. B, “Why doesn’t your family have a coat of arms, like the House of Stewart?” To which he replied, looking at me like I was clinically insane, “Because my family was Jewish?” “But even Jews had coats of arms. Why wasn’t I lucky enough to marry a coat-of-arms Jew,” I lamented, making a mental note to peruse the list of currently single Rothschilds.
Luckily, here in America we make our own fortunes (and change our stars, since we are going full-on medieval metaphors here) and I set to re-enact hundreds of years of European arrogance and dignity with a few hours of messing around in Photoshop.
Here’s what I came up with:
Terrifying, isn’t it?
And here’s the explanation I submitted:
My coat of arms is a take on classical European symbolic elements, incorporated into what they mean to me. In the center is Athena, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, but also just warfare. My desire to constantly learn and be exposed to new ideas is the crux of my being. And, just warfare to me means standing up for my beliefs and fighting for truth of people who are too weak to do it on their own. Athena was logical, restrained, and, most importantly, classy, a philosophy that I try to follow both at work and in my personal relationships. She also represents the ancient Greek virtues of soundness of both mind and body, a philosophy which I try to follow by running, since I sit for 8 hours a day at work.She’s surrounded by the globe. Internationalism is extremely important to me: I was born in Russia and have spent time living there, as well as Israel. In addition to international perspective, I also love travel. I believe travel is one of the most important things we can do as human beings to learn about other peoples’ perspectives, and about ourselves. The world is blue as a nod to the importance of the color blue in my life: it is in the flag of Israel and Russia, and is a lucky color for me personally.Athena and the globe are surrounded by my motto, “ad astra per aspera”, to the stars through difficulty, because I believe anything worth doing is difficult and that it’s important to challenge ourselves. All of this is framed by the tree of knowledge. As long as our desire for knowledge grows, the tree grows. Thirst for knowledge is what makes life exciting. The tree also represents roots and family. Understanding family and remembering where I came from is important to me.