“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”, said Dr. Seuss. And it seems he said it to help me capture in one line this most amazing year. The inevitable happened yesterday – the program came to an end for us and we were unsure about how we felt. We were delighted of course to be called the IMD MBA Graduate, after all we had worked for at least two years to get that title (yes do not forget the long arduous application process). But like first time school goers who cling to their mothers on their first day of school, we were clinging to those last moments, except in our case we didn’t want to go away from this school. But we have to move on! That was inevitable and now is the reality. So where did we find the resolve to say goodbye with a heavy heart and to move on? Well, Dr. Seusse helped a bit. And it also helped that we promised to each other to stay in touch. But perhaps what has helped the most is that we are taking away a little something from each of the other 89 graduates. The new “me” is now made up of a little essence of each of my classmates. Each one of my friends has come to represent for me and others a particular trait. A virtue. A perspective. An emotion and it is this that perhaps will stay with us for a lifetime and it is this essence that gives me the resolve to move forward because now I know that I do not have to rely on just myself.
An obvious question to ask at this point is was it worth it? All the physical and emotional stretch? This abrupt break to our, in many cases, flourishing careers. What has this year given us? For me the answer is clear – a truly open mind. This year has taught me to engage, work, thrive and even rejoice with people who are very different from us. To not judge. To be grateful that there is a point of view that is so different – because that is the real opportunity to find common ground and make progress. This year has taught me to trust people and be led by them. This year has taught me that you do not optimize situations which demand a trade-off between people’s welfare and material wealth – you simply stand for the people – always! This year has taught me that individuals can often dream dreams bigger than themselves and achieve them, as long as they are willing to work with others, bring them along and inspire them to be their best. This year taught me to never make assumptions, certainly not about people. Often we do not know what people are battling, but we can certainly ask and in many cases we can help – we must. This year taught me that it is ok to ask for help, it is ok to take a break, to shed a tear and it is ok to start all over again! And I have realised we can do all of this only when we have a truly open mind. One that is curious, one that asks questions, one that genuinely cares and one that looks at possibilities.
Was all of this worth it? Hell yes!!!!! And the graduation day was the best testimonial that their could be. The whole year came into focus in that one moment. The harmony surrounded us.
It was great to meet our family and friends and also those of our classmates. They shared in our happiness and made it special! They made us realise, as my dear friend Luca said in his brilliant speech (complemented tremendously by Antoine), how blessed we are. How much love and support we have around us – some that we do not even acknowledge, some that we do not even recognize. We couldn’t have asked for a better graduation day and culmination to this most amazing year of our lives. Those moments will perhaps never be re-created, except in our minds but I take solace in the fact that it happened.
As I move on to the next milestones in my life, I safely hand you over to the fantastic blog team of 2017. Thanks for being by our side through our journey and I hope you will accompany the next batch in the same spirit.
To the batch of 2017 – Welcome! And if you are looking for one piece of advise – I would say keep an open mind. You will only become better and get enriched in these corridors. I wish you all the best!
From this beautiful French part of Switzerland – Au revoir!
Signing off for the last time!