What got you here will not get you there

It has been over 4 months since we started here at IMD. We are done with first term exams and the results have started to trickle down. Before you know it, next term is on us. Four more weeks and we will have our second term exams. A lot of exciting things to come after the second term exams – Navigating the future conferences, Company engagement projects, International consulting projects and above all the intense phase of career talks. Stay tuned!

There are two oft-repeated slides by almost all professors. One with the iceberg and another with some form of “what got you here will not get you there”. They are kinda interlinked.

iceberg-underwater-wallpaper-wallpaper-1

For me personally, the last four months have been intense and also emotional to some extent. In a matter of few weeks, IMD has this way of breaking you down completely. Within weeks, I started doubting all my hard and soft skills. The leadership experiential simulated a tough environment  and showed me how I react under extreme pressure. The startup project put me in a diverse group of very opinionated people and tested my people skills. All our projects and tight deadlines put me under a lot of pressure in a short span of time. IMD promised a pressure cooker and boy, did it deliver!

I look back at my career so far and I often try to put these 4 months into perspective. Like the other 89 students in my class, I had a decent international experience. I also had modest success in my career. Looking back, I think there were few skills that I had that had helped me in my career. What is amazing is, those skills have not been particularly useful! Now, this is both good and bad. Good because I am adding more skills and difficult experiences to my toolkit. Bad because it makes the journey a lot harder. Why is this the case?

It is almost as if, IMD predicted that students will go through this brooding period this year and added the leadership coach and the Personal development elective in the program. I spend a lot of my time talking to these experienced professionals and psycho-analysts about why I do what I do. I also talk about why others do what they do and how I am knowingly and unknowingly influencing them. To me, these discussions have been pretty eye-opening. I certainly hope I take these learning back to whichever company I end up working for.

This is why I think the iceberg makes an excellent example. Our actions and reactions to things in life usually have the visible component and the invisible component. IMD is constantly showing us we need to be aware of the invisible component. This is why I think what got me here will not get me there. The world is full of challenges ahead. Dealing with ambiguity in life and in career is common place. The companies we all hope to work for after MBA and roles we hope to get will be more challenging than we did before MBA. If anything the pressure will be higher than it is now.

No one can be prepared for every challenge and every opportunity, but it is possible to pick up the fundamentals that can be applied to analyse problems. I believe that is what I am learning here and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to look at daily occurrences in life in a different way. From conversations with classmates, almost all of them are going through something similar this year.

Career services update:

Our IMD CV version is now officially done. We were told the CV books have been published to the recruiters. Our calendar for June is full of career talks by companies. As early as June we will begin mock interviews and case preparation etc. The next 7 months of the program looks as action-packed as the last 4.

Keep calm and carry on.

Sathappan

 

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