My first memory of Linkin Park was reading lyrics of Crawling carved out on a piece of wood in my Engineering School workshop. Linkin Park’s music occupied significant headspace in my group of friends as we went through university. I was intrigued by the lyrics that seemed to convey pain that I never really made an effort to understand. On July 20th this year, I woke up to the news of Chester Bennington’s death. It is hard to see your icons as merely human, and his death left me shaken. Based on public records, I spent hours trying to understand who he was as a person. I found out he was sexually abused as a child and later of his battle with alcohol and drug addiction. With his music, he had fought through his pain and touched lives world over.

There are many moments, big and small, that shape our destiny. I resolved then to take the time to pause and reflect on my year at IMD and the many feelings I had and would experience during the year. As a tribute to Chester, I take the liberty of punctuating my thoughts with Linkin Park lyrics.



Of Ambition, Belonging, Clarity, Direction, Encouragement and Fear

(This is the first of a series of three posts, written by Abhijat Chahal, from this year’s class)


What is it about an MBA that convinces so many across the world to make a huge investment in terms of time and money? Is it a desire for a higher salary? Or opportunities? Or just to break out? It was a question that baffled me for years until I decided to take this leap of faith myself. One aspect that was consistent, amongst all I met, was an ambition – to reach newer places, get better jobs and achieve loftier goals. Did I know what exactly I wanted out of an MBA year? Not really. I wanted more for myself and in the absence of truly inspirational ideas, decided to trust so much of what I had heard about the IMD MBA to help get to the next stage in my life.

Ambition will likely be the most commonly found trait at all top B-Schools. I sit and think today about what we came with and what became of it, as I witness the first snow flakes of this season, days before leaving Lausanne. The IMD MBA has proven to be an experiential abyss, with depths hard to fathom sometimes. The more I embraced it, the deeper it went.

“I have a dream of a scene between the green hills
Clouds pull away and the sunlight’s revealed”
-Dedicated (2002)


I had a colleague ask me if I was unhappy with our company, the Maersk Group, and if that had driven me to seek out opportunities with an MBA rather than make that next move within the company. It was a question that I needed to answer for myself more than him. At the age of 23, I took my first international flight for work. Ten years later, I had travelled to 48 countries and lived in six – work took me places. Maersk had empowered my life and the fact that my ambition stood tall was on a foundation built on my years in the company. No, I wasn’t unhappy at all. In fact, I was grateful – for all the opportunities and friends through the years. My time at Maersk is as much a part of my identity as my nationality. The sense of belonging is as much a liberating feeling as it is a grounding influence in shaping our identities.

The time at IMD pales in terms of the number of years, but makes up in intensity. The year has transformed us all, sometimes in ways that we didn’t expect. Lausanne became a part of who we will be forever. Earlier in the year, I witnessed my first ever ice hockey game. We went to support Lausanne Hockey Club in a historic game – the last one in the Malley stadium. It felt like all of Lausanne had gathered in the stadium. It was loud, energetic and memorable as the town celebrated the end of an era. A whole group of IMD MBAs added to the din at Malley.


In 2017, IMD and Lausanne is who we became. It is where we belong, and a part of us will continue to. Brushing aside the cynic, I learnt to be grateful for these moments of experiencing the positively binding emotion of belonging, shaping who I will grow to be.

“I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along, Somewhere I belong.”
-Somewhere I Belong (2003)



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