As the end of 2017 approached, candidates prepared to leave one life to start a new journey with us. Here are the thoughts of Hassan Abdel Fattah, who is joining us this year.

It’s a cold, snowy Thursday night in Canada as a I take my final drive home. I’m coming back from an emotional last day of work where I said goodbye to colleagues who became my friends and family for the past couple of years. I’ve spent the last 2 months at work navigating some final project work, while scheduling calls with mentors and co-workers to share news of my next chapter in life and ask for some advice as I prepare to plunge into the unknown. I’m about to move 7000 km across the Atlantic Ocean for a new adventure, one where I will probably be challenged on a completely different level than what I’m normally comfortable with. I will have to start looking inwards a little more, and challenging my own status quo as I work with 89 intriguing students from around the world who are looking for their own pivot in their own quest for self-betterment. My mind treads carefully, while my heart skips a beat with excitement.

Historically whenever I was ready for a change (aka pivot) in my life, I always looked for the uncomfortable next step. To me, uncomfortable means turning the table upside down, pulling the plug or doing a 180 to change things up and re-energize myself. But I never look to get uncomfortable when I’m down or failing. I look for patterns of sustained success, stable relationships, and overall well-being, and then decide to get uncomfortable. Patterns of stability are my definition of a comfort zone, and when I land in my comfort zone I know it’s time to leave. It’s my way of challenging and calibrating myself.

When I arrived in Lausanne 4 months ago for my assessment day at IMD, I walked through streets where I couldn’t quite speak the local language. I met with other candidates who had experience in fields so far away from my area of expertise. I met with faculty and staff who were assessing me and judging me. I was introduced to an MBA program that is so unique and especially intriguing. I felt so very uncomfortable. And I knew I was home for my next chapter in life.

As I look forward to the year ahead, I am excited to connect with my classmates to collectively discover a lot more about ourselves. We are all taking a leap of faith and getting out of our comfort zone to try and eventually make a lasting impact on society. We have slightly different goals and dreams, but we share a common theme. We are disruptors who are going to make the world a better place.


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