We have often heard the question: beach or mountains? There is a scientific study which claims a link between personality and geography. Extroverts have a higher affinity towards beaches while introverts prefer mountains. While I like mountains and other wild landscapes, it is only an ocean which has always beckoned me with a magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into its beauty. That said, I’ve a strong inkling that the next ten months in such proximity to snow-capped peaks at a lakeside may alter my preference; though hopefully not my personality!

The first week at IMD almost ended in a blink with a plethora of activities. We were also briefly introduced to the start-up projects by the very dynamic Prof. Benoit. The start-up project will provide us with an opportunity for unstructured problem solving and in the Professor’s words: “To be the engine behind the rocket”. We ended the first week with a retreat to the mountains in Chamonix, France.

The class of 90, with some of the faculty, landed on Friday evening at a cosy hotel in Chamonix. We were treated by a traditional fondue dinner, introducing our palates to the jewels of the swiss culinary delights. The class bonding was on full display when the conversations refused to die down till the wee hours of the morning despite fatigue from the previous week.

The sun shone almost splendidly the next morning, as if it also wanted to ensure that we relished our time snowshoeing. Chamonix is popular for winter sports and was the site of the first winter Olympics. The importance of the place almost draws a parallel with the privilege that each of us feel at IMD every day. For the uninitiated, snowshoeing is a form of hiking in the snow using a special snow shoe footwear which helps to distribute the weight of a person over a larger area so that the person’s foot doesn’t sink into the snow. A four kilometre hike in the trails of Bouche des Tines and Les Bois in a snowy terrain, criss-crossed with odd streams and flora bearing the marks of the receded glaciers from the yore, offered magnificent panoramic views of Les Drues, the very famous Mont Blanc and the surrounding peaks.

I’ve been to mountains on many occasions in the past and each time I’ve been humbled and strengthened by the silence and vast elevations of great mountains. It is impossible to tread such paths, consciously without enlargement of thought. A mountain summons one to climb their slopes, offering a very sweet nectar for all the preparation and toil when reached at the top, albeit with a risk of cruel failure. This trip kindled another wave of enthusiasm amongst us. We returned to Lausanne later in the day, renewed with a fresh vigour to continue to attempt all summits in our journey and create meaning and success in each step.



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