I have a little confession to make, when I started at IMD almost three months ago, I did have a slight chip on my shoulder…. I used to wonder how could anything make such a difference in someone’s personality … how could I possibly assimilate so much in such little time as the alums make it out to be and the one thought which constantly nagged me was how will I work in a team of peers?
Did I just say three months ago? How could we possibly do so much, that too successfully, in just 12 weeks? A full-blown start up project which takes about 8-9 hours each week, 2 cases every day, finance, accounting, economics, career services activities, guest lectures, leadership stream and between all this madness, we would still manage to find time in true MBA style to have little celebrations here & there. And not to forget the very intense integrative exercise when all the courses beautifully and coherently came together, which was then followed by exams. And finally, we got some time to cool off the steam in the 4-day Easter break.
When I look back at the last three months, it seems to me that time is slipping through my fingers like sand. However, what I also realized is that some of the sand sticks to the skin and these are memories and lessons that will remain, memories of the time when there was still time left. While this time slowly washed away any preconceived notions that I came here with, it has also given me a few life changing lessons already.
I have always been a sprint runner and applied that philosophy even in my professional life. But a few weeks into the program and I quickly became aware that I need to adapt my style and transition into a marathon runner. A marathon runner must plan and run the whole 26 miles. Train for it. Conserve the energy to finish it. Be persistent to continue at several points on the way when the instinct is to give up. And the most important thing, for someone who has been a sprinter, is to take the leap of faith and give up sprinting to become a marathon runner. It is still work in progress I must admit, but given the progress, I’m quite confident of the outcome.
Steve Jobs once said: “to achieve your greatest goals, sometimes all you need to do is ask”. Reaching out did not come naturally to me and I initially hesitated in asking for any kind of support. Thankfully, I soon understood the superior power of cohorts and that I will need my classmates for both academic and 3 am emotional support. And every time I reached out against my instinct, my new-found belief in power of asking for help was further strengthened. And If I think about it, perhaps the most precious moments so far are those that have been spent in the company of my groupmates or other friends, creating bonds for life.
A new module starts tomorrow morning with its new set of learnings and challenges. Till the insanity strikes again, I’ll enjoy another good night’s sleep and go to bed with the wish if only I had Hermoine’s time turner.
Image: Dungeon exuberance post integrative exercises!