While the world was still busy peeling covers off calendars for 2020, 89 starry-eyed individuals from 37 nations assembled in the MBA Lorange auditorium to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration. We braved the frosty Swiss winters and faced with aplomb everything thrown at us – academic rigor, multicultural groups, working with startups – all the while scripting our own individual and combined tales.
Then COVID brought the world to a standstill, and brought our utopian lives to a pause. The IMD campus had to close down in accordance with government rules, and our learning journeys shifted online. We soon acclimatized to the Zoom world and found novel ways to enhance our experience. Simultaneously, we kept our fingers crossed and eagerly awaited for the campus to reopen.
As sunlit mornings gave way to overcast conditions, Module 2 kicked into breakneck speed. We churned out assignments, chose our ICP (International Consulting Project) preferences and had our first full day of company presentations. Then, as the sun started peeping out from underneath a blanket of grey clouds, we were informed that we would be able to get back to campus on 8th June, after a gap of nearly 75 days. The news was greeted with unbridled joy, a plethora of messages on the class Whatsapp group and high fives all around.
The last couple of days have been filled with nostalgia – not just of the changed circumstances and Zoom memories that will distinguish us from all other IMD batches to date, but also of campus life highlights from before we left. The excitement of getting back and seeing our batchmates for real increases with every passing moment, along with the anticipation of recreating those fast-paced classroom discussions where ideas get cross-pollinated at the speed of light.
Immediately on coming back to campus, we dive straight into a packed schedule. We will be greeted by the Integrative Exercise (with an added twist), IMD’s famed rites of passage where groups earn their stripes by continuously working for 48 hours on a complex problem. As we emerge from this marathon exercise, we will have to finalize our electives choices and present on ways to achieve the UN SDGs with the business world. The week will end with another round of company presentations.
The faint-hearted might prefer to remain in the serenity of home and avoid this high intensity reintroduction. But for the Mighty90, it’s the right stage to signal our entry back to campus life.
On Monday morning 89 grinning faces will walk towards campus. As the doors of Bellerive 32 reopen, we will inhale that forgotten fragrance and sound for the first time in two and a half months – the scent of powerful ideas and 88 other familiar faces. It feels like Day 1 all over again – filled with dreams, excitement and anticipation – but this time also with the determination and confidence that we can successfully tackle any challenges whatsoever. And as we restart penning down this next chapter of our IMD journeys, the scoreboard reads Mighty90 (1) : COVID (0).