Douglas Petry, from America, talks about managing the balance between the intense program and life outside of it.

IMD has a reputation for being intense. A reputation that potential candidates begin to understand during the assessment day, that is solidified during the first few months of the MBA program. At the beginning of one economics class, our professor, Ralf Boscheck, joyfully stated, “Today, we’ll be covering three semesters of Macro-Economics.” He paused as we sat silently, “Ja??!” he called out, accentuating his German accent. “Ja!” we responded, and proceeded to jump into those three semesters of Macro.

Professor Ralf Boscheck, Macro-Economics class

For me, that intensity was a big draw of the IMD MBA program. I knew that I didn’t want to take two years out of the workforce, but still wanted to obtain an elite education. Nevertheless, it is still tremendously important to strike a balance between work and having a life outside of it. When I am refreshed and recharged, not only am I in a more pleasant mental state, but the quality of my work improves as well.

Obtaining that balance can be difficult and requires the same amount of thoughtful consideration that goes into the rest of the MBA program. For me, I find that balance in running and cooking. Whether it is making ravioli from scratch, or running 10k, these activities allow me to get outside of the rigors of the program. As I run along the lakefront my mind isn’t on the difficulties facing the startup I am working with, instead it is on my breathing, my pace, and dodging walkers, cyclists, and rollerbladers. But it is because of this focus on an entirely different process, that I am able to find the insight and clarity that I need when my mind returns to work.

Running along the Lac Léman (Lake Geneva)

Others in my cohort find balance by playing Ping-Pong in the dungeons or entertaining us with a quick concert on the keyboard. Fellow Sustainability Committee member, Dmitry Koval, finds that balance with his wife Nina and their three daughters. Whether he is sneaking home for lunch, or bouncing his eldest on his knee during an evening zoom lecture, Dmitry utilizes time with family to reset and refresh. This gives him the energy he needs to tackle the next challenge in the program.

Dmitry and his family

Regardless of the method, it is important to occasionally take a step back from the rigors of work and to focus on personal happiness. Chances are, doing so will improve that quality of your work as well.


Banner image: Professor Boscheck is well known for his blackboard masterpieces!

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