What to prioritize in an MBA life is a continual strategic juggle, and with Switzerland relaxing COVID restrictions, new temptations open up.

The 2021 MBA class has just finished our second Integrative Exercise and for the next few days, we get….. not as much freedom as I thought. Exams start Monday and we’ll be applying the knowledge we learnt in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and Business & Society this module. One would think that exams aren’t a big deal in a MBA Program, we signed up for this didn’t we? True, but as an international MBA participant, what to prioritize in an MBA Life could be looked at as a strategy case, and the hard pill to swallow is there isn’t one answer.

On my bedside table at home, I have Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’ almost finished. The book is hefty and long, and I started it on the plane to Switzerland. I thought I would have time for reading. In reality I have had a lot of time to read, just other things. Book recommendations from professors, case after case, and research into different projects went to the top of my priority list. Even this was a challenge, as an MBA has to balance homework, learning something more in depth, and extra projects. From there, this expands to job search, skill building, and even just personal time to decompress.

After exams we have a few days of rest from classes. Instead, there will be company presentations from possible employers and a few of us are working on side projects with professors to further our learning in a certain topic. As we have started our International Consulting Projects, we will also be brought into new teams.

On a more personal side, Switzerland has relaxed its covid rules for restaurants and other extra-curriculars. Therefore, a bunch of us have started meeting and exploring Lausanne at the nearest wine bar or restaurant. Around the corner is our July break and we are all grouping during breaks to discuss travel plans! Finally, we can’t forget our loved ones back home and the friends who have supported us and want to chat.

All-in-all, managing all these things at once is a bigger struggle than an exam, but one of the greatest experiences we’ll ever get. The opportunity to learn about sustainable finance in the morning; have a group meeting about an international client at lunch; and do some catch up reading in the afternoon before going for a swim in the lake at night and meeting your friends for a beer is just a special thing.

I had the pleasure to see Barack Obama and Michelle Obama speak back at home. Before going to Michelle Obama’s speech, I finished her book. She said,

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do’ list.

Michelle Obama

Hopefully us MBAs are doing just that, but I guess the whole year is about learning how to prioritize and balance.


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