MBA participant Ricardo Sanchez talks about the opportunities that can come from the unexpected twists and turns in life.

Life is highly unpredictable. Like a paper boat on a river, it can swirl, turn sideways, sink. It can take some delighting turns or disappointing ones.

We all came to the IMD MBA with some kind of plan, all very different one from another, content and format wise. Some were based on premium software with colors, attractive formats and specific deadlines. Others were a draft, with two or three words on a napkin, or just a blurry exciting image in the mind. Regardless of the accuracy, the metrics or the aesthetics, all of us have encountered some unexpected twists.

Surprises have been present during the whole course, from exciting new guest speakers to constantly changing pandemic restrictions. Over the past few days, the center of all conversations and social media with classmates is the recent summer adventures. Ranging from returning to full-parent duties to boat crashes, standing in Game of Thrones landscapes and finding small hidden artsy shops.

At the beginning of the year my summer plans were filled with the idea of touring Europe. However it became intriguing to visit Brazil and Egypt after a couple of friends from the class, Rafael Martins and Ihab Rizk respectively, offered a highly promising plan. Nothing beats touring a country with a local!

My first destination was Rio de Janeiro and Ihlabela in Brazil. Walking the airports felt surreal after so many months without flying. But after dusting off the suitcases everything seemed closer to our old reality. It was captivating to change from sunny Lake Geneva to driving along the coast at Copacabana and Ipanema. Filling the days with the amazing views at Rio while making the belly joyful with constant perfectly cooked picanha.

The trip from Rio de Janeiro to Cairo started with some highly stressful events. We started with passport issues and being denied to board and continued with full luggage inspection. Finally we left the airport four hours after landing. These types of unexpected slopes often come with the perk of making the rest of the days seem great in comparison. Our classmate host made sure we had an unbeatable plan. We enjoyed breakfast with a view of the pyramids, sandboarding around the Faiyum Oasis, attending a local wedding, and standing waist level in the middle of the Red Sea.

The year has been full of gifts of unexpected friendships and adventures. But to appreciate them, it has been crucial to overcome the inevitable setbacks, accept that they are part of the journey, and realize that they also come with unplanned memorable and happy events.


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