MBA partners often leave their job, friends and home behind. But what can they expect to find while their partners are studying? Shane Vadera shares his partner experience at IMD.

Travelling from Toronto, Canada to Lausanne, Switzerland in the midst of a global pandemic to join my wife as she pursues her MBA wasn’t exactly easy, but it’s been a life-changing ride.

My wife, Marly, and me in Bordeaux, France over the summer holidays

I left my job, friends, family, and routine back home and began this 12-month journey with my wife. At the time, I knew very little about Switzerland. Honestly, at times I felt a bit uneasy. My wife was going to be very busy with school, homework, and travelling. And I thought I was going to be busy doing laundry, preparing dinner, and dusting. It’s not exactly the exciting year I thought we would have in my early 30’s. Enter the IMD MBA Partner Group.

Within the first few months of the MBA program, IMD organized various sessions for us. These helped us become acquainted with Switzerland, the French language, and most importantly, the Partners. There are approximately 45 MBA partners, and most of us were in the same position of leaving what we knew to start something we didn’t. Some of us moved to Lausanne, some of us already lived here, and some of us stayed where we were. But whatever the circumstances, it didn’t stop us from getting to know each other.

We quickly became great friends by exploring this country together, and learning about our independent journeys thus far. We learnt to lean on each other in times of need. After all, life doesn’t stop just because we moved countries. Life goes on and because of that, some of the many things we’ve done include:

Exploring Zurich with other partners – we became great friends throughout the first half of the year

I’d be remiss not to talk about the month of July. The MBA’s have the entire month off. Taking advantage of Switzerland’s prime central location was one calendar invite we could all agree with. Personally, my wife and I took advantage of our vaccine certificate and travelled to Croatia, Italy, and France for a total of 28 days. It was a magical vacation of reflection, exploring, relaxing, and celebrating with our new life-long friends.

Summer Vacation Begins: Myself at the top of Dubrovnik, Croatia

This year is about change. Not only for the MBA participants, but also the MBA partners. We’ve learned that roles do change and sometimes you need to lean a little more than you’re used to. As the second half of the year commences, the post-MBA plans begin to shuffle to our forethought. Job searches, new cities, and new friends are on the horizon.

But for now, we still have 4 months to enjoy what will be considered one of the best years of our lives with some really, really great partners.


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