A new class begins their MBA journey at IMD with the first snow of the year. We discuss our values and what this experience represents for us.

Last Friday, snow fell on Lausanne for the first time this year. It’s a fitting metaphor for the new experience our class has just embarked upon. For many of us, it’s the first time seeing snow outside of a book or a screen. It serves as a symbol for the first steps we’re taking in our MBA journey.

We come to Lausanne from a variety of backgrounds, from all over the world. There are 105 of us and we count 39 nationalities among us. We come with different sets of beliefs and a host of experiences that we’re ready to bring to the table. That same snowy Friday IMD Dean Omar Toulan presented us an activity to discuss our own values in separate groups. We spoke about what IMD stands for and what we want to be remembered as a class. This activity highlighted that while we all have different mindsets, we share a common thread of respect for each other, of empathy and compassion and of doing things right.

For us, the choice of an MBA at IMD is more than just another step in our careers. It is a choice of developing our leadership skills, preparing ourselves for the world to come and working to make an impact on it. In our discussion group, one of the things we all agreed on is that education is a right but also a privilege, and as such it must come with the responsibility of giving back.

After the discussion, we went back to class to share the insights each group had. We defined what will be consistent with our values and what will become the ground rules for our class. A common theme of respect and professionalism. We also spoke about a year where success will be defined as the success of the whole class, learning from each other, sharing our knowledge, and doing our part to make the best of the experience.

The professors and staff have already warned us about the intensity of the program. Though they also told us to enjoy it as it goes by quickly. Soon, we will have reached the snowy winter days again. By that time, the program will be over and there will be 105 of us celebrating our graduation and passing the torch to a new generation. It will then be up to them to find their voice and enjoy their first snow.

Juan Perlas

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