One of IMD’s best-kept secrets is its ever-lasting impact on our personas. For the outer world, IMD promises Real Learning, Real Impact. And for those of us studying at IMD, the experience gives us a third pillar: Real Friendships. I fondly remember my first snowshoeing experience, when mid-way while climbing up, I froze from fear and Juan, who barely knew me, guided and calmed me throughout the journey.
Gradually throughout the year, all of us grew closer to each other during the dreaded integrative exercises or the late-night brainstorming for our International Consulting Projects (ICPs) in the dungeons. Our bonds here at IMD have truly been a family away from home.
We have celebrated our festivals, created our own versions of our cuisines and shared our cultures with each other.
Never in my dreams did I imagine that I would explore Paris for the first time with my friends Amogh, Lavanya, Sohini, Cheena & Pragnya or share our first experiences of discovering new cuisines in Singapore with the expert guidance of Mac as we pursue the rigorous MBA.
Not only have we shared good times, but we have also pulled each other through rough times be it through the anxieties of job hunting or missing our families, we know we are there for each other. Our walks along the beautiful banks of Lake Geneva have made our bonds stronger and made us feel we are in this together.
We have truly lived the virtue of choosing Collaboration over Competition at every moment of our experience here. Even when we were most stressed about our future jobs, we prepared together for the same position, did mock case sessions Wesley and Micheal, cheered each other on and shared constructive feedback to improve. Collectively we have raised the bar for each one of us and come out of our comfort zones together. Additionally, we have become secure bases for each other, where we have the safety cushion of sharing our joys, cheering for each other and sharing our demons.
I was amazed to witness the same warmth transcending through all IMD classes. On a boat trip to Evian, we had a chance encounter with a 1997 IMD alumus who reminisced that the most significant gift that IMD gave him was the 25-year strong bonds with his classmates. This is a testimony of how we create the foundation of strong friendships at IMD and carry it with us. Throughout the year we have had numerous opportunities to network with and learn from alumni, so much so that they root for our success and have become an integral part of our experience. IMD alumni have taken the time out to mentor us, give mock case interviews and even guided us on how to negotiate our job offers.
As the end of the course nears, we carry with us sweet memories of the new friendships that we built and the invaluable promise of being there for each other to celebrate both our successes and setbacks.
Personally, for me, the biggest takeaway from IMD could be summed up in the following lines by Maya Angelou :
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.