It’s 12 January, and I’m already wide awake when the alarm goes off. Today is the big day. I take a look around the room as I let the feeling sink in. About a month ago, I was leaving behind my life in Norway, and it’s only been a couple of weeks since I said goodbye to my family in Portugal to start – once again – a new adventure. Yet it all feels far back in time today as I focus on getting ready for my long-awaited first day at IMD.
As I leave the building and meet with some of my colleagues, it’s impossible not to notice our excitement or the smiles on our faces. “Claudia, could you help me with this button, please?” Claudia is one of the bravest amongst us, daring to cross the world with a toddler and join one of the world’s most intensive MBA programs as a mother – talk about inspirational! And she’s not alone; every colleague I’ve met so far has their own inspiring story to share. There are 87 of us this year, 36 nationalities, and with the most diverse backgrounds. But as we arrive together on campus, one common thought runs through our minds: “It’s real… I’m here!”
It’s such a thrill to meet not only the people I’ll be sharing this journey with, but also the ones who brought me here and who will guide me through it. As our dean Omar Toulan said during our welcome session: “At IMD, we look at you as individuals, not as numbers.” As an MBA candidate, this is something you feel from day one.
We have a lot to learn, both individually and as a class (as could be seen from this year’s disastrous marshmallow challenge – I’ll say no more, you had to be there). Last year’s cohort certainly set the bar pretty high on all fronts (11 MBAT trophies, seriously?), and it’s humbling to hear about their achievements. However, I believe I speak for all my classmates when I say we’re ready to give it all we got.
As we walk together through Lausanne before the opening dinner, I can’t help but think about how happy I am to be here. I know I have a transformational year ahead that will put my limits to the test, but I’ve never been one to run away from a challenge. And just like that, our first day was over. Only 337 to go. And I look forward to every single one of them.
Until next time, I leave you with more of this year’s new faces on campus.