The first couple of months of the IMD MBA put our limits to the test, forcing us to find a balance and remind ourselves of our purpose.

Our first module is coming to an end, and so is our first round in this journey. It has been an intense couple of months, and we have enjoyed them the best we can. But behind our smiles, optimism, and enthusiasm there’s a shared feeling in the air: exhaustion.

A few days ago, my classmate Claudio mentioned how we tend to avoid sharing our struggles even though some days are extremely tough. With that, he inspired me to share mine.

January Mountain Experience

It’s no secret that IMD’s MBA is one of the most intensive MBA programs out there. Not only do we have classes all day and one million assignments (possible overstatement here), but we also work with startups and have a year-long leadership stream in parallel. Before we get used to the “new normal”, the common symptoms are information overload, sleep deprivation, tension building between diverse groups, and the occasional secret overwhelm which we try to keep private.

However, this seemingly unappealing mix is yet another way IMD helps us learn – at least, it helped me. My biggest struggle over the past two months was related to something my colleague Takafumi told me in January. “You are like tuna,” he said. I was about to say that I’m more of a salmon person when he explained: “In Japan, we have this saying referring to someone who has an inherent need for constant learning and intellectual challenge in their lives. They have to keep progressing towards their goals to thrive.”

Sounds like the perfect quality to have at business school, right? But combine it with failing to respect your limits and it turns into a major pitfall. IMD has forced me to face this; I am learning to set clear boundaries and better manage the energy I allocate to each task.

February Leadership Lab with Musaad, Nicolaas, Shirsha, Sandra and Valentin

Everything in life has a tradeoff, and finding a balance is crucial for our well-being. So, making the right choices according to our priorities, values, and goals is essential. This way, whenever we’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed, we can remind ourselves of our purpose and look at the bigger picture to gain clarity.

Until next time, I want to thank my fellow MBAs who keep inspiring and challenging me every step of the way.


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