After six months of intense learning, the MBA cohort had the chance to ride their own wave over the summer break.
“If in doubt, paddle out.” – Nat Young (Professional Surfer)
This statement, made famous by professional surfer Nat Young, yields wisdom that can be applied to many of the challenges that life brings our way. From a surfer’s perspective, paddling out means going against the current, putting in hard work which, in the long run, increases the chances of catching a bigger, better wave. If you’re not sure which direction to go, applying this principle to life can guide you towards choices that yield better results, despite looking more difficult in the short term.
Applying this metaphor to the IMD journey, our cohort ‘paddled out’ for six consecutive months, working hard in the classroom to master the core elements of our MBA education. From adjusting to life in a new city to spending long days in the dungeons during the integrative exercises and delivering high-quality startup projects, the first half of 2023 provided a variety of challenges. As the summer approached, transitioning into the second half of the year felt like the big waves were starting to roll in, making all that paddling worthwhile.
Then, at the end of June, our cohort’s first ‘big wave’ came along when we set off on the first of our Discovery Trips. I was fortunate to join one half the cohort in Singapore, while the other half traveled to Silicon Valley. Experiencing business and life abroad allowed me to view the world through a new lens; being with friends made the trip even better. These trips marked an important milestone in the MBA learning journey. From my perspective, they signaled a transition from predominantly in-class learning to an experiential learning environment. Experiencing business in different parts of the world is a rare opportunity, providing lessons and principles that enhance creativity, empathy, and our understanding of the world.
After the Discovery Trips, a four-week break in July provided valuable rest time and the opportunity for each student to continue ‘riding the wave’ their way. Whether it be traveling, visiting home for some much needed recharge time, or attending a consulting boot camp, each person found a way to spend the break in a way that was best for them. Personally, I had the privilege to continue traveling and experiencing new cultures as I visited Japan, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
Now back in Lausanne for August, it feels like the first big wave has reached its conclusion. With renewed energy, and plenty of work to do, the class is again ready to start paddling out in preparation for the next wave. If it’s anything like the first, all that paddling will be well worth it.