As the MBA graduation approaches, Usman Khan looks back at the bonds and friendships he has made over the year, linked to key moments of the program.

They say it’s the people that make the place. While the efforts undertaken to be at IMD entailed a broader inquiry into who else would be here, spending a year in the company of my classmates and truly getting to know them has been a ride and a half.

As we come to terms with the fact that this year-long journey is nearly at an end, it’s important to remember the friends we made and the work we did together in teams as those interactions made my year truly memorable. Even the briefest and most spur-of-the-moment conversations left indelible imprints in my mind. My time in BR32 (the MBA block at IMD) is full of such interactions that will live long after I leave Lausanne. As I write my final post for the MBA blog before graduation day on 15 December, I am overcome with the bittersweet feeling that there aren’t many days left to have more such revealing conversations.

Given these emotions, I wanted to take the opportunity to recognize some of the people who have deeply influenced me over the last 12 months.

In what was a demanding year emotionally in more ways than one, the frequent late-night chats with the “walk” gang in Parc de Milan were a massive support. For that, I owe a debt of gratitude to Arjun, Aishwarya and Rohan.

At the start of the year during Module 1 when most people would have been uncomfortable in being open and honest with their respective module groups, Paulina’s strong and supportive leadership style will always be highly valued and is something I will seek inspiration from for years to come.

The initial weeks also involved spending several hours with our respective startup groups. While such intense exercises test one’s mental and emotional fortitude, the fierce disagreements always came from a good place and this ended up in building much stronger bonds of friendship – looking at you Nandini and Mads.

Whether a particular brand of leadership is effective or not is heavily dependent on the context. Experiencing one such highly effective leadership style from our cricket captain Harsh led to one of the personal highlights of the year for me when we won the gold medal at the MBAT Games in Paris.

Siya’s exemplary performance as class representative for our cohort was universally appreciated, and while his celebration at his team’s rugby triumphs over mine was a bit over the top, all the banter we had was in jest as this is a friendship I will cherish long after graduation.

Speaking of jest and humor, the chance to work in the ICP project group with Faisal and get used to his animated reactions and insightful analysis of the team’s work made what would have been a demanding project much more fun and ensured our work never lacked cohesion.

I had the unique pleasure of being teammates with Juan twice, and while the football quiz we were supposed to conduct never materialized, it was a revelation to meet someone else whose mind was also, like my own, a treasure trove of meaningless sports trivia.

The interactions weren’t limited to the confines of the school. Weekend socials with the class at Lacustre often involved catching up with classmates you hadn’t spoken to in a while, and with the help of some liquid courage, these led to some of the most candid conversations of work, life, and beyond. As I type, one such deep conversation with Claudio comes to mind.

The social events also brought with them the opportunity to blow off some steam and dance to the one Punjabi song that even Lausanne DJs know with Ashima and Kriti will be one of the lasting memories I have of my time here. As I write the last words of this blog peering down the school dungeon, Sidra’s exclamations of “Uzzy” (my actual nickname) and Tomi’s roars of “Usmi” (a uniquely crafted nickname I was anointed here) from the countless times I have walked this corridor ring in my ears.


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