Qiuting (Anne) Zhong shares how the MBA program has stretched her over the past couple of months while the cultural exchanges have made IMD feel like a home away from home.

Time has this uncanny ability to escape our grasp, vanishing as quickly as sand slips through our fingers. Reflecting on my journey at IMD, I’m astounded at how swiftly time has passed. The realization only truly sank in last week when the MBA office announced our Module 2 groups, bringing Module 1 to a close. March is already upon us.

My module 1 study group: Sanjay Parihar, Anne Qiuting (myself), Kipp Ladendorf, Viktoras Arapoglou, Taylor Tepondjou

As I think back to the fast and furious eve before my departure for Switzerland, I remember the storm of emotions and last-minute efforts to prepare for this new chapter in my life. I was in the office until midnight for a whirlwind of farewells, handovers, and a frenzy of last-minute packing.

Saying goodbye to Shanghai was incredibly emotional. After a sleepless night, battling with the luggage scale to meet strict weight limits, I made my way to the airport. A mixture of excitement and fatigue enveloped me as I embarked on my journey to Lausanne. As the plane ascended, the tears began to flow. Shanghai had been my home for so long, and it would be a long time until I saw it again.

Driven by a desire to break out of the comfortable confines of my career in China’s luxury retail sector, I was eagerly anticipating a journey of growth and exploration that went beyond what I had known. Upon arriving in Lausanne on Christmas Eve, my curiosity about the unknown and eager anticipation returned, and I felt ready to begin my MBA journey at IMD.

Christmas and New Year holiday in Zermatt

The IMD MBA program has stretched me to my physical and mental limits, exposing me to a series of intense intercultural challenges that I’ve greatly enjoyed. Despite facing numerous overwhelming moments, I’ve learned to value each one as a golden opportunity for breakthroughs and forging connections with incredible individuals from diverse backgrounds, turning every interaction and encounter into a treasure.

As we wrap up Module 1, we’ve encountered several key milestones in the IMD MBA program, including a mountain trip to Villars and the Leadership Lab. Our startup projects’ final deliverables are due next week. The upcoming finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship exams will close this module’s learning journey. Beyond the academic challenges, what captivates me most is the cultural exchange and insights shared with peers from around the globe, making the IMD campus feel like a home away from home.

Chinese New Year of the Dragon celebrations with my IMD family

In Lausanne, I celebrated a plethora of festivities – from Christmas and New Year’s to Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day – with my IMD family. These shared moments have transformed Lausanne from a foreign land into a place that feels like home, bridging the 8,897 kilometers back to my home in China.

The Valentine’s Day celebrations in Lausanne

The handmade red envelopes, meticulously decorated with Chinese characters by my non-Chinese classmates, moved me deeply, showcasing their beautiful hearts and souls through their Lunar New Year blessings. Similarly, the tender love notes I received on Valentine’s Day enveloped my heart with indescribable warmth. This spirit of kindness is a treasure I will forever keep close to my heart, echoing the wisdom of the Chinese Analects: “Within the four seas, all men are brothers.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming modules, I’m committed to embracing the rest of my IMD MBA journey, which transcends mere academics. At this moment, amidst the IMD campus, I deeply resonate with the feeling of a tiny droplet blending into the vast ocean, evoking the sense of returning home.

Qiuting (Anne) ZHONG

11 Like