Uplifting your life and changing from your daily routine to something as daunting as an MBA takes a lot of organisation, relationship building and general trust in the fact that you have taken the right steps and can trust that you will use your past to figure out what is to come.
With the admissions and acceptance out the way, months of preparations were ahead of me to ensure that I was ready for a fast paced year. I had to start prioritising things in my life to ensure that everything was ready for my departure:
Prepare family and friends for my departure
An MBA is a huge undertaking and just as it is stressful on the person doing it, this extends to the families and friends around you. Coming together with one another as much as possible and being open to questions and concerns is extremely important. I was lucky in that my fiancé, family and friends have offered nothing but encouragement and support. Gather those around you be open and upfront and go through the varying emotions together. My parents have been a huge support, financially they have always gone above and beyond and I don’t think you will meet a prouder set of parents who are egging me on in every way!
Show the people in your life, your rocks and foundations, what they really mean to you
I have an incredible woman that stands behind me through everything I have had to go through. The MBA will put a huge strain on our relationship. My girlfriend and now, proud to say, my fiancé, unfortunately will be unable to join me for the year as she is a doctor and specialising in South Africa. We will live our lives apart but always together as we grow separately for our intertwined future. We are both strong and know it will be hard, especially when stress sets in on both of us – but there isn’t a single thought in either of our minds that this is insurmountable.
I was given permission and advice to make this blog personal, so here is a picture of us on our engagement day 1 month and a few days before I am set to start at IMD on the 9th of January 😀
We have had incredibly good times with family and friends due to this life changing event which has brought us all closer. We have shared our dreams and fears for the year and have both agreed that 110% open communication will get us through this year! A parting note on this point. Alicia and I travelled to IMD for one night during the year to try and get some perspective on why I was doing it in Switzerland. I had obviously been focusing on this for 12 months, reading the articles, doing the analysis and conducting the recommended soul searching. Alicia, was incredibly supportive but also needed to understand. The tour and welcome we received at IMD was world class. It showed her the pure class and absolute attention to detail, we were blown away by the campus and staff, it cemented in her mind, as well as mine, that there was no other place for me next year.
Lastly, admin, admin and more administration
I took the personal decision to give my company 6 months notice from when I got into IMD. I felt being open about my dreams and next steps was the best thing. It worked and I had an incredibly productive 6 months with everyone understanding and open about my impending departure. The second major task was actually figuring out how to live in a new country such as Switzerland – This fear was easily wiped away with the IMD’s team of outstanding support staff. Everything from housing to insurance to where to buy a cellphone contract was given to us. Live check-ins were held whenever needed on any topic. All I can say is thank you IMD for putting the “fun” in administration.
The next steps left for me are to enjoy my last few days of African sun, have a joyful Christmas with friends and family and lastly to fly over to Europe where the journey really begins.
Merry Christmas all, and a happy New Year – See you early Jan for a running commentary of the real life IMD MBA!