Veronika lives life on the edge

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” (Kurt Vonnegut)

Typecasting millennials as fidgety adventure-seekers has become burrowed into our collective consciousness to such an extent that we barely pause to think about it anymore. But we should, to leave space for personal journeys, cultural influencers, family histories that make the generational generalities so individually unique still.

I am Veronika, the 32-year-old daughter of an artist mother and an engineer father, who themselves grew up in a different world, the Hungary of the Eastern Bloc – a country nicknamed ‘the happiest barrack’ where nonetheless travel was curtailed, and pursuing a life abroad was a thing of dreams (or a thing of carefully executed all-or-nothing, one-shot criminal offences).

I, on the other hand, grew up in a Hungary where the Berlin Wall was but a memory, sweets from the West were available even in my tiny local village corner store (so much so that ‘Fanta cheesecake’ become a well-loved family recipe), and the sorcery of Schengen not only entitled me to ­leave the country, but allowed me to study and work in London, build a career in Belgium, and start exploring the world in a way my parents never could.

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With the desire to explore, comes a hunger to understand, to dissect, to synthesize and to story-tell. These are strokes that followed me through my studies in Science & Technology, my work as Policy Officer of a space science research infrastructure, managerial functions held in Sales, IT and Business Processes at an Industrial Manufacturing company, and eventually my MBA at IMD.

Throughout my career, I’d seen a lot of what a company does on a day-to-day basis across all functional areas; I wanted to learn more about why a company does what it does, filling in the missing strategic pieces of the puzzle.

Halfway into the course I can already say I definitely found what I was looking for. I have been introduced to new perspectives, practices, and possibilities. I have travelled around the world on a Discovery Expedition, and have had the world brought to me daily by amazingly international classmates. Through lectures, team projects, and learnings from my IMD family, every day I feel more and more equipped to keep pushing boundaries – to keep as close to the edge as I can.

Veronika

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Who were we, what have we become?

The second half of the program starts today, and Shubham shares some of his insights and expectations.

 A lot of my classmates have looked back on our journey of the last 6 months and described what being at IMD has been like. What I find amazing, is that while the individual nitty-gritty of our journeys might have been different, all of us have been through the same roller coaster of emotions, failures, awe-inspiring moments, heartaches and joys. Continue reading “Who were we, what have we become?”

Sara – Reaching for the stars while remaining firmly anchored

With the start of the second half of the program just around the corner, our participants begin again to share their profiles and offer a glimpse into why they joined IMD and what they’re getting out of the program. Here Sara shares a bit about herself and her learnings so far…

Today is a windy day on Hyères Peninsula (South East of France). I came here to enjoy a week kitersufing and take a real break from one of the most intense and exciting years of my life. Continue reading “Sara – Reaching for the stars while remaining firmly anchored”

Live your life as an adventure

Dragging my luggage across the small street of Lausanne back from our worldwide discovery trip, I sensed the familiarity — the path I’ve crossed hundreds of times when commuting between apartment and school during the past six months.

It reminds me of my uneasiness during the initial days, amongst the complex mix of expectation, anxiety and resolution.

I’m Suyun, coming from China, engineer by training, introvert, sensitive, and Virgo.

Then here you may go with a typical archetype:
A self-disciplined one needs the compulsory order of making and sticking to plans, tends to learn and comprehend by breaking things down to progress and mechanism; relatively weak at open discussion, argument or articulation, but with born intellectual curiosity and good savvy about numbers and logic.

It resembles part of me, the old me.

I came to IMD to receive this one-year MBA program training, with the hope to hone skills, to forge characters, to undergo challenges and transmissions and to fully exploit my potential.

I’ve talked to many alumni. They all seem to hold IMD dear to their hearts – ‘Best experience in life’, ‘life-changing year’ – that’s the words they’re likely to use most.
It’s the place where you get surrounded by bunch of wise, extraordinary, yet humble people to learn from; it’s the enabler where you can gain access to precious platforms, resources and networks.

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Photo: Me with some alumni in Singapore

On top of that, it’s a manifestation as well:
It’s the group of people who have the courage to make the choice to halt their career lives for a year, and make investments into self-improvement, in exchange for the chance to shoot for the stars, to dream something big, or to make adjustment or remedy for their previous experiences.

It’s always intense and tough:
I got frustrated when I couldn’t follow a professor in class;
I felt guilt and remorse when teamwork didn’t work;
I had to recite ‘fake it till make it’ so many times to get the courage to stand on stage to deliver a key presentation.

But eventually, you’ll get stronger after surviving it all:
You’ll become comfortable with being uncomfortable;
You’ll understand yourself better, in terms of strength, weakness, purpose and passion;
You’ll feel like you know the big picture when framing knowledges and skills all together;
And mentally and psychologically, you’ll be future-ready, as a real business leader.

Each time I get close to Léman, I feel emotional.

It has been more than one year since my assessment day. I still vividly remember my first sight of the breath-taking beauty of the lake, and the voice which consistently resonated within me, telling me what a privilege it would be to jog around it the following year.

Like many other things in life, career may not always turn out to be as planned. That being said, it shouldn’t prevent us from choosing the future we truly want to live.

Seize the day and walk your own path;
Aim long, stay open-minded and work hard;
Make as many mistakes as you can during this year, and try to learn the maximum out of them;
Last but not least, my favorite quote from Richard Hahlo, ‘to show up, light up’.

Suyun

(Featured image: Lac Léman)

It’s not what I expected…

I wasn’t expecting it to be like this.
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I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t think that economics (or finance, or accounting, or strategy…) would be the death of me. I knew I would cry here and there but I didn’t think I would keep the tissue industry afloat! I knew I would change but I didn’t think it would be this personal. This MBA ‘thing’ is tough work but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Here are three of my biggest realizations (read: survival tips) so far: Continue reading “It’s not what I expected…”