Friendships

Any business negotiation involves late nights and drama.

Opinions are tested, arguments start and stress escalates. However, there is also eventual relief. At the end of the day, it is smiles all around and celebratory drinks flow.

It is no different from a module in the INSEAD Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) programme.

Much like the challenges of a business negotiation, group work in the module initially begins with the obstacle of alignment and individual buy-in. Similarly, everyone heaves a big sigh of relief when the module has been completed. Disagreements are soon forgotten, there are hearty laughters and smiles on everyone’s face with a drink in hand.

Reflecting at the halfway point in the GEMBA programme, the intensity of every module has become easier with momentum. The preparation needed before the module no longer feel like a chore and there is anticipation in seeing everyone back on campus again.

Having gotten to know each other better after six months, we meet each other as if we were long-lost friends.

Social distancing has been the New Normal in the pandemic, but smaller groups have made the experience a more conducive learning environment. It has also enabled the cohort to lean on each other for support. Every effort has been made by everyone to be consciously inclusive regardless of in-person attendance or virtual dial-in, be it for a hotly-debated topic or a milestone celebration.

While it has been a challenge to work as a team in an environment with both in-person and virtual teammates, the energy and encouragement to perform at our best makes the experience worthwhile.

There is no shortage of debates and disagreements because there is a constant drive for every individual to give their best.

These group sessions have exceeded all expectations and made the commitment worthwhile. Every individual brings their wealth of experience and knowledge to the class, which facilitates the horizontal learning that the professors promote.

No doubt that the friendships forged during the GEMBA journey will last far beyond graduation.