Now I know

Anis Nasr

Before coming to INSEAD, I met with a lot of alumni through coffee chats and social events. What always struck me was the aura of quiet confidence which they held. Strong luminous eyes and welcoming smiles. And I always wondered, if the eyes are the window to the soul, what was it about them that made them this way?

Now I know.

When you look into the eyes of a child, and they hold you in their gaze it creates a moment of awe. And in that moment, there is a space.

Having lived and seen what life is for myself and so many other people, I can’t help but smile and anticipate what life will hold for them. They have only just begun their journeys after all.

Now I know what the alumni must have been seeing in us.

They had gone through their MBA journeys just as we have, and we have all matured and grown during our time here. At INSEAD I was stretched, torn, loved and reborn. I am stronger now, and I am humbled. I believe in myself, and everybody around me, and I am also aware of my limitations in life. More importantly, I know how to reach out when I need help, and I am reaffirmed in my conviction to always help others whenever I can. It’s a belonging, it’s a family.

And just as no two journeys are exactly alike, neither will be those of the new candidates coming into this global family.

Now I know that it won’t be easy.

The world is much bigger than I had ever imagined, and so much smaller at the same time.

New frontiers are only a plane ride away and welcoming arms a phone call away. Yet, it won’t be easy. There is so much to do and so little time. We are all just a blip in the history of the universe and yet it’s still important that we do what we have to do in our collective journeys to conserve peace and prosperity for the world.

Now I know that I have grown.

Constantly being pushed outside my comfort zone, the discomfort slowly wore down the cocoons around my understanding.

I was never one to choose comfort and safety over growth and I hope that no one coming here will ever choose the former over the latter. It was a vital part of the experience. Protecting your ego in the name of pride and fear will get you nowhere. This is a safe place, and mistakes will happen. I guarantee it. And when they do, own up to it, make amends, and move on. Live the experience, don’t just witness it.

Now I know that business can be a force for good.

INSEAD’s motto comes to life though the people who believe in it and make it happen. The recessions and the destruction caused by natural economic cycles have made society weary of the forces which drive the engine. The forces are shaped by every participant in this passage, and we are all responsible for ensuring that the world which we give to the next generation is even better than the one we were given. I don’t have all the answers, but I have the tools that I need.

Now I know that I cherish every moment that I have lived here.

Every trip, every conversation, every laugh, every moment of anguish and every thought which I have had are safe inside me. When life gets tough, I will remind myself of these memories and I will be smiling as I relive them.

Now I know.

That I don’t know everything, but the journey is not over, and I am quietly confident about it.

And you will know all this too.