In December 2019, when I was packing my bags to start my MBA at INSEAD and COVID-19 was still mostly unheard of, I would have never contemplated that by the following year, I would be starting a new role, in a new industry, and in a new geography after such an eventful and uncertain year. After graduating and obtaining my MBA in December 2020, I ultimately switched from Consulting in Brazil, to starting a new exciting chapter of my career in Investment Banking in London.
Starting my journey at INSEAD came with the typical uncertainties; expectations of workload, marking schemes and competitive environments, to name a few. Knowing that I would not be able to study with my classmates in person was an added ambiguity. What I have learnt during my time over the past eight months of the programme, is that collaborating on group projects binds people together quickly.
The Rolling Stones released the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” in 1969, during a period of social upheaval and disappointment in the ability to effect meaningful change. The song verses wander through melancholic vignettes while each refrain of the chorus increasingly uplifts Mick Jagger’s gut punch of proud contentment in spite of it all and acceptance of a less than ideal outcome.
“You might say I am a dreamer. But I am not the only one.” The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges to our TIEMBA'22 learning journey, preventing us from having long-awaited and wished for face-to-face studies under one roof.
Four apartments in six months. Cliché Emily-in-Paris locked out of my apartment twice. Job-in-limbo for half a year. For a time when the pandemic forced people to stay in one place, I was all over the place, I didn’t know what my place was. Well, fellow person-in-transition with ambitions and plastered hopes of making this year yours, welcome to the co-generational class of hello pandemic, now what?
"It is worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change." – Queen Elizabeth II, Christmas 2019 The struggle is real
I am now four months into this life-changing experience that is the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA), and with the constantly changing landscape in the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic, each module has been an experience on its own, challenging our capacity to adapt. Nevertheless, a common denominator emerged from this situation: an intense feeling of camaraderie amongst the cohort.
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.
It has been five months into a unique GEMBA Journey in the period of a pandemic and every day has been thoroughly exciting and challenging. My motivations for embarking on this journey, as stated here, were clear. I have completed two modules so far and I can say without any equivocation that I couldn’t have made a better choice in my life.
The GEMBA has been an unforgettable experience so far. The pandemic makes everything more challenging and at the same time more meaningful because all those previously trivial and taken-for-granted moments now become rare and valuable opportunities to create memorable stories and friendships. It has been four months since the official start of the programme, and I have somewhat gotten used to this high level of uncertainty and agility!