When my husband, Nausherwan, got the acceptance call from INSEAD in March 2019, I felt a plethora of emotions. Ecstatic, because it meant that he would get to fulfill his MBA dream, which also brought a wonderful sense of pride and a buzz of excitement through my veins.
As grateful as I was for this once-in-a-lifetime experience in our lives, I was overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt and thoughts of worry and uncertainty as I was putting my career on hold to join my husband in Singapore for his MBA. I am now happy to say that I was profoundly wrong to feel this way.
I thought the INSEAD MBA would be only my husband’s adventure.
It might be strange to imagine the MBA as a place for failures when it’s usually associated with success. After all, many of us are hoping that forgoing a year of work experience, paying not only a tuition fee but the opportunity cost of lost wages, will be worth the career growth that results from earning an MBA.
Our cohort is a special one, which makes for an unforgettable and meaningful MBA experience. Although we are in lockdown, we are getting so much support from the school, professors, and students who are continuously committed to alleviating the negative impact on the learning experience at INSEAD.
A handshake. Sitting in a classroom. Going to ‘Freddy’s’ bar. So many things we have taken for granted have now changed.
My only experience in the Middle East had previously been in 2014. I was heading to Europe for a vacation, and had stopped over in Qatar. There, I saw the sun – a flaming ball of red – rising over an endless desert. The locals breezed by in long, flowing robe-like attires that are mostly in hues of white or black. A kaleidoscope of accents greeted me as I entered shops and restaurants, indicating that a huge number of foreigners worked there as well.
After nearly five years of working in an office environment at INSEAD, I’ve switched to working from home. Due to the COVID-19 situation, I knew it was the right decision but I’ve been surprised that letting go of working from the office would be so uncomfortable.
As I write this, the 'circuit breaker' in Singapore has been extended to June 4, a big blow to the student and faculty morale. Invariably, this will be another post amongst the 1000’s detailing the disruption COVID-19 has caused albeit with a focus on leadership. Specifically, I will touch upon the ‘act’ aspect of leadership from my perspective of the faculty and students. Students
The INSEAD MBA is an intense 10-month rollercoaster and the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to put a sudden brake at the very summit, jolting us back to an unfamiliar new reality. But despite our self-administered physical fences, the unwavering support of our INSEAD friends shone through, reminding us that we were in this together.