I am writing this letter to you just as I have finished packing the past 19 months of my life into two suitcases. And it suddenly dawns upon me: game over. The endless lamenting about cases and jobs, cortados on the patio, beers by the turtle pond, tapas by the beach, BoWs and team meetings are all over. It made me reflect upon my journey at IESE and I would like to share my musings with you.
Leaving the familiar and throwing yourself into a new environment requires courage. By deciding to come to IESE, you have already exhibited that you have that aplenty. I am not going to lie to you: the mental strength will come in handy. The first year is academically and socially strenuous. There are three cases to do almost everyday. You start at 8:15 am, if you are the chosen ones. You might have Spanish lessons in the afternoon, which I strongly recommend. There will be team meetings, assignments, projects and exams. Add to that the hunt for a perfect internship: networking, interview prep, multiple iterations of the same cover letter, perfecting your resume and putting your best foot forward at company events. Then add to it, social obligations.
After all, all your admissions essays were about ‘creating a global network’ for yourselves, weren’t they? Give your loved ones a picture of yourself on a magnet to put on their fridges and tell them to forget about you for that one year! In the second year, things taper off a bit and you have more time to focus on landing your dream jobs.
Academics aside, IESE gave me the chance to form lifelong friendships. And this isn’t marketing propaganda. With friends at many top business schools in the world, I can personally certify that the spirit of collaboration and community that exists at IESE is unmatched. Any business school can teach you about 4Ps of marketing or McKinsey’s 7S framework. But at IESE, I also learnt about many different cultures, traveled the world, and developed the finer skills needed to become a truly global leader.
It is not a smooth ride. It isn’t supposed to be. The MBA is the time for you to challenge yourself, to throw yourself into the darkness of the unknown, to push the boundaries of what you think is possible, to stretch yourself to your limits, to face disappointments and after all of that, emerge stronger.
The past nineteen months have been a whirlwind and it is bittersweet to leave. IESE gave me a lot and for that, I will forever be grateful. As the youngest in the MBA, I came in with the least professional experience and thus, am leaving with the steepest learning curve. They say if you are the smartest one in the room, you are probably in the wrong room. I made sure I was in the right room at all times. I hope you will to.
For what its worth, my advice to you would be simple: keep an open mind. Whether it means discovering job opportunities, meeting people or simply trying exotic food. You never know where you find your calling.
Good luck and make this experience count!
With love from Barcelona,
Achint Kaur, IESE Class of 2016
***Achint graduated today!!!