15th May 2020 marks the official end of the MBA for the IESE Class of 2020. I look out of my window here in Pedralbes Barcelona and smile wistfully. It would have been a bright sunny day at the North campus of IESE, filled with the smiling faces of the class of 2020, bobbing red pompoms on caps and black capes; proud family members meeting classmates that made the days of their loved ones memorable for the last 19 months. On this day, the Class of 2020 would have walked proudly to the podium to receive the prestigious degree award, marking the end of a fabulous, intensive but most memorable 2-year journey and the beginning of a lifetime as a IESE MBA Alumni… but the coronavirus crisis changed all that. Or did it? Well, yes, the graduation ceremony was taken away from us but only for a while because come May 2021, we would have an even bigger celebration and an amazing reunion. But more importantly, the experiences during these last 19 months are memories that the coronavirus crisis could never take away from us. And while we have finally come to an official end, the journey truly just began.
So many memories come to mind now as I write this; random occasions that all count to make IESE a home – the ever-smiling camareros in the cafeteria, always with a joke and a smile to help ease a sour day; the security guard that waits eagerly to give me one new Spanish word to practice on my way home; the MBA coordinator that studiously gave me a class on how to crack some strange-looking sweets on her table; the professors and classmates that literally held me up and cried with me while I mourned my father’s death. I have a lot to be grateful for in IESE.
I also remember the daunting, stretching, but richly rewarding first year. I remember the grit and sweat, the tears and doubts, even despair sometimes. I remember many evenings spent walking down to the bus stop in tears, wondering what I was thinking when I decided to take on this #IESEMBA. I could have gone to another school, it definitely would have been easier in so-and-so. But then I also remember the beautiful moments in that year – with friends, with teammates; a helping hand here, an encouraging smile there. It was truly a community of people – students and staff alike – with a large heart of service; hearts that never stop giving. And I know I would do it all over again and some more if I had to choose again.
Today, armed with a prestigious, world-class degree in (virtual) hand, a wealth of business knowledge in my head, and amazing timeless memories forever in my heart; the IESE MBA has truly delivered on its promise – it has indeed been the journey of a lifetime and it just got started. The grey rainy days of doubt, pain and sweat have segued into beautiful and bright sunny days of hope, confidence and optimism.
Today, I don’t feel finished. I feel started, empowered and emboldened, prepared and ready to take on the world. I know I am a new person, grown but what is more exciting is that it is all just starting. I am still growing, and I am very excited for what the future holds. It has not been just an MBA, it has been a total transformation, a rebirth. The lines have truly fallen to me, to us all, the Class of 2020, in pleasant places. The world is not saying welcome to us, we are saying welcome to the world. Let the journey begin! ¡Que se abra el telón![This post was first published on Linkedin]
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