I bet many of us felt a bit like Edward Snowden walking to our ﬁrst meeting, counting each step like a school boy (or girl) on his way home after his first day of school. Not that any of us are keeping a secret worthy of CNN coverage, but we do tend to ignore the human aspect of our decision to get an MBA at one of the most renowned academic institutions in the world, ESSEC Business School. Or any other business school, for that matter. There is no shame in admitting that at times it feels stressful, lonely, and demanding - even impossible - if you will. Well, dear future student, there is no need to blush, we are all singing the same tune! And after Professor Junko Takagi’s team building class stretches you to the limit, you will be singing and dancing and painting the world in more vibrant colors. Quite literally.
Humor aisde, after just a couple of days I knew my teammates – all of them – like they were my best friends. It comes naturally, without effort! The ladies of the Global MBA team – Sarah, Josiane, Jeanine, Claire, and Olivia – surely play a key role in this and we would like to extend a sincere and warm thank you to each and every one of them for their part! And of course we would like to thank our friends, family, the rest of the staff, and the ESSEC Talk ambassadors. If you need first hand information, future GMBA student, they are there for you.
Of course, nobody is going to write an essay, take the GMAT, or learn English for you, so we did have to do some work ourselves to achieve this class unity. At Saint Cyr, the prestigious French military school, exercises beyond our wildest imagination awaited us, which, I must say, we completed with the determination of a real platoon. There was plunging down a 10 meter rail, walking on a narrow ledge a couple meters up in the air, crawling through tight tunnels in the middle of the night, building bridges, rafting, you name it. It was a tough three days, although I hear last year's batch had three days of raining, so I am (we are) not complaining.
This intense military training showed us that we can go beyond our limits, operate under great deal of pressure, do almost anything, and most of all, have fun together. To be a great leader, one has to have character, a persona, he or she has to know the methodology of operating, and have stamina. After the camp, we know that it’s hard to be a good leader. It’s not easy to look your friends in the face and say no, which is perhaps an aspect we should work on in the future. The best take-away from Saint Cyr? If you ask me, it’s the bonds we forged between ourselves that will accompany us through our studies and well beyond.
There are 22 of us, each with his or her past, experience, and aspirations. To put it into perspective, we came as Robinson Crusoe, each on our own island with individual rules, expertise and views, but these first integration weeks gave us the tools to become Robin Hood and his gang until the school year comes to a close. Remember, we have the answer!