- The beauty of the world lies in its diversity.
- However diverse, people share the same values in Russia, Colombia, Guinea, or Thailand.
- The only thing you have is time. Don't waste it.
When I was making my decision which business school to choose for the MBA program, emlyon business school was on top of the list because it positioned itself as an international MBA and it has always had diverse cohorts with students from all over the world. But if in the cohort 2018-2019 there were around 40 students from around 20 different countries, for the cohort 2019-2020, there were already 64 students from 32 different countries. I have never met people from the majority of these countries before and I was expecting that this would be a unique experience.
Little did I know before coming to Lyon what does it mean to be constantly exposed to such a diversity. No one will probably ever understand how hard it was in the very beginning of the school year to build connections with everyone: English was not a native language for most of us, and also, we had a great mix of backgrounds.
Do you remember the very first time you tried to swim in the open sea? No ground, no boundaries, no more comfort zone. No one to help you (because you left everything on the shore called your home country). Scary? Yes. Breathtaking? You bet! That was it. But you don't allow yourself to drown - not only because you have a student loan, but also because you know that feeling of joy and self-esteem once you learn how to swim. And we have all learned it through the year. I now have friends from different continents and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this amazing cohort 2019-2020.
They say it was the most diverse cohort in the history of the International MBA program at emlyon business school. What I've learned is that it doesn't matter where you come from, how you look like, and what accent do you have. What really matters is your attitude, motivation, and values. All of my 64 classmates have one important thing in common: in the middle of our career development, we all decided to take a break and move to another country for a one-year MBA program.
Myself, I graduated from a university in Moscow in 2012 and had 7 years of experience in banking & finance, and I have completely forgotten what it means to be a student. Well, it's hard when you are 30 year old. It's even harder when the classes are in a foreign language. But everyone had the same struggle and somehow we did it! We were supporting and motivating each other. We were taking care of each other (especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period). We were a team - a team with a mind from South Africa, heart from Asia, and soul from the Latin America.
This one year in Lyon passed incredibly fast, even though we have built memories equal to 3 years of life in a comfort zone. For me, it was a tough yet amazing journey that has shaped my personality a lot. Wherever I go after the program, I will always bring with me these memories and experience that I gained during the year.
If there is one thing I would do differently (and this can be an advice for the future students), I would have pushed myself even harder from the very beginning of the program to have a chance to know all of my classmates better and learn more from them, and build even stronger connections between us.
I've built relationships with many beautiful people from all over the world and this is the the greatest value that I've got from this IMBA.
P.S. I'm a bit jealous for the future students who will only have to take this path. We have already had the time of our lives.
Written by Anna MILOSTNOVA