“Whoa, we’re halfway there;
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer;
Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear;
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer.”
Those were the wise words of the great poet, Jon Bon Jovi. And if you are within the ‘above 30’ age bracket, like most of my classmates, my guess is that the main bass riff of that epic song is already playing in your head right now.
The song has been ringing in my head since the evening of 18th December 2015. It was the day we completed our final exam marking the halfway point of our MBA journey. So as Messrs. Bon Jovi and Sambora once sang under their glorious mane in 1986, “Whoa, we’re halfway there!”
It has been an incredibly enriching year for me. Adjusting myself to the rigours of studying was a challenge, but the rationale is so much clearer now compared to my younger days. I remember asking myself numerous times as an undergraduate, “Why am I learning this?”
I never ask the same question anymore this time around. Studying is a much more wholesome process when the drive comes from within, instead of an act of going through the motions. Everything seems to be more practical and makes more sense. And the beauty of this is in the way you could almost immediately apply the learnings in your everyday life. Although I’ve struggled to impress anyone with my understanding of the Modigliani-Miller Theorem.
Outside of the classroom, I think the most valuable learning from the MBA experience is the collaborations that have taken place within our syndicate groups. Although the case studies we were assigned to analyse reflected real world problems, tackling the questions together with classmates tend to be slightly different than it is with colleagues. But I’ve always believed in a simple mantra whenever I work in any group or team, “Be nice to people, and keep it simple.”
I was lucky to be paired with some great groupmates to work with. And I reckon everyone else in the cohort has had the same experience so far. The thing about working in groups is that some of us might have had a hit-or-miss experience with it back when we were undergraduates. So there is an air of both optimism and caution in going through the process again.
The positivity and passion surrounding the cohort, however, have effortlessly cushioned this worry, and I think the result shows in the camaraderie that has been built within the group. I still remember seeing all the new faces on that cold January morning during Orientation Week Day 1. We began the day as strangers, but only for all of three minutes. You could feel the energy in the air although some of us were battling severe jet-lag having flown in a day or two before from Asia and (worse off) Oceania. But we were all too excited to care, and clicked right away from the get go.
So I think that’s what I look forward to in Year 2. To build on this relationship with my friends of GMBA15. It’s always comforting how we are able to support each other no matter where we are in the world. I am grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of this journey together, and I am proud to be able to say that I now have friends living in six of the seven continents of the world… until one of us moves to Antarctica.
Here’s to a brilliant Year 2 with more lessons, growth, maturity, and Bon Jovi.
Asrif is studying our Global Online MBA programme.