When we all began the MBA program at Fisher College of Business nine short months ago, we were given luggage name-tags with a message inside. That message had a single statement about enjoying the Fisher journey. At the time, I perceived the Fisher journey as a purely intellectual and professional one. The message was not surprising, as I understood I would emerge from the experience with a broader set of skills, knowledge, and career choices than I had when I entered the program.
However, the depth and impact of the present journey I’m experiencing, both within Europe and more broadly the MBA program, resonates on a much more primal (or nuclear) level within myself. That little luggage tag boasts an eerie amount of clairvoyance, as the journey I have experienced thus far goes well beyond professional into a personal, psychological, and existential realm of growth.
The journey to France, England, and beginning this weekend, Switzerland, are undoubtedly great experiences within themselves. This entire experience over the past two weeks has felt akin to an accelerated incubated MBA degree. Through the first year in the program, I went from feeling adept, talented, and intelligent when I entered to extremely impressed, overwhelmed, amazed, and humbled by my colleagues (As a past psychologist and therapist, I frequently say some of the GREATEST ‘psychologists,’ or experts in human behavior I have ever met have been in the Fisher MBA program. If you want a therapist, don’t see a PhD, see an empathic MBA with some time to kill).
Going from a big fish in a small sea to the ocean of talent that is Fisher is daunting (especially if you’ve never stepped foot in a business course prior to Fall Term). However, the experience pushes you, molds you, and challenges you. You master the material, master your emotions, and hone your own skills, leadership qualities, and potential. You grow.
The GAP experience has been synonymous with the MBA as a whole and complementary to that growth process. Arriving in country, I felt apprehension about the culture, the food, the project, work, and responsibilities. However, within a short two weeks, our group has been force to accelerate our own talents and abilities to band together and meet the demands of the project, communication with each other, and…..the sometimes grueling demands of the nightlife.
So, in closing, as a Fisher MBA student, our present journey is not a singular one but a cluster of dozens discrete experiences that are continually molding and shaping us. These experiences do not occur within a vacuum. For me, everything from poorly navigating tubes in London, to sobbing at an embarrassingly audible level during Les Mis, eating unidentifiable cuisine, meeting with dozens of brilliant leaders within the European Lawn & Garden market, to touching structures I have only seen during long exploratory hours on Wikipedia & Google Earth….. I feel like I am awakening every day as a different person.
And waking up everyday feeling like a better version of yourself from the day before is what keeps us going.