I felt like I was part of “Apprentice” (the American reality show where Donald Trump is trying to recruit someone to head one of his businesses) this morning while I was getting ready for my first day at IESE Business School – all suited up and looking smart. I woke up to my alarm at 6:30 rolling on the bed for the next half an hour wanting to stay there forever while also thinking super hard about what to wear to school. I walked around aimlessly from the room to the bathroom to the kitchen, making my breakfast and getting ready all at once. Joao and Maxime came out in their suits looking so smart. We took a selfie and they made fun of how I changed my shoes twice and thought about what to wear about 50 billion times. We took a cab to school. Watching everybody in suits was so strange but it was such a great feeling.
We just collected our name tags and hug around networking (which I’m already sick of) till we were ushered inside the auditorium for a series of talks. I was seated between Aimee and Enzo, both from Philippines. First we had a welcome address by the dean, Jordi Canals whose talk was ok. Then Mike Rosenberg came up to talk and I had my expectations really high for him, but I was mildly disappointed. The idea behind his talk was great because he spoke about how the IESE MBA equips you to break the frames and look beyond them, but it seemed like a repeat telecast of the career on boarding videos. Then, the Admissions director Franz something spoke which was more meaningful as he spoke about how as future leaders, we must be looking to solve some of the biggest problems affecting the world today. We had a small break where we were photographed as a group, followed by networking over coffee/ juice.
We came back inside the auditorium for Pankaj Ghemavat’s talk and I was in for more disappointment as he gave the same talk as his globalisation course on coursera. But most others were super overwhelmed by the way he conducted the session as he constantly engaged his audience through electronic voting and all the fascinating data he threw at us but since I’d already seen all that, I was bored and distracted. I couldn’t wait for the talk to end as I was dying out of hunger, while one part of me was wondering why I was being such a spoilt sport when I was finally getting to live my dreams of doing an MBA. But I comforted myself by saying that if something is boring, it is boring and there’s no need to be hard on myself.
Finally it was time for lunch and even before I could heave a sigh of relief, I was told that we were going to have lunch with our mentors (Mike Rosenberg in my case) and I lost it at the thought of having to pay attention even during lunch. I walked up to the table with my group number and Mike Rosenberg held his hand out to me saying ‘You must be Priyanka – Toyota, Engineer and Basketball’ and I was like Whoa ok yeah, in a nutshell. Slowly each person joined the table – Nelson, the chinese consultant from E&Y, Manuel, the Catalan who worked in the Logistics industry in Panama, Manolo from BBVA in Mexico, Matt O’rourke, a biologist and political worker from the US, Helena, a German with sales experience in the mining industry, Hiroyuki, a commercial banker and Mathieu, the French guy who I’ve already spoken about. Each one of us had to introduce ourselves, explain why we were here in IESE and say out loud one special thing about ourselves. We had a fancy 3 course meal plated up and served on our tables followed by a little cup of expresso. First course was a salad, followed by chicken breast in some white sauce with potatoes in the 2nd and then the 3rd was a dessert, which was just cut fruits, only exotic one (I’m Indian, come on!) being kiwi.
After lunch, we all headed to our own individual classrooms for each section. I’m in section B. Our name cards were in place and each of us had a nice folder and a laptop bag waiting for us at out seat. Sure, we paid 73,900 Euros for this but just the way everything was organised was nice. Can you believe this, I am in the front row right at the centre. I sat there wondering if I’d ever be thrown out of class for sleeping. We had a ‘Mugshot’ session where each of us was supposed to give two different poses one with our name card and another without. I was 3rd to go so I didn’t have time to set my hair right but I think I did fine. The session went by pretty quickly and after that, we were supposed to introduce ourselves to the rest of the class. I introduced myself as a hobby match-maker and that all the single people in class can come have a chat with me later. After that, every time someone introduced themselves, they started ending their intros with if you want/ like blah blah, come to me. After each person’s introduction, I could see that people were awkward and wondering if they’d spoken appropriately or not. It was comforting to see that everyone was conscious in some way or the other. Why do we seek comfort in other people’s discomfort?
Later that night, we decided to have a nice home cooked meal. While Maxime made duck confit, potatoes and apple crumble, I made some lousy tomato based over cooked pasta. Joao set the table and poured the wine while Max served the food. We took another selfie and ate slowly (basically I ate the slowest) and talked about so many things from cultures across our countries to job markets to commodity prices, etc. Then I went to bed with a bitten foot (from my new shoes in which I survived the whole day).