Beer, friends, laughs. The bar is full of MBA students. “Okay, the last one before I leave, we still have to read six chapters of the markets and investments book, and prepare the slides for the economics presentation. Also, it would be great if I make some time to do the statistics exercises, if not, I wouldn’t be able to understand a word from Malvina”.
The alarm clock goes off, my head aches for silence, and my body begs not to get out of bed. But I desperately need to drink water. I finally get up. Besides, the lecture starts in an hour. “I should have come home early,” I think. Of course, after that “one last beer” came a few more, at least.
In a programme like an MBA, where the workload is huge, there is no place for much more, and one should choose between sleep and socialising, but doing both, while saving time to study, is impossible. As you might have sensed, I discarded the sleeping option, but I promise it is worth it. Luckily, people in Cass are aware of this, and everywhere we go, we are provided with a free mug of coffee.
“Lord its freezing”, I think while hitting the street. I stick my hands into the pockets, “I must buy some gloves”. I can’t get used to the London weather, “at least, this morning, the sky is clear, and I can feel the sun heating my face”.
While walking on my way to School, I start recapitulating the previous night. As you all are aware of, the best topics surge between beer and beer, and yesterday was not an exception. We discussed politics, experiences, goals. After the second beer, we passed to more important matters; football, love, and bright ideas that will make us rich entrepreneurs.
Two months have passed since the welcoming reception at Bunhill Row. I remember it as if it were yesterday, that feeling I had when entering, for my first time, at Cass. It was so exciting, living in London, doing an MBA, it was something I’ve wanted to do for years, though I had always seen it as something distant, even utopic. But there I was, after many months of research and reflecting, after a deathly battle against the GMAT, the interviews, the essays, the applications, and all the odyssey that any MBA applicant goes through. Yes, of course I was excited during that first day, excited and proud of myself, but I also felt like a stranger, I guess we were all strangers.
However, the teamwork, trips, day-to-day activities, the willingness of learning, and beers, has made this cohort come together. I remember that conversation, a few weeks ago, with a Chinese colleague. We stayed at the university until late in the evening, working on the strategy project, and decided to go out to have dinner somewhere around the place. I have always been interested in the Chinese culture, which is so different to my own, and on occasions, awkward, to my understanding. I didn’t know where to start, but I was eager to listen her opinion on some issues such as the restricted access to the internet, press freedom, or the right to have children. We spoke so much that by the time we started to eat, our dinner had gone cold.
The other day I went out with a mate, he is Muslim, whilst I come from one of those classic Mediterranean big, catholic and conservative – picture it from Almodovar films scripts – “old school” families. We both ended up talking about religion. We shared opinions, and he helped me to better understand the Koran, which I just recently read.
I think about the main motivations that brought me here: CV, money, status, network, professional knowledge, but now I realise that the true added-value that an MBA provides is the human quality; the personal development and the broadmindedness, that goes further beyond of professional and technical skills excellence. How fortunate am I to have the opportunity of meeting and listening to such different people, learning to see the world from other perspectives.
Tristán Oriol Lapetra
Full-time MBA (2019)