IE Business School Online Masters
Ajay Swamy
January 4, 2013

And it begins.

The post MBA journey has begun. Well over a year ago, I had written a post with a similar title, except that was the beginning of our Global MBA journey. More than 15 months later, after many late nights, hundreds of case studies, thousands of posts and lack of social life (other than your international team mates) the Global MBA class graduated in Madrid on December 21st, 2012. While the celebrations continue for some of us and we catch up with family and long lost friends, I’ve had some time to reflect on just what this life changing experience was about.

Life is short – I know that’s the most over emphasized statement. But hear me out. When I started researching MBA schools in the beginning, my goal was about enhancing my global outlook. I wanted a program with great diversity and even greater differences in viewpoints. I didn’t want the typical “top MBA” school from the US with 12% diversity. I wanted 100% diversity, 100% global exposure. Why? Because, life is short and you don’t want to settle for the mundane. The IE Global MBA delivered and in a big way. I can now say I have friends in 33+ different countries. Amazing.

I had the chance to ask few of my colleagues in Madrid about their takeaways from this program. Other than the academic knowledge some of the answers were quite unique. Let me expand. A few of my colleagues openly spoke about how this program had completely changed their pre-conceived notions about people from different parts of the world and tolerance to very different political and social views. Others simply responded that the unique relationships formed were testament that the program was more than capable of forging deeper bonds. Yet others responded with the IE brand recognition and improved judgment when it came to reading people and understanding business from a global perspective. To me it was slightly different. My takeaway was that change is constant, cherish the entrepreneurial spirit and treasure the relationships formed with these truly amazing group of people.

Our last week in Madrid was hectic as usual. We had to prepare for our final pitches and attend classes for 10 hours a day! On the day of our final pitches we had the pleasure of listening to some brilliant business ideas. Some of us have decided to pursue our ventures further and will be applying to Venture Lab, and hopefully we can pitch again – this time in Mexico City or Shanghai! Despite the very frenzied schedule most of us still made time to go out to dinner every night and enjoy the nightlife Madrid had to offer. It’s those moments, beyond our group projects that made our friendships even stronger. It was those evenings that turned acquaintances & colleagues into friends.

I joke sometimes that now I’m a power point guru and can do DCFs in my sleep. While that might be true, what I absorbed most of all is learn not to settle. The GMBA instills a sense of entrepreneurial spirit and vision for social impact and big change. This to me is the driver for making a difference. Instead of looking for positions – I’m asking myself, how can I do what I want to do at any firm. This is on my terms. IE has instilled in all of us a sense of confidence, the entrepreneur spirit that allows taking on any challenge head on and getting it done.

So what’s next for me? A world tour is definitely in order to visit my colleagues! I will be writing more regularly on AjaySwamy.com, so if you want to find out what I’m up to, it’s an easy URL to remember. This is not good bye, this is hasta luego. It’s been a fantastic, memorable, life changing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. To borrow a quote from our Dean at our graduation – “You only live twice, one life for yourself and one for your dreams”. My life begins now.



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