Complementors to the RoBe Eco-System & Friends for Life

Executive MBA class picture
Nestled in the train on the way home from Geneva, I took a moment to reflect on the journey I have been on for the past 14 months. How different everything felt a year ago! We started our EMBA studies on the “big screen”, tackled new topics, were hesitant to ask for or offer help, and had not yet discovered our class dynamic. When you combine a group of individuals hand-picked to study together, you are never quite sure how things will end up. Fourteen months later, I would call the result “unforgettable”.

Reach for your Goals and Increase Personal Value

In our Sales and Distribution Management class, Professor Paulo Albuquerque addressed the concept of “reach” in terms of capturing customer value. Each of us were thrown out of our comfort zones while addressing topics we had had little exposure to before (like Financial Accounting in my case). Those of us with families had to make a number of sacrifices to strike a delicate balance at home while completing assignments and exams (group call or date night?). In addition, 35% of the class “pivoted” and changed jobs during the program. This was a critical learning experience: if we stretched just a bit further to immerse ourselves in the unknown, we could achieve more than we ever thought possible. We could create value for ourselves by embracing our discomfort.

Pivot to Overcome Limitations and Create Lasting Experiences

Speaking of pivoting, the pandemic reared its ugly head on a number of occasions and the Rochester-Bern team created solutions to ensure that the EMBA journey could continue. One example of this was the four-week Rochester residency where 35 students flew across the pond to experience living and studying in the United States, having surpassed the two-month waiting time for a student visa and filling out additional Corona-related paperwork to prove we were ready to travel again. Study groups bonded over challenging case studies, beer by the barbeque, and weekend excursions. When we returned to Switzerland, we had solidified friendships that would last long after we complete our EMBAs.

With the same spirit we embarked on our final course last week, “Management in Transition Economies”, which took place with Professor Filip Caeldries in Switzerland instead of Seoul. We visited Grindelwald, Biel, Neuchatel and Geneva and learned about the relationship between Switzerland and Asian markets in relation to the tourism, luxury watch and data security industries. Our colleague and student blogger, Adrian Schmied, gave us a personal tour of the V-Bahn and Jungfraujoch and participated in a panel discussion with Urs Kessler and RoBe alumnus Daniel Sulzer on attracting Asian visitors to the region. One of our classmates who is a medical doctor measured our heart rate at an altitude of 3,454 metres and concluded that many of us were experiencing stress at the pinnacle of our studies. 😉 We took this with a grain of salt during our Chinese lunch.

Countdown to Capstone Day and Graduation

Today we are one month away from our capstone presentations, where we organize ourselves into groups of 3-4 and develop a business plan for a start-up. On May 13, we will present our idea to a jury of professors, start-up founders and a venture capitalist. Our group has a mix of financial, economic, scientific and social sciences backgrounds, which made it simple to divide up the tasks we would each be responsible for. It is “crunch time” now. On Friday, June 10 – if everything goes as planned – we will proudly be holding two diplomas at our American graduation ceremony: an MBA from the University of Rochester and an EMBA from the University of Bern.

I look forward to enthusiastically tossing my graduation cap into the air alongside my study colleagues, and to continuing on life’s path with newly-cultivated friends. Leaders Circle, here we come!