“It’s Over Now”

EMBA class 27 at their joint dinner
EMBA Class 27 student’s blog for all prospective students
It’s over now.

The hustle and bustle of the train station in Bern surrounds me as I stand in the middle of the passway. I absentmindedly look at my phone, unaware that I stopped walking. I just twinted the amount for yesterday’s dinner to the RoBe colleague who organized it. It was the last evening after class. Nothing special on the screen of my smartphone: There’s a sandwich and a heart, the top right indicates the date: 14th of May 2022, 11:48. It’s the day after the final capstone presentation. What a carnivalesque day, it pretends to be July but it is only May. The heat came faster than the people could change to their wardrobe, it’s hot. It’s also surreal because the feeling of achievement, disbelief and relief are fighting for attention: “I made it! – did I really make it? It went so fast – It’s over now”. Meanwhile, a fashionable lady in a white dress annoyedly holds on to the jacket over her arm. She’s on the way to track 4, Milano Centrale. It almost fell off, as she brushed me, because I was standing there in the middle of a flow. Her glance screams “How dare I disregard the rules of train station etiquette?”. I reminisce: “So, is it just back to the flow? Disappear in the mass? After all those hours, letters, numbers, words and impressions, I’m part of the crowd again.” I take two steps forward; the moment is gone and I’m heading to the red tram down the road.

Proof of Concept

As the Bernmobil vehicle rumbles around the corner of the Adrian von Bubenberg monument, it hits me: An EMBA is a proof of concept. The concept is how much you can perceive, make sense of and structure any information that comes your way. A concept strictly geared for leadership, as the “E” adds time pressure. You study next to your day job and family and with a speed that is yet unmatched by two-year programs. What can you pick up in such a rush? It is true, as with all things related to knowledge, parts of what you learn may fall into disuse, other parts will form the basis on which you develop even more specific knowledge. But what really matters is, that the process will stay. The ability to be confronted with challenges, to make sense of the situation and come to a useful answer beyond your professional core expertise grows with every exam you take, with every paper you hand in. If the Rochester-Bern program vision is to “Change the way you think”, its true purpose actually remains hidden in the shadows until you utter the last word in the last presentation. For 15 months you practice your skills as a decisionmaker. You learn to prioritize differently, with the whole company in mind; you learn to extract the essence of the class and you bring it to paper with a speed you’d never have thought possible.  So, back to the flow? Disappear in the mass? No. On the contrary. Standing out is more like it. You may disappear on the pathway of a train station, but in the right context you will be able to produce results, where others fail. The concept of your competence will reaffirm itself, every time somebody puts you to the test. The EMBA Diploma of the University of Bern and MBA of the University of Rochester serve as proof of this skill.

Eco-system on the move

In the class “Management in Transition Economies” of Professor Caeldries, we approached business from an eco-systemic approach. Which context is beneficial for which business? What is necessary to make it flourish, and how can you align the business to profit optimally from the eco-system? Similarly, in your specific eco-system things have changed because you have changed. The next challenge on the horizon is therefore to read just the new situation. Maybe there’s a plan within your company. Maybe you have a plan to change the company, industry, or country. What is sure is, that change is imminent, if it hasn’t already happened during the program. Luckily, with your newly appropriated skills, you can now assess the options and decide the next steps, for your business and for your career. As I open the door of my apartment, I am relieved. Nevertheless, with every thought of relief, excitement is piggybacking. What will the future bring?

Helm: Engage!

Rochester-Bern EMBA. What once was only a dream of a freshly returned expat in Bern has become a reality, 6 years after I first came across its curriculum. For me, one invisible barrier from moving forward and upward is broken. Taken down piece by piece with every grade. Taking a step back and looking at the larger picture of things, it is hard to fathom the immense significance this moment has for me. Over the last 15 months I got to know a bunch of excellent people. A vast array of know-how, a wide set of experience and a truly eclectic hubbub of characters managed to create an extraordinary and supportive atmosphere in class. I’m proud of us. I’m proud of what we achieved, despite – or rather thanks to! – our diversity. And I’m grateful for the confidence it instilled in all of us. Plus, I’m amused of my own thought as I throw my keys on the table: should I ever be part of the hurried flow of passengers at the train station, and coincidentally brush a lone bystander staring emptily at their phone, my glance surely will be one of appreciation. Because it will remind me how “not over” things are, ever. Thank you, dear project team(s) & thank you dear classmates of class 27/28. Now, to nerd out appropriately, for us the motto is what Captain Picard always said when on the bridge of his ship: “Helm, engage!”.