A Nigerian's journey to the Business School for the World
The words of John O’Donohue ring in my head every time I reflect on the transformative, euphoric, life-changing, demanding, emotional, and great year that 2016 was! The fourth to sixth stanza of his poem “For a New Beginning” encapsulates my INSEAD experience:
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
I am now home in a new rhythm, one that could not have happened without INSEAD. My quest for knowledge and a new experience made me embark on my MBA journey. But I got a lot more than I bargained for. Not only did I get deep and extensive knowledge in the course of my MBA, my experiences were enriched and I believe more in the power of social capital (I am proud to say I am wealthy in this regard).
I graduated from INSEAD Business School in the grand ballroom of the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on the 20th of December 2016. As I walked up the stage to receive my diploma, my heart was filled with gratitude to God for making the journey possible and to all those who played a part in making 2016 memorable. To Olam for supporting with the tuition scholarship, to my family for being there all through the tough economic year despite the recession that hit Nigeria mid-2016, to my numerous friends from all over the world- encouraging and rooting for me all I advanced from one stage to another. Receiving my INSEAD MBA was a dream come true, but beyond a dream- days of relentless hard work, steadfast faith in God and hope for a better future.
Now it is all over and I have stepped into another phase of my life, also age-wise. I clocked 30 in September 2016 and much more than ever, I have come to appreciate the value of time. Now I am set on a collision course with opportunities and bigger dreams as I set forth my sight on age 40. Yes, this will be the best 10 years of my life both professionally and in my personal life. I have set and am still setting bigger goals, ensuring that my time on earth is spent wisely and in a fulfilling way. My INSEAD year taught me this- one year is a long time to do as much as you can, yet a short time because it goes by really quick. So here is how I spent my 2016:
I started my MBA at INSEAD in January, lived in the beautiful town of Fontainebleau in France, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and Singapore; travelled to numerous cities in Africa, Europe, America and Asia- Barcelona, Tilburg, Amsterdam, Angers, London, Abidjan, Yamassoukro, Casablanca, Baltimore, Washington DC, NewYork, New Jersey, SanFrancisco, Seattle and Bangkok, excluding the layovers in others; delivered a speech at TEDxINSEAD on Ubuntu; co-chaired the 2016 INSEAD Africa Business Conference; interned with a private equity fund in London focused on insurers in emerging markets; attended a democratic rally in Philadelphia where for the first time I saw Obama speak live (#LifeGoalAchieved); visited iconic sites in the United States and Singapore; and did all these and more while taking intensive MBA classes from Fonty to Philly to Singy and also managing the job search craze that hit us all in P4. Talk about being a super human…
So as I walked on the stage with all these memories flashing before me, I said to myself: “Dude, you have no excuse to fail. You need to take all of this and make sure you impact your world like it only depended on you.” These experiences have conferred on me a deeper sense of responsibility to society and though I feel that sense of pride like every other human who just accomplished no mean feat, I am happy because I know this is just the beginning of greater things to come.
So good ol’ John, your poem still has a deeper meaning even at this hour. There would always be a new beginning, always…mic drop!