...It is good to learn to think differently...
I myself feel that I have actually changed. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but my self-confidence began to waiver. That is probably a good thing. It was good to enjoy a new experience, to learn to think differently and understand that you are not the most important person on this planet and not the most intelligent individual.
The studies have no impact on work – you only miss two business days and two days off a month. I still manage to stay in touch all the time, which probably irritates the teachers. I find the time to answer e-mails, agree on certain actions, and take some decisions. Immediately after the end of each module I would return to work and start implementing something new immediately. Some people were annoyed by my disappearances for study – they realised that there would be changes as soon as I came back. The most striking example happened after one of the modules when we restructured the HR department. We did everything correctly and properly as we had been explained. The changes primarily concerned training individuals and enlisting them in the common cause. And this yielded results. Whereas we had been assessed as the worst company for quality of service when benchmarked against competitors at the end of 2008, by 2009 we were the best.
My life is also changing. I am currently at a crossroads – I have received a number of offers regarding participation in business (not start-ups); I received offers to manage companies, even proposals on joint projects from people who are studying here. I think that the number of offers is attributable to my studies. On the one hand, I have some doubt about my persona and development desires. On the other hand, as a professional I have started behaving in a slightly different way, and I have acquired more knowledge, which has affected my behaviour in a constructive and positive way.
I find it hard to highlight any bright impressions – I always perceive everything in the same way. I remember that after the first management module some of our class said: we feel like we already know everything and it is unclear what else we can be taught – the teacher was that striking. The trip to China was very good. This was the penultimate international module. One of the students and I asked if our programme could be related in some way to retail. They arranged a meeting for us with the Director General of Louis Vuitton in China and also an entrepreneur who, after graduating from the INSEAD business school, had established a major distribution business in China with other graduates. All this was extremely interesting. However, I found another experience more significant. We were in Sichuan, in an area where there had been an earthquake two years previously. We lived in the house of the head of one of the villages that had been rebuilt from scratch. It was very interesting to immerse myself in his way of life and get to know certain national specifics from the inside. I had previously visited China a number of times on business, but this trip was real revelation.
Such things take you out of the daily routine. Indeed the daily routine also changes, as now it can be investigated from within, and new elements can be added, obtained during such self-experimentation as an overnight stay in a village house without heating, and communications and dinner with a peasant.
I am completing my studies and summarising the results in my head. Until recently I wondered whether it would be hard to study or not. And I have realised that even though I had to read and write a lot, I enjoyed everything. I wouldn't say that I considered the modules work that tired me out at the end of the working week. On the contrary, this was leisure.