On a whim, one recent evening my MBA friend/housemate and I went to the outdoor cinema in Cambridge to watch The Goonies. For the uninitiated, The Goonies is a 1985 cult classic film from Steven Spielberg about a group of misfits that go on one last adventure together to find an ancient treasure.
As the characters despaired over their impending separation and embarked on one last adventure, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to my own feelings around the forthcoming end of my MBA journey. The Goonies set out having less than a vague semblance of what awaited them on their adventure. The plan to find the treasure was straightforward—just follow the map. Yet like the Goonies would soon find out, nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.
When the MBA programme started in September 2019, I was awestruck by the sheer diversity and calibre of the class – 202 unique personalities, career paths and ambitions. From consultants to entrepreneurs to social innovators; the breadth of intellectual horsepower and resources available within the class are astonishing. One of the best things about having an intimate class of 202 is the ability to actually get to know many members of the class. Through formal dinners, study group sessions and our fair share of nights at ‘DarBar’ and ‘Revs’, friendships were forged. The intensity of the Cambridge MBA cannot be overstated. The collective experience of the cohort made it both an amazing learning experience and a survivable one.
The magic of this adventure has been in the closeness and collaboration of the class. But fast-forward to March 2020 when we were celebrating the end of Lent Term and excitedly preparing for our GCPs (Global Consulting Projects), and suddenly the world as we knew it came to a grinding halt. Much like the rest of the world, the togetherness that we had relied upon and relished, disappeared overnight. We were boxed in, flung apart and together only virtually.
Month-long adventures to Africa and Asia, treks to Berlin and Tel Aviv, the MBATs in Paris and the epic May Balls of Cambridge – cancelled. Recruiting opportunities and internship offers – vanished. We lost so many elements of our experience.
Like the Goonies when they came across obstacle upon obstacle, the Cambridge MBA Class of 2019 was resilient and agile. We formed support groups, planned virtual formals, utilised our networks to launch the Cambridge (virtual) Leadership series and helped businesses affected by Covid-19 through Cambridge Judge Against Covid-19 (CJAC). Our map had been torn up, so we drew a completely new one.
The famous line in the movie, “Goonies never say die!” struck a chord. In the depths of the worst health crisis of the last hundred years and a battered global economy; our collaborative nature, resilience and diversity is helping us overcome the challenges. And while it may be hard to see hints of sunlight in the darkness of night, a new dawn will break and we’ll again be able to celebrate the next phase of our lifelong Cambridge MBA journey – together.
Yesterday, today and always, we the Cambridge MBA Class of 2019 never say die.