I recently graduated from Cambridge MBA, after a year of a rigorous academic curriculum, challenging real-world projects, and a roller-coaster ride because of something that should not be named (hint: it starts with a C and ends with a 9). Till now, I always thought about how much I’ve gained during this one wonderful year, but today, when I sat in silence for some retrospect, I realised how much I have lost. Yes, “Lost”. Sounds weird, but stay with me, and I’ll explain everything.
Let’s first go back in time, back to 2007. For two years, I had prepared days and nights to get into IIT — India’s most prestigious institutions for engineering majors. In the 3-hour entrance exam, I failed to deliver. Probably, it wasn’t my day. Looking at my academic records and abilities, my mentors suggested that I drop a year and re-apply. Although every breath I was taking wanted to follow their advice, I was afraid to take the risk, and I decided to settle with a state-level institute. Fast forward to 2018 — I had a well-established job in the United States, a nice flat, a brand new car. But I decided to put all this aside and go back to school. I wasn’t sure about the returns I would get from an MBA. My opportunity cost could have bought me a new luxurious house back home. But is that what I wanted? I guess not. I went ahead with my decision and chose to do my MBA at Cambridge Judge Business School. This accounted for my first loss — “I lost the fear of taking a risk”. I decided to go with my heart, and I can honestly say that I am very glad that I did.
Let’s look at one more thing I lost for which I’m thankful.
I come from a risk-averse family where I was always discouraged to be entrepreneurial. The safe investment was always the way to go. “Have extra money? deposit it in the bank. Want to try something new that may you require to leave a job? No, stick to the safe zone.” When I joined the Cambridge MBA, I met some of the greatest risk-takers, people who were willing to go the extra mile to do what they love and achieve more.
I heard stories about their entrepreneurial ventures, which sounded very exciting. I still lacked confidence in my abilities to do something similar. But in May 2020, I participated and won a hackathon organised by the Cambridge Hack Foundation, and this was the point I lost another thing — “I lost my lack of confidence”. With some talented people, I started my first venture — Localing. It helped me connect with many wonderful mentors from around the world and eventually secured me an entry pass to the Accelerate Cambridge programme. The second loss I am very glad about.
Let’s move on. I have always been afraid of rejection. But the Cambridge MBA made me lose this as well. “I lost my fear of rejection”. The person I was before my MBA would never go for something where there was a chance of rejection. But this one year taught me to explore new avenues. I received numerous rejections during this process, but this time, I wasn’t afraid. I kept going, probably discovering 999 ways of failing before that final shine.
There were a few more things I lost during my year-long journey at Cambridge Judge Business School (fear of extempore presentations, bias towards some cultures, some preconceived notions, and so on), and I am nothing but glad about that.
If losses can make you a better and a stronger person, then let’s embrace the losses!
Before I conclude, I would like to state this law by one of my idols, Sir Issac Newton — Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it.
The Cambridge MBA was that force for me.