Theatre de Fontainebleau

21st December 2016

It’s in the quiver of the oral commissures at the end of every smile… in the squint after every eye-widening moment… the linger of handshakes just one microsecond longer. The pain of letting go. Today, neural pathways would be awash with flashbacks of the year that has been. Though I have not contributed as much to the awesomeness as many of these folks around me, I feel so much nostalgia already… a mere fraction of the pain they must feel, the full extent of which I struggle to imagine. I analyse it instead… my last-ditch attempt at cutting through the smug winter smog that punctuates our final moments here… hanging around the rims of every picture… reminding us of the coldness of the world into which we soon would return. I can only analyse… After all, it’s common business sense that a problem analysed is half solved.

For many, this would be our last classroom experience, not merely because …% of us already had advanced degrees pre-INSEAD. We just wouldn’t risk following a magnum experience with cheap brew. Unanimously, INSEADers attest that people don’t get more real than in this transcontinental bubble. It’s not that we are the nicest… it’s the realness, rich in cheap yet priceless friendships, personality-mending disagreements, third-party life lessons, amusing ignorance, beautiful flaws and moments describable only in three letter acronyms. How could words capture this story, when pictures fail? Not even videos could… Perhaps this is what really saddens us all. That our minds would be the only true repositories of this wonderful year. That we could never truly relive its fullness until we are all together again, hoping that the version accorded each of us would survive our imminent busy schedules. We can only hope…

Hope… Possibility… The theme of the valedictorian speeches on both campuses. Before John Munson established that bunnies are the true kings of the jungle, Alexandra, Kunle and Byron reminded us of our responsibilities in disrespecting limits. Reminders to propagate the gospel by Doriot… that business can be a force for good. Here, it wasn’t just scripture. It was… It is… a way of life… As investment bankers succumbed to sentiment, space scientists furnished humility and consultants embraced art, we dug deep into numbers and currency… somewhere in there, we found their soul… Now, as we sprinkle across the world, we are charged to infect the monuments of the fourth industrial revolution with this proud affliction… We would be vectors in this outbreak of goodness in business.