A few months ago, I stood before a roomful of my classmates to tell my story. I talked about growing up in Nigeria, influences that shaped my choices, and what I hoped to achieve. Preparing the talk was difficult, but I had help from friends who were skilled at telling stories. I was exhausted but thrilled at the end of the session. Telling that story was so far out of my comfort zone that I could barely believe I had done it.
When I reflect on the past six months at INSEAD, I find that there are many instances like this one. I have had many opportunities to grow by doing things that don’t come easily to me. I have not taken all of them, but I have taken many and I can see how those experiences have made me better.
I was recently talking to a friend who runs a business in Africa. While I always had advice for him when asked in the past, I was surprised at the new level of understanding I had of his business’s challenges. More importantly, I was impressed with the quality of the solutions we arrived at together. I came here wanting to learn, and I have learnt an amazing amount. I now understand topics that previously caused me to roll my eyes. I even managed to learn enough French on the side to write an essay about remote work!
The past six months have been challenging but very exciting. Looking back, it is not surprising how quickly strong friendships form at INSEAD. It is difficult to go through the year alone. In addition to the friends I have made at school, I am also lucky to be going through the year with my wife and best friend, Busola. Her presence provides an oasis of calm when I need to be away from the intensity of INSEAD.
Three of my five periods at INSEAD are now completed. That realization has a bittersweet taste. While I look forward to life after business school and earning a salary again (LOL), I also wish the days could drag on a little longer. There are still many ideas to be discussed, many subjects to learn, and of course – many parties to attend.
Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes! By all means yes!
My approach to time management for the next two periods borrows from the regret minimization framework popularized by Jeff Bezos. I want to leave with very few regrets. I want to leave knowing I made the most of the opportunities to learn, make friends, and grow.
Cheers, to the second half of the year.