Hammad Hussain, IMD How to spend an MBA summer vacation

Continuing where my fellow blogger James Doherty left off in his recent post on how to spend your pre-MBA summer vacation, allow me to present the mid-MBA holiday guide. I agree with James about getting some rest while you can – but it’s not as bad as it sounds, so please read on.

I’m spending the third (and unfortunately the last) week of my summer vacation on a Greek island, looking at the sea and sending some thank you emails to all the people I met in the first two weeks. I started by making my way to Singapore along with 20 of my IMD MBA classmates. I had never been there before but had heard so much about the vibrant nightlife and work-hard-play-hard culture. And I’d be surprised if any of you haven’t heard the expression “Growth is in the East.” All my preconceptions about Singapore proved to be true. All day long we would meet the corporations who kindly hosted us, and at night we would dine out and venture to some bar or club to relax and mull over the day. It was intense and fun at the same time – who says you can’t combine business with pleasure? I also celebrated my birthday with some of my best friends – nothing beats that.

There is no doubt that Asia is proving to be the engine of growth for the global economy. We heard on our travels that Myanmar and Indonesia are hot spots of opportunity, as the former opens its economy to multinationals and the latter’s huge population enjoys a rise in disposable incomes. The trip was also a great chance to catch up with IMD alumni and explore other parts of SE Asia.

My next stop was London, my home before I started b-school. I took some time to meet friends and also met IMD alumni and key people from my refined list of firms-to-apply-to, gathering insights into what they want and what I bring to the table. The five days passed by very quickly, leaving me tired but satisfied.

As I lie on the beach under the beautiful Santorinian sky and scorching Greek sun, I wonder what the next year is going to be like. The IMD MBA has taught me how to extract the maximum from the time I have, whether it is fun or work. I have improved at meeting people, connecting to them, and yes, delivering elevator pitches. I know the future is uncertain, but somehow I’m not worried – halfway through the course, I’m already feeling confident that I’m the master of my fate. As the British would say, I just need to ‘keep calm and carry on!’