Key learnings from the most valuable experience of my life

students walking in ESMT garden with TV Twoer in background

About two years ago, I was facing my biggest (and scariest) “new beginning”. I was leaving my country, loved ones, and comfort zone to pursue a Master’s in Management at the prestigious ESMT Berlin. While the thought of continuing my education abroad had been on my mind for a long time, I never imagined that I would eventually end up studying at the #1 business school in Germany.

Well, the time has literally flown by and my academic journey is already over. This adventure has been the most transformative experience of my life and it is without a doubt the best choice I could have made. Now it is time for me to once again start over with a “new beginning”.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a self-congratulatory article, but rather a way to share the most valuable lessons this incredible adventure has taught me.

Plan your life so that you can deal with as many new beginnings as possible.

The first lesson I will take away with me is tied in with the very concept of a “new beginning”. If I look back on my life, most of the best memories are the consequences of bold decisions that took me out of my comfort zone. We all naturally tend to settle for what is familiar and what seems to make us feel good now. But we must be able to recognize the moment when our life curve flattens out, when we stop discovering, surprising ourselves, learning, and changing. That’s the time to get back into the game, challenge yourself, and embark on a new adventure.

Don’t overthink, move forward, and stay positive – One way or another, things will eventually work out.

The second lesson goes hand in hand with the first and stems from my tendency in the past to plan everything down to the last detail, to the point that I often prevented myself from starting new projects or participating in cool activities. What is certain is that not everything goes according to plan, so there is no point in waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect conditions.  The recent pandemic constitutes a case in point. But beware! In no way do I mean you should blindly rely on fate. Hard work is a prerequisite for any success, always. So, you often have to just throw yourself in the deep end, work hard despite it all, and remain confident that things will work out – success is a matter of mindset.

Surround yourself with exceptional, authentic people and nurture relationships by devoting the time and energy they deserve – human relationships are the key to our well-being.

The third and last takeaway originates from the realization that the people who surround us play a key role in our happiness as well as in the achievement of our goals. During my time at ESMT, I had the privilege to meet and engage with brilliant minds as well as beautiful souls, and I am convinced that this has been the most crucial contribution to my personal growth.

The B-Schools teach us that the greatest value is not in academics but in the relationships built during the academic journey. Moreover, the lockdowns, as well as the social distancing measures implemented to curb the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic, helped us rediscover ourselves as human beings, namely social animals who simply cannot live without their fellow people.