A Very Special Day

Wingshot tuned_photo credit_Francesc Lucena Juve

Yesterday was a very special day because of 3 reasons…

10 years ago, I left for Beijing for my very own China adventure.

1 year ago, I married the man who means the world to me.

Yesterday, my #firstdate, my very first HKUST Full-Time MBA recruiting class, arrived. Well, at least those who enrolled into Mandarin classes did. Point is, it was a special moment!

It was special because there are those whom I met in person almost 10 months ago in their hometowns, or where they were working then; those who shared with me about their hopes, dreams and aspirations; those who have celebrated personal milestones over the past 10 months since we first met; those whom I’ve gone alongside through the ups and downs of their admissions journey… and many, whom I’ve met virtually over Skype during interviews, while worrying if I would be able to recognize them in person. (Thank God for photographic memory!)

There were so many instances where it felt like I was reliving my own MBA journey – the pains of going through GMAT exams, the sadness of saying goodbye to friends and family, the excitement of a new chapter, the nerves of not knowing what to expect and whether I would be able to make friends… oh and of course, the brutal anxieties of not having a paycheck for 16 months!

When I look back, I wish someone had told me justcalmdownbecausenotonlyisitgoingtobealrightitsgoingtobebloodyawesome!! And so, here’s to my #firstdate:

Dear noobs of the HKUST Full-Time MBA Intake 2016,

Stop. Stop whatever you’re doing and let the moment slow.

Look around you, look at the campus you’re on. Look at this amazing sea view (and I’m sorry if you ended up with the room that faces the car park!) And take it all in… now, slowly exhale.

Let time slow down and enjoy this moment because you deserve it. Be proud of yourself for all that you’ve put yourself through, the courage you mustered up to decide that you wanted more for yourself, more of who you can be, and you followed through.

You don’t need to be taught how to have a good time here. It’s in the DNA of every MBA student.

I do want to break some news to you. In the coming months, you’ll get homesick, you’ll miss your family, your friends back home, you’ll get overwhelmed with schoolwork, with deadlines, with all the dinners, student clubs and networking events you want to be part of but don’t know where to begin, and then slowly the reality of having to look for an internship will start creeping in… STOP!! Remember, when that slightest sense of panic or self-doubt even attempts to invade your heart and mind – stop it, and with all your might – block it out.

The bitter sweet truth is… you’ll only be here for 10 months, 11 months, or 16 months at most. There is too little time to waste for nerves, for anxiety, for homesickness. You’ve done all the hard work already, so for crying out loud, just take all of this in and have a good time. You don’t need to be taught how to have a good time here. It’s in the DNA of every MBA student. Remember, none of what you are about to experience in the coming 16 months, will ever, ever be in vain.

Finally, remember to be kind to your classmates. Be embracing if he/she seems different than you. Be gentle and respectful with your words. Be compassionate when your classmate is feeling blue. Be understanding when your classmate can’t contribute as much in class or in group work. Be generous when your classmate needs help. Whether you are a peacock, a chameleon, a tiger, a koala or an owl, you are all equally brilliant and beautiful.

Congratulations again my #firstdate. You are finally here! Enjoy the ride.

With all my best hopes and dreams,
Phebe