“When I had journeyed half of our life’s way, I found myself within a shadowed forest, for I had lost the path that does not stray…”. With the famous lines of Dante in my mind, I may affirm that although my motivation might be lacking, the will for knowledge is still strong in me and I am excited and willing to go back to school.

So here I am, Elivar Golemi from Albania, a student of the International Flex EMBA (i-Flex) program at MIP Politecnico di Milano, looking forward to new challenges and opportunities. That means so much to me, since Albania does not always offer the possibilities that are available in many other countries. I really appreciate having the freedom of choice, the opportunity to study at one of the best business schools anywhere, as well to meet successful professionals from all over the world and share the same dreams as them.

With a background in finance and banking a degree and an MBA to my name, followed by 16 years of professional experience, I was ready for the next chapter in my life. In fact, I already had the answer for my next move, as I knew that I wanted to broaden my horizons and study at an international business school and to fulfil a long-held dream.

For me and for everyone striving for personal growth in a global business context, studying for an Executive MBA is a unique and life-changing experience. The cherry on the cake is the fact that I am even able to continue to do my job while I study, as I can use MIP’s flexible digital platform to take the course. Before that, however, I did get the chance to meet the rest of my class during the kick-off week in Milano. I couldn’t wait to get to know everyone in my class, which is comprised of students of different cultures from around the world so we have much knowledge to share between us and can benefit from a great deal of added value, not only from i-Flex itself but also from each other.

We started our journey at MIP with two full days of outdoor training: this was based on being out in the natural environment, sharing concrete experiences and being emotionally and physically involved in practical activities; it concluded with some inspiring reflection and analyses during our briefing sessions. This was followed by a week full of discussions, emotions, curiosity, building trust through getting to know each other, training in self-awareness and soft skills, forming new friendships and a great network. In addition to all this, the school organized a series of events so that we could enjoy stylish Italian evenings at most fashionable places in Milano. I can say with confidence that it was an amazing experience for all of us!

It always ends with some lessons learned and take-away notes:

  • We are all empathic humans behind the professional suits!

Where we came from, the culture where we grew up, the values we believe in, the education and professional experiences we have come across in our lives – none of these really matter. We are all here to learn, grow, exchange, challenge ourselves and have new opportunities. We are simply “us” and we are all committed to building teams and relationships, as well to supporting each other throughout this shared journey.

  • Other people’s behavior is not necessarily worse or better. It is just different!

Being different in a global context is an added value if managed well. Diversity gives us the opportunity to know each other better, understand the culture and the values we believe in, and, of course, train ourselves to tolerate and respect “other ways” of thinking and acting, without losing our values and beliefs.

  • Being adaptable with the new “High Tech” is not a choice anymore. It is a necessity!

A global village – that’s today’s world. Work together, build a team, choose a leader, deliver a work project on time, participate in a forum, attend a Q&A live session – none of these activities needs our physical presence in the classroom anymore, all the knowledge and communication is found on apps and online platforms. We only need to adapt our habits and take away the best from this experience. It’s all about Globalization.

  • Last but not least – The importance of failure!

Don’t give up! An amazing life is still ahead of us. The very best experiences are ahead, not behind us. I’ll conclude with a quote of Oprah: “It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. Here is the key. Learn from every mistake. Every experience, encounter and particularly failures are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are. Then figure out what is the next right move!”