I still have no idea what’s going on: Wrapping up the MBA journey
May 05, 2017

Ten years ago, after graduating from college, I made a vow to never set foot in a classroom again. No more textbooks, no more assignments, and no more 8am exams after an all-nighter fueled by Cheetos and Red Bull. I was resolute and unwaveringly determined that if I ever have to go near a college campus again, it would only be forceremonies such as graduations, weddings, or mass circumcisions (it’s a Malaysian thing).

I guess I was wrong.

Yesterday, on a -- hugely unexpected -- rainy English morning, I attended the graduation ceremony for my MBA class at the Royal Albert Hall. With my entire family in attendance, it was the largest congregation of Malaysians at the hall since our songstress Siti Nurhaliza performed there in 2005. But she did not have livestream and my grandparents were tuning in from Kuala Lumpur so I might have won by a margin in terms of global reach.

At the tender age of 34, graduating again is a rather different experience. I feel more relaxed, and less anxious about how the following chapter of life is going to unfold. And as a parent, there is more routine to life that you become better at predicting what’s next. We had an argument with our toddler about her preferred attire before the ceremony yesterday, and I found myself trying to placate her again after the ceremony while still in my robe. Surprise, surprise!

All of life’s certainties aside, the past two years have showed me how little I actually know about myself. The vow that I had arrogantly made a decade ago about never going back to school faded over the years as I began to seek new challenges in life. I started applying to business schools in 2014, and commenced life as a part-time student in January 2015. In December 2016, I submitted my thesis with a desire to perhaps continue with this journey of learning -- but not too soon!

I have to thank my family and friends for this milestone. My wife and daughter for giving me the space and time to study. (Mostly my wife… the 3-year-old has no mercy.) My parents for their belief. My sponsor for their support. And the Imperial Global MBA 2015 faculty and cohort for the unforgettable experience and friendship. I still have no idea what’s going on but I will do my best to make it look like I do.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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