Katie and I went to Finland for the first time in our lives for the wedding of two IMD friends and we absolutely loved the place! A cynical MBA friend of mine once advised me that the best benefit of business school was that it provided many travel opportunities for weddings of classmates. As international as IMD is, it really takes that benefit to the extreme! This was our third wedding outside of the US in the last 10 months but the first in a place that was totally new to us.
We arrived Thursday in Helsinki, where we were immediately impressed by the architecture. Many buildings were designed by famous artists and were both unique and beautiful. We were also astounded by how many and how well people spoke English. In fact, not only did they speak English better than many Americans, they were incredibly hospitable, nice, and gracious - which was a good thing, because everything was very expensive there! Still, given the quality of the people, buildings, and open spaces (many parks, plazas, sea views, and tree-lined promenades), you clearly get what you pay for!
Thursday evening we met up with other IMD couples for dinner and it was great to see people from Finland, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, India, China, Hong Kong, Romania, New Zealand, and France. In all there were eight alumni from the IMD MBA Class of 2008 - nearly 10% of our class - and amazingly I had only worked closely in a group with one of them. Accordingly, in addition to celebrating the wedding of our classmate, Tuomas, and his awesome bride, Emilia, this weekend turned out to be a great chance to bond with other classmates as well. Dinner Thursday evening was a great way to kick that off!
While we were at dinner, we bumped into an older gentleman who had noticed us talking about IMD. It turns out that he was an MBA graduate from 1988. Small world! Or rather, global network!