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Reflection on time through an international MBA journey

By David Ahyong, MBA Class of 2025
Friday, June 14, 2024
David Emmanuel Ahyong headshot

David Ahyong, MBA ’25

Time moves curiously.

I flew 13,121 kilometers (8,153 miles) from Metro Manila, Philippines, to East Lansing, Michigan. When you move more than halfway across the globe, you notice your external time zone shift immediately, but your internal circadian rhythm changes slowly. I’m 12 hours ahead of Metro Manila in East Lansing. I can see the difference with my eyes as I watch the clock on my phone point me to the widening gap. However, I start realizing how my daily cadences start to differ. Online conversations with family and friends back home change from daytime to nighttime. My mind and body adjust to the 8:30 a.m. class schedule, which mirrors my activities as a young undergraduate student. I turn away from the axis I once knew and pivot indirectly for a spin on time’s turning wheel — a wheel of a car I have not yet learned to turn.

Time moves curiously.

At times, adjusting to a new rhythm is an arduous ordeal. When you wake up to begin a new week, time compresses to a few seconds. Before you check your calendar, the week has already ended. You realize on Monday morning that it’s Sunday evening. You go through your checklists for Monday, then you repeat the continuous and unstoppable cycle. Time also expands. When you’re interviewing in front of a company representative or being presented your midterm scores, you can languish in an eternity of waiting. You silently remain with your hands on the steering wheel, with nowhere to go. You count the seconds as they turn into days, then into years. Even after remaining still, you end up lingering too long in its spaces.

As a way to capture the mystery of my time in East Lansing, I’d take pictures. The pictures were blurry, disorganized and amateurish. They were not for any photo book or publication, but made to keep time on each memory as the seasons changed around me. One of my favorite poems, Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins, begins with the words “Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving? / Leaves like the things of man.” My interpretation of the poem is our desire to unearth a keen awareness of how the people we leave behind are also ourselves at different points in time. If so, can documenting the filmlike changes reveal to us a part of ourselves that has always existed but also continues to develop?

Time moves curiously.

In my phone camera, I’ve attempted to capture its movement in a series of stills with the hope I can slow each passing second down to a measured moment, and each measured moment can be distilled to last a lifetime. Capturing its essence into a universal photo that does both eludes me frequently. Its radiant light, however, when the seasons of spring and fall calls, does not. As of late, I have been moved by the times I’ve immersed myself in a place with novel experiences, compassionate people and a renewed sense of identity and purpose.

In Other News:

Student Resource Group Meeting
Broad’s Consulting Club aids in the development of practical consulting experience through innovative case studies.
The front vestibule of the Minskoff Pavilion, part of the Business College Complex at Michigan State University and home to the Broad College of Business.
First-year MBA student Tyler Korber recaps his Broad education abroad experience in Munich.
The Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business
MBA student Sophie Kirtley reflects on her first year in the program after coming from a non-business background.