Sailing Santa Margherita

A few days ago, 11 of my MBA classmates, 4 alumni and I had the chance to participate in the MBA Bocconi Regatta in Santa Margherita Italy, one of the top MBA sports meetings of the year, and an opportunity to meet people from other prestigious business schools.

Most importantly, it was a true stretching teamwork and leadership experience that could not have been “taught in a classroom nor induced through group assignments in an MBA class setting”, as Hassan, one of my crew members, highlights it. “There’s something about being on a sail boat with 6 of your classmates and an alumni in the middle of the Ligurian Sea, competing for Regatta glory by carefully pulling ropes and forcing tight maneuvers to get ahead of the competition, that brings home what teamwork is all about. It’s observing your crew, anticipating issues, being available to them, reinforcing communication, and giving your best that matters when the horn sounds and the boats set sail.”

What was particular about our setup was the lack of sailing experience of most of us MBAs. This was a real challenge given that safety, on top of performance, was at stake.  Martina, recalls that, “Every wrong maneuverer was immediately visible, no mistake was forgiven.”

So how did it play out for us? The truth is that Daniel and Claude, our skippers and IMD’s alumni from 2014 and 2017, played a pivotal role in our success. In less than 3 days, we managed to pull two crews together, get up to speed and perform.

“Daniel and Claude were not “only” skippers, they were leaders who gained our respect by leveraging the talent which each single individual brought in, by staying calm in tense situations and by focusing on our learning experience and development. Martina.

From our skippers perspective, the Regatta was also a stretch, as Daniel Emeka (MBA 2014) highlights:

” I had to bear in mind that since we didn’t have time to practice much I would be relying on people taking initiative within prescribed limits and a framework. Both Claude and myself made sure we held an initial briefing, and sought to reassign where we thought roles weren’t aligned with requirements and break the entire sailing experience into phases such as getting in and out of the harbor versus racing (third phase) which had a different set of roles. The team then only had to think one phase at a time and focus on those tasks.

The team had heightened IQ and EQ, so they quickly picked up on concepts like wind direction and tacking/gybing (it helped that there were quite a few engineers) as well as self-motivation, team dynamics management, …and waiting for the right moments to bring up issues. This really added to the morale and kept us focused on important things for prolonged periods. As for the usual rookie mistakes, we got the course wrong once, misjudged weather patterns, sometimes didn’t notice some problems early enough. But these were all corrected for and no mistake was made twice”

From Claude’s (MBA 2017) perspective:

“For the second time in two years, I had the chance to be on the IMD racing boat for the MBA Bocconi regatta as skipper. Unlike last year, I was not familiar with most of the crew members who were current MBA students. Getting a crew of seven to perform coordinated specialized activities in the limited space of a boat with the pressure of competitors like Harvard, MIT, INSEAD, HEC, and Chicago is a thrilling and sensational challenge. For the boat to move, turn, and accelerate, everyone needs to know his/her role and objectives, communicate effectively, and understand how to react to unexpected events. The learning curve is steep, and the crew needs to take risks and dare to make decisions with a limited amount of information and time. After a few initial adjustments, we were able to improve our maneuvers, increase speed, and reduce reaction time. And after the first race, I had already forgotten that I wasn’t part of this class: it felt like we were one team and that I knew the crew as well as I knew my classmates last year. Unfortunately, we did not win the regatta, but we don’t need to be on top of rankings to be successful. And for me success, was creating meaningful human bonds with 2018 class, enjoying the time together and leaving in some of them a bit of my passion for sailing.”

This Regatta remains one of the most symbolic, memorable and sensational events of our MBA experience, and a great sports tradition I would like to help future classes maintain and improve. On behalf of the sailing team and the MBA sports committee, I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to our dean Sean Meehan, and the MBA staff for their support in making this happen!

Sara, for the MBA Sports Committee

Coucou!

Our lovely Oriane Perryman-Holt, from France, offers today’s post, with some interesting stats! 

We talk about #IMDimpact so let’s measure it through “Ori’s KPIs”:

Oriane_Picture1

9600 “Coucou” to great classmates with energy and enthusiasm
482 Hours debating in our team “dungeons” learning from each, other sustained by …
…578 Coffees “at Mireille” to get out of the bubble
33560 Hello & Goodbye kisses as per Swiss use of 3 each time
384 Handwritten notes on my iPad plus some drawings
91 Cases and add one third for consulting interview prep’, sure it will pay off!
123 Movenpick® ice-cream scoops this summer to fuel the 7500 meters swam in preparation for the relay triathlon, not forgetting the two 10K races
27 Different CVs reshuffling my 7-years’ experience in corporate finance and internal audit, managing international projects in 3 industries
288 Bananas as breakfast
8 Networking events to connect with the alumni – across the years, we all share the same core experience – and find a way to my dream job
2 Crypto-kitties to apply the finance class on blockchain
218 Hours consulting for a start-up and now for a Pharma company, bringing new excitement and insights
88 Classmates amazing, challenging and motivating me every day
1 Motorbike licence
0 Job yet ; enjoying the journey and curious to discover the destination

I knew this year was due to be a stretch, but I would not have anticipated all of the above.

Oriane

Bisous,

Oriane
LinkedIn

ICP Week Two

The International Consulting Projects are up and running !

After just one week, teams have started their global travel to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, China, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium.

They are working with multinational companies in industries that range from FMCG to Banking, Manufacturing to Consulting, Pharma to Energy, with each team of 5-6 MBAs working on a different issue.

Over the next few weeks they will be conducting industry, company and issue analyses, and presenting their findings to the top management of their respective companies.

Travel will soon include further destinations of Africa, Hong Kong, the US, Spain and more.

We wish them well and look forward to reading about their adventures and experiences shortly.

Suzy

Bridging gaps: the Digital Armor

According to the Financial Times, Big Data Analysis truly matters: beside strategic thinking, the ability to solve complex problems and influence others along with drive and resilience, Big Data Analysis is one the top 5 most difficult skills to recruit, a testimony of the seventy-two employers surveyed by the daily. While developing and honing the first four mentioned dimensions in the curriculum and the array of group assignments and team projects, picking up the technical skills of Big Data does not necessarily come as easily, especially in the loaded schedule of an IMD MBA Candidate.

With a goal to equip us with relevant knowledge of future leaders based on practical experience, IMD took a bold action and designed Digital Week consisting of Agile / SCRUM certification and Python programming for Big Data Analysis and AI. For many of us, this was a horizon-opening and confidence-building experience. We were amazed by the intuitive tools and business applications Python can be used for. Something that looked like a hard-to-crack pile at the beginning of the week, was a rewarding insightful experience by the end of the week. Maks, who started his own e-commerce in Hong Kong prior to coming to IMD, shares his three unique learnings, many based on retrospective aha moments:

Continue reading “Bridging gaps: the Digital Armor”

Rugby and Snakes: Digital Lab day2

After the 2 week interview marathon, we have finally come in to the much awaited digital lab. For most of us the introduction has been somewhat opposite to what we have been expecting. After learning about high level digital strategies that companies have been pioneering worldwide, we expected a similar introduction to the newest tools and techniques in play.

What we ended up learning was how teamwork can be reimagined to boost creativity and innovation. Scrum (yes, it comes from rugby), the framework that software teams around the world use nowadays to focus on increasing customer value and momentum within teams. Once you get to know the concept it seems basic yet it’s unbelievable how companies like Spotify and Amazon have developed products based on this methodology.

And … we have been coding … in python. We’ve shut case studies and are now glued to code academy in the evenings as we are required to complete several lessons on python that would serve as building blocks for our experimentation with Scrum and app building later this week.

So the days have been fun with lots of post-it-notes and the evenings have been weary with code academy for company. Meanwhile, we managed to have some fun during the lectures.

Parth

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