Talking about a generation

Making generalizations about an entire generation is a perilous exercise. Stereotypes are not helpful! That being said, for employers, cracking the Millenial code is essential to recruiting – and retaining – new talent.

This week, a panel of five MBAs had a lively dialogue with the participants of the IMD Transformation Summit, an event for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs). What better way to dispel stereotypes than to bring generations together in the same room?

Here were some of the hot button topics in this week’s discussion of Millenials in the workplace: Bosses, job offers, patience, purpose, ambition and loyalty.

What is your idea of a good boss?

  • Someone who creates a mentoring and coaching relationship. Someone who explains the “why.”
  • Authentic, honest about the pros and cons of the company and the role I am being recruited for. During the job interview process, it’s important to create trust. It should be a dual exchange and not just being evaluated on a checklist.

What would make you reject an employment proposal?

  • A lack of transparency in terms of where and when decisions get made in the company.
    There has to be fairness and also recognition.
  • It’s about mindset. I love to challenge the status quo. I like smaller brands, not a big, successful company.
  • It’s essential to have responsibility and room to manoeuvre. I need space and safety to develop ideas.
  • I need to feel a passion for what I do, passion for the product.

How long are you willing to wait until you get to the leadership role you’re aiming for (whatever your ambition is in terms of the level of leadership role)?

  • I’m flexible, as long as I can keep growing. It’s about assembling building blocks for the future. I’m looking for a role where I’m completely utilized, where my talents are used.

What big thing would you change in the business world?

  • Short-termism. When you have profit targets, going quarter to quarter limits your options.

Millenials are perceived as being less loyal to the companies they work for and more likely to move around a lot. Is this true? How do you see loyalty?

  • I’m loyal to my co-workers and my boss, but with the company it’s a contract.

What are you looking for in terms of work-life balance and job evolution?

  • A more fluid and flexible schedule: if my task, output and time frame are clear, it makes sense for me to organize myself in the way that suits me best to deliver.
  • I’d like the possibility to move in 3D (industry, geography, function) and to have transversal roles.

Imagine we are a company undergoing a transformation from a traditional and hierarchical organization to a new model. How do we retain you though this process? Inspire you?

  • Show me that there is light at the end of the tunnel: create a career plan for me, map the steps clearly.
  • Be honest and open about the realities of the transformation.
  • Seeing progress is important – even small progress. Show the plan for change. Demonstrate that you’re implementing feedback.
  • The company has to make sure the flame is still there!

Chairing the discussion was Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour. To frame the discussion, Professor Jordan gave an overview of the unique characteristics of Millenials (see Cracking the Millenial Code). For example, Millenials are the first generation brought up with a child-focussed and emotional style that arose from 1960s counter-culture. They are also the first to grow up in a rich media environment offering complex and non-linear computer games. Values also differ: when asked to choose an object that represents freedom to them, Baby Boomers choose the car whereas Millenials choose the mobile phone, closely followed by sneakers!

Anouk Lavoie
IMD Research Associate

“It was very beneficial to be part of the panel as I had the opportunity to debate what the main challenges are that companies have attracting Millennial talent. I felt that companies have this matter on the top of their agenda, and are striving to create environments where Millennials can have a meaningful career.”

David Ruiz
IMD MBA 2018 Candidate

Let there be light!

As I looked outside my hotel window into the horizon on the eve of Diwali, a million lights glimmered at me and made me wonder about the power of precious light and the hope that it brings along with it. They say that one must know the darkness before you can really appreciate the light. There were several instances in the last ten months when everything around seemed completely bleak and dim. However, I realized over time that wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope because I’m an optimist at heart and there is always always light at the end of a menacing dark night! Continue reading “Let there be light!”

Innovation comes to pharma!

ICP’s are up and running and all my classmates have been traveling around the world or into the dungeons to deliver their projects. My teammates and I have been tasked with helping a pharma company bring business model innovation to the market.

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My lovely teammates and our faculty coach, from left to right Oriane, Jaime, Goutam, me, Irina and Roy

During the last 5 weeks we have been located at our clients headquarters, discovering pharmaceutical industry from the inside and learning about the peculiarities of our clients business and company culture.

Like most consulting projects ours started with tons of research and interviews, and developed through the delineation  of the deliverables.  Through this project we’ve had the opportunity of not only addressing a real business issue but also applying and seeing why all the concepts we learned this year such as scoping and stakeholder management matter so much. We’ve had a lot of fun together, supported each other through difficult times (try delivering a project while searching for a job) and kept developing our team working and leadership skills.

All in all this is a great learning opportunity and experience, that can only be rivaled by the happiness we have when we get to work from IMD every once in while and see again our classmates (and have wonderful IMD food).

Joyce

Impressions from a Thai perspective

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream” is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I have lived my life with determination, trying to do things I have never done before.

Going back to 2017, I came to Switzerland for the assessment and immediately knew that this was the place where I wanted to do my MBA. “Why an MBA?” is the question that everybody asked, including the admission office. Personally, I thought that this would be a period where I could give time to myself, a moment to rethink whether the path I’ve walked my entire 28 years is correct and a moment to have a proper holiday – an opportunity I will probably no longer have until retirement.

Now, here I stand at IMD, one of the most prestigious b-schools in the world. I may have thought incorrectly about the holiday because IMD has been keeping us students very busy! Maybe that’s because it’s a one-year program, which is good as it’s not too time-consuming and is wallet-friendly.

IMD is known for its leadership-stream. I used to wonder how leadership would actually be taught and what made it stand out from the crowd. After the first module was done, I became enlightened. I should have realized long before though as IMD makes sure that students get the best out of their tuition. The environment makes sure that everyone can take the lead and knows how to work with people from different cultures, but more importantly, everyone is a secure base for you. I don’t know where and when I will find a risk-free environment again like one I have found at IMD.

Apart from academics, outside of school life has been fantastic. Opposite IMD is Lac Leman, aka Lake Geneva. On weekends in summer, people from everywhere come to walk around the lake. Why? Because it’s very beautiful. The banner photo should speak for itself. I also explore the area by bike. The scenery is impressive and it’s very safe.  Drivers are always aware of cyclists as Swiss people cycle routinely.  I don’t know where else it will be so safe to cycle, definitely not in my home country, Thailand.

Since Switzerland is located in the centre of Europe, it’s convenient to go other countries. Evian, France is only 20 minutes away by boat. One of the memorable things that I and my classmates have done is go to see the 2018 Italian Grand Prix in Monza. It was my first time to see the F1 race, and it’s definitely worth going. As I was walking to the track, I heard the race cars screaming loudly. On the stand, Ferrari crowds cheered Sebestian Vettel and Kimi Raikonen, hoping they would win. Too bad for them, Lewis Hamilton won the race, so Mercedes fanboys became happy. Lastly, a car enthusiastic like me can’t be happier as Nordschleife is only one hour away. People from everywhere in the world are eager to drive here at least once in their life. I was absolutely thrilled by the experience, especially by the steering wheel making turns. The Raggazon exhaust screamed as I accelerated and the tires screeched as I turned.

Korbchai

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”:

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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
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