Germany & Shell (Nicholas Toubkin)

I’m just back from Germany, where we had a fantastic time – the schedule was really hectic, but for those members of the class that weren’t previously familiar with the country, it was a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the business landscape and the cultural highlights of the country.  For people like me who had travelled in Germany before, it was great to dig deeper into the business environment of Europe’s economic powerhouse, and to discover what makes this country such a success these days.  We took in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich – and had another fantastic experience with our alumni, who hosted us at an event they had organised in Munich.  All in all, a fantastic trip, and incredibly well organised by my classmates Dennis, Elvin & Hisham.

Last week, the oil major Shell was on campus and it was an opportunity for those members of the class particularly interested in the energy sector to share ideas with some senior Shell executives.  My colleague Francesco wrote this update:

‘Last week, a group of MBA students interested in the energy sector and the key debate topics around this industry teamed up with eight top HR executives from Shell in order to discuss the main challenges and opportunities facing the company.

During the MBA, we have spent much of the year studying how to analyse an industry, how to fuse financial concepts with business principals, how to lead and how to innovate.  Today was a key opportunity to put these elements together and discuss with top executives from Shell.

‘Real World, Real Learning’ isn’t just IMD’s slogan, but rather a clear statement of intent for the MBA course, which provides a unique educational experience and then provides many opportunities to bring this theory into the real business world, particularly towards the end of the year.

The event with Shell was a key highlight of my MBA – a once in a lifetime opportunity I will not forget.  The satisfaction of the and involvement of the executives was a confirmation of the quality of our ideas, and a great reward for the effort we had put in to this initiative.

In January I thought ‘Real World, Real Learning’ was just a nebulous concept.   It’s not; it genuinely is the ethos of IMD.’

Thanks to Francesco for his perspective on a great event, and more updates from me soon as we approach the final week of the course!

Until next time,



Hi from Germany (Nicholas Toubkin)

The end is in sight!

It’s been incredibly busy during the last few weeks, with a packed schedule of electives – I haven’t had a day off for around two weeks.  Normally, that would be a cause for much moaning on my part (!), but the electives have been so fascinating that I really don’t mind.  I’ve been studying topics as diverse as Islamic Finance, Strategic Partnerships and Social Media Strategy.  It’s been a great opportunity to ‘deep-dive’ into a few areas that particularly interest me, and will help me to be more effective during my forthcoming career.

On Friday I headed off to Germany with around 30 of my classmates.  We spent just one night in Berlin, before arriving in Hamburg last night, and then we are off to Munich tomorrow.  It’s a chance to understand more about German business culture, and an opportunity to find out more about some titans of industry including Airbus.  And obviously, we are trying the local beer too!

Our groups is not the only cohort from IMD travelling right now – a team of 10 or so intrepid individuals are currently on an elective in Brazil, where our professor Carlos Primo Braga is taking the opportunity to leverage his contacts to product a great schedule for the group – they have also made it to the beach on at least one occasion!

In some very important news, a fantastic success is hot of the press at IMD.  Five of my classmates (Alex Knecht, Alex Krstevski, Hersh Shah, Jelmer Hoogendoorn & Tom Cohen) won the Rotterdam School of Management Private Equity contest.  They fought off strong competition from other business schools, including institutions well known for their focus on finance, and demonstrated that even thought IMD is small in size, we’re still big hitters when it comes to our academic and technical abilities!  Well done to all the guys – you’ve done IMD proud!  We are celebrating on their behalf here in Hamburg.

More updates soon – for now, off to sample a key part of German culture – the beerhall!



ICP – Done! (Nicholas Toubkin)

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve written a blog, and it’s been an incredibly busy time since, as we’ve been finalising our International Consulting Project.

The ICP was certainly one of my highlights of the MBA experience so far – it was great to deepen my knowledge of the real estate sector, and also to work with such a fantastic time.  It was really wonderful to have the opportunity to travel so much in Europe – last week, we were in Oslo again to make our final presentation to our clients – who really made the experience so special by sharing so much about their business, and being so receptive to our ideas.

Once the ICP was over, it was time to spring back to work – we had a leadership ‘experiential’ on Saturday, which was a chance to give the people that we had worked with most closely during the year some valuable feedback.  A great way to wrap up the IMD leadership stream, and one of the elements of the course that really differentiates the IMD experience from other similar MBA courses.  I also had a final meeting with my leadership coach, who invariably provides fantastic insight into my future plans, and helps define my career goals.

So – this week, it’s a day of presenting our ICP findings to our classmates tomorrow, and then the electives start right after that.  I can’t say I’m looking forward to having a rigid 8am start time again – but I am looking forward to the electives for sure!

Until next time,