​What you give is what you get

So… the famous leadership experiential took place last week! Our class was split in two Cohorts and switched between regular classes and the 3,5 days full on experiential.

I was impressed by the quality of the entire experience and especially our coaches. Really great, top-notch global professionals that were there with us full time. IMD MBA is the most junior group they coach, all of them are used to working with global leaders in the C-level, not to mention military, government, etc… Outstanding staff!

The focus of this stage was to understand ourselves in a group setting (self in group) rather than going into group dynamics, which is the next step.

I believe any leadership or self knowledge experience is a “what you give is what you get” experience.

If you want to stay locked into your safety armor or don’t want to be exposed to your own “darkness”, it won’t have as much impact… No one can do it for you except yourself!

For me personally, the key lesson was that suppressing who we are is never a good idea. I was trying to do things differently than I would naturally (sort of trying to write with the wrong hand) but in the process I left also my own personality and my strengths behind…  My group was great in pointing that out and giving me an important wake up call for the entire year.

I realize it’s not by changing who I am that I’ll evolve. It is by being myself in a more conscious, polished and balanced way! So let’s aim for that 🙂

After the experiential it was time to dive back into our Start up Project and Industry Analysis… It was great to see how our group already started working together in a different and more open way.

One thing I was super curious before I came to IMD was about life in the “dungeons” and the study rooms. So here is a little peek into our group life when we were all super concentrated in finding data to support our assumptions about the future of Transport Infrastructure 🙂

Group 8 clockwise: Me, Luca Gianaschi, Nicolas Martinez, Philipp DeAngelis, Roraj Pradhananga, Vladimir Petrenko

An amazing week to y’all,


Reflections – Guest entry by Neha

I thought you might enjoy reading different perspectives from the wider class and so we managed to convince Neha to share some of her perspectives with you. I hope you enjoy reading about Neha’s journey through the corridors of IMD and beyond!


Bonjour à tous.

I am Neha Kabra, an Indian and a banker by profession with a wide experience across markets and functions. When the blog team invited me to do a guest entry, I jumped at the opportunity. Firstly, because I have been on a tremendous learning journey over the past three weeks, a journey that has been closely interlinked with 89 super-accomplished individuals and secondly, because I really wanted to share my perspective with my classmates and those hoping to join IMD.

The thing that strikes me the most about IMD MBA is the sheer brilliance surrounding me coupled with the intense and fast paced environment that hit me from Day 1. As I learnt about the accomplishments of my classmates, I had the privilege of working with high-performing teams on critical projects and experientials. Right now the entire class seems to be “profoundly” absorbed in a series of high impact projects: The Startup project, The Industry Strategy Audit and The Leadership Experiential.

I chose the IMD MBA program for its “legendary” Leadership track and today I patted myself for my decision. The class has been divided into two large Cohorts. My Cohort just emerged from two power-packed days of the first Leadership Experiential.

Looking back, the experiential was incredibly challenging as 48 of us navigated through a series of testing, goal oriented situations. We had our ups and downs, heated exchanges, broken noses (just a metaphor !!!) and introspection, sometimes we led and sometimes we followed – in the process we helped each other improve, we became more self aware, trusting and cohesive as a group. My biggest learning from the experiential can be well summarized in this quote by Mother Teresa – “You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.”

Finally, I am glad to report that we have all survived the first of the many bases we hope to conquer over the year.

Btw, here’s the look from the last few weeks.  As they say, change is the only constant J

Till the next time,



Learning from IMD professors is sometimes trying to release our thoughts from gravity. In an attempt to think differently my mind would ache, if it only could. We know a lot and we are experienced and “old”, we are highly motivated to study and we spend nights preparing our assignments, and then during a class we receive a simple question “why?” or “so what?”. It’s not a problem of saying something superficial, but a challenge of “did I actually find the core?”. No matter how cool we may be, we are actually monotasking: big dive requires high concentration and dedication. In our class we are all exceptional, yet it’s amazing how much we can grow.

Since the start of work in small teams a week ago, we’ve got to know our peers and a bit disclosed ourselves. Though, being to this program we have much in common, we already have seen differences in perception and behavior. This week we are facing our beautiful selves in a leadership experiential. I am a bit charged and I will share my first grains of goldmine the next week.

For those of young mothers who are preparing to apply for the next-year class here is a finding: indeed, mothers are irreplaceable. But some of our features/functions are, well, substitutable, sometimes in an unpredictable way. My daughter successfully leveraged her knowledge and networking skills through… my former colleague and a good friend of mine (Olga, thank you!). So, here is a takeaway: we can give more by letting others, even our precious children, solve their issues by themselves. And as our feelings (should) have no gravity, our beloved ones would always have our support. Let us explore!

Till soon,


Real world. Real learning.

I have to be completely honest with you… I never quite bought the idea of Executive Education being able to reproduce the real world. I believed one thing definitely added to the other, but that both could not coexist.

So you can imagine that the IMD slogan “Real World. Real Learning.” was intriguing to me…

Only 2 weeks into the program and IMD already proved me wrong big time!!!

In Ralf’s Economy classes we learn the concepts and fundamentals, the theories and different approaches to any issue and then… we talk about how things really happen in the real world. No BS, real stuff! Humans, mistakes, things we cannot predict. And how to manage them in a realistic way. Refreshing! (and all of that interspersed with his German humor that cracks me up all the time)

Last week we were also divided into groups and met the Start ups we’ll be working with for the next 3 months in the Entrepreneurship stream. I was surprised with the Swiss entrepreneurship scene. There are so many cool start ups here!

We cannot say much about those projects, but I’ll tell you this: just by meeting the selected companies (15 out of 125+), I had a peek into life as we don’t know it yet for the following years. The future is being built here, and we’ll have a chance – and a duty – to make an impact on each of those companies. It doesn’t get more real world than that!

On a more personal note, I started to feel the IMD load and got a bit overwhelmed with the overlapping tasks! It sounds weird for someone who worked 14 hour days with a large team and simultaneous critical projects. But it is a different type of workload! I was surprised with how easy it is to get behind.

So, no time to lose. Breathe in, breathe out… and GO!

Have a great week everyone.


The Earth is round

Wise men say that to cognize things does not necessarily need to physically experience them. For instance, cosmologists don’t have to travel to another parts of the Universe to estimate its size, chemists discover new elements without having actually seen them, or doctors can treat without being ill. This mental diving is may be more applicable to theory. However, quick plunge into cultures and understanding of some business realities is possible without travel… by studying at the IMD MBA! Last week culminated by a fantastic dinner, where for the first time in my life I saw some live traditional dancing, mix of ancient traditions and technological fun and so much more. I’ve travelled in a Space and Time Machine and I guess it works like a centrifuge, as those 89 people in our classroom are no longer strangers to me, those are My Classmates! I also noticed that people, motivated to build on similarities, from sometimes competing, in a sense, countries can “live life in peace”.

In terms of workload pressure is increasing. The program is not only intense, but also amazingly multilayer: incredible, how many dimensions of our development from theory to practice, from personal to professional, from career to leadership development or from individual to team work are comprised. This load is, indeed, significant, and it seems like many of us recalibrate our internal fatigue indicators to work more, sleep less and get more disciplined. Fortunately, we don’t compromise on food, as “The Meeting Point” does its job –mmm – very well.

We’ve already worked in a couple of groups and have got our first feeling on various industries and functions. Before I used to think that with 10+ years I knew almost everything about my industry; I must confess I was wrong. Views and backgrounds of my teammates strew spices, and individual collisions toast the cake.

We are on our way to the entrepreneurship projects and I can’t wait to get absorbed into this new state of mind and business and country specifics.

Till soon,