It just gets better and better!

Life at IMD after the exams just gets better and better!

The knowledge and tools we’ve acquired in the first three months have started to sink in and become part of our “arsenal” to tackle new challenges. Our confidence and ability to perform have climbed and we can now take on bigger challenges with much lower stress levels. And the new classes are amazing!

 I am trying my best not to spoil any surprises for the newcomers here… but let’s say that the last days have been filled with excitement and super interesting topics such as: crisis management, media training, hands-on innovation and leadership frameworks on getting people on board. Unquestionably useful knowledge that will certainly differentiate us – especially in the long run.

The career services team has been super active bringing valuable sessions to help us on career management, interviewing techniques and case interview preparation.

We are also having more and more guest speakers to inspire us with their trajectories and share invaluable lessons. Just this week we’ll have three different executives spending time exclusively with us.

To top it off, last weekend most of our class took our first trip together! Our classmate Dustin Kahler took the brave role to organize rooms, transportation, ski gear exchange, dinner and activities for over 60 people to come to Verbier! It was a great way to have fun together and create some more memories of our Swiss adventures!

I feel like we are living the IMD dream… and I am doing my best to enjoy the present as time is moving fast and tends to move even faster after the June exams.

 Have a great week and stay tuned!

Silvia

Inferring the Niagara from a drop of water

What is common between well-known Mr. Sherlock Holmes and an IMD MBA candidate? Strategy classes have started and we need to apply deductive reasoning in problem solving. A simple dating riddle may become a hard strategic dilemma: temptation for inductive conclusion from a qualitative analysis should be challenged through a deductive quantitative check. The numbers might be approximated, but once they show that your sophisticated multilayer reasoning doesn’t make sense, because a beautifully differentiated product provides no financial benefit on the market, forget the business idea. The logic is pure and beautiful.

Then comes a leadership class and we discuss organizational frameworks. What is it like to persuade the whole group of people, when you have an opposite opinion? Again inductive vs deductive. Are you capable as a leader to make this change? Someone just made a logical mistake, but the other might have a psychological defense – how do you deal with those at once? And what kind of miracle happened to the British Museum in early 2000s? For the last several days while on my way I listen to the archived BBC radio-programs of Mr. Neil MacGregor “A History of the World in 100 objects”: stories, that connect functionality and beauty of artefacts with changing us. By the way, this thesis is just a part of a vision of a leader, who succeeded to attract millions of visitors and changed our perception of museums.

During the break my classmates discuss the central role of energy in economy. Later on I listen to another radio program of Neil MacGregor: supposedly 50 million years ago humans started creating arts – a connection to imaginary and abstract thinking – this might be related to the fact that normally around 20% of energy consumption of a human serves brain needs. Energy is for us and not the other way round. It’s us, who create, who progress, who doubt, who make mistakes…

At the beginning of this week we presented our start-up solutions to the jury and, thus, finished entrepreneurship classes and… changed our groups. Turning to another page of our incredible journey at the IMD,

Till soon,

Aysylu

 

Invaluable lessons from Paul Bulcke, Nestlé’s CEO

As Kunal beautifully described in his latest post, life after the exams has been inspiring in many levels!

I find myself in a state where I don’t want time to go by so fast…every day brings new possibilities, ideas and opportunities to use the learnings we had on the first part of the program. The city of Lausanne feels like home now and the IMD family is closer and closer.

All 90 of us are here as a result of so many different stories! We of course want different things out of each subject and have different interests and priorities… That is why when I look around and see all 90 of us completely hypnotized by a speaker, it means we’re living a special moment.

That’s what happened last Thursday with the special visit of Nestlé’s CEO, Paul Bulcke!

It was a night to remember. He was super accessible and down to earth,  and truly created an atmosphere of closeness with our class.

There were so many pearls of wisdom.

To me the most insightful ones were:

Don’t imagine your career as the final destination. Make the decisions today on what you know today. Things are always changing.

  • Never work for your boss. Work for your team.
  • If you have no interests outside your job, you are in trouble.
  • What needs to be done, only gets done by doing.
  • Practice dettached involvement. (Be present and part of the situation but be also able to look at it from a distance)
  • The world is a place full of intelligent people but lacks wisdom.
  • When you have all the answers, that’s management. When you don’t have all the answers, that’s leadership.

And the ultimate lesson to me was given by example. He was asked some difficult questions in delicate subjects such as GMOs and water resources, and the way he openly yet firmly responded them was utmost inspiring.

Another unforgettable moment in the incredibly unique experience that is the IMD journey.

Love,

Sílvia

Motivation, Inspiration and some advise – Just another day at IMD

Entrepreneurship stream formally came to a close today but not without leaving us with some valuable learnings. Over the past many weeks we had the privilege to vicariously live and experience the lives of many entrepreneurs through the case studies. While “Eat me” introduced us to the trials and tribulations of Serena as she successfully persevered to realise her dream of starting a concept restaurant in Lausanne, Govworks.com narrated a tragedy of Shakespearean proportion as we witnessed Kaleil Isaza’s metoric rise to fame and eventual fall from grace.
From Tumi’s take over by Samsonite, to Venkatesh’s LBO of a division of his employer everything was on the menu.
We had the privilege to meet many of these entrepreneurs in flesh and blood as they recounted their journeys to us and patiently answered flurry of our hurried questions.
This morning Professor Benoit orchestrated perhaps the most appropriate conclusion to this stream by sharing with us the remarkable story of WIPHOLD (http://www.wiphold.com/), an example of how Private Equity can be a force for good and not just a source of profits. These stories motivated us to dig deep into our own passions and unearth those great ideas that we have been holding back perhaps a tad bit too long.
After such a motivational start to our day, in the afternoon, we got a chance to talk to a panel of senior HR managers from several companies. In those 4 hours we received some valuable career advice. Engaging with these people helped us to see the world from their perspective. It helped us to understand how best to position ourselves so as to maximize our chances of landing our dream jobs.
The best however was left for the last. We were paid a visit by a friendly neighbour. One of Nestle’s best employees took time out of his busy schedule to come and speak to us. He was none other than Paul Bulcke, the CEO, himself.
There cannot be anything more inspiring for business students, like us, than to be able to meet and learn from the stalwarts of the industry. Paul has spent 8 years at the helm of one of the World’s largest corporations and tonight we had the opportunity to ask him all about the remarkable journey that he has been through. No wonder we were falling over each other in order to ask our questions. Paul took all questions – easy ones, difficult ones, personal ones and professional ones. He answered them with utmost conviction and authenticity.
Much of his advice around careers was simple but profound. He urged us to find happiness in our work and not to see it simply as a means of getting to some future position. Perhaps the most important piece of advise from my point of view was that we should not look to work for our boss rather we should work for our peers and subordinates.
Such advice is often not found in business books or literature but can only be garnered through talking to someone like Paul who has seen it all, made it to the top and has kept the perspective on what is important.
How do you summarize such a rich day at school?
All I can say is this: More motivation, more advise and more inspiration – just another day at IMD.
Kunal

Connecting the dots

History is happening right now – this is my strong impression from today. During the couple of last days, we have discussed incredibly real and stunning cases in entrepreneurship class. “I want to rule my life and manage my business” imperative can have absolutely different sequences. So many factors, predictable and sometimes completely unforeseen, good or bad luck may play a critical role. But to what extend actually luck is random? Several weeks ago a guest speaker told us that luck might be considered an attitude. How do people make choices and what is truly important in our decision-making? We’ve seen some case heroes, making transition from the corporate to entrepreneurial world, changing industries or locations within or outside their countries, also balancing their personal lives. Those dilemmas and decisions seem so compelling to me. On the other side, business cases are in a way similar to fairy tales from my childhood – captivative, teaching and touching something important inside. I admire efforts of our professors and other case writers, who “hunt” to create those masterpieces. Those stories represent contemporary business traditions, eternal individual dramas and successes and the way we think – towards a given or imagined. And are we that conscious in our decisions or can we be objective, looking back and “connecting the dots”?

Today after classes we had a very interesting speaker from the travel industry. We heard a story on growing a new business by creating a new market segment in Europe. It is another fantastic story on transferring technology, but tailoring it to the needs of a different market. A technology-driven service, significant capital investment, digital challenges, customer expectations and what not. And the biggest challenge and privilege is… a team work. I am always inspired to see successful women leaders, smart and charming, strong and humble.

Another beautiful day at IMD.

Till soon,

Aysylu

We survived the exams!

Hello there from a much lighter and warmer atmosphere!

I really can’t believe the first exams are behind us… Yay!
I think everybody was tired and stretched last month. For me, personally, it was really challenging. It was the build up of many sleepless nights and intense reflections on the future. I must admit I was even a bit cranky sometimes…haha… poor classmates 🙂
But back to the exams: I have to share with you what I saw happening here on campus! I was so touched by the super collaborative atmosphere. People studying together everywhere (day and night), sharing insights, tips and shortcuts. A lot of people gave up their study time to help the ones struggling…
I thought it really reflected the IMD spirit. No competition at all, rather a genuine interest in achieving together… amazing!
For me it was a bit scary to tackle Finance and especially Accounting. I couldn’t believe when I finished the exams and actually felt good about them!!!
May I take the time to thank everyone that helped me with materials, encouraging words, and their precious time. I would like to thank especially Neha Kabra, Renato Gonzaga, Lucas Seoane and Gustavo Zanini. I wouldn’t have made it without you! 🙂
Now we look into module 2 with great expectations. The best part about being in a frontloaded program is that the future always seem more fun and interesting. I am super excited about the new classes like Strategy, Innovation and International Management.
Stay tuned!
Wishing you the best from a warmer Lausanne,
Sílvia