CEP at IMD

Today’s guest entry is by Revaz Margania.

IMD provides a possibility to have a Company Engagement Project (CEP) for five weeks during the program. Term is very broad and can include the research of certain topic (by holding interviews with companies), working for a company project remotely from IMD premises or working on a project on company premises. It is up to MBA students to decide what they want to get out of their CEP.
I wanted three things from my CEP:

  1. Experience of working in a large corporate environment – I have always worked either for start-ups or small companies, never over 65 employees. To enhance my experience and confirm or reject my preconceptions about corporations I wanted to get experience of working at a corporation.
  2. Working within Switzerland to understand Swiss working culture – one of the main objectives for me to do an MBA was to change locations. Switzerland is one of the place I can continue my career at, to experience more of it; I wanted my CEP based in Switzerland.
  3. Understanding a new industry, I have not been part of – I come from IT and food industry backgrounds and wanted to experience some industry on the manufacturing side of things, not related with IT or hospitality.

Fortunately during my CEP I managed to achieve all of my objectives. The company I worked with is based in Zurich and in manufacturing industry. Most important for me was to experience the working environment of a big corporation, namely how do changes take place, how are decisions made, who is involved at what point, how it all works in real life, vs how it is supposed to work as per regulations. I got my answer to all the main questions I had, which is a lot to achieve in just five weeks and new found knowledge will help in future job search and defining my objectives for professional career. Only regret I have regarding CEP, is that it lasted for a short time and the progress I can make on a project I was working on was very limited.
My advice for future generation of IMD MBAs would be to clearly define the objectives they want to achieve by CEP, and try to experience something new in terms of location, industry or function. Only in this way, CEP can be productive for future career insights.

NTF goes to Munich!

Hi everyone, after reading so much about our program for a third eye view, it is my turn to give another angle of the story! Following up on the successful Navigating The Future conference, our class was ready to spread ideas around Europe! Here comes our „Navigating The Future goes to Europe“ tour.

We had the opportunity here to be assigned to one of three trips and having lived in Munich before the MBA, I of course decided to be part of the journey to Germany!

We were able to present refined NTF topics that had been tailored for an audience keen on hearing about industrie 4.0, energy, autonomous driving and robots! Makes sense no? Munich is the capital city of the Bayern state in Germany which is THE area to speak about these topics with company like Siemens, MAN, BMW having HQ there! Many of our alumni, some of them working now for these companies were present and made this meeting a challenging and motivating occasion to show case what we developed along the course of our studies!

Altogether, this intense lighting trip to Munich provided a great opportunity to meet a local alumni club that some of us will hope to join later on and proved a nice networking event in a the great setting.

On the fun side, we had time for a (few) well deserved ( and world known ) beer(s) from the area in a local Brauhaus. This was I believe a teaser trip making some of my classmates want to discover this great city extensively later on!

On the best part of the MBA so far… and how sometimes you just mess up

Sit tight, this is going to be a long one 🙂

So… as a blogger I have a commitment to keep the readers up to date with what’s going on on the IMD MBA. Weekly if I can. Bi-weekly if I must. Once a month if things are really ugly.

Which makes it almost painful to admit I have not blogged here for almost 3 months.

I could write a long list of perhaps even valid reasons for that – and maybe I would have done that before the IMD experience. But reality is that it doesn’t matter. I failed in this. Some other amazing victories during this time? Yes. But not this one.

Halfway through the MBA and already wishing time went by slower, I can now state that IMD MBA – of course, if you really put yourself into it – will change your life. You won’t know in which way, intensity or angle – but rest assured life won’t be the same after you step your foot in the legendary Lorange Auditorium for the first time.

These past three months were incredible. Also intense. Also hard. Also time consuming. But with a bit of a taste of reward for all the work we’ve put in.

Here are some highlights of the time I was offline:

  • Geneva Class Trip: Professor Carlos Braga was kind enough to invite us to his book launch nowhere less than the main conference room at the WTO (World Trade Organization) Headquarters in Geneva. And since we would be there, he worked his impressive network and took us for a visit to the Red Cross Headquarters hosted by the ICRC president Peter Maurer. The ICRC wrote about our visit here.
  • Speakers: We have had powerful speakers from across industries, markets and functions. Won’t risk listing them all and leaving some behind – the list is long and inspiring. A special mention to Patrick Aebischer, EPFL’s President – and deemed to be the one responsible for EPFL’s remarkable trajectory – hosting us there and sharing his story in a very open and close way.
  • Finance Course: Probably one of the most painful parts of the MBA, Finance classes came to an end in an exciting learning experience that helped us get a sense of how much we’ve learned along the way. I speak for myself: Nuno Fernandes is a miracle maker. I was hopeless – even after a 4-month course in one of Brazil’s most prestigious Finance schools and an executive course in Fontainebleau – and now I finally understand the mechanics (and beauty) of Finance. ❤
  • Alumni reunion and Mock Interviews: For the first time the current MBA class was invited to the all-class MBA Alumni Cocktail. It was a great networking opportunity and our debut into this powerful group of incredibly successful people in all sorts of ways you can interpret success. Building on that, IMD organized for us to have mock interviews with seasoned alumni – which included a full and candid feedback afterwards. Invaluable.
  • Navigating the Future Conference: Ok, I know I’m starting to sound like the positivity freak with all these superlative adjectives… But NtF was just over-the-top AMAZING. We were all so proud of each other. Our classmates delivering killer presentations and an engaged and extremely senior audience. It was rewarding to see how far we’ve come in only 6 months. Please check out some videos here.
  • Movers, Shakers, Preachers, Pragmatists Class Trip: With the sad events happening in Turkey our Istanbul trip had to be adapted and we had a very unique chance to be in one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites for a week. In Santuario di Oropa  we had sessions on character, ethics and ambiguity. Discussing difficult agendas such as preferential treatment, gossip, minority quotas, income inequality, among others. The trip itself called upon ethics and moral judgment of the class and hopefully we all brought back in mind many reflections on top of the beautiful landscape memories.
  • Navigating the Future goes to Europe: In a new project for 2016, Ralf expanded the Navigating the Future conference into some of the most influential cities in Europe.  Before we all split throughout the  world to start our summer company engagement projects, we were split in 3 groups and brought a shorter version of the conference to London, Munich and Zurich simultaneously. Some of the classmates’ blogs on those will be here soon.

As you can see, not a lot going on over here (LOL).

Today I am excitedly one week into my Company Engagement Project and being able to feel the power of the IMD brand every time I present myself to someone new. Impressive. Now it’s up to me and all of us to measure up to and strengthen this unique and powerful brand!

Onto the next challenge… and back here soon.

Warm wishes,

 Sílvia