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.