“Prochaine arrêt: Lausanne.”

It’s the same voice – the same lady announcing train stops between Geneva Airport and Lausanne. The same voice as 13 years ago, back in 2004, when Lausanne was the center of my life during my MBA at IMD.

Today’s guest entry is written by Cordula Oertel, MBA 2004 and one of our Alumni Club Presidents.

 Here I am back at Lausanne, for two engaging days around the IMD Alumni Club Presidents’ meeting.


Going back to Lausanne is a trip down memory lane. Ouchy makes me think of a time capsule: The bakery, the Creperie, Migros – it’s all still there and hasn’t changed a bit. Oh wait – there’s now a Swiss interpretation of sushi in the shelves of the supermarket. Right next to the ready-made salad bowl that made my dinner for what felt like 365 evenings a year.

Flashback to 2004. A year of stress, fun, tears, laughter, debates and friendships across borders and disagreements. IMD creates an intense environment, learning and development are set on fast-forward. 89 classmates. You may not like each of them – but you will certainly have a bond with each of them at the end of the year. And with some of them, you will develop an outstanding friendship that lasts over time and continents. Just last week, I bumped into one of my classmates in Shanghai – randomly, in a 24m people city. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity, and a lunch was quickly extended to a catch up full of laughter. One week later, another classmate made it all the way to Geneva airport to meet up between flights. No matter how long it’s been since the last meeting, the connection is right there.

And the IMD spirit isn’t limited to a specific class or program. Now, 2017: Lively discussions among the global Club Presidents. Sharp minds, unique personalities, all passionate about IMD, and committed to carry on “Real World, Real Learning” among the alumni across the world. While I did my MBA more than 10 years ago, IMD has not stopped being an integral part of my life. The alumni community is a rich and inspiring network. I truly enjoy the work in the IMD Alumni Club: it keeps surprising me with unexpected challenges, but most of all, with outstanding minds in the alumni community. It’s inspiring to engage in a thought-provoking discussion with someone who – superficially – seems to have only one thing in common: the school. But dig deeper and you find out more. Continuous learning, yes, indeed.

Which makes me think of the time capsule again: Lausanne may look like it’s been the same for decades and longer. Going through IMD, though, is a transformation from within. A transformation to embrace change and learning wherever you go. Prochaine arrêt: …?

Cordula Oertel
Director of Partnerships – South East Asia, India and Greater China



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