How do I navigate this program?

After making the decision to take the leap towards IMD, I was left with one really haunting question. How do I hack this thing? Or as I put it so very politely to the various alums that I talked to – How do I navigate this program? And by that I mean, how do I turn myself into a super leader with sound business acumen in 11 months while staying on top of my fitness and mental regime and getting a really great job that would top what I just walked out of ? Phew!! The alums, while recounting their own awesome experiences and helping me out in my reasoning, gave me the same answer every time- Figure it out. Lol.

Guest entry from 2018 candidate, Parth Reddy.

It’s not like I haven’t been thrown into all kinds of soups in my career. There was a time in 2009 when I decided to take a gap year and volunteer for an NGO in the Himalayas. It sounds really cool and hip but take away central heating and insert perilous treks as part of the job description and what you get essentially is a very dangerous and uncomfortable job. But I had one hell of a time. How did I navigate it? I decided to challenge myself – physically. By the time I finished my gap year, I had become very adept at trekking up and down steep inclines. I hope this holds well during my time in Switzerland.

And then there’s that year (2013) in Libya where I willingly volunteered for a year in one of the toughest locations in the world. I remember looking up the British Embassy’s site in Tripoli in the hope of finding any tips for incoming workers. It had a polite warning for us which otherwise read as “Are you kidding? Seriously?” But again I survived. Mostly because I challenged myself – mentally. By the time I had finished my year in Libya, I understood basic Arabic, enjoyed solitude, was able to finish tough and chaotic projects and survive on a steady diet of omelets .

So here we are. Its not the civil war of Libya, nor is it the harsh conditions in the Himalayas. It’s scenic Lausanne and one of the best MBA programs in the world. Still. How do I navigate this program? By challenging myself to achieve what’s beyond me.

And also by being a little goofy. In both the above instances I survived on a healthy dose of music. I intend to do so at IMD as well. It doesn’t have to be all somber and serious, maybe if we take the process a little lightly, we might end up getting what we want and have some fun at the same time.

I’d like to open the year with a goofy soundtrack like the one below.

 

Parth Reddy

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The IMD MBA blog will resume in January, 2018.

We wish all of our readers a happy, healthy and successful year to come!

Preparing for a smooth landing

The forthcoming winter is cutting off daylight like slices of bread. We are in the middle of the so called advent time; Christmas is approaching. I am finalising my last days at work, closing activities, saying goodbye to colleagues and clients, organizing farewell meet-ups with friends; in parallel to that studying, handing in the first assignments, and arranging to move before setting on the transformational journey of the upcoming MBA year at IMD. This high pace is nothing new to me, I can say I am quite familiar with it. It has  been characteristic for the past year when I was preparing for the GMAT and application to IMD while having a full-time job. Continue reading “Preparing for a smooth landing”

The spirit of the IMD MBA

As we prepare to welcome in the next MBA Program Dean, Seán Meehan, here are some final words from Professor Ralf Boscheck, who has been running the ship for the past four years.

IMD’s year is ending and so is my fourth and last term as MBA Program Director. Time to thank you for your support and to sum up what we tried to do.

For the last four years, we aimed to put the program into the centre of the school. The idea was to combine its small size and the benefit of attention with the scale of one of the largest executive development operations in the world. In the process, we broke up silos and dismantled hierarchies. We changed our recruiting procedures, adjusted our marketing efforts and strengthened key elements of the program. We improved some rankings and even managed to change some rating methodologies. We also publicly challenged those appraisals where – even when results improved – we questioned the integrity of the statistics that had been applied. Some praised us for it – others clearly did not. And boy – did they not praise us.

Over the years, the MBA office transformed into a successful and truly collaborative team that generated a range of new and valuable initiatives. At the end, we hope to have made some improvements to what has always been a solid and unique program. For the last four years, our tag line has been – “the skills to know, the confidence to act and the humility to lead.”  Even if these words were to change in the future – I think we would be well advised to recall them as the spirit of what we stand for.

Personally, I am very thankful for the opportunity that the MBA assignment has given me – I learned things about others and myself that I would have not realized otherwise. I learned to trust, gained confidence and a bit of humility.

Let me end with a question that a former colleague of ours, the late Professor Stewart Hamilton, asked me a long time back – and I know I have asked this question to some of you before: “How many years are between 30 & 40?”

The answer is “Less than you think … may be three … So as you pursue your career don’t forget to live!

On that note, all the best to you and your families.

Ralf

A Tribute to Unsung Heroes

This is an unusual post in that it is not about us as a class or our partners, but about a different group of people that walk along in the shadows with us on this journey. A tribute to the unsung heroes. Guest post from recent MBA graduate Noah Lev.

In our personal pursuits to achieve we often under estimate the contributions of many who, together, are responsible for building the foundation for our development. Taking for granted the very things that perhaps, deserve our gratitude the most. The kind of things that we will only really notice when they are no longer there. As Joni Mitchell said:

‘’You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone’’

However, it is not the ‘things’ that I would like to focus on, but the people that make those things a reality for us MBAs. The comforting faces that we have seen during the length of our MBA, quietly passing us in the halls.

1

 

Hervé, a man of many talents made sure none of us ever got soaked by the rain and always knew where to find a quiet study room.

2

 

Mireille, our on-campus mother, with the unique ability to provide a shoulder to cry on with the perfect cup of coffee. She was a breath of fresh air and brought out the sunshine in us on the darkest days.

3

Arnaud, the chef with a heart of gold, from gluten free to vegan keeping us all well fed. He ensured our taste buds never missed home with comfort foods from around the world.

4

 

Corinne, our light house in the fog of research, her help in everything from Bloomberg to IMD’s World Competitiveness Online, and everything in-between, navigating the databases was a cinch with her knowledge.

5

 

Jacques, a friendly smile any time of day, always facing the sun with a quick ‘bonjour’ welcoming us on campus. Ever present and always running to assist when we locked ourselves out.

6

 

Margarida, a cheerful soul with never a complaint, from Holi colors to java spills, helping us keep our home away from home clean as a whistle.

7

 

Pierre-Alain, our pillar of technical patients, no question or challenge was ever to small. Readily available for last minute sprints to help us with webex conferences or projector malfunctions.

8

 

Guillaume, our invisible vitamins supplier, quietly making sure that we were well supplied with a variety of fruits to prevent scurvy. Especially needed during the cold and wet of winter.

 

It was never my goal, with this post, to focus on a single few, but rather an entire team of wonderful people. All the above heroes are part of a team here at IMD that deserved to be recognized for everything they do, day in & out, in the shadows. All working behind the scenes here at IMD. Providing us with a strong foundation to achieve our dreams. We as a class have come a long way since the beginning of this adventure but to think we did it on our own would be foolish. So, without further ado, thank you! From all of us to all of you, for all the times your actions went unnoticed. I speak for all the group when I say: We shall miss you dearly.

A word of advice to the next class: seek these people out, share your journey with them, get to know their stories, for your life shall forever be richer for doing so.

Noah

Thank you

Throughout this year, the blog has offered us a small glimpse into the journey of 90 MBAs. We have read about their initial expectations and seen how they came together as a group and as teams. There have been stories about individual impressions, struggles and momentous occasions. We have gained insights into their projects and learnings as well as moments of friendship and fun. And there has been so much more.

Sharing is a gift and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have taken the time to share with us. The IMD MBA is a one-year program with a reputation for its intensity, and yet participants still took the time to reflect on their experiences and compose text and images that offered us a glimpse into their lives.

So, to our bloggers Mo, Priyanka, Lucien and Sathappan as well as all of the guest bloggers from this year’s class, I would like to extend a warm thank you.

Please don’t stop sharing, keep in touch and let us know how the journey continues.

Suzy

Le meilleur est à venir

I am on the way to Paris and as I look outside the train at the snow clad trees, I feel very conscious of the fact that our journey in this MBA program is over. It is hard to be objective at this time with emotions running high. Emotions of relief associated with the end of an intense program, of joy associated with seeing our families after a long time and grief associated with not being in the Lorange auditorium again.

What never seems to amaze me is how our experiences and what we take away from this program can be so different. However as I reflect about the year gone by, I realize that this journey has not only made me stronger but also cognizant of courage I never knew I had. Through this journey and my own peaks and troughs, I learnt not only about leadership, strategy and finance but also about how businesses function in Europe and the power of networking. I learnt about people and about life. So in this post, I want to talk about three things that I cherish the most about the MBA experience.

Friendships: As we get older, we stop making new friends or at least make fewer new friends.  We have a professional circle and a personal one which is mostly friends from college and sometime neighbors. This program gave me a chance to befriend 89 exceptional individuals from all across the world. I always found people willing to lend a patient ear, to share a different perspective and provide bucket loads of encouragement when I was low. I made great friends and thus I believe friendship is the most intangible yet the most precious take away from this year.

Strong Alumni Network: Daniel from our class spoke about sending the elevator down during our graduation speech and I couldn’t agree with him more. I have found both friendships and professional support in our alumni. I have received guidance and good advice, help on preparation for interviews and even gotten access to their professional network. A small batch has its advantages and disadvantages but I have always found a lot of support from alums and  I hope to contribute to this network as much as I can.

Embracing failure: At IMD, we celebrated our failures as we did our successes. We even had a wall dedicated to our recruiting failures to not only share but also remind ourselves that we are in this together. As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fail”

When I started writing this post, I was tempted to title it “Au Revoir” and finally decided against doing so. Over the years, I have come to realize that at the most basic level there are only three levers that guide all our actions- Greed, Hope and Fear.  The lever that guided me the most to participate in this program has been hope. When I started the program, I was hopeful about the future and my first blog before joining the program was titled the one above. We have all changed in many ways (for the good of course !) during the course of the program, but I truly believe “Le meilleur est à venir” as our best is yet to come. On that note, I wish all my classmates loads of success in their professional and personal endeavors and the MBA batch of 2018 lots of luck for the year ahead.

Till we meet again..

Priyanka

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