Life before Microsoft

What are three historic events that shaped humanity? That was the first question asked by our Economics professor, Ralf Boscheck, as we held our first session of a module designed to investigate historical events that shaped modern economic systems and understand some of the cultural and geographical intricacies that influenced the way we do business in modern times. The class discussions spanned events from how the Pharaohs shaped the Egyptian civilization to the invention of the steam engine and the era, and everything in between. Continue reading “Life before Microsoft”

OneSky Start-up Project

Let’s set the scene: you started your MBA less than one month ago, you know more or less what a start-up and a drone is, and then, all of a sudden you make a deep dive into the discussion: what is drone industry really about? How does air traffic work? How are the regulations evolving? How does automation affect the technology roadmap? These are just a few of the questions that pop into your mind….With your 5 team mates and company founders, you start from scratch. Continue reading “OneSky Start-up Project”

Drinking from a hose

My assessment of the last week can be summed up by a phrase- Drinking from a hose. We covered numerous cases from entrepreneurship, marketing and strategy and material from economics during the week and an extremely interesting assignment looking back at our industries on the weekend to close the week. It was an overload of content in a very short time, testing us on how to cope with such information and on how to develop our managerial abilities at the same time.

The group meanwhile has matured from the mere acquaintances phase to the inter-dependency phase, which is characterized by group study sessions and sometimes enjoying the weather outside when we have sunshine. I will leave with you some pictures from the week. We are very lucky to have Lausanne as our loyal friend. I’m grateful for the beautiful lake views that we are blessed with.



And finally, thanks to the IMD extended social community for being so visible this year 


Featured image contributed by Fabiana Souza, MBA 2018



Inspired and Humbled

While the first week was an awakening of sorts, the second week focused on the high level themes of the program- Digital, Global and Entrepreneurial.

The Entrepreneurship module started with a lecture on defining value in a business but the highlight was the introduction to the protagonist of our first case study- Robert Keane, CEO and founder of Cimpress N.V.. Extraordinary resilience and an incredible ability to change and adapt defined his story and it was enthralling to listen to it live in the class!! We were also introduced to the various factors affecting project success in a simulated game environment. It was a lot of fun collaborating with differing views and scarce resources to drive business value in a project.

Then we explored how digital has started defining winners and losers in today’s dynamic world. We learnt that using digital tools to define and execute business strategy has helped not only businesses but political players around the world. And we learnt that its not about the disruptor but always about the disruption and the need to stay agile and flexible to capitalize on opportunities.

From a global perspective we learnt about how some countries are defying expectations and contributing more to the growth of the world’s economy. From a leadership angle, we learnt about what was needed to become a successful leader in these emerging markets. We also took advantage to learn from the diversity of the class when we were introduced to the politics, economy and culture of 43 different nations in the Life before Microsoft presentation, something that has become a tradition at IMD.

Of all these amazing experiences, one thing stood out the most for me. We started the week with an inspiring story on how to lead in turbulent times by Dr. Tawfik Jelassi. And this summed up my decision to come to a business school and that is to meet incredible leaders and be inspired.

Having been through the turbulence of the Arab spring myself, it was no surprise that I connected instantly with Dr. Tawfik Jelassi’s incredible story. What at first seemed like a normal class on leadership quickly turned out to be a real face-to-face encounter with someone who has the resilience, tenacity and determination to not bend to the odds and still achieve results that were beyond any expectations. Listening to his life experiences was humbling and our own professional hardships were tiny specks compared to the gargantuan effort on his part to lead through those turbulent times.

How does then someone lead in an explosive, polarized, irrational and adversarial world? The takeaway offered by Dr. Jelassi was that emotional resilience is the key. And having the leadership team as your secure base is crucial. The hard choices that you will have to make then are backed up by the leadership team and this allows you to go beyond the unexpected and sometimes the seemingly impossible, even in the face of opposition. When everything is going against you, it’s crucial to stick to your beliefs, trust your instincts and stand by your values. Thank you Dr. Jelassi for this important lesson. We hope we have the chance to apply these lessons successfully.

Parth Reddy


Featured image: Life Before Microsoft at IMD


Where dreams meet reality

My name is Joyce Tsuchiya, from Brazil. I’m an ophthalmologist by training and I practiced for six years as a cataract surgeon and cornea specialist before deciding to pursue a career change. I come to IMD for a new challenge, big emotions and self development.

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-14 at 20.20.32 photo taken by my colleague Rodrigo Freire


Dreams are where we all started, high expectations and lots of hope. We arrived at IMD’s campus all keen on meeting each other, learning and eager for the new experiences to come. We had been listening for quite a while on how IMD’s program is comprehensive, and how it approaches business education from a holistic perspective. We heard about the experienced professors from whom we were going to learn and all the important people we would get to meet. But then, our dreams met reality, and we got hit head front by the first week of IMD’s insane schedule. By the 4th day I was already sleep deprived and started to question my sanity when I decided to pursue such program. It was a hectic, exhausting and an emotional week, and IMD was not about to let it end without a grand finale.

For the 5th day of our journey, we had two off-campus visits on our program, we were supposed to go to Genéve in order to visit EPFL’s (École Politechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) campus biotech and the CERN (read Martina’s post about that part of the visit here). Campus biotech is one of those places science folks dream about. – It is home to the Wyss Center and the Blue Brain Project.

The Blue Brain project is a brain mapping effort, its goal is to create a biologically detailed digital reconstruction of the rodent brain. But you could also call it ‘the perfect marriage between business and research’. BBP develops cutting edge research supported by a professional operation. The project management office controls and facilitates initiatives, in a methodology based on agile and waterfall. Every project must have a science lead, an engineering lead and a project manager.

In such environment, the most audacious ideas flourish. For instance, the e-dura, a flexible implant that can be used for many things, among them bridging a damaged spinal cord and the brain through a computerized interface, therefore restoring walking capability  to paralyzed patients. Or the neurohabilitation treatment that helps stroke patients recover movements. And a project very close to my heart, a retina implant based on tiny photovoltaic cells (20.000 of them!) that restore eyesight to blind people.

EPFL campus biotech is where dreams meet reality, where science meets business. A place where research is professionally managed and organized so that scientists get to build on each other’s work and all of this allows researchers to deliver actionable knowledge and give back to society. Thank you IMD, for taking us there and for showing us how business can be a powerful transformative force.

– Joyce



And the mountains beckoned

We have often heard the question: beach or mountains? There is a scientific study which claims a link between personality and geography. Extroverts have a higher affinity towards beaches while introverts prefer mountains. While I like mountains and other wild landscapes, it is only an ocean which has always beckoned me with a magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into its beauty. That said, I’ve a strong inkling that the next ten months in such proximity to snow-capped peaks at a lakeside may alter my preference; though hopefully not my personality! Continue reading “And the mountains beckoned”