Spring arrived to Lausanne couple of weeks ago and with the warm rays, suddenly everyone’s shoulders seem to be less bended under the workload. Perhaps also because we are ticking the check marks on the MBA map, delivering presentations and closing projects, maturing throughout the program.
One of the major events this week here at IMD were the final presentations on our start-up projects to a panel of venture capitalists and business angels. Over the past four months, we tasted the life of the brave ones, who are coming with answers to industrial and societal problems, the visionaries, the inventors, the disruptors: the entrepreneurs. As our favourite Entrepreneurship Professor Benoit Leleux says: “These are totally different kinds of animals, but it makes a lot of fun to work with them.”
My team had the pleasure to confirm Benoit’s words. Our start-up evolved rapidly over the short period of time; here the business development happens in the units of weeks, building upon the information, contacts and networks established in the last couple of days. Beside supporting the start-up with business model conceptualization and financial projections, we rolled up our sleeves and deep-dived into the field work: we conducted market research, defined value proposition and validated it with experts from the industry, designed route to the market, engaged with suppliers, drafted pilot programme documentation, prepared go-to-market materials and investors decks and many more. Thank you, team 9, for your engagement and hard work, it was a great experience working with you!
While learning from one of the best IMD’s brilliant minds, Professor Goutam Challagalla, the past weeks also brought fresh wind and insights into the contemporary businesses based on technology. In his inspirational and thought-provoking classes, Goutam took us to the very edge of today, providing the look over the cliff towards tomorrow. After his crash course, disruption became the new norm of my strategic thinking and stimulated curiosity to explore the digital business models further.
Disruption also stroke on the personal side; keeping the high pace already for four and half months, there are plenty of daily situations when I am off my comfort zone, pushing myself, being endorsed by cohorts or “lured” into the off-comfort situation. This is a highly addicted game: I fail and I get up and I want to fail again to enjoy the getting up. I see things I didn’t see before. I observe myself from a totally new angle. I work with my mind, concentrated. The metamorphose began. Old Me is being disrupted by New Me.
The metamorphose and ongoing change can be a painful process though. And it gets even more painful when life-changing events happen in our lives. On Easter Thursday, Bernard, father of my partner passed away after nine months of combat. It was fast, unexpected, heart-breaking. Bernard was a distinctive intellectual, family lover, whose life colour was auburn. Coming back from the Easter break, leaving my partner back in Germany learning to live the new reality was frustrating. We felt every centimetre of the long-distance relationship. This was metamorphosis from a different perspective, urging the importance of values.
The partner life here at IMD is in general own chapter deserving at least one more special edition of the blog post. Some of the 2018 MBA class moved to Lausanne with their partners and children, who provide a safety base and tremendous mental support throughout the programme. Regardless if they are present in Lausanne or not, the role of our partners is not easy at all. This year is primarily about us. They are part of our decisions to pursue an MBA; nevertheless they are in the shadow while the spotlight shine on us. They changed their lives around our MBA and observe our metamorphose first-hand. Twelve years after their MBA experience, Alumni Rafael Altavini and his wife Carolina Altavini came to IMD to share their experience with partners’ life not only during and but also post the programme. They brought an honest testimony about the challenges they were facing.
Listening to their speech in the Lorrange auditorium, I pondered about big journeys. We set-off on one in January and are in the midst of it. It brought us to places we have never been. This is not the last big journey by far. It is a heart-warming feeling to know that we have life companions holding our hands while walking into the unknowns.
In memory of Bernard, to our loved ones.