It’s now 5 weeks into the 7-week ICP, and over this period our team of 5 has lived an extraordinary life of consultants – working together, working remotely, travelling all over Europe- oh yes! we got our hands on some authentic paellas and pizzas – and then back again to the client.
ICP’s are up and running and all my classmates have been traveling around the world or into the dungeons to deliver their projects. My teammates and I have been tasked with helping a pharma company bring business model innovation to the market.
During the last 5 weeks we have been located at our clients headquarters, discovering pharmaceutical industry from the inside and learning about the peculiarities of our clients business and company culture.
Like most consulting projects ours started with tons of research and interviews, and developed through the delineation of the deliverables. Through this project we’ve had the opportunity of not only addressing a real business issue but also applying and seeing why all the concepts we learned this year such as scoping and stakeholder management matter so much. We’ve had a lot of fun together, supported each other through difficult times (try delivering a project while searching for a job) and kept developing our team working and leadership skills.
All in all this is a great learning opportunity and experience, that can only be rivaled by the happiness we have when we get to work from IMD every once in while and see again our classmates (and have wonderful IMD food).
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream” is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I have lived my life with determination, trying to do things I have never done before.
Going back to 2017, I came to Switzerland for the assessment and immediately knew that this was the place where I wanted to do my MBA. “Why an MBA?” is the question that everybody asked, including the admission office. Personally, I thought that this would be a period where I could give time to myself, a moment to rethink whether the path I’ve walked my entire 28 years is correct and a moment to have a proper holiday – an opportunity I will probably no longer have until retirement.
Now, here I stand at IMD, one of the most prestigious b-schools in the world. I may have thought incorrectly about the holiday because IMD has been keeping us students very busy! Maybe that’s because it’s a one-year program, which is good as it’s not too time-consuming and is wallet-friendly.
IMD is known for its leadership-stream. I used to wonder how leadership would actually be taught and what made it stand out from the crowd. After the first module was done, I became enlightened. I should have realized long before though as IMD makes sure that students get the best out of their tuition. The environment makes sure that everyone can take the lead and knows how to work with people from different cultures, but more importantly, everyone is a secure base for you. I don’t know where and when I will find a risk-free environment again like one I have found at IMD.
Apart from academics, outside of school life has been fantastic. Opposite IMD is Lac Leman, aka Lake Geneva. On weekends in summer, people from everywhere come to walk around the lake. Why? Because it’s very beautiful. The banner photo should speak for itself. I also explore the area by bike. The scenery is impressive and it’s very safe. Drivers are always aware of cyclists as Swiss people cycle routinely. I don’t know where else it will be so safe to cycle, definitely not in my home country, Thailand.
Since Switzerland is located in the centre of Europe, it’s convenient to go other countries. Evian, France is only 20 minutes away by boat. One of the memorable things that I and my classmates have done is go to see the 2018 Italian Grand Prix in Monza. It was my first time to see the F1 race, and it’s definitely worth going. As I was walking to the track, I heard the race cars screaming loudly. On the stand, Ferrari crowds cheered Sebestian Vettel and Kimi Raikonen, hoping they would win. Too bad for them, Lewis Hamilton won the race, so Mercedes fanboys became happy. Lastly, a car enthusiastic like me can’t be happier as Nordschleife is only one hour away. People from everywhere in the world are eager to drive here at least once in their life. I was absolutely thrilled by the experience, especially by the steering wheel making turns. The Raggazon exhaust screamed as I accelerated and the tires screeched as I turned.
A few days ago, 11 of my MBA classmates, 4 alumni and I had the chance to participate in the MBA Bocconi Regatta in Santa Margherita Italy, one of the top MBA sports meetings of the year, and an opportunity to meet people from other prestigious business schools.
Most importantly, it was a true stretching teamwork and leadership experience that could not have been “taught in a classroom nor induced through group assignments in an MBA class setting”, as Hassan, one of my crew members, highlights it. “There’s something about being on a sail boat with 6 of your classmates and an alumni in the middle of the Ligurian Sea, competing for Regatta glory by carefully pulling ropes and forcing tight maneuvers to get ahead of the competition, that brings home what teamwork is all about. It’s observing your crew, anticipating issues, being available to them, reinforcing communication, and giving your best that matters when the horn sounds and the boats set sail.”
What was particular about our setup was the lack of sailing experience of most of us MBAs. This was a real challenge given that safety, on top of performance, was at stake. Martina, recalls that, “Every wrong maneuverer was immediately visible, no mistake was forgiven.”
So how did it play out for us? The truth is that Daniel and Claude, our skippers and IMD’s alumni from 2014 and 2017, played a pivotal role in our success. In less than 3 days, we managed to pull two crews together, get up to speed and perform.
“Daniel and Claude were not “only” skippers, they were leaders who gained our respect by leveraging the talent which each single individual brought in, by staying calm in tense situations and by focusing on our learning experience and development. Martina.
From our skippers perspective, the Regatta was also a stretch, as Daniel Emeka (MBA 2014) highlights:
” I had to bear in mind that since we didn’t have time to practice much I would be relying on people taking initiative within prescribed limits and a framework. Both Claude and myself made sure we held an initial briefing, and sought to reassign where we thought roles weren’t aligned with requirements and break the entire sailing experience into phases such as getting in and out of the harbor versus racing (third phase) which had a different set of roles. The team then only had to think one phase at a time and focus on those tasks.
The team had heightened IQ and EQ, so they quickly picked up on concepts like wind direction and tacking/gybing (it helped that there were quite a few engineers) as well as self-motivation, team dynamics management, …and waiting for the right moments to bring up issues. This really added to the morale and kept us focused on important things for prolonged periods. As for the usual rookie mistakes, we got the course wrong once, misjudged weather patterns, sometimes didn’t notice some problems early enough. But these were all corrected for and no mistake was made twice”
From Claude’s (MBA 2017) perspective:
“For the second time in two years, I had the chance to be on the IMD racing boat for the MBA Bocconi regatta as skipper. Unlike last year, I was not familiar with most of the crew members who were current MBA students. Getting a crew of seven to perform coordinated specialized activities in the limited space of a boat with the pressure of competitors like Harvard, MIT, INSEAD, HEC, and Chicago is a thrilling and sensational challenge. For the boat to move, turn, and accelerate, everyone needs to know his/her role and objectives, communicate effectively, and understand how to react to unexpected events. The learning curve is steep, and the crew needs to take risks and dare to make decisions with a limited amount of information and time. After a few initial adjustments, we were able to improve our maneuvers, increase speed, and reduce reaction time. And after the first race, I had already forgotten that I wasn’t part of this class: it felt like we were one team and that I knew the crew as well as I knew my classmates last year. Unfortunately, we did not win the regatta, but we don’t need to be on top of rankings to be successful. And for me success, was creating meaningful human bonds with 2018 class, enjoying the time together and leaving in some of them a bit of my passion for sailing.”
This Regatta remains one of the most symbolic, memorable and sensational events of our MBA experience, and a great sports tradition I would like to help future classes maintain and improve. On behalf of the sailing team and the MBA sports committee, I would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to our dean Sean Meehan, and the MBA staff for their support in making this happen!
Sara, for the MBA Sports Committee
Our lovely Oriane Perryman-Holt, from France, offers today’s post, with some interesting stats!
We talk about #IMDimpact so let’s measure it through “Ori’s KPIs”:
|9600||“Coucou” to great classmates with energy and enthusiasm|
|482||Hours debating in our team “dungeons” learning from each, other sustained by …|
|…578||Coffees “at Mireille” to get out of the bubble|
|33560||Hello & Goodbye kisses as per Swiss use of 3 each time|
|384||Handwritten notes on my iPad plus some drawings|
|91||Cases and add one third for consulting interview prep’, sure it will pay off!|
|123||Movenpick® ice-cream scoops this summer to fuel the 7500 meters swam in preparation for the relay triathlon, not forgetting the two 10K races|
|27||Different CVs reshuffling my 7-years’ experience in corporate finance and internal audit, managing international projects in 3 industries|
|288||Bananas as breakfast|
|8||Networking events to connect with the alumni – across the years, we all share the same core experience – and find a way to my dream job|
|2||Crypto-kitties to apply the finance class on blockchain|
|218||Hours consulting for a start-up and now for a Pharma company, bringing new excitement and insights|
|88||Classmates amazing, challenging and motivating me every day|
|0||Job yet ; enjoying the journey and curious to discover the destination|
I knew this year was due to be a stretch, but I would not have anticipated all of the above.
In Norway winter comes early. As we drive through a picturesque landscape on our way to Kongsberg, we realize that temperatures are already below the freezing point.
Our client for the ICP project is TechnipFMC, a leading service provider for the energy industry. Continue reading “ICP digitalization time in Norway”
The International Consulting Projects are up and running !
After just one week, teams have started their global travel to destinations such as Saudi Arabia, China, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Belgium.
They are working with multinational companies in industries that range from FMCG to Banking, Manufacturing to Consulting, Pharma to Energy, with each team of 5-6 MBAs working on a different issue.
Over the next few weeks they will be conducting industry, company and issue analyses, and presenting their findings to the top management of their respective companies.
Travel will soon include further destinations of Africa, Hong Kong, the US, Spain and more.
We wish them well and look forward to reading about their adventures and experiences shortly.