My journey through Africa to IMD

This is Satoshi, MBA candidate from Japan.

Our journey at IMD is almost at an end. Time really flies. I would like to use this opportunity to reflect on my experiences prior to, during, and after my MBA.

My interest in the “international world” first came about in Geneva.  I spent 4 years there in my youth where I became interested in working for United Nations Humanitarian agencies in the developing world.

After university I went to Cameroon to work for the local Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. I spent two years living in the rural village, working on income generating activities for local farmers. Then, I had a chance to work for an NGO in South Sudan, where ethnic conflict was severe. I was running around, delivering emergency food supplies to internally displaced people and constructed health care facilities across the region.

Working with rural farmers in Cameroon

However, when the battles between the ethnic groups in 2013 destroyed what we had constructed and we had to evacuate, leaving local people and our staff behind, I questioned myself. What could I do when international organizations can not intervene in ethnic conflicts? How could I provide effective support to this developing world?

Bringing emergency supplies to conflict front line in South Sudan

I decided to move into the private sector which created value by bringing employment to the local African people. I joined a Japanese pharmaceutical company, and was dispatched to Kenya, from where I travelled to over 10 countries in Africa, creating employment by expanding business. But here, I questioned myself again. Was I good enough to be a general manager who could create more positive impact in the continent?

With my local staff in Kenya

This is why I came to IMD – to grow as a business leader who can help an emerging market. IMD’s focus on leadership, its intense one-year program and strong exposure to Industry made it my number one choice.

Learning at IMD has been impressive, mainly because of the different aspects covered within the year. Not only were the core classes mostly exceptional but also the Innovation lab, Digital analtyics lab, Startup projects, Discovery expedition, ICP and business & society course (during which we visited the United Nations and the World Economic Forum), were all insightful. From guest speakers who were high executives from both private and public sectors, I learned about their serious commitments on sustainability, inclusion and diversity. It made me think a lot on how leaders should also be focusing on aspects outside of financial statements.

Inspirational day at World Economic Forum with my classmates

The IMD Leadership stream gave me a good chance to reflect on myself. Regular interaction with a psychoanalyst and leadership coaches, plus numerous feedback sessions with my classmates, clearly deepened my self awareness.  Eventually, my passion and career goal became clearer and more sharpened: I want to create a sustainable, growing business in the emerging market and bring positive impact to the world.

Finally, I need to mention my classmates. These guys are great. Humble hardworking, friendly and helpful. I couldn’t have gone through this tough year without them.

With these great future alumni of 2019, I wish to create positive impact in the real world.

Thank you!
Satoshi