Three key learnings from the first 8 months of my MBA: trade-offs, moral compass and respect for opinions.

Disclaimer: all photos are taken in pre-COVID time.

As we approach the intense job search phase, combined with International Consulting Projects, in some ways it feels like the best times of the program are over. Together we have all gone through the intense Module 1 and the Module 2 confinement due to COVID. There was lots of fun in-and outside of the school. Now, the summer is coming to an end and the focus switches away from auditorium activities to more practical, group and individual challenges.

As the time flies, I wanted to reflect on my key learnings from the MBA program so far.

IMD offers a highly comprehensive academic curriculum that includes mandatory business disciplines such as Strategy, Accounting, Finance, Economics, Marketing, etc. These classes ensure a solid base for solving business problems. However, I do not believe this knowledge helps us to become a happier person or a visionary leader, that comes from the other important component of the program – personal development.

I chose IMD exactly because of this, and I wasn’t disappointed. I wanted to know myself better, learn to communicate and connect with people better and become more confident. I got all of it.

Team CUTS who helped me understand myself and others better

Here’s a selection of 3 key personal takeaways from the program so far:

1.The theory of trade-offs
This concept was introduced for the first time during the Strategy class of Misiek Piskorski. Companies make choices that entail a combination of integrated consequences which make other choices unavailable. For example, Ryanair does not provide food on board to shorten the time required to clean-up the plane after flights.

The same applies in our personal lives. MBA participants with families have three key activities: studies, family and social time with classmates, but they generally can’t have all three of them in full, thereby they have to make trade-offs and balance daily.

Misiek Piskorski, Professor of Strategy, gathers curious MBAs after class

Banal as it may seem, this concept, experienced firsthand got stuck deeply in my head.

2.Moral compass
I picked this idea up from Ralf Boscheck, IMD Professor of Economics, when we discussed transactional costs. Due to lack of trust, companies spend enormous amounts of money on lawyers to ensure the interests of the counterparts are secured. But even that doesn’t always guarantee the deal will be beneficial for everyone. The solution is to deal with people and organizations that share the same values. Again, seems obvious, but eventually it made me ask about the guiding principles of people around me and discuss moral dilemmas – the best way to understand and find “your” people.

Ralf Boscheck, Professor of Economics, having fun listening to MBA presentations

3.Stand up for you opinion but accept that of others
I learned this lesson with my start-up group. In teamwork it’s not about who gets to be right or wrong, as long as each team member has a chance to express themself and be heard. Eventually, it is the active presence and contribution that counts, not the winning or losing of arguments.

Those are my top-3 ideas. And what are yours?

Dmitry

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