The MBA life - or how to improvise comedy, manage a corporate crisis and attract and retain customers for an aquarium in four days.

Just over a week ago, I was enjoying one of the electives I chose for August: Dramatic Resources. Over 5 exciting days we practiced acting techniques (from vocalization exercises to challenging improvisations) to gain greater confidence and to be more engaging communicators during presentations or interviews. For me, as a non-native English speaker who usually does not feel eloquent, it was a whole discovery to realize that even a single pause and the correct eye contact can create an entire atmosphere.

By Sunday night I was exhausted after a full weekend class of crisis management. Of course, the terms agility and resilience were raised (did you just say resilience?), as they are part of the recipe to successfully navigate in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environments. But beyond the sexy buzzwords, we reflected on what the role of a leader is in the face of a crisis: to assume full responsibility and act with transparency, commitment and empathy.

On Sunday we focused on the ethics and morals of organizations. The professor provoked us with statements such as:

With no time to rest, the Aquatis Innovation Lab Week started early in the morning of Monday, with many sleepy eyes and yawning mouths. Soon we began to pump up our energy by engaging with the challenge of enhancing the aquarium spectator’s experience at the museum. New topic, new teammates, new roles, new dynamics. Two threaded processes running in parallel: team building and idea development.

After watching the 18 teams present to the jury on Friday, there is no doubt that this year we have learned to quickly adapt to new environments, new colleagues and deliver quality and impactful results. Not only did the three winning teams got a price, but all MBAs got a gift: feedback from their teammates.

This is one of the greatest beauties of doing the MBA at IMD. Over the year, after each big team project, everyone receives critical feedback from the people that worked with her/him. IMD creates the context by arranging the resources (the criteria with which the participants, the coach and the projects are selected); then it is our responsibility to use this priceless feedback received to improve ourselves.                    

Javier Valy

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