Emma James, from the USA, was awarded one of the two Forté Foundation Scholarships for Women, and will be joining the IMD MBA 2021 program.

Hello from Philadelphia! As the days are getting cooler here it is finally settling in that we will be moving to Lausanne in a few short months – a dream come true!

When I was a child my family traveled the world as missionaries, and I told myself that as soon as I was old enough, I would move out of the United States permanently. I knew at that time that there was much to learn from other cultures. I realize now how privileged I am to have this option.

In secondary school I obtained an International Baccalaureate diploma, then I studied Philosophy Politics & Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. I knew I wanted to have an impact, so I started working in Public Health, first at a non-profit organization (NGO), then in the Clinical Trial industry. Today as a Global Client Services Manager at Clincierge, I manage an amazing team of project managers and oversee our 50 contractors in North America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

With some Clincierge team members at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Philadelphia (pre-COVID)

I am never content and am always on the lookout for my next challenge. I first applied to IMD in 2017. When I read through the website and heard past students speak about their experiences, I knew this was the program I wanted to join. IMD’s MBA is not constrained by semester systems or geographies – every ounce of the program is designed to be put into practice. And the MBA candidates? My future classmates are the most impressive and inspiring people I have ever met (66 members in our Telegram chat group as of today!).

Well, I wasn’t accepted to IMD in 2017, so I set about getting the experience I needed in order to apply again. With all the uncertainty happening in 2020, my huge bright spot has been preparing for IMD! I was lucky enough to have an in-person Assessment Day in New York in March, just days before the US started shutting down. The Assessment Day was indicative of IMD in every way, especially when fellow MBA candidate Yuki Endo planned a get together for candidates the night before so that we could meet and game plan our Assessment Day strategy.

I knew that our 2021 year in Lausanne would be challenging, but the lead up to it has been difficult as well: selling our house, getting married during COVID, remotely finding an apartment in Lausanne, and figuring out how to pay for everything. My greatest support has been my husband and our dog. When Jason and I first started dating he told me he would follow me anywhere in the world, so I knew he was the one!

Due to COVID we didn’t get to truly celebrate our marriage, but we plan to celebrate in Lausanne with the other couples who got married prior to their moves

We can’t wait to meet everyone in Lausanne and tackle this challenging year with an amazing group of peers!

Emma James

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