Johnny Barhouche and Jessica Roberts are two of the IMD MBA Merit Scholarship winners who will be joining the 2021 program in January.

Johnny Barhouche, United Arab Emirates

Hello, my name is Johnny! I am a civil engineer from Lebanon, and I am bracing myself for one of the most exciting chapters of my life!

My MBA story began the day I realized that I couldn’t keep up with the fast-changing world anymore. Even though I had a decent career ahead in construction, it kept me slightly siloed by limiting my thinking and practice to this industry. More importantly, it did not allow me to be part of the change, and to contribute to society to the extent I wished for.

Deciding to pursue an MBA at IMD was not a difficult choice for me. In fact, IMD is quite a niche business school: Located in the spectacular area of Lausanne, it offers an exceptional leadership stream, a relatively small classroom setup, and unique experiential learning, all of which resonate very well with my aspirations.

But I must admit that the journey from MBA awareness to program enrollment was not easy, and could have not been possible without the tremendous support I received from my wife, and the joyful vibes of my little angel.

Today, through my daily interactions with my fellow candidates, I can comfortably say that my journey towards continuous improvement has already started, and I am confident that this will only grow going forward!

Jessica Roberts, South Africa

As my travel date approaches, I have had some time to reflect on my IMD MBA decision and the year ahead. I am equal parts nervous and excited for my new adventure!

My background is quite technical in nature. I studied my undergraduate in Actuarial Science and my Masters in Mathematical Finance then embarked on my career at Nedbank where I worked as Quantitative Analyst and later on building up the data analytics capabilities for the trading floor. An MBA with IMD offers me the unique opportunity to round off my learning with a better macro perspective of business as well as developing my softer skills.

I chose IMD for its truly international nature, the smaller class size and dedication to a personalized approach as well as its strong ties to industry. My decision was further solidified through meaningful conversations with South African participants in the 2020 cohort – every person I approached responded to my unsolicited LinkedIn messaged with a phone call or a genuine message full of advice!

My experience with IMD so far has been nothing but positive. The care shown in the recruiting process was clear and the support since acceptance has been phenomenal especially given the uncertainty created by COVID-19. The 2021 class is an impressive bunch! We have had extensive interaction on a lively telegram chat as well as our fortnightly Zoom meetups which has helped ease any anxieties about next year.

As I prepare to leave, my partner, Bradley, has been incredibly supportive. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to join me next year in Switzerland but will visit throughout the year and in the summer break we will hopefully be able to get in some travel time. As a stand-in, my goofy cat will definitely be joining us for the year!

Johnny Barhouche and Jessica Roberts

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