John Michael Sutton, from Atlanta, USA
I was fortunate enough to spend most of my early life in Alabama, in the heart of the American South, only interrupted by a 3-year stay in Milan, Italy. If you’re familiar with Alabama and Milan, you’ll also know that it would be hard to find two places more culturally dissimilar. I often credit this time as one of the most formative experiences of my life. It later informed my choice in undergraduate degree, my career aspirations and now my MBA.
Attending a globally-elite MBA program has been a single-minded goal of mine for several years. What I didn’t know at the outset of this journey was how critical an MBA program’s ability to foster resilience and adaptability would be in a post-COVID world.
I began applying for my MBA shortly before the pandemic swept the world. Then, with the uncertainty about the future, began to question if now was still the right time? Lucky for me, IMD made my decision clear. During my virtual assessment day in June, this idea emerged as a theme in questions directed towards Dean Meehan and the admissions panel. The answer is, if the most salient characteristics of the IMD MBA are leadership development, global awareness and digital literacy, then why not hone this skillset at a time when the need for globally-conscious, future-minded leaders is the greatest?
I’m proud of the way that IMD has responded to the challenges of the year, and its adaptability to tailor the program to meet the needs of the moment, and our new future.
I’m thrilled to be joining the #IMDMighty90. My wife Caroline and I are both eagerly awaiting our move to Lausanne in 2021!
Svetlana Shestopalova, from Russia
Back in 2011 was my first GMAT exam and an application to a Master’s degree in France. However, I decided work experience was more valuable at that time. And it was true, for 9 years I have worked on important projects with great people. The Russian market was a priority for my company and I was able to make a difference, to develop business knowledge in practice and to learn by doing.
The years were passing, people around me were changing and new projects were always coming. I was so plunged into a maelstrom of events that I forgot about the idea of getting a business degree abroad. Then a series of events altered my mind. One of the turning points was rereading the comments on my yearly assessments. Among a lot of positive feedback I noticed that some things were unchanged for several years: I had changed manager and position, but I was still in the same gear, not moving up. This made me realize that I would not grow substantially where I was. I needed to move out of my comfort zone. So, the time had come to replace my practical experience with more structured learning.
IMD was not the first school that came to my mind for an MBA, but it gradually stole the show. It started when I spelled out my true purpose of getting an MBA – not for a nice line on my CV, but to unleash my potential and get to know a wide range of people well. Each interaction with IMD’s admission team, alumni and current candidates made me more confident that it was the place to be.
I expected the assessment to be hard and stressful, but it was a very interesting experience with great people, valuable discussions and an interesting case to solve. I had never thought of moving to Switzerland, but it appeared to be a great country and I also have friends from university and work in Lausanne.