What made you decide to do an MBA at this point in your life?
There were two key reasons why I decided to do an MBA in 2019. Firstly, to develop management skills. I was 26, had been working for four years, and had largely focused in healthcare, working as a management consultant with the NHS and in health policy. I was passionate about the space and knew this was the sector I wanted to forge my career in. To do this, I needed skills in key areas, like Finance, Strategy and Operations.
Secondly, I wanted to expand my horizons. Up until that point my career had been very UK centric. To be a leader in either the private or public sector, I believe you need to be comfortable operating in an international environment. I knew an MBA would open my eyes to the ways different cultures handle challenges and approach business.
Why did you choose IMD?
- International experience
IMD is based in Switzerland, a country full of international companies and key global organizations like the UN and WHO. I knew the immense diversity of my MBA classmates would create some fascinating debates and learnings. And finally, the Discovery Expedition and International Consulting Projects offered a further opportunity to learn more about international business.
- Leadership development
This is a core part of the IMD program and a serious amount of time is dedicated to it throughout the year. The stream spans the famous integrated exercise (you won’t know until you go through it…), leadership classes and our PDE (Personal Development Elective) sessions. The goal is ultimately to improve your self-awareness in order to manage your biases and blind spots as a leader.
- The atmosphere at the school
I was lucky enough to visit the school for my assessment day and it was love at first sight. Not only is it on the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, but everyone at IMD is welcoming, friendly and open. The warm smile of Mireille, who ran the campus coffee bar and remembered all our names and coffee orders, can make a big difference to anyone’s day.
How did the MBA help you to get where you are today?
I work as a Strategic Assistant (Chief of Staff) to one of the Senior Leaders at Novartis, the pharmaceutical company. My role is interesting and varied. The MBA equipped me with the necessary skillset to manage the variety, complexity and, at times, ambiguity of my day to day role.
What learnings from IMD do you think will help you in your future?
- Our capacity for growth and learning is much bigger than you think! You learn a lot during your MBA, not just from classes but about yourself and your peers. I want to continue with this mind-set throughout my career, continuously challenging myself to learn and develop.
- In the end leadership is not just about you, but also about supporting and pushing those you work with forward. We learnt a lot about servant leadership during the year and my answer to the last question is a nice example of this…
- I have 89 friends across the world who I have this shared experience with. I know I could call on any of them at moment if I needed help or advice and I would do the same for them.
What was a key moment during the program?
I never thought I would say a key moment of my MBA was linked to football, but it was! For our Innovation Week we were lucky enough to work with UEFA. We were tasked with designing a special experience for the fans for the upcoming EURO tournament. My team focused on engaging those living in the city who are not interested in football. We created something to help them feel included and part of the excitement.
On the final day, when we had to present our idea to an expert UEFA panel, my group put their faith and trust in me to do the presentation. I was the prime candidate for our idea, as the only one in the group not interested in football. My group recognized that I had my own personal experience to share.
That feeling of having my team backing me, challenging me to step up and believing that I could do it, was empowering and confidence-building. Now, as I think about the leader I want to become, supporting and enabling those I work with to have confidence to take on challenges and shine is something I will always prioritize doing.