Cyan Umbert, MBA alumnus from 2019, believes the biggest asset you have during the MBA is your classmates. Learn more about his MBA experience and career.

My name is Cyan Umbert and I am originally from Barcelona. I joined IMD when I was 27 years old as one of the youngest MBA participants of my year. It was a privilege to join a class where everyone already had incredible and extensive experiences under their belt. This gave me the opportunity to learn more from my classmates than if I had been one of the older candidates.

What made you decide to do an MBA at this point in your life?

I always had the idea of doing an MBA at the back of my mind. Facing some health issues gave me the final push I needed. My three main goals were: a new industry, a more international career and better opportunities.

Before IMD, I worked at IBM in Spain, where I started as an IT consultant. From there I moved to Change Management, and then became the youngest Client Partner Executive, where I managed an outsourcing account, including its P&L. One of the biggest challenges I faced was to be taken seriously by clients and my colleagues. Many people thought that I was too young and inexperienced. But I overcame these initial prejudices and increased both the revenue and profit of the account.

How would you describe yourself?

I think I am a curious person, always eager to learn. Someone who likes to help others and wants to keep improving, to become better.

Why did you choose IMD?

I think I must be one of the candidates who did the most thorough research about European MBAs! I visited all the top 10 schools, but IMD was actually the only school I applied to. Even though IMD was not under my radar when I started my research, I truly believed, and still do, that it was the school that would make me grow the most, both personally and professionally. No other school offered such a leadership and self discovery experience. I also liked the more intimate class size, where I could get to truly know my classmates, and gain a stronger network.

What are you doing now and how did the MBA help you to get there?

At the end of my MBA I received an offer that met my 3 objectives: to work abroad, in a different industry and in a rotational program that would open opportunities. However, in the end I couldn’t resist joining McKinsey, where I currently work as a Senior Associate.

I believe that any MBA in a top business school would have helped me to get where I am. Nevertheless, the biggest asset you have during the MBA is your classmates, and I am sure that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

What key learnings from IMD do you think will help in your future professional and personal life?

My key learning lay in two different areas. First, the MBA toolkit, which helps me talk the jargon of most people across an enterprise. Second, the Leadership Journey, lead by Professor Jennifer Jordan, with its learnings around embracing diversity, the different kinds of leadership that you can leverage, and the personal resilience that comes from better understanding myself.

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A fun fact or key moment that you experienced during the program

One of the best experiences I had during the MBA was at the very beginning, the Leadership Lab. We went to the mountains in the snow with our first study groups. The activities we did made us work together under stress with people we barely knew. To add to the pressure, during the experience we were recorded.

It was excruciating afterwards to watch ourselves, but it was a great way to learn about team dynamics and what we needed to fix as a group and as individuals.


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