Emma James, a current MBA student from the USA, talks about the first module of the full-time program and why she chose IMD.

When I realized that it was already May, I was shocked. Four of the twelve months of our IMD life in Lausanne are over. I came to Switzerland with my husband and our dog with high spirits and higher expectations. But no expectations can prepare you for IMD’s Module 1 barrage of assignments and activities.

I applied to IMD before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Easier times indeed! My career in public health and clinical trials was interesting, but I was beginning to face roadblocks. All my career moves had been reactions to my environment, and now I was ready to shape my future. My life goal is to have an impact so large that someone would want to read my biography. Realistic? Who knows, but a worthy goal.

Today my Module 2 team shared their reasons for coming to IMD, and each person’s reason was very different. My reasons are simple:

  1. My love for learning and challenge
  2. My desire to be taken more seriously as a young woman in business

Coming back to these driving forces is important during overwhelming times and allows me to prioritize.

I don’t have any knowledge-bombs to drop on you today. So much of the last four months have been about doing the hard work of implementing what we already know. Prioritization is one of those things. The list of assignments, recommended readings, and interest groups is impossible for any individual to complete. I admit I spent too much time trying to do it all in Module 1. Faculty continuously recommend books to read, and my current reading list will surely take 3 diligent years to complete.

But the reading list will have to wait. This month we are formally starting the job search process, and I’ll be planning a major career cluster event. MBAs that haven’t yet solidified their post-MBA goals hope to find their inspiration now. We are also diving deeper into our leadership experience and learning about ourselves through the PDE (Personal Development Elective) analysis.

I keep hearing that much of what we learn from our IMD experience is learned upon reflection, sometimes years later. It can’t be a bad idea to take time to reflect and ground ourselves now, as so many MBAs are doing.  Let’s set ourselves up for success in the next set of hurdles on the horizon.

Emma James

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