South African participant, Frances Rousseau, shares her MBA experience and compares her expectations of the program to the reality so far.

Comparing Expectations to Reality

As a part of the “born free” generation of South Africans, IMD’s commitment to diversity and inclusion stood out to me amongst top international B-schools. I was delighted to find during my very first week at IMD that this commitment was sincerely upheld. Being a few years below the average class age of 30, I admit I felt a bit of imposter syndrome going in, with only four years of formal work experience under my belt. But I was delighted to find that there was absolutely zero prejudice from the class or faculty regarding any demographic trait.

I also expected to be totally out of my comfort zone academically. However, I was surprised to find the theory of core courses like operations, accounting and finance, easier to grasp than I expected. (Disclaimer: the work is challenging, but by no means unmanageable.) Perhaps fewer years of work experience was actually a plus, since ‘re-learning’ how to learn in a classroom came back quite easily. The more likely cause however, is the world-class quality of the faculty. Our professors continue to impress, bringing their subject matter to life with rich anecdotal evidence and technical mastery.

Economics - Professor Ralf Boscheck
Economics class with Professor Ralf Boscheck

While I fully expected Module 1 to be jam-packed, I completely underestimated the impact of the leadership stream on my mental capacity and growth. One does not have to be a seasoned business leader to reap the full benefits of this program. Group structures and high-pressure, high-performance contexts force me to confront myself as a teammate and as a leader every day. And no matter where one starts in this journey, one is almost certain to have made significant progress by the end of the program. Talk about real impact! The leadership stream sure helps push you forward in your personal development.

Challenge is Fun

The most challenging aspect so far has been balancing all the wonderful experiences that this year has to offer:

I am grateful to be confronted with this challenge so early on in my career. It will equip me to lead a more balanced life and, in doing so, become a more effective contributor to global change.

Frances Rousseau

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