MBA participant, Jessica Roberts from South Africa, shares her profile and how IMD is a life-altering experience for her.

When we returned to beautiful Lausanne from our summer vacation, there was a buzz of excitement and anticipation for what is to come. The last seven months have been an absolute whirlwind tour filled with lessons in growth and development. Now, the last stint is promising to be that and more. I am excited: I am always looking for new challenges, and this MBA has not failed in delivering precisely that!

Me – exploring the running routes around Lausanne

I started to consider an MBA in my mid-twenties, when I realized that I wanted to change my career trajectory. (I still think it is borderline criminal to ask an 18-year-old to decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives!) My background was very technical, and I was working on a trading floor in data analytics. While there, I found that I was more intrigued by the strategic and transformation projects that I was assigned. This led me to consider a career in strategy or consulting. I also aimed to move to Europe -I did not want to be born, live, and die in the same place! At the age of 27, I finally decided to take the leap and joined IMD in Switzerland.

Skydiving in Madrid over the July holidays with fellow MBAs

I am one youngest in my class, and I see this as a strength as I can learn from my classmates with more experience. This was a key deciding factor when choosing between IMD and business schools. To me, doing an MBA at a younger age makes sense for two reasons. Firstly, there is the opportunity cost perspective, and secondly it ensures that the compounding value effect on one’s career is maximized.

Masked ball in Zurich with classmates

However, all the logic that I used in making my decision paled in comparison to this genuinely life-altering experience. I am not the same person I was when I first joined seven months ago. I attribute this to many things. It starts with the heavy hands-on learning from day one. Professor Benoit Leleux throws you right into the deep end of consulting, working with a startup at the very start of the program. This is supported by the outstanding, one-of-a-kind leadership stream led by Professor Jennifer Jordan. But a less obvious key factor is the carefully crafted, unique class who stretch and mold you through your interactions and their rich life experiences.

Skiing trip in Grindlewald with the MBA class
View from Jetee de la Compagnie, a favourite hangout for IMD MBA students


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