Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has become a crucial and transformational element at workplaces. Several studies have been conducted which reaffirm that organizations that are diverse and inclusive are more likely to outperform less diverse & inclusive organizations on innovation, profitability, and growth.
At IMD, we are truly getting immersed in experiential learning. Under the leadership stream, we are learning about concepts of DEI and the benefits it brings to organizations. We are also experiencing this diversity & inclusion for ourselves at IMD. In our cohort, 39 nationalities create an exciting potpourri of social & ethnic backgrounds, age, culture, race, educational background & professional experiences. Though belonging to the gender group that forms 35% of our class, I truly feel an integral part of the potpourri.
During a session with IMD President Jean-François Manzoni, he emphasized the importance of DEI for leaders. He inspired us, as tomorrow’s leaders, to focus not only on increasing business profitability but also on making the world a better place. The diversity among the cohort is the unique opportunity that we must leverage. An opportunity that could allow us to learn from each other as much as we will learn from professors at IMD.
Professor Manzoni also highlighted that though diversity brings different perspective, it also creates friction. As leaders we must therefore learn to embrace the light created by friction that can illuminate our path. This process is often uncomfortable, but as reflective and responsible leaders, we care about this because its fair.
While charting the waters of DEI, a befitting example was cited. This depicts the difference between acknowledging and implementing DEI practices:
Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being invited to dance at that party.
As we embark upon this MBA adventure, we are embracing the differences in our thoughts, perspective and outlook. We are learning to find innovative solutions to complex business problems. The environment fosters our professional and personal growth and we must harness our diversity to become world class leaders.