As a kid, I would spend hours observing purchasing habits at the local marketplace. As I grew older, I was intrigued by the psychology and mathematics behind financial decisions. Heeding my curiosity, I became an Economist and landed a comfortable spot in the financial hub of India – Mumbai.
While working at Credit Suisse, I had the opportunity to lead the digital transformation of financial models from excel based platforms. This project allowed me to work with cross-functional teams across the US, Europe, and Asia. I even found myself leading projects with people more senior to me and had to finesse my communication skills to manage them effectively. As my responsibilities grew, I felt the need for management and leadership education, and IMD fit my requirements.
A world-renowned program with a leadership stream focused on personal development, IMD had the promise to bridge the skill gap to middle management and help me pivot to the tech industry. From the first module, IMD has been impressive in delivering academic concepts and implementing “real learning” from hands-on experiences. The learning curve has been steep; be it opening our hearts at the experiential leadership trips, helping a SaaS startup pivot their business strategy, or developing market entry strategies in 48 hours.
My most significant experience, however, has been the Discovery expedition to Argentina. In the last week of June, half of the IMD batch headed to Buenos Aires to study the volatility in the economy. The expedition started with lectures on the socio-economic history of the country, followed by discussions on tackling inflation with global and local businesses. In a smaller group, we also spoke to personal connections from traditional and tech-based financial services firms. While their experiences differed by company policies, one message echoed uniformly “In Argentina, we are born into volatility! Every child knows how to invest and preserve the value of their savings”. Gustavo, the Argentinian farmer, even exclaimed “Farming in Argentina is five days of spreadsheet and two days in the field!”
Over intense discussions on hedging positions to retain investment values, we were exposed to the world of planning short-term and constant change. Given my background in the subject, I had a special connection to these discussions. I could draw parallels to India’s 2012 exchange rate crisis and how the central bank used similar measures to tackle the same. I will forever be grateful to IMD for exposing me to this melting pot of culture, attitude, and resilience inherited by the Argentinians.
I recommend arriving at Lausanne with an open mind to learn from every opportunity. Dive into every experience IMD offers; there is always learning at the end of it. I have learned more from my colleagues than from any textbook, the richness in industry experience and diversity in cultures have enhanced my MBA life.