International business is the key theme to the MBA’s recent studies on campus and beyond as students head to Silicon Valley and Singapore.

With such a busy schedule, it can be challenging to find an opportunity to reflect on everything we have been doing at IMD this past week. But when the opportunity does arise – such as on an eleven-hour flight from Zurich to San Francisco as we head to the destination of our second discovery expedition – one must make the most of it.  

A recurring theme across our sessions and experiences that stands out to me is ‘applying our learnings in an international business context’. Our course adopted this theme and enabled us to perceive international business from four different angles – finance, strategy, interpersonal relationships, and experiential. 

The group was thrilled to have an opportunity to be taught finance once again by Professor Arturo Bris. This time, he taught us the fundamentals of mergers and acquisitions and gave us the opportunity to apply our learnings through a simulated M&A process whereby an acquiring company sought to acquire the target company to achieve international expansion. 

Meanwhile, in our international business sessions, Professor Niccolò Pisani discussed the key considerations managers need to make for international expansion. We considered factors to determine where and how a company can compete, focusing on three strategies: adaptation, aggregation and arbitrage. Beyond the market strategy, Professor David Bach took us on a journey to investigate how companies develop a non-market strategy to enable the success of their market strategy. One fascinating deep dive was on how VW used the diesel scandal as an opportunity to pivot into electrification and gain leadership in international markets.  

In our leadership sessions, we studied cross-border interpersonal transactions and key things that we need to consider when communicating with or providing feedback to people from other cultures.  

Finally, we packed our bags over the weekend in preparation for our international discovery expedition to either San Francisco or Singapore to learn about the hubs that convert start-ups into international businesses.

In San Francisco, our budding entrepreneurs presented to venture capital investors. Subsequently, we were invited to dinner with IMD alumnus and serial entrepreneur Thierry Maupilé and we learned how international entrepreneurs have played a role in making Silicon Valley into the successful tech start-up hub that it is today. 

Me with teammates Geoffroy and Fabrizio as they prepare for their early morning venture award pitch on Monday

The winner of the venture award will be announced at the end of the week. Good luck to our entrepreneurs! 


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