“I knew I didn’t want to just design the world around me as an engineer, I wanted to help decide what actually gets designed,” says Craig Plaatjes, South African MBA student.

When I graduated with my degree in electrical and computer engineering, I knew I was about to kick off a temporary period in my career as a consultant engineer. The goal was always to learn and grow as much as possible and to build enough of a foundation to eventually pursue an MBA.

Why an MBA and why now, you might wonder. Well, the age-old cliché holds true – money talks. This is not so much about money in the sense of self-gain, but rather about the significant role business has in making decisions that shape our society and daily lives. I knew I didn’t want to just design the world around me as an engineer, I wanted to help decide what actually gets designed.

Early in 2021, my four years of work experience were rewarded with professional registration. I had reached my goal of becoming a professional engineer. The question started playing on my mind: “What next?” Needless to say, when I got the acceptance call from IMD, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the way to go.

I have always been a stickler about striving for the best. So, as one of the best business schools in Europe, IMD was always top of my list. What truly excited me about coming to IMD was the idea that I was not just joining an MBA program, but I was, in fact, joining a meticulously constructed leadership program that brings together some of the brightest minds from around the globe. The idea of 40 nationalities represented in one class was simply remarkable.

Remarkable is exactly what this journey has been. If I had to use three words to describe the past eight months, those words would be: demanding, exhilarating, and enriching. I knew that a one-year MBA was going to be extremely demanding, and this has proved to be true. However, the sheer breadth of the information we are exposed to is extraordinary. From core MBA modules to the personal development elective, from leadership to sustainability, it has been such a broad array of learnings to assimilate.

I use the word exhilarating as if this journey has been a rollercoaster, because sometimes it is exactly that. It is almost unfathomable that, within the space of just eight months, I have not only learned so much, but I have had the privilege of experiencing these learnings in Lausanne, Paris, Buenos Aires, and San Francisco. Reflecting on the formal and informal learnings, the places – and more importantly, the people – it is impossible to overstate how enriching this experience has been. I am immensely grateful to be part of the IMD community that I get to call home for this year.

To any future applicants/candidates seeking advice, all I can suggest is to be present and purposeful. The IMD MBA is a truly transformative program, but the extent of the transformation is completely in your hands. When you approach every day fully present in mind and body, and when you tackle each day with the purpose of getting the most out of it, you start to realize just how much you can achieve.


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