BackPack Excellence Scholarship for Women winner, Sorelle, shares her MBA journey of self-discovery and the impact the program has already had.

As I look back on my first month as an MBA student, one of the key things I have experienced is an increased awareness of myself and others. It’s truly a wonderful cohort.

Coming from all over the world, with similar goals to grow in our careers, our leadership roles, and our impact on each other’s lives, it is amazing to see how we have learned to work effectively as a team and support each other so quickly. One of the aspects I am most impressed by is our agility and creativity, how easily we can come up with effective deliverables on new projects.

From the mountain experience at Villars, through to the day-to-day class activities, start-up project, and the leadership lab we had last week, I have enjoyed how efficiently we can learn in different contexts. Despite the sleepless nights, the cold winter, and the demanding class activities, I love how we can still find room to laugh, to connect, and have fun.

‘A wonderful cohort’: Sorelle Djankou (third from left) with (L-R) Consuelo Chauny, Stephanie Vetsch, Ashima Kumari, Sanchita Tibrewala, and Siya Xabanisa

The Leadership Lab

The most fascinating part of the program so far for me has been the leadership lab, for which I would like to thank Professor Jennifer Jordan and her team. Since one of the reasons I joined IMD was to enhance my leadership skills to really impact my environment, I had high expectations from this activity, and I am happy to share that my expectations have been fulfilled.

Three main takeaways here:

1) Building trust with team members through self-opening activities helped us to connect to one another as we discovered similarities in our lives, despite our different paths

2) Going through some team-building games was another activity I loved, as this put us in real life situations where you have to rely on other team members and trust them to get the job done

3) The feedback session was greatly helpful, as it offered us space to reflect and think about the type of leader we would like to be tomorrow.

Our leadership coach Silke Mischke was was so inspiring, and really played a key role in coordinating us throughout. This was a true “Real learning, Real impact” week for myself and my classmates.

Leadership Lab team: Juan Carrillo, Harry Davies, Claudio Lopa, Seiji Nirasawa, Silke Mischke and Sorelle Djankou

Finally, I could not finish this first post without thanking all my professors and classmates, and especially The BackPack Foundation, who awarded me the BackPack-Excellence Scholarship for Women grant that made this dream come true.

Sorelle Djankou with members of the #BackPack Foundation Board including founder Hanne de MoraSara Enriquez and Nina Beer


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