From self-awareness to market simulation exercises, IMD MBA students learn about market dynamics – and their own biases

The purpose of studying is not just to absorb knowledge, but also to creatively apply it by putting theory into practice.


A couple of weeks back, Sorelle wrote an insightful blog about the leadership lab, which is at the core of IMD’s leadership stream. We talked about the Johari Window, a technique designed to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others, and tapping into our unconscious mind.

Now the leadership lab helped us to understand our “signature” reactions, we will continue this journey through the Personal Development Elective (PDE). PDE is one way to help us understand our values and where we come from, and allow us to pause, reflect, and tune in to what’s going on with the help of a certified analyst. It will be a 1,000-minute journey focused on building self-awareness with instruments we touched upon during leadership lab. As one of the alumni said, “The best part about PDE is that it gives you the tools you need to continue growing well after it’s over.”

Experiential learning

On that note, let me tell you about our finance professor, Arturo Bris, who needs no introduction. He taught us the most important lesson: “You don’t decide your value. Markets do!” We learned about the dynamics of the market through a market simulation exercise. The rules of the game were simple: the class, acting as a market, decides the value of a share. This exercise also taught us how people are governed by their own biases and how people with little to no information governed the market and were making profits.

Professor Arturo Bris

Experiential learning is at the core of the IMD MBA. We are not just handed frameworks in class, but we also learn to put these theories into practice, allowing us to validate their effectiveness and relevance. This sentiment is echoed across all the streams, even in accounting. (To spice up his experiential exercises, our accounting professor, Florian Hoos, frequently mentions the name of popular musicians).

As part of a business game, our study groups were transformed into independent companies and given the simple task of coming up with a strategy that could explain the firm’s financial statements. We then recorded a video with each of us playing a part to explain the strategy to our shareholders.

At IMD, we don’t just learn theories and frameworks – we get our hands dirty and dive headfirst into real-world situations. Through experiential learning, we actively engage with the material being learned. So, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and learn by doing, IMD is the place for you!


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