IMD MBA students balance program challenges and the end of their startup projects, with a weekend getaway to Zermatt and the Matterhorn.

When it feels like we’re drowning in a sea of tasks and responsibilities, a free weekend is like finding an ice cream truck in the middle of a scorching desert – a sweet relief!

The Matterhorn

Following a challenging integrative exercise (a 48-hour case study covering multiple issues), some of us decided to visit Zermatt and catch a glimpse of the Toblerone mountain before it was too late. We boarded the Matterhorn Glacier Ride, a feat of Swiss engineering, and ascended to nearly 3,000m above sea level to take in the Matterhorn peak. As we reached the summit, the views took our breath away. It got me thinking about how IMD MBA can be likened to a climb up the mountain as it requires students to navigate steep paths, overcome obstacles, and ultimately reach the summit.

My team: Mads Moller Mogensen, Jeremy Rose, Sidra Haider, Bingjie Lyu, me and Antonio Colantuoni-McEvoy, with leadership coach, Rebecca Meadows and the alps in the background

The mountainous terrain of the Swiss Alps surrounding IMD’s campus serves as a metaphor for the journey that lies ahead for us.

Imagine you’re on a ski trip, cruising up the mountain in a cozy gondola. As you soar through the snow-covered peaks, you notice there are several stops along the way. Some people hop off to hit the slopes, others take a break to soak in the stunning views, and a few even turn back early. This reminded me of my own journey at IMD. It’s like you’re riding up the mountain of success, and each station represents a new challenge to conquer. One of the initial challenges is the startup project.

Our startup project

Working with startups as they bring their unique vision and innovative ideas to market is a rewarding and exciting experience. All 15 startups are more agile and nimble than large corporations, leading to more creative problem-solving. My startup team is working for Sibius, a company that commercializes software platforms based on patented Digitrack technology that is meant to revolutionize the way early screenings of cognitive disorders are conducted. This game-changing technology will greatly simplify screening for ASD and other cognitive disorders such as ADHD and dementia. Considering the lifetime cost of an ASD patient is around €1.1m, this can mean significant savings for the healthcare system.

our team with SIBIUS founder and MBA alumna, CEO Corinne Avelines

In this process, we conducted interviews with CMOs (Chief Medical Officers) at top pharma companies to understand the clinical trial process. With this information, we found that we’d be able to add value by creating a go-to-market strategy, as we have in our past careers. However, as we went deeper into this space, we realized how different this is in the MedTech space – and given the complexities around regulatory requirements, the approach to innovation is substantially different from our former understanding.

As I sit here, less than 24 hours before my presentation, I can’t help but reflect on the Zermatt mountains as a symbol of the tenacity, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of the IMD MBA program. Despite the hardships along the way, my team and I were able to play to our strengths and worked arduously through our scheduling constraints to add value to the project and be proud of our work.


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