IMD MBA student profile: Viktoras Arapoglou, from Greece, takes us through his varied career, his love for engineering – and the “pivotal moment” which led him to pursue his dream of gaining an MBA.

From a very young age I loved disassembling – and, on many occasions, destroying things I found at home – to better understand how things function. This hands-on experience, coupled with an incredible curiosity, determination, and a lot of patience, it eventually became apparent that I was destined to pursue a career in engineering.

Me with a CMS Detector at CERN

One year into my mechanical engineering studies, I received the call for my mandatory service in the Greek army. Following a moment of hesitation, I embarked on what turned out to be very intense training that pushed my physical and mental limits. After completing the training, I was eventually one of the elites in the Hellenic Presidential Guard. Nine months later, I left with honors, full of rich memories ranging from meeting with foreign government officials to serving alongside Wall Street traders and professional basketball players. Most importantly, I was able to equip myself with incredible resilience and discipline, attributes that until today guide me in navigating turbulent environments.

Lowering of Greek Flag at the Acropolis, Athens, Greece (I’m in the middle)
Parading in front of the Greek Parliament (I’m in the first row on the left)

After completing my military service, I returned to university to pursue my dreams of becoming an engineer, eventually earning a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering. My professional career began in Luxembourg, where I had the chance to contribute to space projects with some of my designs now orbiting in low Earth orbit. Subsequently, I joined CERN on the Swiss-French border, where I worked on impactful projects for the Large Hadron Collider and, finally, after seeking a more dynamic environment, switching to Industry and joining Philip Morris International.

The big change in my life came in July 2023 when my wife and I welcomed our baby boy William. It was a pivotal moment in my life where the rational side of me sought safety and professional stability, but my burning desire for continuous learning – and fulfilling a long-lasting goal I had held on to for the past three years – led me to join the IMD MBA program.

Exploring Lausanne exercise: module 1, group 15

A few months later, I was passing the steps of the Chemin de Bellerive and meeting my cohort for the first time. Instantly, I felt captivated by the international environment and the numerous learning opportunities, I had the chance to attend lectures where professors provided a joyful learning experience.

The program’s core emphasis on sustainability and developing responsible leadership has been evident since the beginning. The mountain experience (top banner image), coupled with the sustainability workshop, was an excellent practical exercise which allowed us to see the impact of climate change and raise awareness of what the future would look like if we don’t act now.

In closing, I look forward to exploring the learning opportunities the program has to offer. I hope that by graduation, I will have enhanced awareness of my strengths, been able to learn from my weaknesses, and ultimately be equipped with the tools and skills I need to deliver meaningful societal and environmental impact as a future leader.

Viktoras Arapoglou

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