Two Down..

Exactly two months ago we started this amazing journey into the MBA program and yet it feels like we have been here much longer. From learning to critically analyze a term sheet in the entrepreneurship class to preparing free cash flows in the finance class, we have learnt a lot. But more importantly, we have had a chance to put our learning into practice through the integrative exercise. Having heard all kinds of rumors about the rigor and the sleep deprivation we would be subjected to, I was not sure how it would all work out. And yet all of us survived!

As I reflect back on the 48 hours that went by, I realize that the exercise is a mirage or a rabbit hole in some way. By the virtue of the fact that there is no right or wrong solution to the problem, the job lies in coming up with a solution that could potentially work and every route that you take has its own challenges. Thus I believe that the point of the exercise lies not in solving the problem, but building consensus as a team and working in ways to harmonize each member’s strength. And in the process we learn to filter and analyze lot of data, make realistic assumptions under uncertainty and solve problems on the way.

What has amazed me the most in these last days is how time crisis actually brought about the best in us as a team. And despite the stress, we managed to laugh a lot and sleep for a bit too! No excel and power points were lost and we managed to make it on time to present. We had huge gaps in the presentation to start with and the board’s feedback made us think critically, address the gaps in our analysis and question some of our assumptions. It can never be perfect, but all in all it ended well. If I were to sum up my leanings from this exercise, it would be the following:

Big picture to small: Brainstorming and putting every idea on the board as a team always helps bring all those problems to the fore which we never thought of individually. Needless to say this goes a long way in coming up with a better hypothesis.

Agility: Half way through solving the problem, one could realize that half the assumptions made were wrong and we need to be flexible enough to accept the same and adapt fast.

Presentation: Last but not the least is all that has been hypothesized and thought about has to reflect in the power point for the jury to see.

While most of this sounds like common sense, we can lose perspective under time constraints and stress and this exercise is a stark reminder of the same. All said and done, this experience unlike a few others is very unique to IMD. Some of us love it a lot and others not so much, yet it bonds us to other IMDers in a very special way. We can shout, fight or cry in the moment but in posterity we all smile 🙂

 

Team Hydromea after 36 hours ! From left to right :Mo Allam, Kemeng Jiao,Will Chiou, Thibault Acolas, Xi Zhang

 

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A little bit of this and a little bit of that

Hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying reading about our journey as much as we are enjoying sharing it with you. As I reflect on the 3 weeks that I have gone by, I feel very time warped as I can’t remember what happened when… So much happens everyday.. Yet I also realize that we are already in February and time has just flown by. We have been assigned our respective groups and have had a chance to meet the founders of our startup projects.  It is all picking up pace now!

We had the first entrepreneurship class last week by Prof Benoit Leleux and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The beauty of these classes lies not in the fact that all the cases discussed in class have been written by him but that he has been involved in every case. Learning doesn’t get any more real world than this!  This class has added a whole new dimension to my approach towards analyzing businesses. It has made me cognizant of the fact that as environment changes, businesses can evolve drastically and hence  it is imperative for a business plan to be an evolving story than a static one. I have also begun to realize why VC’s focus so much on teams.

Another exciting event of last week has been our leadership experiential. It seems me to that this is the most well-guarded secret of the IMD program. All my questions to several alumni in the past about what this involves have always gone unanswered. So, I have to keep up with the tradition and I won’t share much about what the experiential entailed but more about our learning. Involving a series of team based activities, the exercise is about looking at self in a group setting. We get to reflect about own behaviors both positive and negative from our own analysis first and then based on feedback from others.  These exercises are like a mirror which show us who we really are. We get back to the point of reflection again as we think about what we can do to improve and evolve as better leaders. Unfortunately, this unique experience and many others morph into some form of assignments eventually which need to be finished so that they can be graded.

Speaking of assignments makes me realize that there is a whole lot of reading to be done for next week and fretting too much or thinking too much about it doesn’t change the outcome! I was told by students from last year how it could get like a pressure cooker in here in  the first half and now I am starting to realize what they truly meant.

Priyanka

 

Ready Steady Go..

My name is Priyanka Chandran and I come from India. I have been a finance professional and worked across business development, strategy and deal structuring over the past 9 years. I have been an avid reader of this blog for quite some time and experienced the vicarious pleasure of living this journey. So I am very excited that it’s my turn now !!  Along with the other members of the blog team, I hope to be able to provide a sneak peek into our lives over the next year.

So how was the start? Well on a clear crisp Thursday morning as IMD opened up its gates to us, we were all suited up for the kick off. While most of us had exchanged through whatsapp groups and had the chance to meet others in our first few days in Lausanne, this was the first formal gathering of the entire batch. A laughter here and a banter there, we were all trying to make acquaintances. Yet as I sat in the conference room, what struck me more than the diversity of the participants  was the harmony we exhibited as a group when we supported each other during our move and setting up phase in Lausanne.

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The agenda of the first day involved basic administrative aspects and a formal introduction to the program and the IMD team. But as we gear up for classes starting next week, I have to share that we had already been given pre-course work on topics ranging from accounting to statics and leadership. Yes! We were transitioning away from our corporate lives and into the MBA program simultaneously. As we keep pace with the deadlines coming up over the next days, I also have to announce that we have already inaugurated the dungeons  over the last 2 days. We are beginning to pick up steam now and await interesting times ahead. I sign off now with the promise to keep you updated with the latest information from the classes and dungeons.

À bientôt

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