When all you want is “nothing”

my tryst with minimalism

One of our MBA partners this year, Swati Dalal, shares her impressions of Lausanne and new opportunities.


Last year, I came across a beautiful article on minimalism, in which the author eloquently explained how her family had taken a conscious call to follow a minimalistic lifestyle to unclutter their lives. The article really struck a chord with me. It was like looking into the mirror.

More clothes than we can wear, more food than we can eat, more work than we can do, more friends than we can love – maximum life (or minimum) in maximum city. While excessive consumerism has become synonymous with well-being, you don’t need an understanding of welfare economics or Pareto’s principle to comprehend that socio-economic divide is at the helm of most (if not all) conflicts in the world. We love blaming the politicians, the corporate houses, even God, while we hide behind an occasional visit to the orphanage.

I would be a hypocrite to say that I am any different. While the article made me ruminate on my lifestyle, I did not find it very practical. To me, it was an American thought propagated by an Instagram mom. It was her “thing”. Good on Facebook, not so much in real life, at least not in my life.

However, sometimes the Universe knows what’s best for you. A month back, we moved to Lausanne – a new life, limited means. It is incredible how much our context defines our lifestyle. With no family, no jobs and no friends, we had no context in Lausanne to influence our choices. We were “nobodies” and trust me, at times, that’s the best thing that can happen to you!

As we went about laying our new life, I knew it was time for me to embrace what I had been wanting all along. It was my chance at having “less” and living “more”. For the first time in my life, I started differentiating between need and want. And it was not just me!! As I got to know the city of Lausanne, I was overwhelmed by its efforts to reduce improvidence.

This was in complete contrast to my perception of the western world (defined by Hollywood, books, sitcoms etc.). No QSR outlets choking the streets, no big malls luring customers, no under-construction multi-storey buildings, no neon signs glaring in your face. Lakes, parks, walking and cycling tracks, quiet restaurants, antique boutiques. A walk down the lane and you would know that this town is not looking to BUY, not looking to SELL. More people on walk-ways than in the supermarkets, more people in the community centre than in H&M. You already know what the city stands for, and if you don’t, then try recycling! This town does not believe in wastefulness.

I was amazed to see that a city that has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, houses people that consider it a personal responsibility to allocate trash in eight (or maybe more) categories for recycling! From house sizes to recreational activities to food choices, the austerity is evident.

I came across people who make soap at home to protect the environment from harmful chemicals, and those who would feed only whole grains to birds at the lake (no white bread please!). I had never come across this level of social consciousness and it was overwhelming.

Needless to say that the goodness rubbed off, not just on me, but on my daughter as well. From having a room full of toys, she came down to a couple of dolls. And, from having a huge wardrobe, I came down to a couple of sweaters. The change had a purging effect. It was incredible how little we had to choose between, and how much time and energy that saved. I discovered recipes that she enjoyed, and she made paintings, which I put on the wall. We cooked, played, walked, trekked, and we did not need anything to do anything.

Just a couple of days before we left to return to India, we went to a shop which had some toys. As my daughter had not bought a single toy in three weeks, I thought of treating her with something small. I asked her what she wanted to buy, she just looked at me and said “Mom, I don’t want anything. I have toys at home.”


P.S- We are back in Mumbai and trying hard to keep up with our new lifestyle!



Neharika is passionate, curious, dynamic and resilient

Passionate, curious, dynamic and resilient.

I’m Neharika from India and have spent majority of my life experiencing the cultures and contrast across some of the largest cities in India.

I’ve my own version of the very popular Paulo Coelho quote: “when you want something bad enough, work so hard (and smart) that the entire universe is forced to conspire in helping you achieve it”



My professional experience spans 9.75 years in business development, client management & revenue enhancement through providing consulting services for FMCG and financial services global clients. I started with Morgan Stanley Capital International and post 6.5 years, transitioned to Absolutdata, a boutique advanced analytics & services firm, leading the marketing analytics team.

 Tell us one unique thing about yourself

I spent about 5 months sailing around the world on an LPG carrier (can be easily compared to a large truck on water 😉) without any internet or modern means of communication. To make it even more adventurous, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice in the middle of stormy winters!! 


I would consider my life successful and well spent if it is full of inspiring conversations; I meet and lead unique and talented people; and create an impact at each and every step of my life.






Saba advocates healthcare access for all

“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose”
Dr. Seuss

I am a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I became familiar with his books when I was a little girl, listening to the iconic stories about imaginative characters that got my mind going. As an adult, I have come to appreciate the whimsical language and the poignant and inspirational messages that transcend through those glossy, colorful pages.

My name is Saba Yasini and I am an Iranian American, born in Tehran, Iran and raised in sunny California. I have a knack for putting myself in and adapting to unfamiliar situations, which is what initially brought me to where I am today: at IMD in Switzerland.


For the past seven years, I’ve been working as a contracts negotiator managing international contracts at various pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Two years ago, I moved to Switzerland to take on a job assignment at Intuitive Surgical, a surgical robotic company, to create a contracts management infrastructure. As a big advocate of “healthcare access for all”, I would like to focus my future efforts on market entry and redefining risks factors determining such decisions and I hope IMD will equip me with the knowledge and skills to pursue these goals.

How does success look like to me?

Success for me is more of a path paved with lots of learning and self- exploration than a destination. Post IMD graduation, I’m confident I will be able to apply these learnings in a career that will simultaneously reward and challenge me… And will I succeed? In words of Dr. Seuss: “Yes you will indeed! 98 ¾ percent guaranteed.”



Rafael celebrates Brazilian carnaval

It’s carnival and time to celebrate!!!

Brazilian culture is very well known for its vibrancy. From the creativity of its football players to the beauty of its beaches on the coast, the country receives tourists from all over the world every year. In this sense, the carnival is probably the best example of celebration which symbolizes enjoyment, music and creativity all together. Continue reading “Rafael celebrates Brazilian carnaval”

Snowshoes as a way to get to know each other

Professor Knut Haanaes joined IMD in 2017 and is currently the Deputy Dean of the MBA program and a professor of Strategy at IMD. His research interests are related to strategy, digital and sustainability. Before joining IMD, Professor Haanaes was a senior partner at The Boston Consulting Group. Continue reading “Snowshoes as a way to get to know each other”