End of a year, beginning of a lifetime

“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”, said Dr. Seuss. And it seems he said it to help me capture in one line this most amazing year. The inevitable happened yesterday – the program came to an end for us and we were unsure about how we felt. We were delighted of course to be called the IMD MBA Graduate, after all we had worked for at least two years to get that title (yes do not forget the long arduous application process). But like first time school goers who cling to their mothers on their first day of school, we were clinging to those last moments, except in our case we didn’t want to go away from this school. But we have to move on! That was inevitable and now is the reality. So where did we find the resolve to say goodbye with a heavy heart and to move on? Well, Dr. Seusse helped a bit. And it also helped that we promised to each other to stay in touch. But perhaps what has helped the most is that we are taking away a little something from each of the other 89 graduates. The new “me” is now made up of a little essence of each of my classmates. Each one of my friends has come to represent for me and others a particular trait. A virtue. A perspective. An emotion and it is this that perhaps will stay with us for a lifetime and it is this essence that gives me the resolve to move forward because now I know that I do not have to rely on just myself.

An obvious question to ask at this point is was it worth it? All the physical and emotional stretch? This abrupt break to our, in many cases, flourishing careers. What has this year given us? For me the answer is clear – a truly open mind. This year has taught me to engage, work, thrive and even rejoice with people who are very different from us. To not judge. To be grateful that there is a point of view that is so different – because that is the real opportunity to find common ground and make progress. This year has taught me to trust people and be led by them. This year has taught me that you do not optimize situations which demand a trade-off between people’s welfare and material wealth – you simply stand for the people – always! This year has taught me that individuals can often dream dreams bigger than themselves and achieve them, as long as they are willing to work with others, bring them along and inspire them to be their best. This year taught me to never make assumptions, certainly not about people. Often we do not know what people are battling, but we can certainly ask and in many cases we can help – we must. This year taught me that it is ok to ask for help, it is ok to take a break, to shed a tear and it is ok to start all over again! And I have realised we can do all of this only when we have a truly open mind. One that is curious, one that asks questions, one that genuinely cares and one that looks at possibilities.

Was all of this worth it? Hell yes!!!!! And the graduation day was the best testimonial that their could be. The whole year came into focus in that one moment. The harmony surrounded us.

It was great to meet our family and friends and also those of our classmates. They shared in our happiness and made it special! They made us realise, as my dear friend Luca said in his brilliant speech (complemented tremendously by Antoine), how blessed we are. How much love and support we have around us –  some that we do not even acknowledge, some that we do not even recognize. We couldn’t have asked for a better graduation day and culmination to this most amazing year of our lives. Those moments will perhaps never be re-created, except in our minds but I take solace in the fact that it happened. 

As I move on to the next milestones in my life, I safely hand you over to the fantastic blog team of 2017. Thanks for being by our side through our journey and I hope you will accompany the next batch in the same spirit.

To the batch of 2017 – Welcome! And if you are looking for one piece of advise – I would say keep an open mind. You will only become better and get enriched in these corridors. I wish you all the best!

From this beautiful French part of Switzerland – Au revoir!

Signing off for the last time!

Kunal

CEO’s, Leadership and ICP’s

After jet-setting around Europe for 7 weeks I have finally gotten time to talk about it. So our ICP with a telecom giant took me and my team from Hungary to Ireland and everywhere in between. ICP’s are a key part of the MBA program and now that it is over, I can see why it is such a brilliant idea to wrap-up our MBA with a real project for a real client solving real problems.

I am delighted to share that our client was very happy with our work and clearly could see the value-add we brought to the company. All the leadership, finance, accounting, problem-solving and critical thinking lessons learnt throughout the year came in handy to solve the issues at hand.

Immediately, after the ICP’s we headed back to IMD and were greeted with a fantastic gathering of CEO’s of some of the top companies. IMD hosts CEO Rountable for top leaders from across different industries once a year. And this was a great opportunity for us to meet some of these top leaders and learn from them.

I had the chance to hear from Boris Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer. He is clearly an extraordinary executive who climbed up the Banking ladder pretty swiftly and so had some great first hand experiences to share from his journey. His presentation laid out the challenges facing the Wealth Management sector and also his plans to steady Julius Baer to face those challenges well and become a stronger Bank. I must say it is quite extraordinary to hear directly from these people right at the top. Their clarity of vision, simple few point plans and tremendous faith in their abilities and those of their people is quite inspiring to see. It also makes this very real, so much so that we can for the first time begin to believe that some of us can be in those positions and can be fully capable of making similar decisions.

Boris left us with three great lessons for our own careers and I will share those with all of you.

  1. “You guys are too young to do a job you don’t like”
  2. “You guys are too young to not take really big risks”
  3. “Do not over-plan. It is good to have some ideas about your future but do not try to forecast everything. At the same time develop a knack for spotting opportunities as they come”.

 

I am going to reflect on these lessons for sure and I hope you will too.

 

All the best

 

International Consulting Projects and delighted clients

ICP’s or international consulting projects, that over the years have become a hallmark of IMD’s MBA program, kicked off on the 26th of September.

ICP’s are real consulting projects where we, MBA students, in teams of 5 or 6 are expected to develop solutions to real world strategic, operational or organisational challenges facing our clients. The rolodex of IMD clients is envied by even some top consulting firms. The list this year includes a large telecommunication firm, a leading automaker, top pharma companies, and many more. Many of my classmates are already flying to places far off and nearby to meet clients or visit their markets. Copenhagen, Zambia, London, Madrid – evey place is on the map.

Continue reading “International Consulting Projects and delighted clients”

OMG OCR

Time is flying and in a jet. 9 months are behind us and OCR in front. Recruitment season has begun and the batch of 2016 has begun to “get placed”. We had our first career fair earlier this week and loads of interviews in the past few days. I know you want to know the companies that are here and trust me I am keen to share as well but we will have to wait for that a little bit longer.

Continue reading “OMG OCR”

San Francisco asks “why not?”

IMG_3689We, the American contingent, have concluded our discovery expedition. You have already read a lot about the Mexican leg of the trip which stood out for its contrasts, social entrepreneurship and gigantic manufacturing and supply chain operations. Now is the turn of America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. No better place in America than San Francisco to witness the “free and the brave” mindset. Continue reading “San Francisco asks “why not?””

Monterrey

A quick update from the Americas team. We arrived in Monterrey and have already had the chance to witness non-stop large scale operations at Wal-Mart and Lego. Mighty impressive set-ups I must say.

Also I am impressed by the fact that how well the MBA education prepares us to engage in meaningful dialogue with people from different companies and industries. Having done both Wal-Mart and Lego cases in class, seeing these operations first hand was such a fine culmination of the learning process.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the Lego factory. The level of automation, precision and quality made it clear it was no child’s play.

More on the trip to follow from my fellow travellers. Watch this space!