Hi - as MBA Marketing Specialist at IMD one of the fun tasks I enjoy is managing the MBA blog - selecting the writers and photographers and encouraging them to share their MBA journey with our readers.
Now that the Discovery Expedition has reached its end, our MBAs are ready to enjoy a well-deserved break!
Over the next few weeks they will be traveling the world to visit family and friends; explore career opportunities and network; relax, sightsee or try out new activities. As usual, they seem determined to make the most of every second, and will be sharing blog / instagram postcards with us to share their various summertime adventures.
Here is the first one:
Visited the flavor and fragrance company, Givaudan in Geneva, with 11 of my classmatese today – a chance to engage our senses!
Being one half of two isn’t always easy. Sometimes it requires making huge sacrifices we aren’t always ready to make. That time came for me last June when we found out my husband had been accepted to IMD’s program. At the time we were living a dream life in Perth Australia. 265 sunny days a year, 7 gorgeous beaches within a 10 minutes drive, a fantastic job, incredible friends… it was pretty much the life I’d always hoped I’d live. Now I had to leave it.
Externally, I wanted to support his dreams, after all we were in paradise because he allowed me to chase mine, so how could I not support his? Internally, I was struggling to find a way to accept the impending move. I’d never moved to somewhere I hadn’t personally pursued. I had a million questions I couldn’t answer and that both terrified and excited me.
What I will say about a move this big, is that culture shock… she’s real. For me, it reared its head not long after my husband began school. I found myself alone in this strange suspended state of fear. I became afraid to go out because I didn’t know the language, afraid of not fitting in and offending the local Swiss, afraid of getting lost, of trying new things, of venturing out alone. This baffled me because I’d traveled hundreds of times on my own and I always loved it, but this time felt so different. I thought I’d have more time with my husband, but he became involved with a huge workload from the beginning. I didn’t know anyone here adding to the feeling of loneliness and isolation, and I hadn’t the faintest clue how to help myself out of it.
Thankfully the school has a partner program, and this became a light in the dark. It became a way to get out of the apartment I’d sought shelter in, and it forced me to meet men and women who were in similar situations.
The program held a few classes for the partners after their MBA program began, and through one class I learned about culture shock. Sure, I’d heard about culture shock before, but It never occurred to me It might be the answer to what I was experiencing. I learned not only were my emotions normal, but I wasn’t the only one going through them! Many of the partners were experiencing the same emotional roller coaster I was. This crazy common denominator became the very bridge that helped us through this time and brought us together.
I went home feeling like I had opened the closet doors I’d been afraid to look in, and befriended the boogie man inside. The fear I felt finally loosened its grip on me. I slowly became ok speaking my flawed french to others, I was trying, and most importantly I began to relax, enjoying the newfound time I had.
I won’t say that I don’t still struggle from time to time, because I have my moments, and I won’t say that it’s been comfortable because it hasn’t, but it gets easier. Now I’m no longer afraid, and I’m out enjoying the things that Switzerland has to offer! In the last two weeks alone I’ve had fondue in an igloo, I’ve skied one of the best mountains in the world, and I’ve picnicked by a beautiful lake after touring a castle.
I look back to this time last year and ask myself the question, If I knew then what I know now, would I still have pushed my husband to follow his dream and come to IMD? Yes, because his dreams are just as important as mine, and being able to support that means everything.
Every day here feels easier, and lessons get learnt. It’s such a different style of life to what we left, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful. It’s an experience that I’ll look back on and be glad I took. It’s taken courage and tenacity to push through the initial settling period but I wouldn’t change a thing, and already feel stronger because of it.
Leadership, Experience and Intensity are some of the words people relate with IMD MBA. Over a month ago, I started my IMD journey expecting a lot of academic rigor, a vastly diverse group of colleagues and world class faculty. However, within 8 weeks, I have come to realize that IMD is not just any school, this is a unique experience that will test and impact every aspect of your personality.
A lot has happened in the last 8 weeks. From Risk models and Cartel Pricing to Snow excursions and Leadership camps, we are being exposed a host of different experiences. Add to this the start up projects, study groups, assignments and essays, and the plate looks quite full, if not brimming. But this is not all. Not even close.
What makes IMD a truly transforming experience is the systematic way in which the course intends to bring behavioral changes in candidates. A key lever to this is diversity within the class. Probably the most “glorified” word in the corporate world in recent times, we all know how organizations are trying to leverage diversity to foster creativity and growth. IMD is doing this and something more. It is harnessing diversity to create world class leaders.
90 people, 39 nationalities. Add to this the differences in age, experience, industries and educational background, and you know it’s a riot of flavors (or maybe just a riot!). But at IMD, diversity is not a poster boy. It is a strategic tool to test and transform personalities. As fancy as it sounds on paper, the fact is that most managers don’t know how to deal with diversity, let alone embrace or harness it. At IMD, candidates are being taught to develop this skill by what I call an EPIC strategy.
It starts with cranking up the pressure levels in a highly diverse environment, which Exposes all aspects of one’s personality. To ensure that you don’t miss on any fault lines, feedback sessions and coach interventions are strategically placed to drive the point home. Following the exposure, comes the Planning phase. Equipped with the knowledge of your blind spots and a better understanding of your unconscious behaviors, you are now required to put in place your own behavioral development plan. However, every good plan has to be put into effect and helping us in Implementation are our PDE analysts. Having deep understanding of subconscious driven behavioral patterns, they are our guides as we enter the realm of grey (matter). And finally, comes the Change of perspective and personality, enabling us to become a truly global leader.
As we embark upon this adventure, I feel exposed, but I also feel strong. I feel lost, but I also feel anchored. I know that with me in this journey are 89 others and they won’t let me fall. They will push me till I reach the finish line. And with them as my secure base, I feel ready to change, more than ever before!
I have been at IMD for 18 years, and yet I never fail to be surprised at how quickly we seem to move from welcoming a new group of 90 to wishing this same group of friends luck on the next step of their journey.
Friday was graduation day. We (all members of the MBA team) clapped as they received their well-deserved diplomas and we partied with them to celebrate the end of this chapter.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the blog this year. Not only Parth, Neharika, Martina, Joyce, Hassan and our image king, Raj, but so many others have taken the time out of busy schedules to share with us a part of their experience, to give us a glimpse into what makes this year so special.
For 2018, I leave you with a short video
We know this is not goodbye. We look forward to hearing how the journey continues.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream” is a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I have lived my life with determination, trying to do things I have never done before.
Going back to 2017, I came to Switzerland for the assessment and immediately knew that this was the place where I wanted to do my MBA. “Why an MBA?” is the question that everybody asked, including the admission office. Personally, I thought that this would be a period where I could give time to myself, a moment to rethink whether the path I’ve walked my entire 28 years is correct and a moment to have a proper holiday – an opportunity I will probably no longer have until retirement.
Now, here I stand at IMD, one of the most prestigious b-schools in the world. I may have thought incorrectly about the holiday because IMD has been keeping us students very busy! Maybe that’s because it’s a one-year program, which is good as it’s not too time-consuming and is wallet-friendly.
IMD is known for its leadership-stream. I used to wonder how leadership would actually be taught and what made it stand out from the crowd. After the first module was done, I became enlightened. I should have realized long before though as IMD makes sure that students get the best out of their tuition. The environment makes sure that everyone can take the lead and knows how to work with people from different cultures, but more importantly, everyone is a secure base for you. I don’t know where and when I will find a risk-free environment again like one I have found at IMD.
Apart from academics, outside of school life has been fantastic. Opposite IMD is Lac Leman, aka Lake Geneva. On weekends in summer, people from everywhere come to walk around the lake. Why? Because it’s very beautiful. The banner photo should speak for itself. I also explore the area by bike. The scenery is impressive and it’s very safe. Drivers are always aware of cyclists as Swiss people cycle routinely. I don’t know where else it will be so safe to cycle, definitely not in my home country, Thailand.
Since Switzerland is located in the centre of Europe, it’s convenient to go other countries. Evian, France is only 20 minutes away by boat. One of the memorable things that I and my classmates have done is go to see the 2018 Italian Grand Prix in Monza. It was my first time to see the F1 race, and it’s definitely worth going. As I was walking to the track, I heard the race cars screaming loudly. On the stand, Ferrari crowds cheered Sebestian Vettel and Kimi Raikonen, hoping they would win. Too bad for them, Lewis Hamilton won the race, so Mercedes fanboys became happy. Lastly, a car enthusiastic like me can’t be happier as Nordschleife is only one hour away. People from everywhere in the world are eager to drive here at least once in their life. I was absolutely thrilled by the experience, especially by the steering wheel making turns. The Raggazon exhaust screamed as I accelerated and the tires screeched as I turned.