Our series of summer postcards continues!
Our series of summer postcards continues!
IMD Conversations is a new format to share peer conversations on topics relevant to business and social change. We will cover current implications, personal experiences, and how we aspire to make an impact through our future careers.
No human is an island. As women make strides in professional and socio-political settings, I was curious to hear what my male MBA peers thought about existing issues and opportunities. I am thrilled to introduce our first IMD Conversations topic with Lukasz (Poland/Germany), Vivek (India), and Jaco (South Africa), in line with Women’s Day …
Jaco, Vivek, and Lukasz
Surbhi: I’d like to start off with hearing about the influential women in your life. In the spirit of Women’s Day, share their role in your lives and their impact on who you are today.
Vivek: My mother is the reason I am here, and her support has been invaluable especially in leaving home and coming to IMD. She stood against all the odds she faced over the years and she has taught me how to smile even in the worst possible situations. She really has inspired me throughout my life.
Lukasz: I would mention my wife and one of the key things I learned from her: how to better understand people’s emotions. Emotions are important in connecting and communicating with others. Whether in private life or in my consulting career – I can be more impactful and more myself when I clearly understand my own and other people emotional state. And with years I appreciate the value of emotional intelligence even more. In the end, our life is about people.
Jaco: The lady I want to speak about is my sister. She is 12 years my senior and helped raise me. She was the first in our family to pursue a professional career and did her Masters in Engineering. At that time it was a very male-dominated industry. I remember her saying how challenging it is, how women aren’t taken seriously in that field. So, I came into the workforce being comfortable with women being capable but also conscious that women have a hard time in business. My sister was very successful at a petrochemical company and I followed in her footsteps and studied chemical engineering. 16 years down the line, as a manager at an engineering company, she observed a change; more women were entering the industry.
Surbhi: So, in your career, before IMD, what value have you seen diversity bring to the workplace, in specific, the inclusion of more women
Jaco: The key to diversity lies in being tolerant and embracing differentiation. If you have a whole bunch of the same type of person in the room you don’t have the same learning opportunities as you do if you have a diverse group. I don’t have the best way to do this figured out yet, but I do know that it’s hard if you’re in the minority.
Lukasz: I believe diversity is very important. Working with people who think differently is not always easy, but can lead to more innovative, better solutions. Having more women in the workplace is one of the powerful ways to add this diversity to the corporate environment. It becomes even more important when we look at the upper ranks, as there are still not enough women in top leadership positions. Personally, I was lucky to work with a few women leaders in my career and I have to say I was impressed by their capabilities, both on technical as well as on the more softer, leadership side.
Vivek: I agree completely. I come from a manufacturing company with relatively few women. I hired two women for project management positions and it proved to be a very good decision. The perspectives and compassion they brought to the team resolved people-challenges that we never realized existed and were impacting our business. We were completely focused on the process and execution and they introduced a more empathetic approach to problem-solving. The success of the project is due to how they involved different stakeholders and made them comfortable with the work that we were doing.
Surbhi: While I think many more women are entering the workforce, boardrooms still have a long way to go before we see equal representation. As future senior executives and CEOs, what are actions and initiatives you would lead to improving female inclusion in the workplace?
Vivek: The question is how many of the women entering the workforce in starting positions will be able to sustain. Are they feeling safe at work? Do they feel they can grow to higher positions? Or is their only choice to leave after a certain point due to family obligations? I think flexible working hours, work safety, and professional development support will help smart, ambitious women climb up the ladder.
Lukasz: I share most of Vivek’s views on what the corporate world can do. What I would add to that is the necessity to work here and now on cultural beliefs. I still see many women who don’t believe they can succeed despite their capabilities. Mentoring and showing women successful stories can help change their perspective. Additionally, I think that giving women opportunities and vocally trusting their abilities could also play an important role.
Jaco: Along with a conducive environment and long-term goals that Vivek and Lukasz mentioned, I can say in my experience when I have had to recruit, I saw a lack of female applicants, which limits my ability in a managerial capacity. Which makes me wonder why? Why is that? My starting point as a future executive will be to understand, what are the barriers women face when entering the workplace, from getting a job application in, to where women in the workplace have previously been excluded due to barriers, and then I could formulate a strategy to address these issues.
My heartfelt thanks to Jaco, Vivek, and Lukasz, for a meaningful discussion. While we have a long way to go, it is heartening to know that the next generation of senior management will foster greater inclusion and diversity.
With one of my favorite TED Talks by MacArthur Fellow and fabulously dressed feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “We Should All Be Feminists”, I wish all the ladies, and all the men who care about and celebrate us, a Happy Women’s Day!!
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As MBAs in training and future visionaries looking to make a dent in the world (we hope), we have already had experience with brand management for products, or expect to learn the latter in the months to come. A subject less often discussed is the nebulous, subjective, and frankly tough job of branding ourselves. In a world where everyone and their pet chameleon are on social media, branding is as universal as it is essential to conducting business, be it medicine, manufacturing, or mergers and acquisitions.
Which brings me to our Career Development session yesterday with Arjen Iwema from W-Focus on Personal Branding. Most of us have some idea of who we are, and are perhaps less clear about where and who we want to be in the future. Arjen, IMD MBA Class of 2003, spoke to us about his journey towards a clear individual brand, professional and personal, and urged us to use a comprehensive framework to begin our exploration into our branding statements.
The most rewarding part of the day for me was drafting our personal statements and then sharing them within our groups (also our start-up teams). It was a wonderful way to get to know each other beyond qualifications and years of work experience. We shared our feedback with each other and marveled at the various hidden aspects of each other’s personalities. All I can say is, wine enthusiasts, serial marathoners, and auto nerds lurk among us 🙂
A significant takeaway from the session was the value in being authentically yourself because this cannot be replicated. It is difficult at times, especially since many of us come from cultures where humility is paramount, and speaking about yourself is just plain awkward. As we step into pre-executive roles, it may not be required or even advised, to harp on about our abilities. But it would do us a world of good if we have a clear sense of who we are and where we are headed. In a dynamic environment where many things will not go our way, we can at least have a strong sense of self to share with those we want to influence, and more importantly, ourselves.
Now onto prep for Operations class tomorrow! Have a good one.
Making generalizations about an entire generation is a perilous exercise. Stereotypes are not helpful! That being said, for employers, cracking the Millenial code is essential to recruiting – and retaining – new talent.
This week, a panel of five MBAs had a lively dialogue with the participants of the IMD Transformation Summit, an event for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs). What better way to dispel stereotypes than to bring generations together in the same room?
Here were some of the hot button topics in this week’s discussion of Millenials in the workplace: Bosses, job offers, patience, purpose, ambition and loyalty.
What is your idea of a good boss?
What would make you reject an employment proposal?
How long are you willing to wait until you get to the leadership role you’re aiming for (whatever your ambition is in terms of the level of leadership role)?
What big thing would you change in the business world?
Millenials are perceived as being less loyal to the companies they work for and more likely to move around a lot. Is this true? How do you see loyalty?
What are you looking for in terms of work-life balance and job evolution?
Imagine we are a company undergoing a transformation from a traditional and hierarchical organization to a new model. How do we retain you though this process? Inspire you?
Chairing the discussion was Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour. To frame the discussion, Professor Jordan gave an overview of the unique characteristics of Millenials (see Cracking the Millenial Code). For example, Millenials are the first generation brought up with a child-focussed and emotional style that arose from 1960s counter-culture. They are also the first to grow up in a rich media environment offering complex and non-linear computer games. Values also differ: when asked to choose an object that represents freedom to them, Baby Boomers choose the car whereas Millenials choose the mobile phone, closely followed by sneakers!
IMD Research Associate
“It was very beneficial to be part of the panel as I had the opportunity to debate what the main challenges are that companies have attracting Millennial talent. I felt that companies have this matter on the top of their agenda, and are striving to create environments where Millennials can have a meaningful career.”
IMD MBA 2018 Candidate
While the Digital Lab was a new event for our MBAs, recruiting and ICPs remain key highlights at this time of the year. Mathieu Pointeau (MBA blogger 2008) shared his reflections from 10 years ago: Continue reading “100 Stories”
It is said that “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds”. And yesterday’s IMD MBA Global Talent Forum provided the same chance. We welcomed a variety of potential recruiters to campus and it was a platform for us to shine, network and demonstrate what we MBAs can bring to a company. Continue reading “IMD hosts the Global Talent Forum for MBAs”
A note of encouragement from the Career Services team as our MBAs dive into peak interview time!
Dear 2018 MBAs,
Finally, the time has come for you to go out and impress companies around the world.
Over the next two weeks you will be dedicating your time to meet, interview and network with your target companies, whether on-campus or across the globe, depending on your individual post-MBA goals.
Some of you are travelling to remote locations to continue your research and connect with key contacts, while others will remain with us in Lausanne, participating in the on-campus interviews and our Global Talent Forum.
There will be a variety of companies coming on campus, representing some of the most attractive industries for MBA recruitment, such as consulting, technology, pharma, industrial products, FMCG. They range from large corporations to start-ups.
Since the beginning of the year, and even before you arrived to IMD, you have been preparing for this moment. You have followed the career services stream, with seminars and workshops tailored to polish and sharpen your skills in order to impress recruiters and showcase your value. Guided by your coaches, alumni mentors, faculty, and our team, you have gone through in depth self-assessment, with the purpose of understanding your deepest motivations and deciding where you want this MBA to take you. Now you are ready for the next stage.
We know that your career journey is long and at times challenging, we feel proud to accompany you in this laborious yet exciting path.
Your Career Services Team