The Bee Team

Today’s guest entry is written by Manu Gupta, who is part of the BeeHelpful startup team. Other members of his team are: Sophie Auchapt, Mads Ring Damgaard, Giovanni Gazzale, Xiaomei Gu and Schuyler Weiss.

Imagine a common breakfast – an English muffin with jam, fruits on the side, almonds as a snack, and a coffee to get a quick jolt for the day. Now imagine that not only could you not have this breakfast, but also, that it no longer existed. The production of these food items, and many others, all rely on the hardworking, but threatened, population of bees. For thousands of years bees have played a critical role in the world’s ecosystem, pollinating the world’s crops and flowers. These efforts have provided a base for the world’s species to have a sustainable food source and for the ecosystem to remain in balance. Albert Einstein put it simply, “If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live.”

You may be asking yourself, why is this blog post about bees and not about IMD MBA? Shouldn’t this blog cover topics like finance, industrial analysis, accounting, marketing, entrepreneurship, operations, and/or leadership? Yes, and No.

As part of IMD’s entrepreneurship stream we are split up into groups of six and paired with a real life startup here in Switzerland. Our group was lucky enough to be paired with “BeeHelpful”, a startup that is developing a hive designed to save the declining bee population. Some may question how the skills we are learning at IMD may apply to a startup like ours. How does a discounted cash flow analysis, break even analysis, or segment analysis factor in to making beehives and savings bees? The answer – a lot. BeeHelpful faces many problems common among startups and the tools and learnings provided by IMD have be instrumental in addressing each problem in a structured way. The combination of the IMD learnings and the BeeHelpful employees’ engineering capabilities have laid the groundwork for a strong product introduction.

Over the past ten years the BeeHelpful co-founders have researched, developed, and refined their flagship product. The result – an innovative beehive that drastically decreases the mortality rate of bees. And though the bee crisis has been treated as a niche concern, increasing food prices and supply concerns are starting to take shape. Our work on this project will help BeeHelpful effectively position itself in the market so that mankind can pre-empt these shocks.

We call ourselves “The BeEffective Team” and we are helping a socially conscious startup transform itself into a sustainable, revolutionary business. Although there is an awareness of the problem, little is being done about it. We are doing something about it and we believe our work has the ability to change the world. We want to thank IMD for making this opportunity possible and the BeeHelpful team for dedicating themselves to such an important cause.

Until soon,

The Bee Team



Inspirational ideas wanted, come to Lausanne

Today’s guest entry is written by MBA participant, Alessio Orlando, from Italy. Other members of his startup team are: Mohammad Alsele (Jordanian), Abhijat Chahal (Indian), Martina Heyse (Brazilian/Italian), Qin Li (German), and Zhe Yuan (Chinese).

When you start classes at IMD, if you still do not know that Lausanne is a hub for start-ups, IMD and Entrepreneurship Professor Benoit Leleux will make sure you are fully aware very quickly. Continue reading “Inspirational ideas wanted, come to Lausanne”

Assessing the risk of an MBA

Today’s guest entry is by Dutch/Venezuelan participant, Oliver van der Meer.

Do you know what a big risk looks like? This was different – it wasn’t a new assignment that had been “created” just for me, or my manager offering me a new “opportunity” with milestones. I had a management-level position with a clear career path at a revered British aerospace engineering giant, and enjoyed a nice lifestyle in one of Europe’s most livable and sought-after capitals for millennials. I had 30 days of paid holidays a year. For many of my fellow Berliners, I’d made it. That’s what was going through my head as I saw my friends starting to settle down, buy houses, get married, with some even having children. But something was missing – I’d known it for some time. Continue reading “Assessing the risk of an MBA”

Le Meilleur est à venir

Today’s guest entry was written by Priyanka Chandran who will be joining the 2017 program and sharing her journey with us as an official MBA blogger.

I am far from superstitious, but the fact that my assessment day was on Friday the 13th made me fairly anxious. On a cold and a very rainy morning, I met my co-applicants (Yes! Teamwork is an integral part of assessment day too) to reach the campus on time for the big day! A warm welcome by Antonio and loads of coffee helped ease my nerves for the impromptu case discussion, role-play and the big interview. As I lunched with a current participant, I am not sure what amazed me more- learning more about the program, the plethora of vegetarian eating options for lunch or the kids running around campus. I felt at ease! An intense case discussion in the second half was followed by Prof Boscheck’s explanation to the morning case. We all realized how far we were from the solution and this was my “aha moment”. I knew I was not willing to bid adieu to Lausanne yet!

If someone ever told you that they saw an Indian girl dancing with joy at Schloss Laufen station, now you will know why. It seemed like a long wait from preparing my application to getting the results but it all seemed worth it after the acceptance.

As I write this piece today, I can’t help but reflect about my experiences on the assessment day. I had participated in discussions ranging from cost pricing policies of an industrial conglomerate to situations faced by an agrochemical giant to future of self-driving cars all on the same day. I was even fortunate to attend Prof Braga’s class and debate with current students. While I missed the big party in the evening, I knew all these unique experiences could only be a part of IMD!

While I gear up for a year full of excitement and adventure, I can really feel that “Le meilleur est à venir” (The best is yet to come!!!)