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

 

And we’re off to the Discovery Expeditions!

I believe I mentioned before that IMD’s program is front-loaded, especially on the academic side. One of my favourite things about that is that we’re always looking at exciting things ahead. It’s almost like a reward system somehow. You go through the painful finance basics so that you can do exciting M&A simulations. You go through a lot of self assessment and then you start being exposed to senior executives and the IMD Alumni. You finish all exams so that you can devote your time to a company engagement project of your choice. And so on…

On that of looking forward to exciting parts, I don’t think anything can beat the expectations for the Discovery Expeditions! That’s the moment when we get split into 3 groups of 30 and fly to 1 of 3 exciting journeys around the world: Japan/China; Singapore/UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) or Mexico/US (California).

Continue reading “And we’re off to the Discovery Expeditions!”

On the best part of the MBA so far… and how sometimes you just mess up

Sit tight, this is going to be a long one 🙂

So… as a blogger I have a commitment to keep the readers up to date with what’s going on on the IMD MBA. Weekly if I can. Bi-weekly if I must. Once a month if things are really ugly.

Which makes it almost painful to admit I have not blogged here for almost 3 months.

I could write a long list of perhaps even valid reasons for that – and maybe I would have done that before the IMD experience. But reality is that it doesn’t matter. I failed in this. Some other amazing victories during this time? Yes. But not this one.

Halfway through the MBA and already wishing time went by slower, I can now state that IMD MBA – of course, if you really put yourself into it – will change your life. You won’t know in which way, intensity or angle – but rest assured life won’t be the same after you step your foot in the legendary Lorange Auditorium for the first time.

These past three months were incredible. Also intense. Also hard. Also time consuming. But with a bit of a taste of reward for all the work we’ve put in.

Here are some highlights of the time I was offline:

  • Geneva Class Trip: Professor Carlos Braga was kind enough to invite us to his book launch nowhere less than the main conference room at the WTO (World Trade Organization) Headquarters in Geneva. And since we would be there, he worked his impressive network and took us for a visit to the Red Cross Headquarters hosted by the ICRC president Peter Maurer. The ICRC wrote about our visit here.
  • Speakers: We have had powerful speakers from across industries, markets and functions. Won’t risk listing them all and leaving some behind – the list is long and inspiring. A special mention to Patrick Aebischer, EPFL’s President – and deemed to be the one responsible for EPFL’s remarkable trajectory – hosting us there and sharing his story in a very open and close way.
  • Finance Course: Probably one of the most painful parts of the MBA, Finance classes came to an end in an exciting learning experience that helped us get a sense of how much we’ve learned along the way. I speak for myself: Nuno Fernandes is a miracle maker. I was hopeless – even after a 4-month course in one of Brazil’s most prestigious Finance schools and an executive course in Fontainebleau – and now I finally understand the mechanics (and beauty) of Finance. ❤
  • Alumni reunion and Mock Interviews: For the first time the current MBA class was invited to the all-class MBA Alumni Cocktail. It was a great networking opportunity and our debut into this powerful group of incredibly successful people in all sorts of ways you can interpret success. Building on that, IMD organized for us to have mock interviews with seasoned alumni – which included a full and candid feedback afterwards. Invaluable.
  • Navigating the Future Conference: Ok, I know I’m starting to sound like the positivity freak with all these superlative adjectives… But NtF was just over-the-top AMAZING. We were all so proud of each other. Our classmates delivering killer presentations and an engaged and extremely senior audience. It was rewarding to see how far we’ve come in only 6 months. Please check out some videos here.
  • Movers, Shakers, Preachers, Pragmatists Class Trip: With the sad events happening in Turkey our Istanbul trip had to be adapted and we had a very unique chance to be in one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites for a week. In Santuario di Oropa  we had sessions on character, ethics and ambiguity. Discussing difficult agendas such as preferential treatment, gossip, minority quotas, income inequality, among others. The trip itself called upon ethics and moral judgment of the class and hopefully we all brought back in mind many reflections on top of the beautiful landscape memories.
  • Navigating the Future goes to Europe: In a new project for 2016, Ralf expanded the Navigating the Future conference into some of the most influential cities in Europe.  Before we all split throughout the  world to start our summer company engagement projects, we were split in 3 groups and brought a shorter version of the conference to London, Munich and Zurich simultaneously. Some of the classmates’ blogs on those will be here soon.

As you can see, not a lot going on over here (LOL).

Today I am excitedly one week into my Company Engagement Project and being able to feel the power of the IMD brand every time I present myself to someone new. Impressive. Now it’s up to me and all of us to measure up to and strengthen this unique and powerful brand!

Onto the next challenge… and back here soon.

Warm wishes,

 Sílvia

​What you give is what you get

So… the famous leadership experiential took place last week! Our class was split in two Cohorts and switched between regular classes and the 3,5 days full on experiential.

I was impressed by the quality of the entire experience and especially our coaches. Really great, top-notch global professionals that were there with us full time. IMD MBA is the most junior group they coach, all of them are used to working with global leaders in the C-level, not to mention military, government, etc… Outstanding staff!

The focus of this stage was to understand ourselves in a group setting (self in group) rather than going into group dynamics, which is the next step.

I believe any leadership or self knowledge experience is a “what you give is what you get” experience.

If you want to stay locked into your safety armor or don’t want to be exposed to your own “darkness”, it won’t have as much impact… No one can do it for you except yourself!

For me personally, the key lesson was that suppressing who we are is never a good idea. I was trying to do things differently than I would naturally (sort of trying to write with the wrong hand) but in the process I left also my own personality and my strengths behind…  My group was great in pointing that out and giving me an important wake up call for the entire year.

I realize it’s not by changing who I am that I’ll evolve. It is by being myself in a more conscious, polished and balanced way! So let’s aim for that 🙂

After the experiential it was time to dive back into our Start up Project and Industry Analysis… It was great to see how our group already started working together in a different and more open way.

One thing I was super curious before I came to IMD was about life in the “dungeons” and the study rooms. So here is a little peek into our group life when we were all super concentrated in finding data to support our assumptions about the future of Transport Infrastructure 🙂

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Group 8 clockwise: Me, Luca Gianaschi, Nicolas Martinez, Philipp DeAngelis, Roraj Pradhananga, Vladimir Petrenko

An amazing week to y’all,

SS