Anna’s intake on women in leadership


Anna is an executive leadership coach for women. Originally from New Zealand, she holds an MSc in Occupational Psychology and started her career in HR at Shell in both European and Global roles. She graduated from IMD in 2007 and was recipient of the Award for the best all-round female. Following her MBA she joined Mars Chocolate in the UK and worked in a range of senior sales & marketing roles, most recently as their Commercial Strategy Director. She now combines her psychological insight with her commerciality as an executive coach, inspiring women at all career stages to achieve their potential at work. She lives in London with her husband and is a Mum to three very energetic boys.Anna_2007 Continue reading “Anna’s intake on women in leadership”

And then Sakshi said: There is always going to be sunshine in the dungeons..

This week, I am taking over the rally-baton from Parth and inspired by his authentic style, I add some personal testimonies to the usual insight into the MBA Class of 2018.

Walking home on a cold winter evening, severe wind stings my cheeks. I am reflecting on the last weeks and contemplating about the stage we have reached on our MBA journey. Continue reading “And then Sakshi said: There is always going to be sunshine in the dungeons..”

Lifting Spirits

Week 7 just ended with a bang. We started by learning about regulatory control on businesses. The most interesting takeaway from the class was the unfortunate dilemma of compulsory pharma licensing in India and its effects on the availability of innovative pharmaceuticals in the country. We then took a deep dive into market segmentation and pricing through the marketing core course. Interesting strategy cases gave us a sneak peek into the basics behind M&A decision making. . We had two leadership lectures on how individuals harness power and how we can influence people. One of the class exercises on negotiation took me back to memorable days negotiating with Middle Eastern clients. And finally we welcomed alumni from different batches who gave us insightful tips on job search during the year. The MBA office then arranged a delightful fondue evening for us on Friday which gave us much needed relief from the dungeons.

We had a free Saturday after several weeks and everyone took some time off to visit nearby places and get some much needed rest. I took the time to connect with family and friends and roam around nearby Pully to meet my chosen psychoanalyst. We had a deep discussion on my motivations and goals from the MBA. After several weeks of being at war mode and stressed to the maximum, the free Saturday was helpful in reflecting back at what had transpired since I came to Lausanne. There have been many highs and lows in such a short period of time at IMD. I couldn’t help but wonder at make of the course, which is designed to mimic the intensity of a stressful work environment and forces participants to learn how to deal with it and to do so rather quickly. One important aspect of the learning is your secure base, the circle of family, friends and partners who help you through the journey and lift the spirits when needed.


Lifting spirits by Jean and Marianne Bremers

Indeed “Lifting Spirits”, the sculpture by Jean and Marianne Bremers in the gardens of the campus that we pass by everyday in our rush to catch the 8 am class signifies this important aspect of personality development

I will leave you with some welcome comments from my classmates about last week.



Featured image of a Lausanne sunset by MBA 2018 participant Kshitij Verma

“After some extremely hectic weeks, this Friday’s fondue dinner at “Le Chalet Suisse” and the wonderful skiing day at Verbier, have charged my batteries to tackle next week’s deadlines full of energy” – David Ruiz Garcia

“Hearing from the alumni was very interesting and it was good to hear about their approach to the job search”- Lauren Versagli

“During this week, we enjoyed several insightful moments: from learning about harnessing power and influence others in a workplace, to experiencing from IMD alumni how to search efficiently for a job. We ended the week with skiing on the magnificent slopes of Verbier” – Pierre Ghobril  Image below from Pierre’s ski trip


Pallavi believes ‘Life is a promise’


Our first profile is Pallavi Aaron :

“Life is a promise, fulfill it” these famous words by Mother Teresa best describe my motto in life. Born and raised in India, the things closest to my heart are family, yoga, meditation and Bollywood music. I also love being outdoors especially if it involves hiking, camping, running and tennis. Continue reading “Pallavi believes ‘Life is a promise’”

Breathe & Let Go!

Despite being in love with sea, on every beach vacation, I would happily stay on shore- side and longingly watch people enjoy water activities. For those who know me, getting inside water was like my kryptonite! Last summer, I decided enough is enough and decided to go for a tandem scuba diving on my vacation in the beautiful island of Koh-Tao. Immediately as we dived in, panic almost hit me and I was like, “what the hell am I doing”? I was claustrophobic, almost gasping for air and felt extremely strange. And suddenly like that, I just decided to breathe, let go of my anxiety and trust my instructor. It was almost surreal as I became aware of the exquisiteness enveloping me. The slight shimmer of the sunlight penetrating through the depths, the silence clogging my ears, the bubbles screaming up and down and the colorful aquatic world was finer than most experiences so far. Continue reading “Breathe & Let Go!”

Inspired and Humbled

While the first week was an awakening of sorts, the second week focused on the high level themes of the program- Digital, Global and Entrepreneurial.

The Entrepreneurship module started with a lecture on defining value in a business but the highlight was the introduction to the protagonist of our first case study- Robert Keane, CEO and founder of Cimpress N.V.. Extraordinary resilience and an incredible ability to change and adapt defined his story and it was enthralling to listen to it live in the class!! We were also introduced to the various factors affecting project success in a simulated game environment. It was a lot of fun collaborating with differing views and scarce resources to drive business value in a project.

Then we explored how digital has started defining winners and losers in today’s dynamic world. We learnt that using digital tools to define and execute business strategy has helped not only businesses but political players around the world. And we learnt that its not about the disruptor but always about the disruption and the need to stay agile and flexible to capitalize on opportunities.

From a global perspective we learnt about how some countries are defying expectations and contributing more to the growth of the world’s economy. From a leadership angle, we learnt about what was needed to become a successful leader in these emerging markets. We also took advantage to learn from the diversity of the class when we were introduced to the politics, economy and culture of 43 different nations in the Life before Microsoft presentation, something that has become a tradition at IMD.

Of all these amazing experiences, one thing stood out the most for me. We started the week with an inspiring story on how to lead in turbulent times by Dr. Tawfik Jelassi. And this summed up my decision to come to a business school and that is to meet incredible leaders and be inspired.

Having been through the turbulence of the Arab spring myself, it was no surprise that I connected instantly with Dr. Tawfik Jelassi’s incredible story. What at first seemed like a normal class on leadership quickly turned out to be a real face-to-face encounter with someone who has the resilience, tenacity and determination to not bend to the odds and still achieve results that were beyond any expectations. Listening to his life experiences was humbling and our own professional hardships were tiny specks compared to the gargantuan effort on his part to lead through those turbulent times.

How does then someone lead in an explosive, polarized, irrational and adversarial world? The takeaway offered by Dr. Jelassi was that emotional resilience is the key. And having the leadership team as your secure base is crucial. The hard choices that you will have to make then are backed up by the leadership team and this allows you to go beyond the unexpected and sometimes the seemingly impossible, even in the face of opposition. When everything is going against you, it’s crucial to stick to your beliefs, trust your instincts and stand by your values. Thank you Dr. Jelassi for this important lesson. We hope we have the chance to apply these lessons successfully.

Parth Reddy


Featured image: Life Before Microsoft at IMD