Sara – Reaching for the stars while remaining firmly anchored

With the start of the second half of the program just around the corner, our participants begin again to share their profiles and offer a glimpse into why they joined IMD and what they’re getting out of the program. Here Sara shares a bit about herself and her learnings so far…

Today is a windy day on Hyères Peninsula (South East of France). I came here to enjoy a week kitersufing and take a real break from one of the most intense and exciting years of my life. Continue reading “Sara – Reaching for the stars while remaining firmly anchored”

Live your life as an adventure

Dragging my luggage across the small street of Lausanne back from our worldwide discovery trip, I sensed the familiarity — the path I’ve crossed hundreds of times when commuting between apartment and school during the past six months.

It reminds me of my uneasiness during the initial days, amongst the complex mix of expectation, anxiety and resolution.

I’m Suyun, coming from China, engineer by training, introvert, sensitive, and Virgo.

Then here you may go with a typical archetype:
A self-disciplined one needs the compulsory order of making and sticking to plans, tends to learn and comprehend by breaking things down to progress and mechanism; relatively weak at open discussion, argument or articulation, but with born intellectual curiosity and good savvy about numbers and logic.

It resembles part of me, the old me.

I came to IMD to receive this one-year MBA program training, with the hope to hone skills, to forge characters, to undergo challenges and transmissions and to fully exploit my potential.

I’ve talked to many alumni. They all seem to hold IMD dear to their hearts – ‘Best experience in life’, ‘life-changing year’ – that’s the words they’re likely to use most.
It’s the place where you get surrounded by bunch of wise, extraordinary, yet humble people to learn from; it’s the enabler where you can gain access to precious platforms, resources and networks.


Photo: Me with some alumni in Singapore

On top of that, it’s a manifestation as well:
It’s the group of people who have the courage to make the choice to halt their career lives for a year, and make investments into self-improvement, in exchange for the chance to shoot for the stars, to dream something big, or to make adjustment or remedy for their previous experiences.

It’s always intense and tough:
I got frustrated when I couldn’t follow a professor in class;
I felt guilt and remorse when teamwork didn’t work;
I had to recite ‘fake it till make it’ so many times to get the courage to stand on stage to deliver a key presentation.

But eventually, you’ll get stronger after surviving it all:
You’ll become comfortable with being uncomfortable;
You’ll understand yourself better, in terms of strength, weakness, purpose and passion;
You’ll feel like you know the big picture when framing knowledges and skills all together;
And mentally and psychologically, you’ll be future-ready, as a real business leader.

Each time I get close to Léman, I feel emotional.

It has been more than one year since my assessment day. I still vividly remember my first sight of the breath-taking beauty of the lake, and the voice which consistently resonated within me, telling me what a privilege it would be to jog around it the following year.

Like many other things in life, career may not always turn out to be as planned. That being said, it shouldn’t prevent us from choosing the future we truly want to live.

Seize the day and walk your own path;
Aim long, stay open-minded and work hard;
Make as many mistakes as you can during this year, and try to learn the maximum out of them;
Last but not least, my favorite quote from Richard Hahlo, ‘to show up, light up’.


(Featured image: Lac Léman)

It’s not what I expected…

I wasn’t expecting it to be like this.
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I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t think that economics (or finance, or accounting, or strategy…) would be the death of me. I knew I would cry here and there but I didn’t think I would keep the tissue industry afloat! I knew I would change but I didn’t think it would be this personal. This MBA ‘thing’ is tough work but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Here are three of my biggest realizations (read: survival tips) so far: Continue reading “It’s not what I expected…”

The Art of Problem Solving

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.

For someone who spends an awful lot of time living in the fantasy world of books and films, the real world can sometimes get a little dreary. And when things started getting dreary, I knew I had to rewrite my diary. My name is Anish Singhvi, and I’m a 26-year-old Indian male, non-engineer, solver of problems. Which is a cooler way of stating that I am a lawyer.

The key driver throughout my (admittedly) young life has been one question: ‘How to be a professional problem solver?’ The hunt for answers took me to one of India’s best law schools, and from then on to one of India’s (and Asia’s) biggest law firms. Working countless hours on complex mergers and acquisitions, solving difficult problems was exciting and challenging at first. The thrill of working on new transactions and dealing with clients from across the world kept me going. But the more I worked, the more I felt the need to play a bigger role, to solve bigger problems. Law school and my law firm taught me how to think and I felt that I could use all the skills I had learned in a much larger context. Which is when I decided to reboot and leave my ‘minor life for grander maybes’.

IMD positions itself as a school for leaders, and while I don’t disagree with that, I don’t think it is necessarily in the leadership business. It most certainly is in the problem-solving business. Through all our classes, coaching, integrative exercises, start-up projects, team activities, problem solving is the one common denominator. And with a class as diverse as ours, one constantly hears fresh new ideas on how to solve some of the biggest problems faced by businesses today.

I suppose it is only appropriate to end this blog by quoting a personal role model of mine. Arsene Wenger (the legendary Arsenal coach) once said “the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.” Which in a nutshell is why I landed up in Lausanne on a cold January morning: to learn, to grow, and hopefully turn problem solving into an art.