Another building block in our MBA journey

Our first integrative exercise is done! And even though exams are looming in the horizon we literally saw the light on Saturday after our second presentations were done and we were freed from the dungeons.

I knew the basics of the exercise before coming here: we will be given 48 hours for an assignment that will require using all the knowledge of our module 1 classes. I knew we will need to present and defend our proposal in front of a jury. I knew it would test our team dynamics and really take us to the next level. But I also knew that knowing all of the above was not going to help prepare for it, so I chose to follow Sean wise words at the beginning of the program and just “trust the process”.

The experience was different for everyone so I can only speak for myself when I say that the exercise as a whole was so enriching that it will be a memorable moment of this year. It is one of those things that you can only understand once you live through it and if I had to choose the best part, it was the way the feedback was given by the jury during both presentations.  It was then when it clicked in to place that this exercise was just preparation for the next part of the program, especially the start-up presentation and the ICPs during module 3.

I leave you with some really nice pictures shared by my classmates

The dungeons became home for two nights

After!

Notice the happy smiles because we know it is over! (for now!)

Everything Is Going To Be Fine

It is one thing to write about transformation. It is a completely different keg of wasps to experience it.

March is here. Temperatures have risen but the forecast says a spell of cold rain is headed our way. I hope not! As we proceed into what legend says the most intense month of the IMD MBA program, we need sunshine to keep our spirits and Vitamin D levels up.

Last week we had a guest speaker session in our Operations class with Erik Winberg, Vice President of Strategic Planning at Tetra Pak. We spent the day learning about Tetra Pak’s Digitally-Enabled Supply Chain transformation project. It stemmed from visible unmet needs in a demanding market. As the team designed and implemented their strategy, they had to overcome challenges to achieve a strong, reliable, and effective structure. We discussed Industry 4.0 and how digital tools can be applied to the supply chain, and the dynamic and critical nature of operations became all too clear. This is reflected in the process we’re going through at IMD, through supply chain simulations and peer CV reviews. In iterative motions, we’re learning, improving, and accepting the discomfort that precedes a better version of ourselves.

thumbnail (1)Erik Winberg and Professor Seifert in discussion with IMD MBA students on digital transformation in the corporate world

If inner transformation is difficult then it is good that we begin work with our Personal Development Elective (PDE) analysts in the coming days. The PDE optional stream is one of the reasons IMD was my school of choice for an MBA program. Of course, I wanted to develop an understanding of the subjects that make up business fundamentals. But all programs offer this at the very least. PDE work stems from the idea that while managing a challenging course load and life transition, students would (and should) have dedicated time for individual reflection with a qualified professional. We may all have different pain points and issues to work on, but the goal is common, to get comfortable with ourselves, and thrive while we are at it.

During the Leadership Experiential almost a month ago (has it really been that long?!) I said “Everything is going to be fine” to my start-up group each time a new challenge arose. We had a good laugh and the line stuck. Yesterday, in the dungeons, I was not smiling as much as I usually do, preoccupied with swirling thoughts of assignments and my python-like to-do list. My teammate and fellow blogger, Lukasz @lukaszkaczynski13, took a second out of his workload and said, “Surbhi! Everything is going to be fine!”

I certainly hope so, for all of us 🙂

Surbhi

Our first month: measurement of time

It’s been a month since most of us moved and started calling Lausanne “home”. A lot has happened in the last 30 days and there are many ways in which we could measure it. If we go by the calendar, most days were filled with an overflow of information, from great classes with a couple of guest speakers to getting our personality test results and looking at ourselves with new eyes. If we go by meeting new people, we went from names on a WhatsApp group to people with wonderful life stories and a lot to learn from, we went from being acquaintances to classmates and are on the road to become great friends. If we go by changing our routines, this month meant going back to being students (something that was long forgotten by most of us) having classes for 8 hours a day and then spending the night reading and doing homework while trying to have a “life”. Either way, it was an overwhelming month in more ways than one, and it only takes one quick glance at the February calendar to know that January was actually just the beginning and things are about to get tough.

One of the things that will make our lives interesting was officially launched this past week. From day one we were talking about the Start-up project when we got the list of the 15 companies that the MBA 2019 class will be working for and were asked to select our favourite four. It also meant that we were being assigned to our study group, the groups of six that will be spending a lot of time together for the next couple of months. We got a few weeks to get to know each other and our work style before we met with our start-up at the end of the month. The day of the meeting you could feel the anxiety in the room, all of us wondering what it will be like, what are they expecting from us and what could we do to help them.

Meeting our start-up turned out to be less stressful than many of us expected, it meant meeting really passionate people working for an idea they really believe in. It also allowed us to bring all our experience to the table and start thinking outside the box, looking at problems from different angles while thinking how are we going to do this on top of all the classes, readings, homework, leadership and career exercises. Time management will for sure be something we are all tested on in the upcoming weeks and as the stress rises, is going to be fun to see how our dynamics change.

I close this post sharing this picture of one of the class speakers we had this month. The reading for the marketing class was about Tag Heuer and we had the pleasant surprise of having the protagonist of the case, Jean-Claude Biver, talk to us about his career. As my classmate Adrian puts it:

Jean-Claude Biver, former CEO of Blancpain, Hublot and most recently Tag Heuer, along with too many accomplishments to list. It was a masterclass in how to be creative in business and how to find your inner entrepreneurial spirit. Incredibly inspiring!

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All in all, it was a great month that flew by and I can only look forward to what is to come!

Helena

Let there be light!

As I looked outside my hotel window into the horizon on the eve of Diwali, a million lights glimmered at me and made me wonder about the power of precious light and the hope that it brings along with it. They say that one must know the darkness before you can really appreciate the light. There were several instances in the last ten months when everything around seemed completely bleak and dim. However, I realized over time that wherever my story takes me, however dark and difficult the theme, there is always some hope because I’m an optimist at heart and there is always always light at the end of a menacing dark night! Continue reading “Let there be light!”

Innovation comes to pharma!

ICP’s are up and running and all my classmates have been traveling around the world or into the dungeons to deliver their projects. My teammates and I have been tasked with helping a pharma company bring business model innovation to the market.

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My lovely teammates and our faculty coach, from left to right Oriane, Jaime, Goutam, me, Irina and Roy

During the last 5 weeks we have been located at our clients headquarters, discovering pharmaceutical industry from the inside and learning about the peculiarities of our clients business and company culture.

Like most consulting projects ours started with tons of research and interviews, and developed through the delineation  of the deliverables.  Through this project we’ve had the opportunity of not only addressing a real business issue but also applying and seeing why all the concepts we learned this year such as scoping and stakeholder management matter so much. We’ve had a lot of fun together, supported each other through difficult times (try delivering a project while searching for a job) and kept developing our team working and leadership skills.

All in all this is a great learning opportunity and experience, that can only be rivaled by the happiness we have when we get to work from IMD every once in while and see again our classmates (and have wonderful IMD food).

Joyce