Whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Eureka means “I found it!” and was the phrase that Archimedes exclaimed after discovering that the volume of water that ascends is equal to the volume of the submerged body.

While Archimedes may have single handedly discovered the principle of buoyancy, the same cannot be said for innovations from the wheel to the iPhone.  These inventions and innovations were led by collective thinking and group dynamics rather than any individual effort. Continue reading “Whole is greater than the sum of its parts”

Leadership petri-dish

Featured image: The MBA 2018 class with George Kohlrieser

Last year when I was accepted into the IMD MBA program, I received a welcome book, from the MBA office , called “Hostage at the Table” written by George Kohlrieser. Besides having a tremendous influence over me at that time,  book had a certain symbolic meaning to me. I was choosing not to be hostage to a traditional career path by embarking on the MBA program. Little did I know that I’d be learning from the man himself for an intense and enjoyable couple of days.

Module 2 kicked off with a bang. We had Richard Hahlo, a stage actor teaching us how to deliver a message and own the stage. We had Ina Toegel teaching us the importance of shared leadership and bonding in high performance teams. Learning from her research on the Beatles and their complementary leadership styles was fascinating. We had  another business case protagonist come over to deliver Change Management 101 disguised as an accounting case.

And to cap it all, we had 2 fantastic days with George Kohlrieser. George took us on a roller coaster ride to discover our true motivations, griefs, fears and joys. All throughout those 2 days, we learnt how to let go, understand the other person and lead with an appropriate mix of caring and daring. We learnt that conflicts are something that as leaders we should learn to like. We teamed up several times with our classmates, practicing effective negotiation and bonding with them in the process. At the end of it all, the whole class came out as a tighter unit and a much more emotionally aware bunch.

We were also assigned a new Module 2 team and we chose our own innovation team for the “Innovation Challenge” next week. In the middle of this all, we also managed to squeeze in sometime with a brand new country analysis team for Economics. In essence, the last two weeks were spent working with 4 different teams. Although constraining in time, this opportunity has provided us with a training ground to apply newly learnt leadership concepts and experiment with different leadership styles.

Its been enjoyable transitioning from a content rich Module 1 to a petri-dish for leadership these past few weeks. Can’t wait for a deep dive into innovation next week.

Parth Reddy

 

Module 2 Group (Shingo, Mathieu, Candice, Maksim, Marco and I)

High_five

Innovation Group (Joyce, Rafael, Oriane and I)

Innovation group

A tale about geese and salt

André Cepêda  from MBA 2018 class talks about his transformation throughout the IMD journey so far. Featured image of the scenic expanse of Itacoatiara beach from his beloved home city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro.

The path down the hill of Itacoatiara’s beach led me back to the salty waters where my ordinary worries had been drifting harmlessly since my first dive in the morning. The corruption and violence that pervades my beloved Rio de Janeiro would – only for a minute – be diluted in a glass of cold mate tea, instead of in an everyday that can no longer be swallowed. An ancient indigenous legend says that sharing the mate herb spreads the good among neighbors. “Let there be mate” – I thought, focusing my eyes on the case. The interview would happen in a couple of days. Professional development, for outsiders. In my heart, though, a primal drive to fence more nurturing soils to the family I wanted to grow. Everything I love would soon be left behind, but for the moment, Itacoa’s sunset was still above… still illuminating my way back home.

“It’s the lack of salt” – I wondered, floating on Lake Geneva. I had just left my psychoanalysis session, and the bubbling insights on my mind refused to be washed away, preventing me to dive deeper. Or maybe I went deep enough already. The last days were all about group work. Supercharged, round the clock, with a team as talented as diverse: a Swiss-made experience to tear one apart. Suddenly I sink, inasmuch as an unknown piece of my personality arises to my consciousness.

How could I have ignored it for so long? Am I missing something else? How much further could I have gone, had I known before? Do I still have time? The gloomy waters around answered silently… and nearly drowned, I followed that light to the other side.

A goose squawked, waking me up. Am I still alive? I opened my eyes. The light was still there, and I recognized Itacoa’s sun shining timidly above me. Five hours late and tired from the trip, it looked just like Lausanne’s. Gosh, it was Lausanne’s sun. It doesn’t matter. it dredged me from the lake humbler and wiser, and I felt in love with it. I came to the IMD MBA program to become a better leader, and what I found would enlighten new ways across every dimension of my life

André Cepeda

The video below provides a glimpse of Rio’s natural beauty and peek into André’s experience

Fred’s testimony on a start-up project: Lighter. Better. Faster. Smaller. 

When designing aircraft components, weight and size matter.  On your last flight, you might have noticed flaps moving up and down on the wings.  And hopefully at some point prior to hitting the runway, the landing gear was extended.  What makes these critical parts move are actuators, which take information from control systems and provide the required force that acts on the part.  Everything matters in an aircraft; a reduction in weight directly impacts fuel efficiency and a reduction in size can allow for more design flexibility.  The need for a lightweight actuator in this field inspired Komp-Act, a local Swiss startup firm, to design a new solution.

By the time Komp-Act CEO Salvatore DeBenedictis teamed up with my IMD MBA Startup Project team, he had a prototype and a strategy to take his new proprietary technology to the market, starting with owners of industrial machines, for which their use is ubiquitous.

I am on a team with five other IMD MBA students.  We are privileged to work with Komp-Act.  We are diverse, representing six countries on four continents.  Our professional backgrounds include law, finance, engineering, and consulting.

Komp_Act Photo 1
From left to right: Martina, Chuan, Rafael, Marcel Jufer (Komp-Act co-founder), Carol, Fred, Shalin

The task is to perform both data-driven and hands-on market research and analysis, among other things, based on which Komp-Act will directly take action and benefit.  The process has been fun, challenging, and a great learning experience.  We have been adding value to Komp-Act by bringing insights from experienced executives of the largest companies in the market. Yet the job involves much more, and the end-goal is to translate the insights into an actionable and pragmatic go-to-market plan, create tools to support the companies in further ventures and, perhaps, help the team in commercial prospects.

Komp_Act Photo 2
IMD MBA Startup Team with Salvatore Debenedictis (Komp-Act CEO)

Dedication to this project has its perks, most notably, a visit to the electric motors laboratory at EPFL, the astute research institute whose high-tech Lausanne campus includes a concentration of varied knowledge, employs a “latest thinking” approach, and is an incubator for successful companies. There, we met the esteemed Prof. Marcel Jufer, inventor of a Swiss hyperloop technology development.  He is a co-founder and an active member of Komp-Act’s development and management teams.

Komp-Act has recently filed for their patent on the technology.  We look forward to continuing our work with the firm through May to help them take off full-throttle!

Fred Farella on behalf of Group 9

LinkedIn

More about the Swiss hyperloop project can be found here: https://hyperloop.epfl.ch/team.html

Damini says “Ask yourself why”?

Individual

“I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. To understand me, you’ll have to swallow my world.” Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

My name is Damini Sud. I was born 33 years ago in a small Himalyan town in India called Shimla. I pursued an education in humanities and social sciences as I believed that it would help me to look at the world in a more nuanced humanistic way. Continue reading “Damini says “Ask yourself why”?”

Pause, Reflect & Go

I have a little confession to make, when I started at IMD almost three months ago, I did have a slight chip on my shoulder…. I used to wonder how could anything make such a difference in someone’s personality … how could I possibly assimilate so much in such little time as the alums make it out to be and the one thought which constantly nagged me was how will I work in a team of peers? Continue reading “Pause, Reflect & Go”

The Rollercoaster Ride

It starts with anticipation and excitement, plus a bit of dread…

The adrenalin begins to flow – a new country, bonding with classmates, minds stretching with new information and skills, Faculty and guest speakers, off-campus exercises and cases, start-up projects and integrative exercises…

And then comes the peak as realisation hits – this is it! The fast pace, the intensity, the ride is in full swing and suddenly, the swoop towards the first round of exams has arrived.

A mountain of work to revise, three months of finance and accounting, economics and strategy – evening workshops , shared notes, nerves building in anticipation.

And this is where the MBAs are now. Preparing for next week – a week of exams.

Exams

But spring is in the air, the exams will be followed by a long weekend break, new classes will start, new Faculty be met, and spring will turn to summer…

And the roller coaster ride continues – a second round of revision and exams, company visits, the program quickly half way over as the pressure builds.

A trip around the world together, summer vacation.

Another module, career search in full swing, a digital lab, ICPs, electives.

The ride is nearing its end, adrenaline levels calm with a certain surprise that it’s over already, goodbyes approach.

But there’s one final swoop – awards and celebrations, the graduation ceremony and family reunions, the rush of success – yes, you did it ! You are an IMD MBA graduate ready for the next stage of your career with 89 lifelong friends to support you along the way.

group graduationPRG_1165r

Good luck to the class of 2018 on the first round of exams!

Suzy