3, 2, 1, go!

My name is Martina Skodova and I come from the Czech Republic. I lived or studied in London, Vancouver and Munich and travelled 19 countries (so far). After more than six years of working experience in business development in financial services industry, I come to IMD to reinforce leadership, to explore new roles and industries and to nurture my entrepreneurship. Along with Neharika and Parth, I will be posting insights on the IMD MBA journey in 2018. Continue reading “3, 2, 1, go!”

Signal and Noise

The first week at the program has been hectic.  First we had to get all of the arrival requirements out of the way. And then we had the MBA introductions and welcome lunches, some coursework in the form of business analytics, opening dinner and visits to CERN and EPFL and finally the Chamonix trip. All in 6 days. And true to IMD’s reputation we didn’t get much sleep in these 6 days. We were either fighting it out till the early ams in the dungeons with the analytics assignments or sacrificing sleep to bond with our fellow classmates on the way to Chamonix. I finally had the answer to a burning question- Why so many coffee machines in the campus?

In the middle of the week, we had a frank discussion on the outcomes of the program and what is expected of an individual graduating from the program. In other words, for me to look at how much the program has improved me by December, I will have to measure myself based on certain criteria before and after the program. This took me back to one of the standard practices in my previous job. Our job was to process raw seismic data to a final version that could represent an accurate image of the hydrocarbon reservoir that’s been evaluated. In every step along this process, one of the parameters that measures the improvement in the data is called signal to noise ratio. The idea is pretty simple, if there is a perceivable increase in the ratio then the data quality has improved from step A to B. Signal defined as something correlating throughout the data set and noise as something random in the dataset.

Having had the discussion on the expectation from an individual graduating out of the program and brainstorming it further with my classmates, a few things become quite apparent about which aspects are important in an individual :

1)      Business knowledge and skills

2)      Interpersonal relationship

3)      Inherent integrity

Some of us are absolutely brilliant in all three dimensions and some of us are just starting to realize where we need improvement. But one thing is extremely clear. In all three aspects, identifying and separating signal to noise is the key. Take for example, interpersonal relationships. Having superficial relationships would be noise and having deep meaningful conversations would be the signal in this instance. Proactively strengthening deep meaningful relationships would constitute an improvement and would be great training for a long career in business and working with strong personalities.

I hope each one of us is able to separate and strengthen the signal from noise in their dimensions of improvement by the end of the year. Looking ahead, I’m very excited to start the leadership module and immerse myself in the case studies on strategy and economics. More importantly, I’m eager to improve every lecture, every assignment and every week in this journey.

Featured image from a artistic reinterpretation of the Olympic logo in the Olympic Museum, Lausanne

Parth Reddy

Linkedin

New Beginnings

I’m Neharika Agarwal, a graduate of BITS Pilani, India, holding an CFA & FRM charter. I have worked with Morgan Stanley Capital International for seven years in the quantitative equity research team and later with Absolutdata in marketing analytics domain. An MBA will help me realise the goal of applying my skillset at a leadership level by filling the gaps in my armour.

As one of the official bloggers, I will share my experiences during the MBA on a regular basis. The following lines summarize my journey so far:

Keeping an open mind is quite a desirable state…
A thought process that all leaders I met, advocate…
Happens to be a key mantra shared by our new MBA dean…
“Let’s see” is what he suggests us to believe…

A similar spirit bit me a couple of years ago…
Driven by neophilia or just a willingness to explore…
Landed in Delhi, moving from finance to analytics…
Learning everyday something new, whether industry or statistics…

I loathed the city at the outset for all it represented…
A new city, a new job & no friends, leaving me a tad disoriented…
Against popular advice, I decided to give the city a chance…
And voila! It embraced me with a warm heart and outstretched arms…

A stroke of luck again provided a life altering opportunity…
Accepted by IMD, I was put in a very distinguished community…
Along with change in ‘dateyear’, New year gave me a fresh start…
A chance to press a reset button & reflect on what has driven me so far…

90 already connected by technology came together from different parts…
Camaraderie in the group defied all laws of time and far…
Trips to Ikea, even buying groceries or forging friendships through the week’s course…
Eliminating all traces of homesickness, anxiety or any other such source…

Despite strains of relocation, elation trumped exhaustion in the last few days…
A peek into the what’s in store reaffirmed that alums had already appraised…
Day one, seeing the whole class together suddenly made it so real…
A glance at my seat in the auditorium almost brought a tear…

A transformative experience they say, IMD changes almost one’s third layer of skin…
Now a chance for me to pursue my passion & discover myself without any din…
11 months: a new journey, a new horizon, a new romance I seek…
I already can’t wait to meet a braver, stronger and a more mature version of me…

 

-Neharika

Linkedin

 

Setting Goals

I recently listened to Ray Dalio’s Principles and I liked it a lot. Mostly because Ray Dalio’s description of himself in his 20s and 30s is quite similar to most of us in the program. From there to founding and managing Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge funds is quite a feat. And he did that by employing a concrete set of principles and steps to success. I’m hoping to experiment with these principles at the year long and intensive MBA program. Continue reading “Setting Goals”

Preparing for a smooth landing

The forthcoming winter is cutting off daylight like slices of bread. We are in the middle of the so called advent time; Christmas is approaching. I am finalising my last days at work, closing activities, saying goodbye to colleagues and clients, organizing farewell meet-ups with friends; in parallel to that studying, handing in the first assignments, and arranging to move before setting on the transformational journey of the upcoming MBA year at IMD. This high pace is nothing new to me, I can say I am quite familiar with it. It has  been characteristic for the past year when I was preparing for the GMAT and application to IMD while having a full-time job. Continue reading “Preparing for a smooth landing”

Thank you

Throughout this year, the blog has offered us a small glimpse into the journey of 90 MBAs. We have read about their initial expectations and seen how they came together as a group and as teams. There have been stories about individual impressions, struggles and momentous occasions. We have gained insights into their projects and learnings as well as moments of friendship and fun. And there has been so much more.

Sharing is a gift and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have taken the time to share with us. The IMD MBA is a one-year program with a reputation for its intensity, and yet participants still took the time to reflect on their experiences and compose text and images that offered us a glimpse into their lives.

So, to our bloggers Mo, Priyanka, Lucien and Sathappan as well as all of the guest bloggers from this year’s class, I would like to extend a warm thank you.

Please don’t stop sharing, keep in touch and let us know how the journey continues.

Suzy

Le meilleur est à venir

I am on the way to Paris and as I look outside the train at the snow clad trees, I feel very conscious of the fact that our journey in this MBA program is over. It is hard to be objective at this time with emotions running high. Emotions of relief associated with the end of an intense program, of joy associated with seeing our families after a long time and grief associated with not being in the Lorange auditorium again.

What never seems to amaze me is how our experiences and what we take away from this program can be so different. However as I reflect about the year gone by, I realize that this journey has not only made me stronger but also cognizant of courage I never knew I had. Through this journey and my own peaks and troughs, I learnt not only about leadership, strategy and finance but also about how businesses function in Europe and the power of networking. I learnt about people and about life. So in this post, I want to talk about three things that I cherish the most about the MBA experience.

Friendships: As we get older, we stop making new friends or at least make fewer new friends.  We have a professional circle and a personal one which is mostly friends from college and sometime neighbors. This program gave me a chance to befriend 89 exceptional individuals from all across the world. I always found people willing to lend a patient ear, to share a different perspective and provide bucket loads of encouragement when I was low. I made great friends and thus I believe friendship is the most intangible yet the most precious take away from this year.

Strong Alumni Network: Daniel from our class spoke about sending the elevator down during our graduation speech and I couldn’t agree with him more. I have found both friendships and professional support in our alumni. I have received guidance and good advice, help on preparation for interviews and even gotten access to their professional network. A small batch has its advantages and disadvantages but I have always found a lot of support from alums and  I hope to contribute to this network as much as I can.

Embracing failure: At IMD, we celebrated our failures as we did our successes. We even had a wall dedicated to our recruiting failures to not only share but also remind ourselves that we are in this together. As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fail”

When I started writing this post, I was tempted to title it “Au Revoir” and finally decided against doing so. Over the years, I have come to realize that at the most basic level there are only three levers that guide all our actions- Greed, Hope and Fear.  The lever that guided me the most to participate in this program has been hope. When I started the program, I was hopeful about the future and my first blog before joining the program was titled the one above. We have all changed in many ways (for the good of course !) during the course of the program, but I truly believe “Le meilleur est à venir” as our best is yet to come. On that note, I wish all my classmates loads of success in their professional and personal endeavors and the MBA batch of 2018 lots of luck for the year ahead.

Till we meet again..

Priyanka

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