Real Learning

The very intense learning style in the past two months has brought us to this week where we’ve seen an amalgamation of different topics. Streams such as Marketing, Operations, Finance, Strategy, Organizational behavior etc are blending in seamlessly into the group work and case studies and we as students are looking at each problem from a combination of these very different perspectives.

The Entrepreneurship stream saw a session from Patrick Hoffman who is the CEO of OtradaGen, a pig farming startup from Russia. We saw a passionate and hands-on entrepreneur talking about how technology and changing regulations helped OtradaGen in becoming one of the top pig farming companies in Russia. Pig farming is traditionally a male-dominated industry, and Russia is often perceived as a male dominated place. Patrick, as a newcomer to the industry, tried many things, one of which was to change the male-dominant workplace by giving most key positions to women.

The Finance stream especially has been an efficient and uncluttered learning experience. From the basics of valuing investments to evaluating large scale projects in corporations, the evolution has been seamless. We had our last Finance class with Prof. Salvatore Cantale last week from this module. It was an absolute privilege to learn basic corporate finance through his engaging style infused with funny skiing stories.

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The Operations classes have been packed with a multitude of information from various aspects of supply chain management taught through case studies, group exercises, in-class simulations and presentations from the participants with operations experience. We learned about efficient supply chain systems and turnarounds through guest speakers from the industry and concluded the Operations class last week with an interesting session on sustainable sourcing.  Again, it was a pleasure to learn from Prof. Ralf Seifert who is continually pushing the experience with his teaching methods.

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To celebrate International Women’s day on the 8th of March, we had a wonderful speech from Hanne de Mora who talked about her most consistent themes of leadership- Entrepreneurship, problem solving and independence. She took all our eager questions on diversity and impact in organizations with ease and inspired us with her energy and enthusiasm.

We are now almost at the end of Module 1. The integrative exercises begin in a couple of days where we get a chance to test our group dynamics and understanding of the business concepts and apply them to real world situations. Until then, the weather in Lausanne has improved quite a bit and has given us a chance to go out and explore more of the city.

Parth

LinkedIn

Featured image of a Lausanne Sunset from Veronika Raszler, MBA candidate class of 2018

Breakfast Buffet

Week 5 of the program just finished. We are all past the stage of polite introductions, acknowledgements and acquaintance. Everyone now has relatable experiences to bind them together. Sleepless nights, business cases, leadership lab and the upcoming personal development elective. Conveniently we are starting to see a beautiful cohesion in the content taught at the program and also in the group work we are assigned to complete.

Throughout the week, we learnt how to position a company in the market using its competitive advantage. We also learnt what it meant to enter a mature and competitive market and conversely how to respond to such an entry. We looked at some of the most operationally efficient companies in the world and analyzed their value chains to understand and quantify the competitive advantage. We got an interesting introduction to Finance and got first hand experience on how to build internal cash flows for evaluating several strategies of a business. All of this tied into our increasing understanding of microeconomics, regulation and partnerships. Its quite impressive how this much information got condensed into a week and even more impressive how we’ve been able to keep up with the content. It felt like we’ve been served all of this introductory content as a humongous buffet. Can’t wait to see what’s up for lunch.

Even with so much happening in the class, some of us found time to self-reflect, hit the gym, square off at table tennis and go out to some famous spots in Lausanne. All in all a very eventful week at IMD.

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Feature image: Aptly, I decided to get some breakfast buffet and watch the snowflakes settle on a quiet Sunday

Parth

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For this week, I asked some of my classmates for their opinions on the program and the content:

“I don’t think you can truly appreciate the poetic beauty hidden in a fully integrated and meticulously coordinated MBA course load until your Economics professor quotes your Marketing professor in good-humor at 8am on a sunny Friday morning… Coffee in hand, lake in backdrop, 90 people chuckling in unison – IMD, you rock! :D” – Veronika Raszler

“IMD is full of surprises. In trying to find a method in this madness, I have turned some acquaintances into friends and also started an exciting journey of learning and self awareness. Just waiting to see how the coming 10 months will unfold.” – Sonia Sachdeva

“My first weeks at IMD flew by in the blink of an eye. I hardly believe that a month has passed since I met 89 extraordinary colleagues who will surely become life-time friends. IMD has managed to constantly surprise me with inspiring and fascinating classes. This month has shown me that the journey will be intense but extremely rewarding!”  – Guilherme Mendes

“IMD’s MBA has been a great start to my leadership development journey. The learning has challenged my assumptions and changed the lens through which I see the world around me. It has been a truly transformational experience. I’m really excited about the rest of the year and beyond.” – Praveen Sam

Peeling the layers

Go back to a time when you encountered roadblocks while working in and leading teams. What if these roadblocks were a manifestation of a personality pattern instead of an operational roadblock. And what if through practice and learning these roadblocks can be prevented from popping up again.

We had the privilege of going through an intensive process of iterative team games and self-reflection to figure out how best to lead and contribute to healthy team dynamics last week. Based on an approach of self-awareness, goal setting, understanding how to get there and a system of continuous feedback & support, the Leadership Lab helped my team to gel together and for us individuals in the team to be more self-aware and iron out our flaws in order to reach the maximum outcome as a team. At the end of this exhaustive process, it was heartening to see class members share their deep personal drawbacks and in the process bond more as a cohort.

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A history of working in tough locations and being constantly on the move even during times of personal crises has made me grow many layers around my core personality and it was enriching to experience the peeling of these layers through constant feedback and coaching sessions. I was able to learn why and how I behave in different settings and how best to understand and train my mind to deal with these emotions. Indeed I was able to understand what part of my life caused these patterns and why I relapse into certain behaviors. I’m looking forward to the next leg of the leadership exercise that is the Personal Development Elective. The intent is to take these learnings and dive further into the psyche in order to unravel these behaviors and learn how best to navigate difficult situations.

One of the main reasons for me to choose IMD was the leadership component of the program. It is the only the start of the component but the quality of the experience and the content of the training has exceeded my expectations. It’s a privilege to receive such training at the beginning of our management careers rather than in senior management and I believe all of us will benefit from the learnings and the outcome.

Needless to say, we had to quickly get back on our feet to deal with a busy week ahead. Strategy cases, accounting assignments and economics readings have a knack of pulling you out of your inner layers. Until next weekend.

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*Featured image1: Team- Work in Progress- Ana ,Hans, Gerardo, Kshitij, Paula and I

*Featured image2: Our team logos- IMD dungeons

P.S. Team Work in Progress for the win!!!

Parth Reddy

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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!”

Drinking from a hose

My assessment of the last week can be summed up by a phrase- Drinking from a hose. We covered numerous cases from entrepreneurship, marketing and strategy and material from economics during the week and an extremely interesting assignment looking back at our industries on the weekend to close the week. It was an overload of content in a very short time, testing us on how to cope with such information and on how to develop our managerial abilities at the same time.

The group meanwhile has matured from the mere acquaintances phase to the inter-dependency phase, which is characterized by group study sessions and sometimes enjoying the weather outside when we have sunshine. I will leave with you some pictures from the week. We are very lucky to have Lausanne as our loyal friend. I’m grateful for the beautiful lake views that we are blessed with.

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And finally, thanks to the IMD extended social community for being so visible this year 

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Featured image contributed by Fabiana Souza, MBA 2018

Parth

LinkedIn

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

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