Truth and Lies at IMD

Half way through the electives, Isfandyar Z. Khan – Partner IMD 2017, shares his experience as well as insights into the benefits of opening this part of the program to the partners.

You may think that typical courses in this one year intensive MBA program would only focus on hard skills, taking over the world one excel sheet at a time, however the truth is far from it. This fall, the program provided the opportunity for the partners of MBA students to participate in electives. This opened up a secret chamber by which partners could not only see, but live through, part of the MBA experience.

partner elective

Given that I myself am a bit weary of the ethical practices of the business world, I decided to take the popular elective on Truth, Lies and Trust taught by Professor Jennifer Jordan, who is a part of the leadership faculty. I wish an elective like this had been offered earlier in the year as finally I could empathize with my wife’s motivation for getting up at 6:30 am, downing a coffee and braving the cold to be on time for morning classes.

partner elective 3

The elective was great – one learned, one challenged, one laughed and one pondered. It also gave us some lie detection skills which could have come in handy earlier in the year (were you actually studying or were you at the White Horse bar?!) Yet, more than just the course, I really appreciated IMD opening up the electives to others. For a program which emphasizes personal leadership and prioritizes relationships, it is necessary to acknowledge that there are certain factors that ensure some relations endure and strengthen over time. Post MBA, the graduates will not operate in a bilateral world but one with many nodes, and thus having partners more exposed to classmates will help carry relationships forward.

As the year draws to a close, I do feel we have come together as a family. There is warmth, there is affection and just like any family there will be conflict and a need to nurture relationships. I think taking an elective makes us all know each other better and just for that, I hope IMD keeps up with the tradition.


2018 Scholarship winners announced!

The MBA scholarship deadline was 30th September, and by midnight an impressive number of thought-provoking essays had reached us.

It is always inspiring to see the amount of effort that people put into writing their scholarship essays. They offer a clear insight into business trends of the time, combined with personal anecdotes, new angles and even the occasional bit of humour!

Each year, the scholarship committee faces the challenge of going through all the applications, reading and assessing the essays, discussing and arguing for our favorites, selecting finalists to be sent to external juries, and then waiting for the definitive selection to know who has actually been nominated as the winners of the various scholarships.

This year, we are proud to announce that 34 IMD Scholarships were awarded, meaning that we have been able to help 38% of the 2018 class.

The 34 winners have been informed and announced to the class, but we would like to thank everyone who submitted an application for their time and effort. We would also like to thank our external sponsors and juries for helping us to increase the number of scholarships we were able to offer this year, and for their help in the tough selection process.

Here are a couple of responses we received from winners:

André Cepêda, Brazil/Portugal

“The Emerging Markets scholarship goes beyond enabling the pursuit of world-class executive education; it sets a moral commitment for me to retribute by helping people to reach their full potential along my career after MBA.”

Sara Jamil, France/Morocco

“I am honoured to have been selected for the IMD MBA Merit Scholarship. It means a great deal to me…This gesture simply confirmed my initial intuition about IMD: an authentic MBA program that first and foremost fosters merit and diversity.”

We look forward to welcoming the new candidates to campus in January!







My affair with IMD

Neharika Agarwal from next year’s class looks back to her introduction to IMD and shares impressions from her assessment day.

It all started one Saturday afternoon when I was discussing my MBA plans with a friend. He introduced me to IMD saying it is one of the best general management MBA programs in the world and it would be a great fit for me given my background and experience! Only problem is that it is quite difficult to crack given the class size, student accomplishments and a very rigorous admission procedure. This really piqued my interest and I poured all my energy into getting to know the school more.

After months of hard work, I finally got a chance to meet my interest first hand when I got an invite for the assessment day. IMD is situated on the banks of Lake Geneva and that sight itself took my breath away!

Lake view

The Assessment day started sharp at 7:50 AM with a tour of the lovely campus. During the tour, I realized the importance of time when Antonio told us that if you are late by even a minute, you’re not allowed to enter the class! Talk about Swiss precision! We also got a chance to peek into the class, celebrating a birthday over Salsa and what we saw made us realize that it is not all work but some play too.

At the end of the day we were taken to a class to see for ourselves what a lecture is like at IMD. It was an entrepreneurship class by Professor Benoit Leleux. What made it more special was that the person who started the company that was being discussed in the case was attending the lecture and gave her inputs and made notes of some of the suggestions provided by the students on the next stage of her venture. Attending that class, seeing the potential tangible impact live, suddenly made it all so real for me and instantly made me realize that IMD was really the place where I wanted to be if I got through.  I was glad I got a chance to visit the school in person to see what I could expect and was totally blown away. Despite eight strenuous hours and a previous night of sleeplessness I was still fully charged and was absolutely ready for more.

Now that my interest has been reciprocated, I’m looking forward to spending a year getting to know it deeply and developing a lifelong relationship.


The last lap

Exactly one month and one hour to graduation!

This was the message posted by one of my batch mates on our whatsapp group last week! I cannot believe this year has to come an end. The only stark reminder of the end has probably been the onset of winter cause the pace of activity in the last few months has not changed all that much. The last weeks had been all about travelling and working on our ICP Project, job search and contemplating about real life outside the IMD bubble. Continue reading “The last lap”

Standup to Fear

I’m in the smokiest bar in Abu Dhabi. I’m about to headline the local standup comedy show. The MC has a few jokes up his sleeve. He always does. This filling act gives me some time to think and gather my emotions. But my fight or flight instincts kick in. My hands are sweaty, the head feels dizzy and I can feel the whole room collapsing. Suddenly, I hear the MC shout out my name. The sounds of hoots and claps fill the room. A surge of adrenalin fills my face. I suddenly remember my first act. I walk in. The mike is mine. Instinct honed through days of practice takes over and I deliver my act for the next 15 minutes. Continue reading “Standup to Fear”

Indian Summer

An important part of the MBA program is not just the participants, it is their partners and families. Suhani Arora shares her experiences from the perspective of an MBA partner.

We have been in the midst of an Indian Summer in Lausanne. The trees are a riot of colour, and the clear blue skies and unseasonable warmth make for a pleasant interlude before the city slowly succumbs to winter’s icy grasp. Continue reading “Indian Summer”

It’s Diwali!!

Today is the Diwali festival of lights – we wish all of our Indian participants, alumni and future candidates a Happy Diwali, and a special thanks to Rajashree for today’s guest blog post!

Land of festivals they say,
One more festival is here- call it you may…
Diwali as I know it-a celebration of Lights,
Celebrated by everyone- not just by money or might…

Legend has it, Lord Ram returned to his kingdom,
Welcomed with pomp and joy wholesome…
Lamps glittered along all the streets,
Rejoicing townsfolk with festivities and sweetmeats…
Lord Ram is known for his benevolence and courage,
Wise as he was blessed by every sage…
Exiled for fourteen years from a life of comfort,
Fought demons relentlessly on heaven and earth…
Legends passed on through generations remain,
A mélange of colors now they attain…

Diwali_final Collage

Truly, Diwali has transcended boundaries across religions in India today. It’s a festival of spreading joy and happiness. It is celebrated for four days at the onset of winter. Communities come together to celebrate this festival in different ways. Though Indian culture varies differently across north, south, east and west, this festival is celebrated with equal pomp across the country.

This is my first Diwali away from home, and I cannot explain what I am missing! Waking up early on a Diwali morning to the soothing fragrance of Jasmine flowers and sandalwood paste that adorns the little temple at home is a priceless memory. Diwali for me means amazing homemade sweets like laddoo, gujiya and so much more. Trust me, overeating too is underrated during Diwali. Sumptuous Indian food being made at homes to mark this festival is bound to leave you a few kilos heavier at the end of four days. Friends and family get together and celebrate this festival of togetherness with great aplomb. Being dressed in traditional Indian dresses is just a cherry on the cake.

Diwalix Collage

This celebration of age-old traditions has acquired a modern avatar today with crackers being burst almost every evening. Gifting too has become a common way of expressing gratitude and appreciation for families and businesses in a huge way. Lanterns and lamps glitter on streets and in homes. What a sight it is!

This is how we celebrate one of my favorite festivals in India. Really happy to share it with my family at IMD.

Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali!