Here, there and everywhere…

Sitting in the TGV train from Lausanne to Paris watching the Swiss hills blend into French ones, I am struck by how much I have been on the road these past few months. In this instance, I am about to start the fourth week of my international consulting project for a multinational medical devices company. At the same time the job search is on full tilt, which has had me between Paris, Lausanne, Copenhagen, Dubai, London, and Milan over the past few weeks. By the end of this week, Stockholm will also make its way onto the list. Continue reading “Here, there and everywhere…”

Toys for thought, twinkle stars and growing adults

This week was incredibly concentrated and full of impressions. To start with an amusement park: short and tall revolving attractions quickly grew up across the road. Day and night they shine and reproduce fancy songs, disturbing overwhelmed MBA students. Attractions are calling and I hope to reward my inner child, before they move to another Continue reading “Toys for thought, twinkle stars and growing adults”

It just gets better and better!

Life at IMD after the exams just gets better and better!

The knowledge and tools we’ve acquired in the first three months have started to sink in and become part of our “arsenal” to tackle new challenges. Our confidence and ability to perform have climbed and we can now take on bigger challenges with much lower stress levels. And the new classes are amazing!

 I am trying my best not to spoil any surprises for the newcomers here… but let’s say that the last days have been filled with excitement and super interesting topics such as: crisis management, media training, hands-on innovation and leadership frameworks on getting people on board. Unquestionably useful knowledge that will certainly differentiate us – especially in the long run.

The career services team has been super active bringing valuable sessions to help us on career management, interviewing techniques and case interview preparation.

We are also having more and more guest speakers to inspire us with their trajectories and share invaluable lessons. Just this week we’ll have three different executives spending time exclusively with us.

To top it off, last weekend most of our class took our first trip together! Our classmate Dustin Kahler took the brave role to organize rooms, transportation, ski gear exchange, dinner and activities for over 60 people to come to Verbier! It was a great way to have fun together and create some more memories of our Swiss adventures!

I feel like we are living the IMD dream… and I am doing my best to enjoy the present as time is moving fast and tends to move even faster after the June exams.

 Have a great week and stay tuned!

Silvia

Motivation, Inspiration and some advise – Just another day at IMD

Entrepreneurship stream formally came to a close today but not without leaving us with some valuable learnings. Over the past many weeks we had the privilege to vicariously live and experience the lives of many entrepreneurs through the case studies. While “Eat me” introduced us to the trials and tribulations of Serena as she successfully persevered to realise her dream of starting a concept restaurant in Lausanne, Govworks.com narrated a tragedy of Shakespearean proportion as we witnessed Kaleil Isaza’s metoric rise to fame and eventual fall from grace.
From Tumi’s take over by Samsonite, to Venkatesh’s LBO of a division of his employer everything was on the menu.
We had the privilege to meet many of these entrepreneurs in flesh and blood as they recounted their journeys to us and patiently answered flurry of our hurried questions.
This morning Professor Benoit orchestrated perhaps the most appropriate conclusion to this stream by sharing with us the remarkable story of WIPHOLD (http://www.wiphold.com/), an example of how Private Equity can be a force for good and not just a source of profits. These stories motivated us to dig deep into our own passions and unearth those great ideas that we have been holding back perhaps a tad bit too long.
After such a motivational start to our day, in the afternoon, we got a chance to talk to a panel of senior HR managers from several companies. In those 4 hours we received some valuable career advice. Engaging with these people helped us to see the world from their perspective. It helped us to understand how best to position ourselves so as to maximize our chances of landing our dream jobs.
The best however was left for the last. We were paid a visit by a friendly neighbour. One of Nestle’s best employees took time out of his busy schedule to come and speak to us. He was none other than Paul Bulcke, the CEO, himself.
There cannot be anything more inspiring for business students, like us, than to be able to meet and learn from the stalwarts of the industry. Paul has spent 8 years at the helm of one of the World’s largest corporations and tonight we had the opportunity to ask him all about the remarkable journey that he has been through. No wonder we were falling over each other in order to ask our questions. Paul took all questions – easy ones, difficult ones, personal ones and professional ones. He answered them with utmost conviction and authenticity.
Much of his advice around careers was simple but profound. He urged us to find happiness in our work and not to see it simply as a means of getting to some future position. Perhaps the most important piece of advise from my point of view was that we should not look to work for our boss rather we should work for our peers and subordinates.
Such advice is often not found in business books or literature but can only be garnered through talking to someone like Paul who has seen it all, made it to the top and has kept the perspective on what is important.
How do you summarize such a rich day at school?
All I can say is this: More motivation, more advise and more inspiration – just another day at IMD.
Kunal

Impression rage

This week was notable by the number of speakers in our program: IMD alumni of 90’s, 2000’s and 2015, as well as J&J and McKinsey&Co guests. The whole gallery of characters, personalities, stories, individual and professional challenges, power of knowledge and will, flexibility and firmness and what not. Career services occupy more space in our agenda.

We worked with dilemmas of brand power, in- and outbound marketing, accounting and conflict solving; we “sold” lab equipment and made cash flow reports.

Our committees perform so well, that I struggle prioritizing: healthcare, consulting, technology, energy, social and women in leadership clusters organized activities this week. Sports committee visualized the whole spectrum of assets that are luckily represent in our class.

After three months of waiting a small branch of my granny’s houseplant finally took rootes in a glass of water on my window-sill.

Till soon,

Aysylu

Reflections on my MBA admission journey

Blog posts are getting a bit irregular as some of you might have noticed- a sign of things to come. As mentioned in my previous post, the honeymoon period is over and now is the time to deliver. Deliver on projects, integrative, start-ups and shortly on exams too. We are fully embedded in IMD now and there has been no better reminder of this fact than all the queries I and my classmates are receiving from potential candidates on our MBA experience.

We are indeed, finally living those “plans” that once seemed eternally futuristic. All the apprehensions, hopes, concerns and expectations we had from an MBA program are unfolding in front of our eyes one after the other and therefore it is only natural that those who aspire to be on this campus next year look to us for counsel. So let me use this post to share some advise I received from my IMD seniors when I was doing my application.

1) Get clarity on why you want to do an MBA – it took me a while to polarize this question. I could always come up with alternative narratives for my career that included and excluded an MBA. There are many different models to think about one’s future career. We can think of our career as a “business venture” in which we make investments and hope to get back financial returns. We can think of it as a continuous learning journey where at each next step we seek new knowledge or as my senior suggested we can think of it as an athelete’s pursuit – where we will do all that it will take to make us perform at our full potential. None of these models are right or wrong but it is worth noting that you have to find the metaphor for your career which will be distinct from others and see how an MBA fits into it.

2) Know your MBA college – It is critical that once you have made your mind to do an MBA you must put in a lot of effort to fully understand which college works best for you. This is important not only because you have to spend 1 or 2 years of your life in that place but also because for the rest of your life that college remains a part of you – what do you want that part to stand for?  My senior advised me that an MBA admission is not a one way selection process. It is in fact a test for compatibility. Use every opportunity to know the school, just as the school is trying to use every opportunity to know you (oh yes!  those casual chats at the end of the assessment day were not so casual after all – be in your element always). Talk to current students, spend a lot of time on the website, talk to alumni and make your own decision. Find your inspiration to join that school.

3) Stop second guessing the admission officer’s mind – One question I seem to be getting quite often these days is “Kunal, I have a poor GPA but my GMAT is high, do you think the admission officer will overlook my grades?” or something similar. The honest answer to all such questions is – I dont know. And in fact I can bet you no one knows what is going through the admission officer’s mind and it shouldnt be your concern at all, simply because you cannot influence it. You can only spend your valuable energy worrying about it. What you can influence though is your application. You can put up for consideration your best self as reflected in the application and that is where you must focus your energy.

4) Take pride in yourself – This last piece of advise I received from my senior was quite critical. Often when we read sample essays etc. we tend to walk away with a feeling that we must put up a story that is completely ironed, spotless and smells of prodigious talent. We tend to find ways to hide our failures and amplify our successes. But in fact we must take pride in our failures and successes alike. We must spend time thinking what have we learnt from our experiences and showcase the learning journey. Taking pride in our journey does not mean being arrogant rather having a silent confidence that we are better off for “all” our experiences.

I hope some of this is useful and in passing on this advise, I have done justice to the message of my senior. It is worthwhile to highlight though that these were the things I personally found valuable in my journey and not all of this will be applicable to every future candidate. But the point is to know what really matters and focus your energies on that. Continue your quest that will hopefully guide you to your decisions. And lastly, dont forget to find your inspiration.

 

Kunal