Sit tight, this is going to be a long one 🙂
So… as a blogger I have a commitment to keep the readers up to date with what’s going on on the IMD MBA. Weekly if I can. Bi-weekly if I must. Once a month if things are really ugly.
Which makes it almost painful to admit I have not blogged here for almost 3 months.
I could write a long list of perhaps even valid reasons for that – and maybe I would have done that before the IMD experience. But reality is that it doesn’t matter. I failed in this. Some other amazing victories during this time? Yes. But not this one.
Halfway through the MBA and already wishing time went by slower, I can now state that IMD MBA – of course, if you really put yourself into it – will change your life. You won’t know in which way, intensity or angle – but rest assured life won’t be the same after you step your foot in the legendary Lorange Auditorium for the first time.
These past three months were incredible. Also intense. Also hard. Also time consuming. But with a bit of a taste of reward for all the work we’ve put in.
Here are some highlights of the time I was offline:
As you can see, not a lot going on over here (LOL).
Today I am excitedly one week into my Company Engagement Project and being able to feel the power of the IMD brand every time I present myself to someone new. Impressive. Now it’s up to me and all of us to measure up to and strengthen this unique and powerful brand!
Onto the next challenge… and back here soon.
The staccato frequency of these blogposts stands in stark contrast to the almost unending excitement in the MBA program these days. And while I bring you up to speed with all the action let me confess straight-away that I have decided to stop branding any day at IMD as the “best day”, because experience has proved to me that the best is yet to come. Continue reading “The best week or was it?”
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!
As Kunal beautifully described in his latest post, life after the exams has been inspiring in many levels!
I find myself in a state where I don’t want time to go by so fast…every day brings new possibilities, ideas and opportunities to use the learnings we had on the first part of the program. The city of Lausanne feels like home now and the IMD family is closer and closer.
All 90 of us are here as a result of so many different stories! We of course want different things out of each subject and have different interests and priorities… That is why when I look around and see all 90 of us completely hypnotized by a speaker, it means we’re living a special moment.
That’s what happened last Thursday with the special visit of Nestlé’s CEO, Paul Bulcke!
It was a night to remember. He was super accessible and down to earth, and truly created an atmosphere of closeness with our class.
There were so many pearls of wisdom.
To me the most insightful ones were:
Don’t imagine your career as the final destination. Make the decisions today on what you know today. Things are always changing.
- Never work for your boss. Work for your team.
- If you have no interests outside your job, you are in trouble.
- What needs to be done, only gets done by doing.
- Practice dettached involvement. (Be present and part of the situation but be also able to look at it from a distance)
- The world is a place full of intelligent people but lacks wisdom.
- When you have all the answers, that’s management. When you don’t have all the answers, that’s leadership.
And the ultimate lesson to me was given by example. He was asked some difficult questions in delicate subjects such as GMOs and water resources, and the way he openly yet firmly responded them was utmost inspiring.
Another unforgettable moment in the incredibly unique experience that is the IMD journey.
History is happening right now – this is my strong impression from today. During the couple of last days, we have discussed incredibly real and stunning cases in entrepreneurship class. “I want to rule my life and manage my business” imperative can have absolutely different sequences. So many factors, predictable and sometimes completely unforeseen, good or bad luck may play a critical role. But to what extend actually luck is random? Several weeks ago a guest speaker told us that luck might be considered an attitude. How do people make choices and what is truly important in our decision-making? We’ve seen some case heroes, making transition from the corporate to entrepreneurial world, changing industries or locations within or outside their countries, also balancing their personal lives. Those dilemmas and decisions seem so compelling to me. On the other side, business cases are in a way similar to fairy tales from my childhood – captivative, teaching and touching something important inside. I admire efforts of our professors and other case writers, who “hunt” to create those masterpieces. Those stories represent contemporary business traditions, eternal individual dramas and successes and the way we think – towards a given or imagined. And are we that conscious in our decisions or can we be objective, looking back and “connecting the dots”?
Today after classes we had a very interesting speaker from the travel industry. We heard a story on growing a new business by creating a new market segment in Europe. It is another fantastic story on transferring technology, but tailoring it to the needs of a different market. A technology-driven service, significant capital investment, digital challenges, customer expectations and what not. And the biggest challenge and privilege is… a team work. I am always inspired to see successful women leaders, smart and charming, strong and humble.
Another beautiful day at IMD.
As we approach the finish line of the first part of the program (and the dreaded exams) the overall energy of the class is much more on the lower side than before… The exhaustion starts to pile up and what I see is not a change in the attitude, is really that people are too tired, overworked and worried to be able to “shine” through.
I believe it’s all part of the process…. But the reason I bring that up is because I’ve witnessed the power of authenticity and leadership with a speaker last week:
Imagine that tired, overworked class mentioned above. Add to that a full day of Accounting. Can you feel the energy?
Yes… we were pretty much dead when a 1994 IMD MBA Alumni bursted into the case discussion. No introductions, he just shows up and takes the lead of the discussion. He was actually the manager of the case we were studying and we started to discuss and question his decisions openly. Everyone was hypnotized and fully tuned in. He completely owned the room with his consistent confidence on not necessarily unanimous statements and decisions.
The Balanced ScoreCard case turned into a session on Leadership, Life and Values. It was so authentic and powerful that his lessons still echo in our coffee breaks and dungeons.
Here are some of the lessons that caught my attention:
SUCCESS – Be very good at something specific and only then start to broaden out. Have 1 or 2 mentors that you can rely on for candid unbiased guidance. Be happy with your family/loved ones.
TIME MANAGEMENT – Be present wherever you are and really connect with whoever is with you. Best way to be productive is to use your time fully and well.
LUCK – Is about attitude and how you deal with things in your life. Being open and positive will “attract” luck or transform situations.
DECISION MAKING – Assess what you can assess, but then make a decision and move forward. Don’t look back.
GIVING BACK – Always do something outside of yourself. Do things for other people in their best interests. “You learn, You earn and You return!”
And the advice for us during the MBA year?
- Use this year to make a change
- Take personal risk, don’t overprotect
- Experiment with yourself/your facets
- Refigure out who you want to be and what you want to do
- Hone yourself to be the best person you can be
Thanks Leif for bringing him and giving us that energizing session!
Now back to the studies… and good luck to all of us on the exams!