CEO’s, Leadership and ICP’s

After jet-setting around Europe for 7 weeks I have finally gotten time to talk about it. So our ICP with a telecom giant took me and my team from Hungary to Ireland and everywhere in between. ICP’s are a key part of the MBA program and now that it is over, I can see why it is such a brilliant idea to wrap-up our MBA with a real project for a real client solving real problems.

I am delighted to share that our client was very happy with our work and clearly could see the value-add we brought to the company. All the leadership, finance, accounting, problem-solving and critical thinking lessons learnt throughout the year came in handy to solve the issues at hand.

Immediately, after the ICP’s we headed back to IMD and were greeted with a fantastic gathering of CEO’s of some of the top companies. IMD hosts CEO Rountable for top leaders from across different industries once a year. And this was a great opportunity for us to meet some of these top leaders and learn from them.

I had the chance to hear from Boris Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer. He is clearly an extraordinary executive who climbed up the Banking ladder pretty swiftly and so had some great first hand experiences to share from his journey. His presentation laid out the challenges facing the Wealth Management sector and also his plans to steady Julius Baer to face those challenges well and become a stronger Bank. I must say it is quite extraordinary to hear directly from these people right at the top. Their clarity of vision, simple few point plans and tremendous faith in their abilities and those of their people is quite inspiring to see. It also makes this very real, so much so that we can for the first time begin to believe that some of us can be in those positions and can be fully capable of making similar decisions.

Boris left us with three great lessons for our own careers and I will share those with all of you.

  1. “You guys are too young to do a job you don’t like”
  2. “You guys are too young to not take really big risks”
  3. “Do not over-plan. It is good to have some ideas about your future but do not try to forecast everything. At the same time develop a knack for spotting opportunities as they come”.

 

I am going to reflect on these lessons for sure and I hope you will too.

 

All the best

 

Emotionally numbered, analytically sentimental

I need to apologize for my long silence in the blog. I must acknowledge, that my IMD experience goes far beyond schooling, projects or class experience. When I packed my suitcases to come here six months ago, I thought I knew everything I put there. However, just like in books of Milorad Pavic, all of a sudden I found the whole bunch of stuff. Continue reading “Emotionally numbered, analytically sentimental”

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

Inferring the Niagara from a drop of water

What is common between well-known Mr. Sherlock Holmes and an IMD MBA candidate? Strategy classes have started and we need to apply deductive reasoning in problem solving. A simple dating riddle may become a hard strategic dilemma: temptation for inductive conclusion from a qualitative analysis should be challenged through a deductive quantitative check. The numbers might be approximated, but once they show that your sophisticated multilayer reasoning doesn’t make sense, because a beautifully differentiated product provides no financial benefit on the market, forget the business idea. The logic is pure and beautiful.

Then comes a leadership class and we discuss organizational frameworks. What is it like to persuade the whole group of people, when you have an opposite opinion? Again inductive vs deductive. Are you capable as a leader to make this change? Someone just made a logical mistake, but the other might have a psychological defense – how do you deal with those at once? And what kind of miracle happened to the British Museum in early 2000s? For the last several days while on my way I listen to the archived BBC radio-programs of Mr. Neil MacGregor “A History of the World in 100 objects”: stories, that connect functionality and beauty of artefacts with changing us. By the way, this thesis is just a part of a vision of a leader, who succeeded to attract millions of visitors and changed our perception of museums.

During the break my classmates discuss the central role of energy in economy. Later on I listen to another radio program of Neil MacGregor: supposedly 50 million years ago humans started creating arts – a connection to imaginary and abstract thinking – this might be related to the fact that normally around 20% of energy consumption of a human serves brain needs. Energy is for us and not the other way round. It’s us, who create, who progress, who doubt, who make mistakes…

At the beginning of this week we presented our start-up solutions to the jury and, thus, finished entrepreneurship classes and… changed our groups. Turning to another page of our incredible journey at the IMD,

Till soon,

Aysylu

 

The Power of Authenticity

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!

Silvia