Gathering steam! (Nicholas Toubkin)

My team and I had a fantastic and very productive trip to Latvia and Estonia last week – and lots of fun too – it was so inspiring to visit a region full of energy (and handily, great restaurants!).

This week we are intensively synthesising the information that we gathered during our desk research and our trip in the field.  It’s great to see how IMD’s education has led us to approach this task completely differently from the way that we would have before our courses at the beginning of the year – the depth of the analysis has become significantly greater.

As our deadline to provide a first formal update to our client nears, the workload and pressure is increasing – so our leadership and team building skills are being employed also, in order that we manage the tension!

Altogether, so far, the individual consulting project is an ideal way in which to practice the plethora of skills acquired at IMD.  For me, it’s a great opportunity to get experience in a new sector, and to leverage this in my career search.

Otherwise, the networking opportunities at IMD continue to be invaluable – this week, we’ve had the most senior managers of one of Europe’s largest banks on campus – which provided me with a great opportunity to network with some critical contacts associated with my preferred career path.  It’s always amazing to find out who’s just round the corner here in Lausanne.

Tomorrow, a much needed break – a party organised by our social committee to welcome autumn!

Until next time,


Discovery Trip – China & Japan (Nicholas Toubkin)

Stephanie, Nick A and I are back from our fantastic trip to China and Japan.  It was incredible to learn more about these fantastic, vibrant, unforgettable countries.

The trips were mainly work-oriented, but this didn’t dampen the fun for a second, as it was genuinely fascinating to learn more about the business environments in these two countries, and to connect with our fantastic alumni.  Before the trip, I questioned the academic value of such an expedition; now, I don’t doubt it for a second.

The alumni network was inspiring – from one of Asia’s foremost Private Equity individuals, to a go-getting and passionate entrepreneur, it was so refreshing to see what our alumni had done with the skills they learnt at IMD.  I was particularly inspired by the ‘can-do’ approach of our alumni in China, who are taking every opportunity possible to harness the exceptional growth in the country.  In Japan, the alumni team were equally interesting – but given the Japanese culture, very modest about their fantastic achievements!

This Saturday, we spent a full day in Tokyo doing a joint workshop with some senior executives from Japan’s largest corporates.  This was combined with some keynote speeches from a prominent Japanese economist, two partners from McKinsey, and a Taiwanese executive sharing her experiences as a foreign CEO of a listed Japanese conglomerate.  The speeches were inspiring and thought provoking, but the interaction with the executives was really fascinating – and a fantastic opportunity to dig a little into the mindset of Japanese workers.  What I found (as a generalisation) was an unyielding passion for precision and excellence.  It really was so interesting to find that many Japanese workers really do take accuracy as such a high priority, and reflecting how this might affect the flexibility of the economy.

Despite the strong focus on work and business discovery on the trip, there was nevertheless some time for sightseeing, which we grabbed to the greatest of our abilities.  It was amazing to explore Shanghai –  such a vibrant city, with a Gucci store seemingly on every corner.  The energy in Tokyo was palpable, whilst Kyoto brought a sense of calm and spiritual balance to our trip.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the best bits of the trip – so I’l write an update soon.  Stephanie will be giving her impressions, and Nick A will be providing photos in due course.  And for those of you interested to know about our counterparts’ experience in Singapore & Dubai and Mexico & California, I’ve been promised some guest contributions soon.

Until next time,