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IMD MBA Admissions and Related Blogs!

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IMD MBA Admissions and Related Blogs! [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2014, 13:52
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In a letter last week, Ralf Boscheck, the Program Director of the IMD MBA Program, announced that the school has “decided to realign the MBA Office with our new MBA program starting in January 2015.” He goes on to bid farewell to five long-time officials of the program, Claire Lecoq, Lisa Piguet, Janet Shaner, Marine Frey, and Simone Kuhn.

Their resignations follows a controversial move by IMD to begin reporting career stats every three years, rather than annually. After the new approach was announced, there was an uproar among alumni and applicants, especially when it became clear that this change covered up deteriorating salary and placement results for MBA graduates. The school explains, as noted in a September Poets & Quants article, that the declining salary stats are due to other changes made by the program, in particular a smaller class size, and currency fluctuations.

In a second Poets & Quants article chronicling the IMD saga, Boscheck says, “I would like to sidestep the commoditization of this industry and have a program that prepares 90 selected students not having to worry about being compared to other MBA programs that are less differentiated. These are not typical MBAs. They are junior executives and you can learn with them. It’s a senior, more experienced group. This school is an executive development network. We have 8,000 executives every year on campus and the trick is to bring the MBA program back into the core of the school and leverage what we have best which is our executive development.”

I was interviewed for the most recent Poets & Quants article on the IMD shake-up. My take on the turmoil:

“I don’t know who was behind that decision, but I do know there is a new program director and he probably wants ‘his people’ in positions that affect recruiting both of new students and potential employers. Either the old staff wasn’t comfortable with his approach and resigned, or they saw handwriting on the wall about their futures and resigned.

“I think IMD is going to struggle until the changes the new program director wants to make are implemented and prove popular with recruiters and students. If the changes are successful and the results are realized quickly, IMD will bounce back stronger than ever.

“If the changes prove unpopular or the results take a long time to be seen, IMD will decline until the new program director is replaced. In the latter case, its reputation and brand will be weakened.”

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By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business SchoolsBest MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right Ones
2014 Virtual Panel: Exploring European B-Schools
Business and Science Meet: Insights of an IMD Grad and Former Medical Doctor

Accepted.com's experienced admissions consultants can help you create the most impressive application possible with comprehensive packages, or provide targeted assistance from picking perfect programs to designing a dazzling resume, constructing engaging essays, or preparing for intense interviews…and more! Accepted.com has guided thousands of applicants to acceptances at top MBA programs since 1994 – we know what works and what doesn't, so contact us to get started now!

This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.

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Re: IMD MBA Admissions and Related Blogs! [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2017, 00:42
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Challenge your thinking
“We share viewpoints on global issues and trends and their impact on business models, industries and economies.”

Each morning, during IMD’s OWP (Orchestrating Winning Performance) program, the MBAs have been conducting thought provoking Executive Briefings that continue to share and develop their findings from the Navigating the Future conference.

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Tuesday, 27th June saw ‘The Impact of Automation on Business, Government and Society: The Optimists vs The Pessimists

Wednesday, 28th saw ‘Responding to New Consumer Trends’ & ‘Food Security’

Thursday, 29th focused on ‘MENA – Economic Challenges & Political Context’ &  The New Silk Road – Three Country Perspectives

and tomorrow, MBAs will be discussing ‘European Competitiveness’ & ‘The North America(s) & the Rise of Populism’

At the same time, three other groups of MBAs have left campus to take their presentations to audiences in London, Munich and Zurich – hopefully we’ll be hearing from them over the next couple of days!

Suzy

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Re: IMD MBA Admissions and Related Blogs! [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2017, 00:42
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: All the world’s a stage
Since my last blogpost, in true IMD fashion, so much has happened.

We are now officially done with the second term exams. IMD tends to front load content so we are better prepared for interviews and consulting projects. So more or less, our core classes are over. All of us went to Morzine in France for a day to unwind and relax. I enjoyed the trip and the hiking very much. (Priyanka talked about the fun experience in one of her earlier blogposts)

Soon after that, we started prep work for “Navigating the future” conference. This is a brainchild of Ralf, our program director. This is the 4th year of the conference and we were determined to keep up the quality of presentations as in the past years. Over the last month or so, we had emails going back and forth on the different topics and the content for the speech etc and we worked on the write-up and slides after the class Italy trip. I was amazed by the quality of our presentations as a class and the prep work that happened in the background just before it. I wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes work that made this possible

Editorial teams:

Some of my classmates volunteered to be the editors. We had a report editorial team and a Powerpoint editorial team. The groups were given a format and theme to follow throughout the writeup and the presentations. Some of my classmates spent so many extra hours being in the editorial team trying to bring the IMD quality to every presentation and the write-up. There were so many rounds of iterative slide decks and reports that went back and forth between editorial team and the project teams. I find myself to be very privileged to have witnessed the intense work and the shaping of the final product.

Our topic:

We had 15 topics and I had chosen the effect of automation. I was one of two speakers on this topic. My group took the flip side of automation. We had another group presenting the optimistic view of automation. In addition to the normal challenges of this type of presentation, both our groups had to maintain a tight co-ordination between the content. To make it more lively, we decided to make it more of a debate/discussion and decided to refute each others points directly. At IMD, we believe in real world examples. When the optimists proposed government as a solution, we did some research and found some proof for why the government alone cannot be the solution. When they argued companies are the solution, we did some research and found some interesting flip slides for that argument as well. It was such a fun exercise to iteratively perfect the presentation.

Speech:

In addition to working on slide decks and reports, the other very important aspect of this conference was the prep work for the speech itself. Though I personally am passionate about this topic, the thought of speaking in front of 250 executives scared me a little to be honest. This reminds me of a classic Seinfeld joke

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
I think I wasn’t alone. So how did we overcome this? There is an interesting behind-the-scenes story I can share at this point.

“And all the men and women merely players”:

Richard Hahlo is a professional theater actor and speech consultant. He spoke to us earlier in the year about presentations and public speaking. We even talked about that interesting exercise in our blog. As it turns out, Richard made an appearance again. Over the course of two days, he prepared us for the presentation. He taught us the tips and tricks about public speaking. All of us got individual coaching. It was a great learning experience.

For example, I had no idea that I tend to move a lot during presentations. They recorded my speech and we analysed it together and I learnt things I would never have had an opportunity to learn in corporate world. I can list a lot of other mistakes I do while presenting, but nothing ever dies in Internet and you get the picture. So lets move on.

Richard and my classmates helped me out with some of my pitfalls. Myself and all my classmates were given an opportunity to improve our delivery. We were taught to see from the perspective of the audience and we were told how to retain their attention. We were taught tips and tricks. We learnt what makes a good public speech and what the audience take away from it. If you think it is impossible to learn these things in two days, I recommend you watch all our speeches this year at the NTF conference (the YouTube links will be out soon) All my classmates made mind-blowing leaps in a matter of few days. We also did many rounds of class feedback sessions for all the speakers and we continuously improved up until the day before the presentation. So I can confidently say, all my classmates did a tremendous job on stage (I admit I may be biased..we are waiting for the opinion of the readers of the blog!)

Networking events:

We had networking sessions right after the speeches and there were some lively debates about the topics that were just presented. Mr.Ian Charles Stewart is a co-founder of Wired magazine. He was in the audience during NTF. Ian, being an innate optimist believes automation is a force for good. As you would expect, he had some tough questions for my team after we presented the pessimistic view. I reached out to him during the networking session and continued the Q&A. He agreed that the current change in automation is exponential, but he convinced me that the human potential to overcome these challenges is also exponential. How cool is debating with Wired magazine co-founder about automation and technology!

These are the important value adds in the IMD MBA program that is so unique to us. How often do you get to experience something like this? As general managers, we may have to do as much public speaking in the future as financial modeling (hopefully). I can speak for all my classmates here – the behind-the-scene experience of NTF conference is something all of us will cherish for years to come.

OWP:

Of course we didn’t stop there. As you may have read in previous blogposts, we also presented our view points in the annual OWP program in IMD. For the uninitiated, OWP is one of the biggest executive training programs offered at IMD. We had 450 senior executives from all over the world come to Lausanne for OWP and we got an opportunity to present in front of them and tackle their difficult questions.

Company Engagement projects:

After a raucous month of June – starting with exams, Morzine class trip, Italy class trip, then NTF, OWP – we are all off to our summer internships during July/August. I am excited about my project with Amazon, starting this Monday. 89 others from my class are traveling to all corners of the world for their internships.

For the month of July, we have a fantastic line up of blog posts. My classmates are going to write about their internship experience from all over the world. Stay tuned!

Adios,

Sathappan

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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The time capsule [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 01:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: The time capsule
“Prochaine arrêt: Lausanne.”

It’s the same voice – the same lady announcing train stops between Geneva Airport and Lausanne. The same voice as 13 years ago, back in 2004, when Lausanne was the center of my life during my MBA at IMD.

Today’s guest entry is written by Cordula Oertel, MBA 2004 and one of our Alumni Club Presidents.

 Here I am back at Lausanne, for two engaging days around the IMD Alumni Club Presidents’ meeting.

 

Going back to Lausanne is a trip down memory lane. Ouchy makes me think of a time capsule: The bakery, the Creperie, Migros – it’s all still there and hasn’t changed a bit. Oh wait – there’s now a Swiss interpretation of sushi in the shelves of the supermarket. Right next to the ready-made salad bowl that made my dinner for what felt like 365 evenings a year.

Flashback to 2004. A year of stress, fun, tears, laughter, debates and friendships across borders and disagreements. IMD creates an intense environment, learning and development are set on fast-forward. 89 classmates. You may not like each of them – but you will certainly have a bond with each of them at the end of the year. And with some of them, you will develop an outstanding friendship that lasts over time and continents. Just last week, I bumped into one of my classmates in Shanghai – randomly, in a 24m people city. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity, and a lunch was quickly extended to a catch up full of laughter. One week later, another classmate made it all the way to Geneva airport to meet up between flights. No matter how long it’s been since the last meeting, the connection is right there.

And the IMD spirit isn’t limited to a specific class or program. Now, 2017: Lively discussions among the global Club Presidents. Sharp minds, unique personalities, all passionate about IMD, and committed to carry on “Real World, Real Learning” among the alumni across the world. While I did my MBA more than 10 years ago, IMD has not stopped being an integral part of my life. The alumni community is a rich and inspiring network. I truly enjoy the work in the IMD Alumni Club: it keeps surprising me with unexpected challenges, but most of all, with outstanding minds in the alumni community. It’s inspiring to engage in a thought-provoking discussion with someone who – superficially – seems to have only one thing in common: the school. But dig deeper and you find out more. Continuous learning, yes, indeed.

Which makes me think of the time capsule again: Lausanne may look like it’s been the same for decades and longer. Going through IMD, though, is a transformation from within. A transformation to embrace change and learning wherever you go. Prochaine arrêt: …?

Cordula Oertel

Director of Partnerships – South East Asia, India and Greater China

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linkedin.com/in/cordulaoertel

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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F1 Leadership [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2017, 05:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: F1 Leadership
Today’s guest entry is by Stefano Piantoni who is sharing his thoughts post the OWP session wherein Mika Hakkinen and Allan McNish revealed their approach to high performance: focus, wellness and secure base leadership

As a child, I have always fantasized about driving a race car. In my mind, pilots were heroes, the human embodiment of a perfect integration between man and machine. I craved to live their fast-paced lifestyle, experiencing an adrenaline rush during acceleration after every curve. While working in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to attend an F1 Grand Prix and visit the pit lane. The roaring sound of V8 engines and the intense smell of kerosene fuel still tickles my imagination today.

Meeting one of my personal heroes at IMD during Orchestrating Winning Performance conference is an entirely different experience. Only now six months into my MBA, after five major group projects  , five business simulations and countless cases, often completed just before the deadline, am I able to relate to him at a personal level, almost as if he were my mentor. When Mika Hakkinen shared his method to on achieve results in a high-pressure environment, I felt I experienced what he was talking about. Success in such a demanding environment is, according to Mika, related to the ability to stay focused on a specific goal. In the case of formula 1, it is achieving an advantage at the start of the race. Continuous practice and repetition opens the door to mastering a skill. Choosing what to focus on – and what not- is a fundamental decision that can ultimately lead to different outcomes. It’s the choice of where to play and how to win. On a much smaller scale I am currently analyzing which industry and geography can best support me in achieving career goals. I must keep my focus throughout the assignments in the second half of the year.

James Hewitt rationalized Mika’s behavior through a medical perspective, epitomized in the old saying mens sana in corpore sano- a healthy mind in a healthy body or wellness as we like to call it. This can only be achieved through an adequate balance of task orientation and rest. Physical exercise and can help us disconnect, restore energy and creativity levels and focus once more to the task at hand. Repeatedly avoiding breaks to continue working because of time constraints is unhealthy and unproductive.

At times, I struggled to reach the right balance, especially in fast paced assignments with a tight deadline and little margin for error. Walking away for a short time to detach my mind contributed to generating new ideas. This is exactly what happened when working with Xiaomei and Silke on our Healthcare 2.0 presentation for navigating the future. We turned the technical concept of integrated healthcare in Alzheimer’s disease into a valued chain of three steps to highlight the need of strong collaboration among industry players. What we initially considered a complicated and abstract concept was broken down into a main message everyone can understand.

I personally engaged Allan McNish on high performing teams to gain more insights. In order to arrive to frontier performance, leaders need to apply secure base leadership and allow risk taking. Fear of failure can be overcome by showing vulnerability and admitting mistakes. Addressing wrong choices is more productive that deliberately ignoring or failing to address an overlooked issue. Leaders should therefore act as a living example of this simple rule. The startup projects we completed in April and the marketing, finance and strategy simulations taught me just that. A feedback session among colleagues can provide learning opportunities for more effective collaboration. I just now realize how the first part of my MBA has been like a Grand Prix championship and how many similarities there are among our organizations.

Recalling the discussion with McNish, I pick up on his key suggestion that applies to racing as well as to business. Every endeavor requires solid analysis and – the controller side of me brightens up at his comment- yet data alone will not drive you to the finish line. You need an actionable exit strategy that will reduce your exposure should the conditions change.

I’m quick to act on McNishes advice: as I am writing the blog I’m boarding a plane bound to Munich to meet with IMD alumni. We will jointly explore global trends and  opportunities in the industries I wish to contribute to.

Stefano

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Summer in Lausanne [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jul 2017, 05:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Summer in Lausanne
Summer time has come and the campus is quiet as the MBAs work on their CEPs (Company Engagement Projects) in various places around the world.Several participants have volunteered to share their experiences over the next few weeks, but for now, here are some images of summer in Lausanne:

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Suzy

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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CEP C-Engagement project [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2017, 03:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: CEP C-Engagement project
Today’s guest entry is by Victor Rumay who is sharing his thoughts on his company engagement project.

At the beginning of the year when this acronym was introduced to the class, I was skeptical about the benefits that I could  get from a short period of work in interesting companies. I am writing this post after 2 weeks of intense work and tons of fun and learning.

My name is Victor Rumay, Peruvian, passionate for digital and innovation and currently staying in Lausanne for the summer.

For me, CEP has a different meaning: Community Engagement Period. During these weeks, I have had the chance to be involved in activities with the Company that I chose, UBS, and with Classmates and Community of this beautiful Country.

During these days, I have not only built knowledge of a business and market that I find fascinating but also fostered my relationship with classmates and community by being part of local activities such as entrepreneurship forums and French classes at the shore of the amazing lake Léman.

Furthermore, after a productive week, I get together with classmates and go to the summer jazz festival and open-air movies which coincide perfectly with the indescribable sunsets of Switzerland.

Despite being in touch remotely with my classmates who are now pursuing their dreams around the world, I am looking forward to a get together in August and fruitful exchange of our experiences in person.

I am about to start my second half of CEP with a lot of enthusiasm.

Victor

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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It is all about people! [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2017, 05:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: It is all about people!
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Today’s guest entry is by Jonas Jafari, who is sharing his thoughts on his company engagement project with a leading Tech company in Dubai.

The local café is filled with wonderful scents of fruits with Arabic speaking people smoking Shisha (waterpipe) in the middle of Dubai’s technology hub – it is time for lunch and networking. My name is Jonas Jafari and I am doing my Company Engagement Project for a technology company in Dubai Internet City.

You often hear that people are saying they are having their time of their life, but for me, having the opportunity to experience Dubai in the way I have done – really, I am having the time of my life!

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I love the work I am doing, but even more, I am overwhelmed with all the people I have got to know. Honestly, I might be a little strange, since I talk to everyone I meet and I love getting to know strangers, but Dubai is perfect for that – it is filled with amazing people from around the world. I believe this mindset of mine is something that has been strengthened through my first six months at IMD: open mindedness. We focus a lot on that at IMD. Open mindedness is important for me and I see the same mentality in our strong alumni network. I have had the pleasure of visiting several IMD alums in impressive positions at their offices. These professionals also take time out of their schedule to welcome me to Dubai. I meet with people for dinner every night and people have taken me out fishing, I have been invited to a local farm to ride horses, and I have met with a local Emirati, who will lend me his private tailor – so that I can get my own tailor made Kandura!

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I have learned that as long as you show interest in people and have some guts to reach out to people they will most often meet with you.

I am humble and happy of having the opportunity, through IMD MBA’s Company Engagement Program, to experience all this.

Thank you to all you open-minded people who have warmly welcomed me to Dubai. I look forward to coming back!

Maʿ al-salāmah,

Jonas Jafari

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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From city of Nespresso to city of Starbucks [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 02:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: From city of Nespresso to city of Starbucks
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Today’s guest entry is by Wayne Su, who is sharing his thoughts on his company engagement project from Seattle, US

Never did I think that I would have the opportunity to work in Seattle Washington for 5 full weeks while still pursuing my MBA at IMD, not to mention to have the chance to devise go-to-market strategies for a project that encompasses all the fields I have always been eager to explore, including IoT, e-commerce and digital marketing. When I saw the shimmering Space Needle soaring from the stunning skyline in Seattle, I knew this was not a dream and couldn’t help putting on my face an Amazon logo smile that is ubiquitous in this city.

Every July, IMD MBA students have 5-week full-time Company Engagement Project (CEP) to showcase what we have learned during the past 6 months and put those skills into practice. The projects, either individual or group projects are based in every corner of the world, displaying the international exposure of IMD. You might be able to work for a startup company in Madagascar, an established software company in Dubai, an up-and-coming electric vehicles firm in Netherlands, a search engine giant in India, an incubator of a conglomerate in Germany, or use your entrepreneurial skills to devise and implement your business plan.

The partner companies for CEP could be either facilitated by the MBA Career Services or initiated by students themselves through their networks and the help of alumni. Mine is the latter case. Initially, a supportive IMD MBA alumnus working in a leading chemical company offered me a CEP opportunity to work for his company in Europe. However, after a few conversations, he found that there’s actually another opportunity, from a company they invested in Seattle, that aligns better with my interests and the skills I wish to build. So, he worked tirelessly to connect me with the partnership company, and eventually helped me to land my CEP here at Seattle.

The first week of the project was challenging for me as I was still jet-lagged and had to adjust my well-trained ears for international accents (European, India, Asia…) at IMD to purely American accents as well as the swift speaking rates. Fortunately, all my American colleagues are very nice and family-like. They took me out for lunches and made sure my accommodation was perfect here. The second week I started navigating through tons of materials and data, from sales data to consumer research reports, to get myself acquainted quickly. With the solid business training at IMD, I found many of the cases discussed in the class became useful reference points when I try to synthesize and digest the information in the reports, serving as a good framework for the problem in hand. In addition, I was thrilled to be involved in a real-life project where I could contribute in the meaningful way and to get my hands dirty by applying some fancy-sounding business models or strategy concepts into real business situation and make recommendations. Now I am halfway through my project and have rotated from marketing department to customer service department, experiencing firsthand the day-to-day operations in different functions.

Of course, I know I have to make the best of my time while staying in this amazing city in the most pleasant weather. Besides some must-go tourist attractions like Space Needle and Pike Place Market, I also visited Mount Rainier National Park, the iconic landscape in Washington. Pretty much every other day, I got to meet friends or alumni working here (mostly from Amazon or Microsoft as you can imagine). It might sound cliché, but I want to highlight here again how responsive and supportive IMD alumni are. In fact, next week I am going to meet a senior alumnus who graduated in the same year of my birth year!

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Seattle is generally a very laid-back city. People bike, sip coffee, eat healthy foods from organic supermarkets like Whole Foods, habitually exercise at fitness or Yoga centers you find everywhere. But at the same time, it’s also a thriving city where you meet hard-working people at Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft or other big-name companies recently moved here. In many ways, it’s like Lausanne. People bike, jog and wander along the lac Léman; but at the same time, you know there are MBA students working hard at IMD.

Wayne Su

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A Tribute to Mount Kilimanjaro [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jul 2017, 01:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: A Tribute to Mount Kilimanjaro
Today’s guest entry is by Linda Chang, who is sharing her experience on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

 

“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Snows of Kilimanjaro

 

At the Uhuru peak, I paused, breathed in deeply and looked around. The Southern Ice Field loomed in the distance, extending far into the firmament. Still, in the dark sky spreading wide and high, the waning moon pinned halfway and the stars shined in full glimmer.

“You moved too fast Linda; sunrise in another hour or so”, said my guide Freddie with a grin.

The journey had been long and tiring, but well-worthy. In the end, I didn’t manage to decipher the mystery of Hemingway’s frozen leopard, but I saw things far more beautiful. Surrendering myself to the sublime beauty of nature, I also heard the inner voice from my heart becoming more audible. My tears welled up while sighting the skyline tinged by the first shaft of rosy sunshine.

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The last day of Kilimanjaro trekking started at midnight, from Barafu camp at 4700m altitude. Barafu is named after the Swahili word “ice”. It is barren and bleak, with the ever-present gales blustering around the tent. Freddie helped me with a final check of the equipment and passed me his warm gloves, as I kept rubbing my hands for warmth. Undeterred by the altitude sickness, I packed light and departed gleefully. It was not long before my optimism began to fade away. Every breath turned shorter, and every climb became more like a toil. I had been losing appetite for almost two days and only munched chocolate bars for replenishment. Neither could I rehydrate above 5000m, as water had become solid ice. Long rests along the way were impossible, since no one could endure the gusty and frigid cold in stillness. When nausea and dizziness blurred my vision, self-doubt reigned.

Why am I here?

Is this what I always wanted?

I had traveled far to get here and just spent four days walking up to this altitude.

Should I give up now?

What am I trying to achieve at the end of the day?

Am I still far away from my final destination?

Bombarded with a myriad of questions, I almost faltered at the narrow and rocky ridge.

After a big sigh, I turned to Freddie and asked:

“Where is the summit, Fred? Could you please point it out to me?”

He walked over in silence, tidied up my hair over the forehead and rubbed my hands warm. I was confused. With a deep fatigue setting in, I could not bear the painful ambiguity further.

“Fred, tell me, I need to know where I am heading so that I can allocate the remaining energy…I don’t have much left”, I panted out.

Still a radio silence.

Freddie gave me a lift onto the stable ground and gestured me towards the trail, just like he did near the Shira camp three days ago.

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Yes, three days ago, I proposed a secret race against other trekkers and we had a landslide victory, leading other groups by 3 hours and arriving at Shira around noon. As a winning prize, Freddie took me to the nearby hillcrest for a small hike. The moorland laid below us, speckled by the traveler tents and trimmed by marshmallow-like clouds.

“You see the big mountain at the back? We go to the Uhuru peak from there.”

I looked afar at the snow-covered top and mused.

“I know, there is not much snow now, global warming… it was very different twenty years ago”, he murmured to himself.

Suddenly, the wind swept over the plain, and the mountain vanished in the shrouding fog. Close-by, my search for butterflies and pigeons, those brave lives at 4000m above sea level, also ended in vain. The rapid changes in weather caught me off-guard, resembling the vicissitude in life. At times, we steel ourselves so as to stand firm amid turbulence and tribulation.

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My restless mind finally came back.

I decided to give one last try.

“Fred…”.

My voice was low, but my determination was intact.

“Linda, don’t ask again, you won’t know where the summit is until you get there.”

Freddie set off again but his words resonated in the air. I was about to respond, but no better language could be found to express myself. With a final gaze at the horizon, I was back on the trail as well.

“Where I am, I don’t know, I will never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I will go on.”

Samuel Beckett

 

Usiku Mwema, Kilimanjaro, Lala Salama. (Good night and rest well.)  You completed my speck-like and transient existence with immensity and infinitude.

 

P.S. Officially speaking, this is a CEP month, so I feel obliged to add some of my “real life, real learning” experience. I recharged well and returned to Nairobi, Kenya for my project. Working with the GM, I have exposure to all the business units in a local credit referencing bureau (CRB). I picked up R programming and Python on the side and got involved in account management, business process improvement and IT infrastructure development. Africa is an exciting place, and I have had interesting encounters here. Also, Jack Ma was in town yesterday and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi. I may save this story for a more serious post in weeks to come.

 

Linda

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Re: IMD MBA Admissions and Related Blogs! [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 13:08

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A moment to reflect.. [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 22:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: A moment to reflect..
It has been quite some time since I’ve written since our classmates have been churning out some world-class blog entries over the past few weeks. As you can tell from previous entries, we are now in the midst of our Company Engagement Projects (CEP) scattered across the world. From Azerbaijan to Zanzibar, the 90 of us have impressively managed to pretty much cover the globe. In my case, I’m working on a project with Amazon UK alongside my fellow blogger Sathappan to expand Amazon’s startup accelerator arm across Europe. At the same time, I’m working with a real estate crowdfunding startup in London on a project to expand its client-base internationally.

Over the past month, the program has shifted gears quite a bit. The academics have completely wound down and our focus has shifted towards completing our CEPs and lining up our dream jobs. Accordingly, the iron-clad structure from the first half of the year has given way to a more flexible schedule where we have to create our own sense of urgency. For most of us, this means balancing our CEPs while practicing for consulting case interviews, writing cover letters, updating CVs, and reaching out to the incredibly tight IMD alumni network. And since about half of us are doing our CEPs primarily from beautiful Lausanne, the tight class feel has become even more intimate at a more IMD “lite” level.

In prior blog entries, I mentioned that the program is very much front-loaded leaving very little time for personal reflection or early career search efforts. I still stand by this assertion, but I also now see the merit in this kind of structure. Now that we actually have the time and flexibility to reflect, I realize that this is best done in the absence of an academic workload and in the presence of our CEPs and career search. This allows us to reflect fully in the context of what we want to do after the MBA. After all, many of us (myself included) are looking for the trifecta of changing function, industry, and geography, which requires a fair bit of introspection and soul searching. Personally, I’m glad we have already completed the core academics as we figure all of this out. The various networking events, Navigating the Future conferences, and inspirational guest speakers only helped set the scene that much more. I am reminded of a quote by Confucius, “Study without reflection is a waste of time, reflection without study is dangerous.”

Next up, I am looking forward to having the class reunited back from our CEPs before we embark on our Discovery Expeditions in Dubai/Singapore, San Francisco/Monterey, and Tokyo/Shanghai. After taking these much needed 5 weeks to recharge and triangulate on our paths by way of our CEPs and some personal reflection, I’m sure we will all have a lot to talk about!

Til next time!

Mo

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Midsummer reflections.. [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jul 2017, 23:33
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Midsummer reflections..
It has been quite some time since I’ve written as our classmates have been churning out some world-class blog entries over the past few weeks. As you can tell from previous entries, we are now in the midst of our Company Engagement Projects (CEP) scattered across the world. From Azerbaijan to Zanzibar, the 90 of us have impressively managed to pretty much cover the globe. In my case, I’m working on a project with Amazon UK alongside my fellow blogger Sathappan to expand Amazon’s startup accelerator arm across Europe. At the same time, I’m working with a real estate crowdfunding startup in London on a project to expand its client-base internationally.

Over the past month, the program has shifted gears quite a bit. The academics have completely wound down and our focus has shifted towards completing our CEPs and lining up our dream jobs. Accordingly, the iron-clad structure from the first half of the year has given way to a more flexible schedule where we have to create our own sense of urgency. For most of us, this means balancing our CEPs while practicing for consulting case interviews, writing cover letters, updating CVs, and reaching out to the incredibly tight IMD alumni network. And since about half of us are doing our CEPs primarily from beautiful Lausanne, the tight class feel has become even more intimate at a more IMD “lite” level.

In prior blog entries, I mentioned that the program is very much front-loaded leaving very little time for personal reflection or early career search efforts. I still stand by this assertion, but I also now see the merit in this kind of structure. Now that we actually have the time and flexibility to reflect, I realize that this is best done in the absence of an academic workload and in the presence of our CEPs and career search. This allows us to reflect fully in the context of what we want to do after the MBA. After all, many of us (myself included) are looking for the trifecta of changing function, industry, and geography, which requires a fair bit of introspection and soul searching. Personally, I’m glad we have already completed the core academics as we figure all of this out. The various networking events, Navigating the Future conferences, and inspirational guest speakers only helped set the scene that much more. I am reminded of a quote by Confucius, “Study without reflection is a waste of time, reflection without study is dangerous.”

Next up, I am looking forward to having the class reunited back from our CEPs before we embark on our Discovery Expeditions in Dubai/Singapore, San Francisco/Monterey, and Tokyo/Shanghai. After taking these much needed 5 weeks to recharge and triangulate on our paths by way of our CEPs and some personal reflection, I’m sure we will all have a lot to talk about!

Til next time!

Mo

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Private Equity along the Danube River [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jul 2017, 02:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Private Equity along the Danube River
Today’s guest entry is by Adam Navratil, who is sharing his CEP experience.

I have started my Company Engagement Project “hunt“ quite early in the year as I wanted to get exposure to the infamous Private Equity industry. Before I even started reaching out to the vast network of alums, I was instantly faced with a lot of negativity. What I heard most often is that the industry is an old boys club that never takes bets on “inexperienced” hires. Regardless of this, I started reaching out to industry professionals not only from IMD but also from other rival business schools. Even though I have gotten through to people in top management positions with some of the key global players in the PE industry, I realized that the rumours were true. Some of the popular reasons were “huge confidentiality risks”, “5 weeks are too short to learn anything” and “we simply don’t do internships”.

I was about to give up when I came across an article on a Czech news website about someone who comes from a tiny village in Slovakia with and MBA from a certain French school that is now working for the largest global PE fund in San Francisco. After an hour long phone call I got put in touch with someone that works for their biggest rival fund London. Another very insightful phone call and I was re-routed to Prague to the second largest PE fund in the CEE region. Please bear in mind that all of these gentlemen studied at different business schools and are in essence in competition with each other.

After several Skype calls with the chief of HR and the chief analyst of the buyout division, they have agreed to make an exception (as their internships are usually 3 months long and exclusively awarded to the winners of a student PE competition at Prague University of Economics) and take me on as an analyst at their headquarters in Bratislava.

Even though this experience has been short, it has been extremely valuable and memorable. It was interesting to get an insight into the organizational structure and career progression within the industry. Spending a lot of time in Excel brought back some not so pleasant memories from my audit days. However, the fact that the financial models and projections I have worked with are forward looking and for industries we come across in our everyday lives makes the job so much more thrilling. This is reinforced by doing industry research and benchmarking into potential buyout targets within those industries.

If I had to choose one highlight of my time in Slovakia, it would be the extremely talented and friendly people I got to work with and the stimulating discussions we held during lunch and coffee breaks. One of the analysts would come up with an investment idea (my personal favourite was a  funeral home conglomerate) and the rest of the group would challenge this business plan and its assumptions.

To summarize and reflect on my long CEP journey: If you want something badly enough, don’t give up, be determined, be confident and most importantly utilize on your network (not only the IMD one). After-all, the PE industry is built on networking.

See you back in Lausanne,

Adam

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Relationships and Experiences [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2017, 17:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Relationships and Experiences
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Today’s guest entry is by Ishwinder Bawa, who is sharing his thoughts on his company engagement project in India

As previously stated by some of my classmates, the program at IMD is heavily front loaded. It pulls us into a cocoon that is part academia part collegiate.  This phase also leaves us somewhat detached from our regular life. The second part of the program is when it is all supposed to come back together and company engagement project (CEP) is a step towards that.

While evaluating options that I had for the CEP, I could’ve chosen to work with a niche supply chain consulting company in Italy or I could have worked with a search engine giant largely rated as the best company to work for in the world.

The choice of work ranged from doing a go to market plan for a machine learning based software product or evaluating the customer marketing program for an upcoming revenue stream at this search engine giant.  These are the kind of opportunities IMD can open for you.

What made the choice easier for me was that the second option happened to be in a country I am particularly fond of. India as a country invites many opinions and evokes different emotions for different people. For me, it is just home.

Extensive reflection during the first half of the program at IMD also helped me understand myself better. I came to identify, relationships and experiences, to be my source of happiness and inspiration. Coming back to India was an opportunity to access both.

India is a land of diversity. While the opportunity here has been widely documented, what is often misunderstood is the variety of physical and cultural patterns this opportunity sits on.

For instance, the retail structure is peculiar. Despite the buzz around e-commerce and organized retail, across categories, the local standalone retailers still command a majority of the market. Quite naturally, all companies jostle to capture the maximum share of this channel. See the below pictures for an example of what I mean.

For any company, to execute a differentiation strategy in this clutter is no mean feat and I believe it’s a special skill to pursue.

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Apart from work, I also got to travel a bit, including a visit to one of my favorite cities in India, Amritsar. The city is home to one of the holiest Sikh temples, the Golden Temple (see picture), visiting which is always a divine experience for me.

The CEP for me has been about pleasant experiences (except for some horrid weather) and reinforced relationships (including my love hate with Indian food). My interest in the company hosting me here has been reaffirmed and I am optimistic about the ensuing job search.

I look forward to returning to Lausanne, catching up with classmates and hearing about all the interesting experiences they have been through.

 

– Ishwinder

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CEP at Stelton – The Danish Design Connection [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2017, 03:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: CEP at Stelton – The Danish Design Connection
Today’s guest entry is by Louis Lozouet, who is sharing his thoughts on his company engagement project in Denmark

If one day someone would have told me that I would no longer be a lawyer and that I would be assessing the Brazilian market for a Danish Design company, I would have never believed that person. But, that is exactly what happened in the last 5 weeks during my Company Engagement Project (CEP). This is what I call the IMD magic!

Indeed, the CEP gave me the opportunity to try something completely different from my previous work as an Intellectual Property Lawyer back in Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, my interest in design, especially Scandinavian/Danish design, pushed me to talk to my classmate and friend Mads Ring Damgaard who, after the MBA, will be working at Stelton – an innovative, trend setting design brand house based on the Scandinavian design philosophy. The two of us met during our assessment day in September 2016 and have been sharing our common interest in design since then. Thanks to him and Michael Ring (CEO, owner of Stelton and an IMD MBA alumnus), I had an incredible time in Denmark. Beginning of July, there I was heading to Copenhagen to, what I did not know at that moment, a life-changing experience.

After studying the company’s business model together with Mads and getting an understanding of the design business environment in Denmark, I worked on my personal project. The objective was to look into the Brazilian market, more specifically the opportunity for Stelton to expand to that region, which is very promising, but very difficult to enter. By working on this project, I also had the opportunity to study the Brazilian design market and its main players.

Apart from my personal project, Mads and I were able to follow the conception of one of Stelton’s new product lines, designed by the renowned architect and designer Norman Foster. To see the products come to life through the inhouse 3D-printer was an extremely interesting experience. I am grateful to Michael with whom I had very insightful conversations about the design business and learned a lot in a short period of time.

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I also took some time to visit Copenhagen. Mads showed the best of his city and the northern part of the main island “Sjaelland” where he lives. I discovered how sophisticated and vibrant the city is. I am impressed by the number of excellent cafes, restaurants and focus on the new Nordic cuisine, as well as how the city lives and breathes design at every corner. For those who like design, this is paradise.

Danish people are very eco-friendly. They love nature and being outside doing some physical activity. Relationships are based on trust, which is assumed in Denmark. They like making their home beautiful and keep their spirits up, especially during winter, by getting “hygge”, i.e. “the complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming. Taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things” (Helen Russel – The Year of Living Danishly). They are specialists on work-life balance and embrace law and rules. Having a minimalist, orderly approach to life also contributes to the high level of happiness and content Danes are known for.

As you may have guessed, the CEP was an extremely pleasant experience. Now that it is coming to an end, I am already looking forward to the International Consulting Project (ICP), which will be a whole new experience at Stelton, this time with two other classmates. I am very enthusiastic about coming back to Denmark in a couple of months.

Until then, see you back in Lausanne in a few days.

Louis

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Exploring vertical mobility [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2017, 03:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Exploring vertical mobility
Today’s guest entry is by Viktor Bisovetskyi, who is sharing his CEP experience at the company headquarter of Schindler.

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As my train departs from Lucerne’s main station to bring me back to Lausanne, I find myself collecting thoughts and reflecting on another MBA experience: 5 weeks ago, I started my Company Engagement Project (CEP) within Product Management at Schindler, a leading vertical mobility provider, renowned for its elevators and escalators.

Since my background is in steel production and supplies to construction and energy projects in the Middle East, I was very much looking forward to using the CEP as an opportunity to broaden my range and explore other manufacturing industries. IMD’s privileged access to a multitude of industrial companies was, therefore, one of the reasons why I selected the school for my MBA.

My assignment at Schindler turned out to be as interesting as it was challenging, for I was tasked with delivering a concept for a new tool that would facilitate product benchmarking within the vertical transportation market. Coming up with new ways to analyze and compare offerings required out-of-the box thinking. After a while, I quite naturally gravitated towards the implementation part of the project rather than the generation of high-level ideas. As I discovered, the approach of quickly moving down to concrete matters is also engrained in Schindler’s approach to business: do something actionable, even on a smaller scale, and deliver value.

My swift transition into the company was facilitated by a team-building event for the New Installation Management unit during the first week of the CEP. It was a unique opportunity to talk about future technologies, launch drones, and, what’s most important, meet and engage with all Zone Directors of the NI business, one of Schindler’s key pillars. The valuable connections I set up allowed me to reach out to most of the Schindler Zone offices during the CEP, discuss the project I was working on, receive valuable insights and learn a lot about the company.

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As I progressed into my CEP, I started to leverage more and more the knowledge I had acquired through our marketing lessons at IMD, but also made more and more use of the learnings gained during the innovation course, especially regarding ideation and prototyping since they greatly facilitate the act of bringing new ideas to the table. Meanwhile, I was collecting a tremendous amount of behavioral data that would have gone unnoticed before.

How do people interact with each other? In what way are they discussing their personal and professional issues? Are they happy being here at that time with the team?

The more I worked with various talented individuals from different locations around the globe, the more I got an understanding of what Schindler’s corporate culture is like. The people are extremely friendly and approachable, while the entire organization relentlessly focuses on delivering value to customers in the field. The Head Office is relatively small for a company of around 58’000 employees, hinting at the company’s values being truly lived. One aspect that particularly caught my attention was the fact that a large majority of my colleagues in the HQ had worked on-site with clients around the world. One Zone Director I met told me he had lived and worked in over 60 countries during the course of his career; I personally never met someone with such a broad international experience. While that is an extreme case, I do believe it says a lot about the kind of people working here: individuals with a global mindset, open to the world.

And now that my CEP has come to an end, a trip from Lucerne to Lausanne is all it takes to propel me back from the corporate world into the second half of the MBA program.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to the new challenges and surprises to come!

Viktor

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A Journey inside the Valley of Health [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2017, 08:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: A Journey inside the Valley of Health
Five weeks at AAA, a Nasdaq molecular nuclear medicine company in the heart of the health valley – written by guest blogger, Stefano Piantoni.

For those prospecting a career in healthcare, Geneva is the place to be. Not only is the region a great place to work. Every morning on my trip from Lausanne to Geneva I admire the wonderful view of Lac Leman and the majestic Chablais Alps. The surrounding area is home to many pharmaceutical companies, supranational organizations (WHO, International Red Cross, Doctors without borders), startups, biotech research centers and universities. The concentration of healthcare companies in the region clearly earns its label as “health valley”.

Advanced Accelerator Applications is an international molecular nuclear medicine company headquartered in Saint Genis Pouilly, not far from CERN. It produces, distributes and commercializes diagnostic and therapeutic products to fight cancer. Upon joining the company for my CEP, I had the opportunity to tour the production facilities and the labs. Armed with my cleanroom suit and a radiation detector, I followed my guide behind the thick steel doors and lead shielded rooms. Together we explored product features and the synthesis process, a much-needed introduction for my assignment on inventory policy. My target is to balance working capital efficiency and stock coverage. In the Radiopharma business, the supplier portfolio is a strategic choice. Changes in product formulation and composition often require an update of the marketing authorization and need to be planned with sufficient notice.

In the Geneva offices, I am working with Heinz Mäusli (Group CFO), and Christine Fromont (AAA International CFO). The objective is to draft an M&A post integration plan and an asset management policy for the treasury department. I previously did not have exposure to the deal making process therefore my learning curve is steep, but I am delighted to take on the challenge. IMD equipped me with the resources to confidently deliver an informed opinion on the major critical issues.

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My learnings in a nutshell: a successful integration clarifies the merger rationale, appoints an integration team for rapid execution and manages both cultural and people aspects of the transition.

Professor Nuno’s classes on capital markets come in handy when proposing an investment policy. Stratifying cash needs and selecting a diversified asset portfolio with the desired risk/return are the key success factors. Together with Heinz and Christine, we review my findings, compare their experience with best practices and plan AAA’s way forward.

The future does look rosy indeed. The same week AAA resubmitted a New Drug Application to the US FDA and obtained a positive recommendation from a committee of the European Medicine Agency for a lead product. It is my pleasure to join team celebrations on the recent success. Congratulations to everyone who worked on the project!

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The Power of Connected – Honeywell CEP [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2017, 02:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: The Power of Connected – Honeywell CEP
The transitional journey through IMD is moving ahead…

Today’s guest entry is written by Thibault Acolas

… As this last day of Company Engagement Project at Honeywell Aerospace goes by, I reckon the immense opportunity this has been. No exotic destination like other of my IMD peers in Dubai, Seattle, or Tanzania, but the “Perle-of-the-Lake” town of Rolle between Lausanne and Geneva. Practical also when your children and family are courageously waiting home in Lausanne!Image

As former flight officer in the French Navy, this project gave me hands-on experience with business challenges, and the 3-month IMD Startup work with Hydromea until April, as well as the Finance, Marketing and Innovation classes taught at IMD made me really comfortable coming here one month ago. I’ve been working on End-of-Life Licensing strategy for the Boeing 707 platform and interacted with an amazing team from the HQ in Phoenix,USA to drive growth out of the legendary platform that flew for the first time in 1957! This was truly a global experience, with stakeholders dispersed around the planet with up to 9 hours time-difference. Capital budgeting, pro-forma P&Ls and NPV analysis – so many alien concepts to me a few months ago that were everyday material to use at Honeywell.

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“It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one that is the most adaptable to change” (Charles Darwin)

This short journey with the “Apple of the industry”, as Honeywell’s new CEO Darius Adamczyk describes his company, was also for me a glimpse into the future. As Tactical Coordinator on a 40-year old aircraft in the Navy, I used to use a satellite data system that transferred a blurry photo in 10 minutes to my land base. The products I saw here enable real-time Skype-like conferencing from any passenger airline or helicopter – unlimited. Honeywell has undertaken an impressive move towards “The Power of Connected”, and refocused R&D with now over 22,000 software engineers – for an industrial company of 130,000 employees. Change is in a connected digital future, in Internet of Things. Change requires companies to revisit business models that made them successful for centuries. From the IMD Navigating The Future conferences, the Industry & Competition analysis and this CEP, I now measure the pharaonic work that this digital shift requires from industries.

Lastly, I’d like to use this blog posting opportunity to congratulate my 89 follow IMDers! Much has been done, and many challenges overcome (with many fun times as well!)

And let us together, if I may, paraphrase Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech in Henry V by telling to ourselves that, “From this day, [this mid-point in our IMD-year] and to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered as We few, we happy few, we band of brothers [and sisters].”

And as I cannot end this post with a British quote as a Frenchman, I’ll bring along the glorious general Charles de Gaulle into the picture to thank the IMD faculty for uniting our diverse class of 90 future business leaders by asking : “How can anyone unite out of the blue a country which has 246 different kinds of cheese?”

Cheers,

Thibault

 

 

 

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New post 11 Aug 2017, 08:00
FROM IMD Admissions Blog: Pole pole
“Take a right as you exit the ferry, turn left at the end of the old fort and walk past a parking lot and under the scaffolds. There is a colorful tile bench in front of the ‘Blue Monkey’ shop; walk through the green door next to it. Climb four flights of stairs and grab some beers from the fridge on your way to the top.”

 Today’s CEP guest entry is written by Valeria Cuevas.

These are the directions Priya and I got via text as we made our way through the “Foreign Arrival desk” in the port of Zanzibar. We had just disembarked the ferry from Dar Es Salaam and were on our way to meet her Mom’s friend’s son who so happened to live on the island.

As we made our way to the rooftop of what used to be the Portuguese Consulate, we encountered a breathtaking landscape. The call to prayer from the mosque nearby was heard loud and clear. Soon after, music from the neighboring St. Joseph’s Cathedral choir filled the air. To the south, Priya recognized a Hindu temple; and to the west, we saw the silhouettes of the traditional Zanzibari Dhow boats fade into dusk.

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A long weekend in Zanzibar was one of the many experiences that I was lucky enough to live during my summer in Tanzania as a result of the Company Engagement Project.

Priya and I spent four weeks working at Pyramid Pharma, a distributor of diagnostic laboratory equipment, medical devices and pharmaceutical products with operations throughout the region. As part of our project, we were tasked with developing a sustainability strategy and a corporate governance code, as well as with assisting with their upcoming fundraising round and other investor-related research and documents. During this time, we got to work closely with the company’s CEO, and the opportunity to have frank and open discussions about Pyramid’s business model and the challenges it faces, was the greatest takeaway from my CEP.

Priya and I had contacted Elena Olivi, MBA 2016 alumna and current COO at Pyramid Pharma, during the first couple of months of the year in our capacity as Sustainability Career Cluster Co-Leads. During one of our conversations, she asked if we could see ourselves working in Africa post-MBA and offered to explore the possibility of sponsoring a CEP. I quickly discarded the idea, sharing my preference for staying in Europe or going back to the U.S. next year. Furthermore, although I was far from knowing what I wanted to do as a career after the program, I was sure back then that pharma was the one industry that I wasn’t interested in.

As the weeks went by, however, I was reminded that this is the year to challenge myself, take risks and keep an open mind. After all, I wouldn’t know unless I tried. Although I weighed this opportunity against the temptation of spending the summer in beautiful Lausanne with my boyfriend and IMD friends, I knew that I would regret turning down this once in a lifetime experience. Needless to say, I decided to take a leap of faith and venture on to discover what was sure to be an exotic adventure.

I can now say that these four weeks exceeded my expectations. During this time, I got to learn about the Tanzanian business culture while working alongside locals; discover the pharmaceutical industry in Africa; dive into the reality of doing business in VUCA (volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous) frontier markets; apply many of my newly acquired hard skills in Accounting, Finance and Operations; and meet Jane Goodall and hear about how she developed her passion and expertise in conservation. From a personal standpoint, I was able to physically and mentally remove myself from the IMD bubble, put my career prospects into perspective and devise my next steps; scuba dive in the Indian Ocean; go on a safari in the Serengeti; visit local Maasai markets and villages; and even pick up a bit of Swahili!

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We often hear from alumni how the personal relationships we build this year are the most valuable assets we will gain from our year at IMD. At the risk of sounding cliché, I will agree that this can’t be stressed enough. The IMD network granted me the opportunity to spend my summer in Tanzania with 2016 alumna Elena, who not only invited Priya and me to do a CEP with her company, but who also, together with her husband and fellow 2016 MBA alumnus Dustin Kahler, graciously hosted us in their home. This network also allowed us to meet with a prospective IMD student and to share and reminisce about our individual MBA experiences. Finally, I realized the strength of some of the friendships I have already developed this year, as one of the most fun parts of the summer was keeping in touch with fellow MBA classmates and hearing about their own exciting adventures; whether they were back home in Lausanne, Bratislava, Dubai or Nairobi.

My Company Engagement Project was the epitome of open-mindedness, one of the qualities that I am lucky to develop every single day at IMD while collaborating and learning from classmates with different backgrounds, beliefs and convictions. Above all, however, they have become lifelong friends.

 Note: “Pole pole” is a commonplace saying in Swahili, meaning “slowly slowly.” The phrase is symbolic of Tanzanian culture and its people – patient and worry-free. Hakuna matata !

Valeria

 

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ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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Pole pole   [#permalink] 11 Aug 2017, 08:00

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