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2020 MBAs To Watch: Cosima Suter, IMD

Cosima Suter    

IMD Business School

“I am a loyal and curious person with a vivid imagination, who is striving to improve healthcare on a global scale.”

Hometown: Berne, Switzerland

Fun fact about yourself: As a child I truly enjoyed cleaning out the horse stables after my riding lessons.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Medical School and Doctor of Medicine, University of Berne, Switzerland

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland. Attending physician in the Department of Hematology.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Instead of pursuing an internship, I chose to spend time with family and friends and reflect on the past six months at IMD.

Where will you be working after graduation? Molecular Partners, Switzerland. Associate Director of Clinical Development.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Graduated with Honors (top 10%)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? We presented our project to an international jury after a full week of design thinking during the Innovation Lab, in a highly diverse team, with very long hours and high expectations to deliver a valuable and creative idea to UEFA. First, we were told that our group had not made it to the finals. The pressure dropped and we went into relaxation mode and enjoyed the finalists’ presentations.

Then it turned out there had been a misunderstanding and we did need to present in the finals. As one of the speakers, I had to change my state of mind instantly and build up the energy to deliver a high-stakes presentation in front of this large international audience, which included senior executives. My classmate and fellow presenter, Daniel Leutenegger, greatly supported me with his calmness. Additionally, my experience on stage from piano competitions and concerts in my childhood came in very handy.  

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a physician, I had the privilege to meet people from very different backgrounds and cultures and help them through difficult times in their lives. These achievements, however, were always team efforts and my colleagues were essential. Thanks to a very experienced nurse, I had already learned this as a medical student and I made it a priority to create a nurturing environment for me and my colleagues. This, in turn, created a pleasant work atmosphere (despite the often emotionally challenging situations) and built trust within the team, but also with our patients. I believe that a true team spirit with an open, clear, and well-intended communication is at the core of success in business.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Coming from a completely non-business-related career, it was very important to me to have professors who were able to adapt to the vast knowledge spread in the class. The faculty at IMD is outstanding, hence it is very difficult to mention one individual professor. Therefore my nomination should be representative of all our professors. I would specifically like to refer to Professor Arturo Bris. He built a bridge from our finance textbooks to the real world and demonstrated how human psychology influences financial markets. Most importantly, however, he had a true interest in us participants as individuals and our learning.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Our Innovation Week was a clear highlight. We collaborated with students from écal (the design school in Lausanne, Switzerland) on a project for the European Football Championships 2024. Inspired by external speakers and advisors, we spent an intense week learning the basics of design thinking in order to create a new experience in fan zones. Fostering creativity and collaborating with people from very different backgrounds was as rewarding as it was demanding. This outside-the-box thinking and thriving from diversity is at the core of IMD.

Why did you choose this business school? When I decided to pursue an MBA, I was quite advanced in my professional career and wanted to be part of a more experienced batch and have an intense and straightforward MBA program. My choice was clear after I visited the campus and experienced the attention to detail, the energy and buzz first-hand.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? At this point, I would like to quote our graduation guest speaker: Be humble, be brave, and do not waste your time. In other words: Be very clear about your capabilities, but also your insecurities and weaknesses. Be human. IMD is a place where you will be challenged to grow – professionally, but also personally. The sooner you open up to the process, the more you will learn.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The dungeons. There are really no medieval torture chambers, but simply basement study rooms with daylight and fresh fruit provided.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would plan more time slots for recreation (spending time with friends and family, sports, etc.) instead of dedicating almost all of my time to the program. In the second half of the program, I was able to better plan my free time and this really benefitted my well-being and my learning.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Gianmarco Bonaita for his talent of bringing problems and challenges in business into a broader context across time and geographies based on his unique understanding of philosophy and history and his strong ethics.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A friend of mine, Jonas Schnider, IMD alumnus, and fellow physician (we attended medical school together), inspired me to apply to IMD. At a time where I was hungry for a new experience, he highlighted how many opportunities for personal development there is at IMD and always talked about how I would ˋlearn to speak a new language – the language of businessˋ. This sparked my interest and after the inspiring campus visit at IMD, the only way to go was to apply to IMD.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Lead a significant international healthcare project bringing together exponents from clinical care, science, business, and politics.
  • Build a career platform for physicians to increase collaboration across geographies and within the industry especially during training.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? An honest and trustworthy person, who builds bridges, supports you in times of need but is not afraid to challenge you.

Hobbies? Putting history, arts, and literature of the 20th century into context. Biographies and learning from political figures, athletes, etc. Being physically active (gym, hiking). Practicing mindfulness and meditation. Watching tennis (attended three out of the four Grand Slams, currently also novice tennis student). Seeing my two godchildren grow and develop.

What made Cosima such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“With 9 years’ experience as a physician, Cosima was not only the class doctor but a considerable asset to class diversity. Her non-business background, creativity, openness to new challenges coupled with an intense ability to work under pressure contributed to the rich learning experience of the whole class.”

She graduated with honors.

We wish her well in her new position and her dreams for the future of healthcare.”

The IMD MBA Office Team

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2020 MBAS TO WATCH or THE BEST & BRIGHTEST MBAS OF 2020