Meet the MBA Class of 2020: Stephanie Hurry, IMD Business School

Stephanie Hurry    

IMD Business School

A banker and strategist by experience, an economist by education, and an ultra-runner at heart.”

Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve run about 45 marathon and ultramarathon distance races.

Undergraduate School and Major: BSc Economics (Hons), University of the Witwatersrand

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nedbank CIB, Senior Manager: Business Enablement

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I would describe us as a big, happy, and high-performing family. We challenge each other to learn and grow, we party together, we occasionally fight and give each other tough feedback. Still, we stick together through thick and thin (and through Digital Labs and Integrative Exercises).

Aside from classmates, what part of the school’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was attracted to the strong combination of leadership, digital, and entrepreneurship proficiencies that IMD provides. IMD prepares candidates for leadership positions in a fast-changing business environment by focusing on soft skills and future-fit capabilities. This really resonated with me as I believe that companies need to adopt novel approaches to excel when confronted with social and technological disruption in business and society.

IMD has a reputation for being intense, with heavy reading and assignments. Did the school live up to its reputation? What did you do to get through the workload? The program has been intense but thoroughly enjoyable. I settled into a good rhythm of waking up early to do the pre-reading and did quite a bit of catching up on weekends. Leveraging official groups and informal study partners also helped me to really engage with the material.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Leading key aspects of my company’s group restructuring, enabling the successful separation from our parent company and managing the interests of multiple stakeholders.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: In our start-up project, we worked with a Swiss entrepreneur to practically add value to his business. It was extremely rewarding to see the impact of our analysis and recommendations.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Seeing the accelerating disruption in financial services, I saw the MBA as an opportunity to further develop and adapt my business and leadership capabilities to a global, technology-focused business environment.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I didn’t actually get the chance to submit any other applications. I was planning to target the September 2020 and Jan 2021 MBA intakes. However, IMD reached out to me after I wrote GMAT in July 2019 and suggested I apply for January 2020 and the rest, as they say, is history.

What did you do during the application process that enabled you to get accepted into IMD? I took some leave from work before the assessment day to take time to really prepare. I also benefited immensely from the advice of colleagues and mentors who supported me through the application process.

What is the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started at IMD? Perhaps it is the extent to which people from the opposite sides of the world have similar hopes, fears and motivations. Although I realize the IMD’s MBAs have all benefited from incredible privilege, getting to hear my classmates’ stories, experiencing the COVID19 pandemic, and reflecting on the pertinent messages of the #BlackLivesMatter movement have all reminded me of the importance of having empathy for others.