Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Bavly Obaid, IMD Business School

Bavly Obaid

IMD Business School

“Diligent and perseverant, I seek ways to connect with people, especially through music.”

Hometown: Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom

Fun Fact About Yourself: I joined my colleagues and professors at IMD in cycling over 120km around Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) during the 2022 Cyclotour du Leman race.

Undergraduate School and Major: MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering, University of Hertfordshire

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Consultant, Ricardo Strategic Consulting

IMD classes have been dubbed the “Mighty 90” for their talent and versatility. What has been the best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates? I feel privileged to be a part of the 2022 IMD MBA cohort, an incredibly diverse group of highly skilled individuals, each with a fascinating background and a story to tell. The best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates is the bonds that I have built. Indeed, the small class size makes a difference and gives us an opportunity to get to know each other well, but what was more fundamental was the attitude that people brought to IMD. IMD admits people who have leadership potential – people who are humble and reflective. This means that the students at IMD bring curiosity, and an open mind, facilitating relationship building, and creating bonds that will last a lifetime.

Aside from classmates, what part of IMD’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The focus on leadership development was what made IMD stand out to me from among other business schools. I find leadership development to be incredibly important for both my professional and personal life. Any commercial leader needs to empower and motivate people, and this can only be sustainably achieved through building genuine relationships, and through self-awareness and reflection. One very memorable part of the leadership stream was a High-Performance Leadership session, led by Professor George Kohlrieser, in which we discovered the impact that unresolved grief has on day-to-day interactions. It was truly eye-opening to learn about how subtle and often unnoticeable the impact of unresolved grief can be, regardless of how long ago the loss may have been, but also about how much potential can be unlocked in people once they’re given a chance to find closure. This experiential learning at IMD has truly been a transformative journey and will allow me to build impactful bonds with people at work, people in my community, and people in my family.

IMD is known for academic rigor. What is one strategy you used that would help a future IMD MBA better adapt to the workload early on? What helped me adapt to the workload at IMD was preparation and discipline. I would advise a future IMD MBA to take the opportunity ahead of the course to prepare by getting familiar with some of the fundamental concepts that are covered in the core program, particularly if you haven’t come across these concepts before. Second, it’s important to be disciplined to ensure that you don’t fall behind. At IMD, we cover lots of cases, which are core to the learning experience. It’s important that you dedicate undisturbed time to prepare these cases – and that you stick to your plan, even when there’s a deadline coming up.

At the start of the program, I found it challenging to strike a balance between making sure I was up to speed with the academics and spending quality time with my classmates. Over time, by being disciplined and making the most of the diversity in knowledge within the class through relationship-building, this became an easier and much more enjoyable task.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: An important client of my firm was on the verge of making a very large acquisition, but had to put the acquisition on hold in light of new information that could pose a significant risk on the investment. I was called upon to be a part of a team that would essentially assess this risk and provide a recommendation on whether it was significant enough to disrupt the acquisition. Having been given a very tight timeframe to complete this assessment and limited data, we used our best judgement to form and stress-test a clear recommendation for our client with strong rationale. Once we shared our views, the client took on board our advice and made his decision, which was later featured in a news article. This was one of the most challenging engagements I had, not only because of the very tight timeframe or the limited information available that we needed to make sense of, but also because of the level of impact that our advice had that ultimately hinged on both excellence and phenomenal teamwork.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: My biggest accomplishment at IMD is being a part of a team whose performance drastically improved because of the leadership experiential learning. It was incredible to observe and humbling to be a part of this team’s transformation. Not only did I learn about the important factors that make and break teams, I also learnt about how I can adapt my leadership style and behaviors to contribute to conflict resolution, building trust, and eventually increase performance drastically.

Our performance improved significantly between one of our earlier assignments together ‘the Slot Puzzle’ (assembling a complex structure within a time limit) and one of our last assignments together ‘the Integrated Exercise’ (a very challenging time-pressured assignment that combines all the learnings of module 1). Whilst ‘getting used to each other’ played a role, ‘psychological trust’ built within the team was the key driver behind this transformation and allowed us to voice our views in the confidence that they would be received respectfully and in the knowledge that views shared were for the benefit of the team.

Where is your favorite hang-out in Lausanne? Why do you (and your classmates) gravitate there? Our go-to hang-out in Lausanne is ‘The Lacustre’ because of its great views of the lake, its stone-baked pizza, its large outdoor terrace, and Steve the DJ. But the place that for me holds the most memories is ‘The White Horse’, the pub in which we as a cohort first met each other.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? At this point in my career, I have developed a good understanding of the kind of career that I would like to pursue. I know that I want a career in business, and that in the long term I aim to become a commercial leader advancing the energy transition and unlocking opportunities in the future of mobility. Whilst my technical background provides me with the grounding and an appreciation of the technologies at stake, I saw an opportunity to enhance my commercial skills and build on my leadership skills to prepare me for future leadership roles. I also saw the tremendous value in building long lasting relationships with like-minded people at this stage.

What has been your best memory at IMD thus far? I have many great memories at IMD, but one that I feel incredibly proud of is the IMD MBA Band, ‘The White Horses’, performance at the MBA Tournament (MBAT), hosted by HEC Paris. We had formed a band of eight musically-talented MBAs and selected four songs that we felt incredibly passionate about performing. Imagine the rumble that you feel in your feet as you walk onto a stage in front of an audience of more than a thousand people, and as the entire IMD cohort is in the front row cheering on “IMD!”. We didn’t know how it would go, but we knew we did our best job at rehearsing. Now it was time for us to have a great time performing, and that we certainly did. Living true to our Swiss roots – and since IMD is located right next to Lake Geneva – we closed with a cover of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’, sending the crowd into raptures. We attended the gala in eager anticipation of the results, only to learn that we won the gold medal. This is a memory that will surly last.


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