Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Akané Lièvre, IMD Business School

Akané Lièvre

IMD Business School

“Doctor exploring the world outside of hospitals to make quality healthcare more accessible for patients.”

Hometown: France (St Nazaire) and Japan (Kyoto)

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once decided to spend a holiday cycling across Vietnam – from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh

Undergraduate School and Major: Medical Doctor (MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Associate Consultant at Simon-Kucher & Partners

What has been the best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates, known for their talent and versatility? When you spend weeks and months together, travelling across the globe, dancing at festivals, heatedly debating until the early mornings, trekking in the Swiss mountains, and exploring concerns and weaknesses with trained leadership coaches, you bond through shared experiences – whether positive or negative. In the process you build an incredible amount of trust with each other. I have grown, both personally and professionally, through the help of my MBA colleagues and have created strong bonds that I hope 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? It was the focus on personal development and leadership as well as location – I wanted to build a network in Switzerland and already lived in Lausanne.

Although I have had leadership roles in the past, I had never been “taught” how to be a leader, nor thought to define what leadership was, how I would personally like to lead, and how I would deal with difficult decisions in my life and career. I wanted to spend a year focusing on understanding my values, reflect on how I wanted to develop as a leader and person, and do so while being thrust into an overwhelming number of leadership roles in a low-risk environment with the support of staff and coaches. IMD delivered.

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? Be present and figure out your priorities. You might not have time to do everything but be present when you do – whether a lecture, group work, or going out socializing. Try to get the most out of each experience that you manage to squeeze into your schedule. If you feel like you need to refuse a drink or take some time for yourself, then do so; it is probably better than trying to “do it all” and finding yourself too shattered to enjoy each experience to the fullest.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked as a junior doctor in the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK and decided to move to Switzerland to work in one of the top 10 hospitals in the world, in a renowned vascular center in 2020. I was practicing in a different country with different guidelines in a different language, during a time with medical staff shortage and changing schedules due to the pandemic. I would describe surviving, and then thriving, with that career move as one of my biggest accomplishments.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: During our Business & Society classes, we got the opportunity to visit the UN and then experience a simulation of the COP event (United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC). I was COP president for this simulation. Between the opening speeches, presiding over the debates, discussing the outcomes with the professors, and presenting the results to the class, I felt proud of having made that experience as realistic and fun as possible for everyone.

Where is your favorite hang-out in Lausanne? Why do you (and your classmates) gravitate there? Anything around or near the lake – whether at a bar overlooking the lake or having a dip after a long day. The view and summer breeze are fantastic; it is close to school and yet a complete disconnect from academic work. A lovely place to relax after a long day.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I would like to make quality healthcare accessible to everyone – whether that is working with scientists in a start-up, with the commercial team in the pharma industry or through an NGO. I am not sure which exact path I will take yet, and plan to take full advantage of the second half of the year to explore all my avenues.

What has been your best memory at IMD thus far? It’s hard to choose between cheering at the MBAT (sports competition between MBA schools), singing our lungs out at karaoke night, dancing until breakfast at the Gala, bonding over baseball at Oracle Park, and inhaling coffee and takeaway sushi while we compete with each other in academic group activities. I think my personal favorite was my birthday when, despite our insane and hectic schedules, MBA colleagues made a point of organizing a little surprise get together, and I had birthday wishes from each and everyone in the cohort. This really showed me the kindness of the people here and the tight-knit group that we have that I hope to see again in the distant future to celebrate my 80th.

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