Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Faisal Alkhalaf, IMD Business School

Faisal Alkhalaf

IMD Business School

“I’m always on the lookout for a great story to enjoy and learn from.”

Hometown: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Fun Fact About Yourself: Sometimes I go to the cinema just for the popcorn (movies are the excuse I use to enjoy popcorn!).

Undergraduate School and Major: Alfaisal University, Riyadh. Majored in Industrial Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Saudi Industrial Development Fund, Riyadh. Job title: Senior Credit Relationship Manager

What has been the best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates, known for their talent and versatility? It is the great quality and quantity of time that we get to have with the professors, which fosters a strong and meaningful relationship between the students and the faculty members. Moreover, the high caliber of the students in the class has been constantly pushing me to be always my best. Everyone in the class expects you to perform and overachieve, which is challenging in a good way because I feel that my classmates trust me to do great things.

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? IMD is known for its robust executive education programs that are delivered by reputable professors with great academic and real-world experience. This is what led me to choose IMD, because I wanted to be taught by people who had great exposure to the companies that we talk about in class. Now that I’m in the middle of the program, I can say that my expectations have been exceeded, as we have gained substantial insights from the consulting work that our professors do with important companies around the world.

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? Waking up a little bit earlier than the first class and getting some schoolwork done in the morning has helped me tremendously. It not only alleviated the pressure throughout the day, but also allowed me to focus more during classes because I was much less stressed.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have participated in the evaluation of the two largest loans (at that point of time) in the history of my employer, the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, which was a great privilege as well as a great responsibility.

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: Learning to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Throughout my career, I have worked in relatively homogenous workplaces, where people had a similar culture and background. Thus, when I started the program at IMD, the most challenging part was understanding the different cultural approaches to teamwork and learning in the groups we were assigned to. I believe that I’m more equipped now to work in an international environment with people from different backgrounds.

Where is your favorite hang-out in Lausanne? Why do you (and your classmates) gravitate there? The sidewalk by Lake Geneva, which is just across the street from the campus, is a great place to meditate, reflect, and simply think. It is so peaceful and refreshing. I always feel so much better after walking by the lake and sometimes go there between classes to clear my mind and recharge.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I hope to find a job that would provide me with the opportunity to learn and develop in the field of investments and wealth management. Specifically, I want to be a better leader who brings out the best in people and facilitates the fulfilment of their potential. By the end of my career, I would like to look back and see that I have left a positive impact on the people who worked with me.

What has been your best memory at IMD thus far? The sustainability mountain experience in the Swiss Alps and the discovery expedition to Singapore. These experiential trips are eye openers, where we learned so much by being there and seeing for ourselves instead of just talking about the issues, challenges, and opportunities in class.

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