The IMD MBA: What You Need To Know
The IMD business school, based in Lausanne on Lake Geneva, likes to call its MBA a “one-year leadership development program” which aims to transform students’ careers, and in the latest development, the MBA at IMD is kicking off 2022 with a new Dean, Omar Toulan. He is confident that the program will develop leaders who challenge what is and inspire what could be, while transforming organizations and contributing to society. The idea is to do it through reflective and responsible leadership.
“Reflective and Responsible Leadership means that we don’t create leaders; we help develop skills & the ability to make tough/difficult decisions and communicate them. Today’s challenging environment places even more importance on the value of effective leadership. Addressing this challenge is at the core of IMD’s mission and our aim to foster the development of reflective and responsible leaders,” says Dean Toulan.
As a school that specializes in executive education, the MBA is designed to give students a personalized leadership experience, developing students into responsible leaders who can sustainably impact society. MBA’s are slightly older than at some other schools, which is why 75% of students fall in the 28-32 age range, and the average work experience for students is seven years. On average, students speak four languages.
With a 2:1 staff-to-student ratio and 20 sessions with an analyst to help students develop self-awareness.
Lauren Versagli, MBA student, Class of 2019
“I wanted to come to IMD because of the staff. They have amazing profiles and I wanted to learn from the best. Also, the small class size appealed to me because I went to a university of 15,000 and I wanted something different. The diversity is amazing — my study group colleagues are Russian, Thai, Spanish, Brazilian and Indian. It is challenging, it pushes us to think about how we interact, and we are learning skills we will use for the rest of our lives.”
As for curriculum, the personalized leadership development experience integrates classes, live business cases, personal coaching and company projects across the globe. Students are assigned personal career coaches who help them understand their leadership style and find a suitable job after they graduate. Mentorship is a strong element; students are assigned both a recent IMD MBA alumnus who has recently undergone a major career change and another in their late 50s.
An IMD MBA focuses on three things. First, it focuses on understanding how to use entrepreneurial skills in large and complex organizations, recently increasing the amount of time spent on entrepreneurship by 20%. Next, the focus is on developing global leaders, who can work across the world. Part of that comes from exposure to the cohorts, which are hugely diverse; from over 40 nationalities. The third focus is developing digital savvy students, through short intensive courses looking at how areas like marketing have been revolutionized by technology. Students develop Python programming skills which they then use to complete a team assignment which includes Big Data, Machine Learning and AI.
For two weeks they travel to different countries to explore innovative tech hubs. The school also works closely with local high-tech organizations, including CERN, and local research institutes. A focus on sustainability is a red thread throughout the program, with new experiential activities, labs and debates as well as partnerships, all designed to develop students’ ability to make a positive impact.
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