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What’s New In IMD’s One Year MBA? Dean Seán Meehan Weighs In

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Set against the backdrop of the fast changing requirements of the workplace and businesses, IMD has been engaged in tweaking some elements of its flagship one year full-time MBA program while taking care to retain some of its unique aspects.

At the end of the year when the MBA Class of 2018 at IMD is busy with job hunting after completing the electives, Dean Seán Meehan has shared some of his thoughts on the important moments in the program.

The one-year full-time MBA program at the IMD campus in Lausanne, Switzerland runs from January to December.  The Class of 2018 has 90 students with an average age of 31. The minimum age for entry is 25. Women comprise 29% and the cohort, representing 43 nationalities, has an average work experience of 7 years.

Meehan says one of the most iconic moments of the IMD MBA comes around in March – the first Integrative Exercise. It was introduced over 25 years ago to test the participants’ learning about strategy, marketing, costing and finance, and of course, their common sense.

The students are given a complex case at noon on Day 1. They are expected to present it to a jury during the morning of Day 2. Then, after receiving the feedback from the judges, they have to regroup and represent 24 hours later.

“They learn three lessons that they will use throughout the MBA and later in their careers; manage your time and go back over your work with fresh eyes, think holistically, and most importantly, work as a team. In this exercise you cannot paper over the cracks, you cannot bluff, you cannot be superficial, you will be exposed. It’s a highly appreciated test,” Meehan writes in the IMD blog.

“We made several adjustments to the program this year. Addressing digitalization was one important initiative. In addition to revising courses, we redesigned our overseas adventure to take the entire class to some of those places where our digital future is being created.

“Our role is to help our MBAs become better at business, yes. But more importantly, they have developed their resilience, their will and their accessibility.  We strive to ensure they leave knowing themselves as people who can play an important role in our society through the responsible leadership of corporations and organizations,”

“In just two weeks, we visited tech labs, companies and government agencies in Silicon Valley, Singapore and Bangalore. We heard from leading economists, entrepreneurs and scientists. A whirlwind? Yes, but also an amazing exposure to companies and people so focused on the future,” he says.

“We met alumni on every stop and, of course, benefited from local insights of classmates. Despite some late nights, (for them!!) I was impressed with the group’s attentiveness, interest and engagement all the way through.

“And of course, there were laughs galore. All in all, the trip was a tremendous memory of 2018 – something unique. I am currently being asked whether the class of 2019 will follow the same itinerary. They won’t. But I’ll save that for another day,” he adds.

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Referring to the International Consulting Projects that are part of the program, he says In September, 17 teams worked from locations such as Helsinki, Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Dubai, Johannesburg and Lausanne.

Several of the teams also travelled extensively to locations in China, South East Asia, Hong Kong, Europe, and Africa. The teams delivered impactful final presentations. The Dean said many of the 2018 clients have requested IMD projects in 2019.

However, he says some of the new things introduced in the program did not work out as planned. The lessons learnt will be useful for improvements in the year ahead.

“Our role is to help our MBAs become better at business, yes. But more importantly, they have developed their resilience, their will and their accessibility.  We strive to ensure they leave knowing themselves as people who can play an important role in our society through the responsible leadership of corporations and organizations,” he adds.

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