Lisa Piguet, Associate Director MBA Admissions & Marketing (My interview with her is here.), was kind enough to take time out of her schedule to meet me and give me a tour of the campus. As this meeting was off the record, in a future post, Lisa will be answering some questions that I will be posing to her. What follows are just some of my general impressions.
IMD’s campus occupies a very lovely spot on Lausanne’s lakefront. IMD’s corporate education programs occupy a considerable portion of the beautiful campus. The MBA students directly benefit in terms of the quality of the infrastructure. In addition to a beautiful campus, there is free coffee everywhere (Nestle is a major corporate contributor to IMD), water fountains that offer water with or without gas, and the legendary lunch buffet.
The day I visited, classes were not in session. Instead, students were working on projects. Some were on-site around the world. Others were meeting with their teams. Each team has a room, where they essentially live a great deal of the time. Their study area also includes a nap room. Partners are well integrated into the program and play an active role in student life. As IMD students are quite busy, it is the partners who typically organize parties for the class of 90 students.
Anyone who knows about IMD’s intensive interview process, a day-long event held either on or off campus knows that IMD carefully selects students. The essays and written application are comparatively the easier part of the process. Given the class size, there is very little room for error.
While I could not observe the formal interview process, I was fortunately on campus during an interview day and got to see the applicants at lunch. Dressed in suits, on a hot spring day, while everyone else was wearing business casual, I felt sorry for them. The applicants were having lunch with the students. This is part of the interview process. I guess one advantage of interviewing off-campus in Singapore would be air conditioning in summer, but seeing the campus is itself is quite something. Just assume that whatever you do during interview day, you are being observed.
Lisa was kind enough to invite a group of students to have lunch with us and answer my questions.
Some members of IMD’s class of 2012 were kind enough to have lunch with me (from left to right): Aswini Gauthama Sankar, Hidefumi Hatakeyama, Me, Xose Diaz Queijeiro, He Yang (Lotus), Thibaut Girard, and Jorge Ortega.
IMD is a highly self-selecting program, given its intensity and leadership focused general management education. The students seemed quite happy with the program and embraced its intensity. They were a very mature group, many intending to make major career transitions, while others were focused on further developing their careers within the same industry. They all seemed to really enjoy the unique leadership focus of the program, which addresses the interpersonal and psychological aspects of leadership. All had very positive things to say about the therapy sessions that are part of the leadership program.
Having lunch with so many corporate education students, also gives the MBA students opportunities for networking on a constant basis. It was easy to see how lunch and coffee everywhere would provide easy opportunities for networking.
Lunch at IMD is equal to that of any great hotel’s buffet. The cuisine on offer was highly international. No other MBA program can even come close in respect to lunch. Both an alumnus I talked to in Brussels (a former client) and the students I met with, emphasized how much the 1.5 hours they have for lunch is really the only major time they have to relax during the day. It seemed like a very nice 1.5 hours.
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