If you attended our recent conversation with IMD’s Lisa Piguet, Associate Director of MBA Admissions and Marketing, then you know what a success it was. You can review the Q&A by reading the whole IMD Q&A transcript, by listening to the full audio clip online, or by subscribing to our podcast in iTunes and catch as many of the MBA Admissions Q&As as you want.
Here is a particularly noteworthy clip from the IMD Q&A about the focus on entrepreneurship at IMD:
Linda Abraham: I know IMD is a general management program, and we’ve talked a lot about graduates going into either consulting or industry, mainly industry. What about entrepreneurship?
Lisa Piguet: That is one of the things I didn’t mention in the first part of the program in terms of our offering. We have a very strong entrepreneurship stream that lasts about four and a half months. Benoît F. Leleux runs that program. He is a specialist in the private equity, venture capital world with start-ups. And we know that a lot of people studying for general management programs are not necessarily going to have a start-up someday, but what we have found is that what you learn in an entrepreneur situation happens a lot in the corporate world. In a business unit for example, oftentimes you have loose variables — you don’t have much budget, you don’t have much people — and you still have to figure out how to get the project working and functioning. So that is what the whole stream actually teaches you.
IMD sits physically right next to a big school which is similar to MIT. And here between Lausanne and Geneva is the third largest area in the world for venture capital and private equity. The first is Silicon Valley, the second is Cambridge, and the third is here. We have a lot of biotech, we have a lot of clean energy, and we have all kinds of things happening around here. There are sixteen projects, and they are chosen from around this area because we want the entrepreneur to be with the MBAs. They physically need to meet with them and work on their projects. So if we can, the projects actually come from this area. Oftentimes, they help them validate their business plan. Oftentimes, they actually help them go and raise money for their projects. Oftentimes, they have to shut their door because the project is not viable after doing all the industry analysis, the company analysis. So it’s very interesting for the MBAs to work on that. And occasionally we have people who actually go work for that start-up. And we do have probably two or three MBAs each year when they graduate who start their own company.
Linda Abraham: Out of ninety students, that is not much different than schools which are much more outwardly entrepreneurially focused.
Lisa Piguet: Benoît F. Leleux actually taught at Babson for a long time. As you know, that is a big entrepreneur school. And then he did his PhD at INSEAD, and taught there for a while. But most of our professors are actually industry based, so they come from some sort of industry related to what they are teaching. A lot of them come from consulting. Benoît F. Leleux in this case is venture capital, private equity. He was working in Asia for years on different projects. So they are very practical and very hands on.
And here’s another exchange that focuses on IMD’s International Consulting Project:
Linda Abraham: Is there a required international component? By that I mean study outside of Switzerland. Or is the program just too intense and too short to allow for that?
Lisa Piguet: We have some very interesting things built into the program. I know a lot of schools now are doing exchanges. But in eleven months, that’s really hard to do. So what we have done in the program is we have something called the International Consulting Project, which is actually one of the MBAs favorite projects of the year. That is basically working with top multi-national companies out there. They are actually paying us for the MBAs to consult for them. And these projects are based all over the world. So last year when I was in China, I ran into a group in Shanghai. When I was in Brazil, I ran into a group there; they were underground in a mine. I ran into a group in New York; they were doing a water project. So they get to spend time outside of IMD quite often actually.
There is another project that is built into the program called the Discovery Expedition. And for the last three years, we’ve been going to South Africa because when you look at South Africa, you can actually find literally everything. And they’ve been working with small and medium sized businesses to try to change the entire process in Johannesburg. That is for two weeks. You have the International Consulting Projects plus the Discovery Expedition, and so that is what we would equate to an exchange. You are not sitting down in class and learning accounting, but it’s a very hands-on exchange.
View the full IMD Q&A transcript or listen to the mp3 recording of the event now or subscribe to the Apple iTunes MBA Admissions Podcast. If you like the podcast, please leave a 5-star review.
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