With four years now to reflect on the IMD network, I recently had two travel experiences that really cemented its value for me: Buenos Aires and Switzerland. When Katie and I went to Buenos Aires in May we were really helped along by my two IMD classmates there. They and their families met up with us, advised us on how best to experience the local scene, and even helped me make very valuable business connections while I was in town. Last month in Switzerland – where we need no advice on where to stay / what to do – it was the same: classmates came out of the woodwork to spend time with us and some were even incredibly helpful in business networking as well.
Before I discovered IMD I looked down my nose at MBAs, believing them to be people who were essentially paying for a new network of peers/colleagues. As I already had a nice network, this seemed of very little value to me. In my very first blog post ever I laid out my reasons for attending IMD, which happened also to be an MBA program. I joked often during that year that the IMD network would indeed be very valuable: with students from 45 countries we would surely be invited to weddings in fun destinations all over the world!
Indeed it has proven itself in that regard but I’ve been really impressed by how much more it is as well. In Buenos Aires, in Switzerland, and everywhere else I have encountered my IMD classmates there is a sense of joy at our reunion that is really hard to describe. There were so few of us and we underwent such a very intense experience together that an incredible bond was forged between us. Now, four years and thousands of miles removed from most of these classmates, the bond has only grown stronger.
Whenever we get together we all immediately fall into patterns of catch up about ourselves / our families, updates about our classmates (For such an ambitious, globally mobile group of people, it’s almost like a competition to see who knows the the most recent update about each of us!), and earnest offers to help each other succeed in our professional and personal lives.
Having this extended team / family virtually anywhere we might hope to travel in the world is an incredibly comforting feeling. This is a very underanticipated, undermarketed aspect of the IMD MBA program: it’s not just a global brand; it’s a global bond!