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IMD MBA - Schuyler Weiss (USA) - The IMD MBA Difference


#1

Dear Prospective applicants,

As a first step, I want to congratulate all of you on your decisions to pursue an MBA. It is a life changing experience and, with the right program, you can set yourself on a path to success. The question is: what is the right program for you and why?

As I did in the past, I’m sure many of you are pouring over various programs’ employment data, rankings, commentary, class profiles, etc. There are many great programs out there and each has its own key success factors. I was fortunate to have been accepted to several schools. I analyzed the selling points of each program and eventually selected the one that was the best fit for me. After much thought and careful analysis, I chose IMD’s MBA program in Lausanne, Switzerland and it has been one of the best choices of my life. I’d like to share with you some of the reasons behind my decision:

  1. Tangible Quality - Every small detail of the program is well thought out. While this is not something that appears in the rankings or employment data, I cannot stress enough the importance of the inherent quality of the program. For those fortunate to attend IMD’s assessment day or those who visit campus, this will be overly clear. During my assessment day, they gave us a welcome packet which included pads, nameplates, and pens. While most programs would give a cheap pen that either writes poorly or breaks in a month or two, IMD gives a high quality pen – a pen that I still use to this day. While this may seem small, this attention to detail speaks to an ethos that exists in every aspect of the program. In aggregate, it fundamentally changes the understanding of quality. Granted I viewed only a relatively small number of MBA schools, I was unable to find this ethos in any other program.

  2. Unparalleled Diversity - In my class we have roughly 45 different nationalities across 90 students. There are few other places in the world where someone can study for a year with such accomplished people from all over the world. I have learned something about the world every day I’ve been at IMD and I have come to have a far greater appreciation for diversity now that I’ve studied at IMD.

  3. Excellent Career Placement – This was probably my most important criteria. I wanted a school that did not limit my opportunities and was embraced by employers. While IMD is strong in certain areas, its alumni have gone on to be representatives in almost every industry. In addition, the IMD MBA has a long and impressive list of alumni who have driven change in the world. The prestige and pedigree of the MBA program is world class and our latest employment report speaks to the incredible companies that come to campus and recruit IMD students.

  4. Few Students, Many highfliers – There are 90 extremely accomplished students at IMD. I wanted to study with the best and the brightest while developing strong personal relationships with my classmates. With a class of 90 I have been able to hear each of my co-students’ stories. I am continuously amazed at the accomplishments of my classmates and I know that our class will achieve great things in the future. In addition, I have made 89 friendships that I know will last for the rest of my life.

Another great thing about the small class size is the personal attention from the program office. When I have a question or problem, I can quickly walk over to the program office and sort it out. They know who I am, where I come from, and are always willing to help.

  1. World class teachers and class structure - The classes are taught by world class professors. In my time at IMD so far, I have learned so much and am looking forward to my further development. The professors have structured the classes to optimize learning while embracing team work. Classes are 8 hours per day, which may seem like a lot, but the days typically go by in a flash. There is a lot of work but the work has a clear purpose and learning objective.

  2. Campus and Location - I’m not sure much needs to be said here. IMD has one of the best campuses in the world. We have views of the alps from our study rooms and the lake is a stones throw away. Switzerland is a beautiful country with an extremely high standard of living. The experience of living in Europe has been incredible.

While I understand that each individual will have his/her important criteria for selecting an MBA program, I hope this post is able to provide some insight into the IMD world. Many of you will have a lot of great options to choose from and I hope you consider IMD when narrowing your list. In the beginning of my process, I had prioritized Harvard. I was invited to interview, waitlisted, and then subsequently rejected. While initially disappointed, I have since found the perfect program for me. I am proud to be an IMD MBA and I would not change this program for any other.

To give you some background, I am a current IMD MBA student who attended a top liberal arts school in the US (NESCAC). After completing my undergraduate education, I spent 2.5 years working as a consultant at IBM and 3.5 years working as an internal consultant at Morgan Stanley. At 26 I was promoted to Vice President at Morgan Stanley. At 28, I left to pursue my MBA and IMD Business School. I scored 700+ on my GMAT and had strong extracurriculars while living in New York.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to message me directly. I’d be happy to help anyone interested in learning more about IMD.

Regards,

Schuyler


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#2

Schuyler, thanks for posting!

As an American pursuing a European MBA, do you plan to return to the US post-MBA or stay in Europe? I think the perception is that European schools (even Insead) are less well-known in the US, and therefore the brand wouldn’t go as far during the job hunt. I’d love to hear your experience here, especially as someone who was considering perhaps the biggest brand-name in the US (Harvard).


#3

Hi Darren,

My plan immediately after completing my MBA will be to stay in Europe. One of the best parts of being in a European MBA program is the opportunity to learn in an unfamiliar setting with people from various backgrounds. IMD has taught me as much out of the classroom as it has in the classroom and I believe spending some time in Europe afterward will only spur this growth. I had always planned to live abroad and, while US MBA programs are top notch, IMD offered an experience that I could not have gotten elsewhere, Harvard included.

As for recruiting, IMD has exceptionally strong relationships with top companies. Many of these companies are American (MBB, Amazon, Google, Etc.) and a portion of IMD MBAs end up in the USA after graduation every year. While the IMD brand is less well known in the US, the people that know it know of its quality. In addition, IMD offers such a unique and compelling MBA program that my participation in it will help me differentiate my profile in the future. There are very few people who have the opportunity to complete their MBA at IMD and, whether someone knows the brand or not, studying at Switzerland’s top ranked program is a differentiator.

I hope this provides some clarity into my experience as an American in a top European MBA program.

Regards,

Schuyler