Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Insights from an IMD Alum

I recently reached out to Howie Chan - a fellow blogger, and class of 2009 IMD graduate. I asked him if he would mind being featured here on my blog, and he agreed to answer a few of my questions about his time at IMD. I am very happy to pass along some of his wisdom below!

A big thank you to Howie for taking the time to help those of us whose MBA journeys are still just beginning. You can (and should!) read more about Howie's IMD experience in his blog, aptly named Howie after IMD.

Here's what he had to say:

  • What did you enjoy the MOST about the IMD experience? What did you enjoy the LEAST?

  • Howie: The most enjoyable thing about the IMD experience is working with a group of really smart people and building a camaraderie that will last throughout your lifetime. This enjoyment will continue to grow in the program and also after leaving IMD. The least enjoyable bit is the shear amount of time put into the program. You will live, sleep and breathe IMD. There will be conflicts and there will be very heated and uncomfortable moments. It's something that I did not enjoy during the experience, but learned to relish it as no valuable bonds and learning are developed during the good times. It's the hard times that counts.

  • What was the hardest part of the program, and how did you get through it?

  • Howie: The hardest part of the program was trying to have a personal life. I was with my spouse and it was really hard to be almost totally disconnected from her, especially during the first few months. We managed by purposefully planning at least 1 meal together a week and really cherishing any time we spent together. We also rewarded ourselves with a 3 week vacation in Italy during the summer, which was much needed.

  • What about the IMD experience turned out to be different from what you expected going in?

  • Howie: I expected a tremendous amount of work and leaving with some great relationships. But until you live it, you can never really understand what it feels like to be part of such an experience.

  • How much free time did you REALLY have? What kinds of things did you and your wife do to manage the crazy schedule?

  • Howie: Hah! I kind of answered this in the previous question. Especially in the first half of the year, we really did not have that much time at all. Even when I was home, I was working. So get creative and plan for at least some time once a week!

  • How involved are you with IMD today? Are you still in touch with your classmates?

  • Howie: I am not too involved with IMD itself, but our class is still extremely close. Ever since graduation, I have attended many weddings and we make an effort to meet up whenever we can. The relationships you develop during the program will last for the rest of your life and the world will no doubt feel smaller as a result. Whenever we do meet up, it's always like catching up with friends you have known since elementary school, but you realized you only spent a year together. I guess that's what an intense program does. ;)

Great stuff, thank you once again, Howie!

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