Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The IMD Scholarships

Yesterday was the deadline for the submission of essays for the IMD MBA scholarships. Needless to say, I've been busy the last several days polishing up my essays and getting them ready to send in. The whole process was reminiscent of the days back in January, when I was cranking away on my IMD application form. Good times!

IMD's scholarships are awesome. Excluding the merit scholarships, which are awarded at the time of admission, there are 11 others on offer. In a class of 90 students, this means that over 12% of the class will get a scholarship. And the award amounts aren't too shabby either: the lowest one is for CHF 20,000, and the highest is for USD 50,000!

So there was plenty of motivation to get those essays in tip top shape!

Each scholarship has different eligibility criteria - some are available only to women. Some are restricted to students from certain geographies. The one thing they all have in common though is a thought-provoking, leadership-oriented essay topic. Some examples:

"The role of entrepreneurship in moving my country forward and my contribution to that goal."

"Does diversity in management impact the bottom line? If so, how?"

"Which issue do you believe is the highest priority to address in your region/country? Why would you choose this issue? How would you, as a business leader, personally address it?"

"Leadership in an era of Globalization - Include in your essay the criteria that you would use to select a future global leader, and why"

In my case, I was only elibigle for two scholarships. My two topics were the bottom two - "The higest priority to address in your region," and "Leadership in an era of Globalization." Even though I didn't actually start writing the essays until two or three weeks ago, I had been thinking about these topics for a while.

It turned to be kind of a fun process to write these essays. I had some nice brainstorming sessions with friends and family, and I also did a lot of thinking on my own. It was especially fun (and sometimes frustrating!) to bounce my ideas off of Ashley, because she is an excellent writer and an excellent debater, so she would often poke holes in these ideas that I thought were so great, and I'd have to go back to the drawing board. It was also cool when once in a while an article would pop up in the news that would give me a different angle to think about, or a new idea to incorporate.

I think the toughest part for me was to really break down the broad and abstract concepts, especially in the global leadership essay. The ideas in my mind felt like they made sense and were pretty concrete. But then I found it really difficult to put them on paper eloquently. Somehow they didn't seem to have quite the same impact. I feel like this turned out to be a very good exercise though - I am sure I will be trying to break down abstract concepts, and communicate my thoughts eloquently next year!

Now all I can do is hope that the IMD scholarship committee reading my essays will like them! Although I have to say - my classmates are all very sharp, so I know there will be many deserving essays in the pile. I would actually be curious to find out what everyone wrote about, I bet these topics generate some really cool ideas and perspectives!

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