- IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Strategy

J. Valkovicova aims to lead change in consumer-focused innovation solutions

“At IMD, you receive all the support, tools and space to pursue your dreams.”
June 2017

 - IMD Business SchoolJana obtained a BSc & MSc in Management and Marketing from RWTH Aachen University and the University of Economics Bratislava in Slovakia, her home country. After graduation, she joined Puma Group as a management trainee in their International headquarters in Germany. Later she transitioned to a marketing role to assist Puma at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Jana continued her career with Ralph Lauren where she held roles in account management, mergers and acquisitions and business development across Asia and Europe. In 2015, she joined Accenture where she wore three hats; Management Consulting Manager, Leader of the Luxury Business practice for Austria, Germany and Switzerland and Co-leader of the Consumer Goods and Retail practice. At IMD, Jana is the leader of the Consulting Industry Cluster, managing the IMD MBAs’ efforts towards to join and succeed in the consulting industry.

Jana Valkovicova is the recipient of the Nestlé Scholarship for Women.

Why did you choose to come to IMD?

I chose IMD for the following reasons:

  1. The leadership stream: the world-class leadership faculty, professional development coaches and psycho-analysts provide students with a 360-degree self-assessment and a leadership development platform. This is a truly unique feature of the IMD MBA program.
  2. The intimate atmosphere created by a class of just 90 students, where ‘family like’ bonds develop between classmates and where the faculty and career services follow our journey with one-on-one care.
  3. The innovation and entrepreneurship streams provide an opportunity to work with real start –up’s and businesses enabling students to become entrepreneurs with the support of leading industry professionals and faculty.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?

My favorite MBA courses were Innovation and International Political Economy. Both of these courses allowed me to gain perspective that fundamentally changed my thought process about how I approach challenges, creation of ideas, decision making and resource management.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?

IMD provides many unexpected surprises, which are part of the teaching method. While preserving the secret recipe, I can tell you that these methods introduce you to a whole new dimension of how to perceive people’s preferences and drive value creation in an international setting.

What was the most surprising thing about IMD for you?

The thing that surprises me the most is how tailored the program is and how personally engaged the faculty is in our personal development. You receive all the support, tools and space to pursue your dreams.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement at IMD are you most proud of?

My colleagues and I spent three months working with a start-up that manufactures laboratory grown diamonds. With a team of professionals with highly diverse backgrounds in physics, chemistry, engineering and banking, it was challenging to agree on the best way to drive value for the start-up.

Given my background in the luxury industry, I was able to introduce the concept of an aspirational consumer and the characteristics of the luxury business which our start-up had to adopt. At first I felt I was speaking a language that no one understood but, within one week, I was able to inspire the hard-core engineers and scientists with a sense of passion for luxury. Together we grew into a dream team. Seeing how different worlds can come together to create value is mind-blowing.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into IMD’s MBA program?

My classmates demonstrate a high degree of motivation and drive, but also, display enormous maturity and openness. IMD highly values diversity and I don’t mean only the diversity of origins, but also, the diversity of values and experiences. A successful applicant should demonstrate a strong self-awareness and humility to share.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?

I would like to be a leader of change and transformation. My goal is to work in corporate strategy with a focus on consumer-centric strategies, digital transformation and innovation.

I am driven by problem solving. I would like to take on a role which drives the company’s strategy and directly contributes to its success. I am committed to social responsibility and I strive to create value beyond business.

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

I am a visionary and creative thinker, curious about what inspires societies and businesses.

A fun fact about yourself:

I have seen Swan Lake in more than 20 different ballet productions.


I perform ballet and am also an avid dance choreographer.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you:

A supportive leader that inspires her peers through creativity, aesthetics and achievement.