News Stories · Leadership

COVID-19 accelerates innovation and enhances access to MBA program

As IMD explores new ways of operating in a pandemic, it has invested heavily in its MBA program.
September 2020

IMD’s Class of 2020 has, with the exception of the Swiss lockdown, been a fully face-to-face experience. Necessity, in this case, is not only the mother of invention but also of opportunity.

“COVID social-distancing requirements mean we are spreading the class over two rooms; all participants have face-to-face classes, each redesigned to use the time available differently,” Seán Meehan, Dean of the MBA program, explained.

When face-to-face classes resumed in June, the cohort of 90 students was divided in two. At the same time that the A group had in-person classes, the B group would Zoom in to join, and then they would swap.

By mid-June, Professor Arturo Bris undertook an experiment, cutting his four-hour finance classes in half, allowing both A and B groups to have in-person sessions that lasted two hours. Basic lectures, breakout groups and assignments were taken outside the classroom, and a new format was born. It has now been rolled out across the program.

“It’s an exciting moment. Innovation from the front line is always the best approach. Different professors will come up with slightly different ways to use the time – but each participant will definitely get more individual attention, and more time to consolidate. In the end it advances the ambition to be more personalised,” said Meehan.

IMD is among the few business schools running face-to-face MBA courses during the pandemic. The new setup may allow for some more places in the incoming 2021 class.

“With the increase in the number of people applying for the program, we will be able to ensure quality is maintained,” Meehan assured, also emphasizing how “this is not a move to two sections. The 2021 class will be treated as one section, with all participants taking some classes with all classmates.”

COVID has also triggered even more alumni engagement. Meehan recalls: “The reaction of our MBA alumni was impressive. From early on, we received offers to help and support the class. In fact, such has been the response to the call by MBA class reps that we have been able to offer more, and more diverse, support and more accurate matching with individual MBA interests. Each MBA can benefit from several perspectives.”

Several hundred MBAs signed up to help and followed through, and this is a practice IMD intends to maintain. Those interested in joining the 2021 program can apply here.

Further information here:

Meet IMD’s MBA Class Of 2020

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