IMD business school for management and leadership courses

 - IMD Business School  - IMD Business School  - IMD Business School

President’s Year in Review

2023 was another challenging year for the world, with continued (and some new) armed conflicts, inflation, tension between superpowers, and way too many “hottest month ever” records to continue to believe that our climate is not changing at an alarming rate. The world is not a benign, simple, and universally happy place. It probably never has been, but the unprecedented access we now have to information from around the world makes these challenges much more salient.

In this complex and challenging environment, we at IMD are very grateful that 2023 was another exceptional year for us. We progressed towards our long-term strategy and reached new heights across many of our activities.

Our research activities have grown significantly and are helping us gain increasing recognition as world-class thought leaders – a cornerstone of our license to operate as an academic institution.

Our program-related activities also led to record revenues, especially on the Open and Custom executive education and development fronts. In addition to reaching highest ever levels, our programs also led to further increases in impact and satisfaction measures and a record level of external awards.

With strong bonds between our alumni and IMD at the heart of what makes our community special, we also made further strides to enhance our alumni engagement, including through the launch of a new International Alumni Association.

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 - IMD Business School  - IMD Business School  - IMD Business School

All this was made possible by the hard work, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit of our staff and faculty, as well as IMD’s Executive Committee and Supervisory Board, all of whom continued to strive to live up to our values of being pioneering, open, collaborative and brave.

By continuing to work together as a community to challenge what is and inspire what could be, I am confident that we can and will continue to achieve further success on behalf of all IMD stakeholders, including and especially its students and alumni, during these uncertain and divisive times.

But let me also give you more detail on our progress on some of IMD’s 2023 strategic priorities.

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IMD President Jean-François Manzoni’s brief overview of 2023

World-class thought leadership

As a leading academic institution, we strive to produce research that combines several important qualities: rigor, of course, because insights that are not based on rigorous research cannot be relied upon, but also relevance, insightfulness, and actionability. In 2023, we continued to build on the foundations established over the last few years and published a record number of articles in prestigious academic and practitioner outlets, including in the so-called “Financial Times 50”.

IMD cases reached record sales levels (more than 233,000 cases sold worldwide) and received numerous awards for established and newer case writers. In addition, publications authored by IMD faculty received recognition and accolades across diverse fields, while several faculty members were honored in influential thought leadership and teaching rankings.

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We at IMD have no choice on this front: We must remain frontrunners in pedagogical innovation. In 2023, we welcomed Sarah Toms as our first Chief Learning Innovation Officer to help further develop pedagogical tools and continue transforming how we deliver programs and engage learners. Through increased use of gamification, the metaverse, virtual reality, and holograms, we accelerated efforts to build deeply immersive learning opportunities. We also launched new programs and pioneering initiatives to cater to the evolving needs of our students, executive development program participants, and corporate partners.

One of our key priorities is to ensure that these insights and innovations are deployed rapidly across all IMD programs. A clear example of this is our pioneering use of generative AI. We initially developed our state-of-the-art GenAI application for our signature Orchestrating Winning Performance program in June. Since then, we have continued to improve it, and our efforts have been celebrated by several awards for learning in management education. We will deploy the tool across all of our programs from Q2 2024 onward, thus enabling us to make our learning more personalized and relevant to participants’ needs.

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Improve our go-to-market strategy

I am always slightly uncomfortable using commercial terms like “go-to-market strategy” when referring to our interactions with executives and corporate partners. We are an academic institution focused on creating value for our stakeholders, not a commercial entity aiming to maximize its lifetime profits. But the reality is that we are also an independent academic institution that must re-create the overwhelming majority of its revenues every year, and we must hence think about how we connect with and attract students, executives, and corporate partners.

In 2023, our efforts on this front focused on making it easier for Open Program participants and Custom Program clients to connect with us and decide to entrust their and their colleagues’ development to us. We reinforced our focus on offering solutions (as opposed to “selling programs”) and significantly improved the functionalities and look and feel of our website. As a result, we offered 175 open and online programs and developed more than 416 custom programs for clients.

We also worked hard to expand our geographical footprint in selected markets and diversified the demographics of our classrooms through a number of initiatives, campaigns, and scholarships.

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Alumni relations and development

Keeping alumni engaged with IMD and each other is a cornerstone of IMD’s long-term success. A significant milestone in 2023 was the launch of IMD’s International Alumni Association, which creates new opportunities to connect and nurture lifelong friendships across our diverse and widespread alumni community. As an independent academic institute, we also remain grateful to the many alumni and corporate partners who supported us this year, especially as we look toward launching a formal capital campaign in 2025.

We were fortunate to receive financial support from a number of individuals and organizations that enabled us to launch new scholarships to strengthen the diversity of our MBA program, as well as provide opportunities for not-for-profit leaders to develop their skills.

Another key development in 2023 was the expansion of our formal IMD purpose. For several years now, we have defined it as challenging what is and inspiring what could be. We develop leaders who transform organizations and contribute to society.

This year, we decided to maintain our focus on “challenging what is and inspiring what could be.” Still, we broadened our aim to “developing leaders and organizations who contribute to a more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive world.”

This revised purpose guides all our activities and inspires us to continue innovating and to help accelerate the world’s transition to a more prosperous, sustainable, and inclusive approach.

Leaders and organizations have a very important role in this transformation, and we want IMD’s voice and activities to be increasingly powerful contributors. We thank you for your interest in and support of IMD, and we hope this Annual Report will be an inspiring and insightful read.