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Foundations for Business Leadership (FBL) is for experienced functional managers aspiring to move into business leadership positions.


Acquire the essential set of cross-functional skills and capabilities needed to move into business leadership positions:

  • Strengthen your knowledge and understanding of key business functions
  • Become aware of how value is created by integrating functions
  • Master the application of these new and enhanced capabilities to complex business issues

A stepping stone to IMD's Program for Executive Development (PED) or Executive MBA (EMBA):

FBL graph

Learn more about Transition to Business Leadership (TBL) Learn more about IMD's Program for Executive Development (PED) Learn more about IMD's Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA)


3 weeks (20 intensive days including weekends). Offered 4 times a year as of 2015.


Program Sessions 2016
August 13-September 01, 2016
October 29-November 17, 2016
Program Sessions 2017
January 21-February 09, 2017
April 22-May 11, 2017
August 12-31, 2017
October 21-November 09, 2017

Fee 2016

CHF 25,000

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Foundations for Business Leadership is for experienced functional managers aspiring to move into business leadership positions. Participants generally have a minimum of ten years relevant management experience.

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FBL is 20 intense days outside your comfort zone, during which a first-class Faculty and an array of co-participants from diverse backgrounds boost you to the next level. Marc Woodfield Consultant Planning & Strategic Projects | Banque Cantonale Vaudoise | Switzerland
My business is now more customer-focused as a result of attending Foundations for Business Leadership. We are continually thinking of new ways to ensure customer satisfaction. My business accounts and figures are also making more sense. Feyisola Abiru Managing Director | Home & You Interiors | Nigeria
FBL has given me a new perspective in my quest to build on my business acumen. It opened my eyes to the true spirit of entrepreneurship using effectuation versus causal thinking. I believe this will benefit big FMCG organizations to be more effective and efficient. Philomena Tan Business Manager | Nestlé Products Sdn Bhd | Malaysia
FBL is a mind-opener, which relentlessly forces you to question the way you think about your business. The program is an opportunity to strengthen your business knowledge, while living a memorable multi cultural experience. Véronique Athané Ryser Operations Director & Board Delegate | MPS Micro Precision Systems AG | Switzerland
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Leading in today's complex world requires a thorough understanding of functional disciplines like marketing, finance and operations, as well as the ability to integrate and apply this knowledge in critical contexts.

Yet as a busy executive, you face increasing responsibilities and challenges, with often no time to step back, reflect and develop your skills in a systematic way.

Foundations for Business Leadership (FBL) provides you with a unique opportunity to develop - during 20 intensive days - the essential set of cross-functional skills and capabilities, which business leaders must possess in order to be successful on the job.

During FBL, you will learn to:

  • Strengthen your knowledge and understanding of key business functions
  • Become aware of how value is created by integrating functions
  • Master the application of these new and enhanced capabilities to complex business issues
  • Gain a deeper understanding of strategy implementation challenges
  • Get assessed on your understanding of business fundamentals, and your effectiveness as a team member

The program will challenge you to stretch beyond your past experiences and skills to build an enduring cross-functional foundation that will enhance your value to your company and boost your career opportunities.

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In FBL, you will study the core functions and processes of a global organization:

Program themes

We will take you through a cross-disciplinary exploration of the key challenges faced by organizations and their business leaders today - and most likely in the future. And we will use this context, to develop your skills and integrate business fundamentals:

  • How to respond to changes in customer needs
  • Driving business model innovation
  • Managing complex organizations
  • Leveraging globalization
  • Industry trends and business trends
  • Uncertainties in the economic climate
  • Technological evolutions and their impact on business

You will learn through integrative exercises and team work. Throughout the program, you will be challenged by the work, by the Faculty and by your peers - a diverse group of future business leaders spanning a wide range of industries and geographic location. You will be evaluated throughout the program and receive individual feedback to ensure that you reach the high standards set by IMD.

FBL Program Directors

Benoît F. Leleux Belgian
Stephan Schmidheiny Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance

Leif M. Sjöblom Finnish
Financial Management
PhD Stanford University

FBL Faculty

Ralf W. Seifert German | Swiss
Operations Management
PhD Stanford University

Goutam Challagalla

American / Indian
Marketing and Strategy
University of Texas at Austin

Stefan Michel Swiss
Marketing and Service Management
Dr. oec. publ. University of Zurich

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In this section, you will find important information on the program fee, application, invoicing, cancellation and transfer. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our program advisors.


The program fee (which can be found on the overview page) includes tuition, teaching materials, and lunch on weekdays. Travel or living expenses are not covered. You must settle your own hotel bills, both when in Lausanne and on off-campus assignments, as well as all dinners and lunches on weekends when applicable. IMD reserves the right to modify the program fee at any time.

Tentative reservation

To make a non-binding reservation, send us a completed tentative reservation form. This carries no obligation and is not a substitute for the formal application form.

Application & invoicing

Your application is forwarded to the Program Director who will evaluate it to ensure that the program corresponds to your objectives and profile. This can take approximately 1 week.

The Information & Registration office will notify you of the outcome of your application. If you are accepted, they will send your acceptance letter and invoice fee together by priority mail. From this point, your enrollment will be considered firm by both you and IMD.

Please pay the program fee within 30 days of the invoice date and no later than the commencement of the program. If you register within 1 month of the start of the program, you must settle the invoice immediately without exception. Payment can be made by bank transfer or credit card.

Up to six weeks before the program start date, a program coordinator will contact you with information on hotels and pre-program preparation. Please note that IMD reserves enough rooms for each participant on the program.

If accepted, you understand that you must be completely free of professional duties while attending this program and that you must attend all scheduled sessions and activities.

Cancellation & transfer policy

IMD must be notified in writing of all cancellations and transfers. If you are admitted to a program, but find that you are unable to attend, you have the following cancellation and transfer options:

Up to six weeks before program start:

  • Cancellation: You receive a full refund of the program fee.
  • Transfer: You may transfer to the next available session with no transfer fee.

Note: IMD programs tend to be fully booked well in advance. Space may not be available in a later session.

From six weeks to up to 11 days before program start:

  • Cancellation: You incur a 50% cancellation fee.
  • Transfer: You incur a 20% transfer fee.

Within 10 days before program start:

  • Cancellation: You incur a 100% cancellation fee.
  • Transfer: You incur a 100% transfer fee.


A participant can be substituted on the same program session without incurring any fees. The substitute needs to apply and be admitted.

Note: Once you have paid the program tuition fee, if you do not attend another program within 24 months, the program fee will be forfeited.

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Foundations for Business Leadership

Accelerating mastery of cross-functional capabilities

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Earn a Program for Executive Development Diploma

The Program for Executive Development comprises two parts, Foundations for Business Leadership and Transition to Business Leadership, each of which can also be taken as stand-alone programs.

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Foundations for Business Leadership