February 27, 2015
Moses Kimani, Commercial Excellence Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Dow Chemical Company in Nairobi, Kenya, talks about his 2014 IMD MBA experience in an interview.
Why did you choose IMD?
At my former employer TechnoServe, I was involved in several projects where I worked with a number of consultants on industry analysis, strategic plans and business growth projects. I was always impressed at the level of their analysis of business problems. Engaging with them, I realized that most had been to business schools in Europe and the US. That is when I decided to look for an MBA program in Europe. After attending several education fairs in Nairobi as well as looking online, I chose IMD because of its focus on leadership and self-awareness and for its reputation as the world's leading executive education business school.
How did the IMD social responsibility scholarship that you received shape your experience?
My studies at IMD would not have been possible without the IMD social responsibility scholarship. This financial aid aims to support IMD candidates from a non-profit background who qualify for IMD but require financial assistance. I had unique experiences at TechnoServe, an international non-profit whose philosophy is that business is the solution to poverty. TechnoServe is effective at engaging communities and growing industries. I believe the unique experience that I had working with smallholder coffee farmers in East Africa was important in me being selected as the 2014 social responsibility scholarship recipient. My living expenses were fully paid by the IMD Scholarship Foundation and half of my tuition fees were covered by IMD, which represented a huge financial relief. I am extremely grateful to IMD and to the donors who made this possible.
What were some of the key lessons you learned?
More than the numerous business tools that we were equipped with, the key lessons from IMD are the leadership journey and self-awareness. I was able to evaluate my leadership style and to receive extensive feedback from the teams I worked with. The exposure to a different business culture and work ethic was extremely insightful. Living in Switzerland was a great eye opening experience and made me realize that it is possible to live in a country where systems work.
How would you describe the overall experience?
IMD was an intense experience as well as challenging and fun! I think the biggest surprise was how fast the year went. The first half of the year was loaded with academic content and the second half was self-paced. It was great to travel around Europe during the summer as well as to New York and São Paulo with the program. I met 89 exceptional classmates who I can now reach out to as friends and colleagues.
Have you been able to implement your learning?
Yes. As I start my new role, I'm constantly reliving the experiences from IMD study groups and classes. I'm more aware of group dynamics, my role as a leader and how to navigate the company culture.
Do you continue to share ties with IMD?
I was surprised that there have been very few East Africans at IMD compared to North, West and Southern Africa. Some countries like Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda have never had candidates in the MBA program. Together with seven other IMD alumni in Nairobi, I help IMD identify potential candidates from East Africa. We want to have one East African in the full time MBA every year. I also am helping to keep the social responsibility scholarship going, fostering philanthropic support and soon assisting in the selection process.
To find out more about the IMD Social Responsibility Scholarship, read our report.
To contribute and make a donation to the IMD Social Responsibility Scholarship, please send an email to Sandra Bouscal at firstname.lastname@example.org.