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Celebrating 50 years of the IMD MBA

Celebrating 50 years of the IMD MBA

In 2022, IMD marked 50 years of its world-leading MBA program

The IMD MBA has its roots in the MBA programs introduced at IMEDE in 1972 and CEI/IMI in 1978. The IMD ethos of continual innovation – “Challenging what is, inspiring what could be” – has meant that over the last 50 years, the MBA has adapted in many radical ways while remaining true to timeless principles around real-world understanding and developing leaders.

On 8 October 2022, IMD marked this anniversary with a celebratory event on campus and with the launch of the book 50 for 50: Inspiring leadership journeys from half a century of the IMD MBA, which looks back over the last 50 years while looking forward to the future – a future that is being written by many of the alumni who feature in the book and by many thousands of others.

The book

 - IMD Business School
50 for 50 Inspiring leadership journeys from half a century of the IMD MBA

In 1972, a pioneering MBA was founded in Switzerland at IMEDE. It was joined five years later by another at CEI, and in 1990 the institutions combined as IMD to develop a course that does far more than teach business: it creates leaders. The book describes the journeys of 50 selected alumni who have built companies and business sectors, who have educated children, who are architects of clean technology and the digital revolution, and who have helped build nations. Many more alumni could have appeared on these pages: IMD’s global MBA network overflows with exemplary leaders, and those selected represent the achievements of them all. Supplemented with chapters on leading faculty and a unique curriculum, this is a profile of qualification that, in its first 50 years, has expanded our understanding of the potential of organizational leadership.

50 for 50  will be published on 7 October and will also be available as an eBook. You can pre-order the book here (45 CHF).

Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the IMD Scholarship Foundation.

If you require any further information please contact us at [email protected].

Key dates in the development of the MBA at IMD

  • 1971

    Luigi Dusmet puts together the key elements of the proposed MBA at IMEDE.
  • 1972

    First cohort starts at IMEDE in Lausanne. There are 28 course participants; 16 nationalities but only one woman. Initially it is called the Program for Junior Executives (PJE), as the MBA was not a recognized award in Switzerland at the time.

  • 1974

    The PJE is accredited by the University of Lausanne as a Masters in Business Administration degree. Approval is given for first two graduating cohorts to have their PJE degree recognized as an MBA.

  • 1977

    CEI approves its planned upgrade of its International Management Development Program (IMDP) and classification as an MBA.

  • 1978

    First MBA intake at CEI in Geneva.

  • 1979

    IMEDE begins modular approach to the MBA. There is a focus on business issues and a cross-functional understanding. There are eight modules, each concluding with group integrative exercise and presentation.

  • 1980

    At IMEDE, the first International Consulting Project participants start work at their client companies.

  • 1981

    The Centre d’Etudes Industrielles (CEI) changes its name to International Management Institute (IMI). It remains at its Geneva campus.

  • 1988

    There is a marked increase in the number of female course participants at IMEDE, with 12 out of the cohort of 67.

  • 1990

    IMI and IMEDE merge to form the International Institute for Management Development IMD. The Lausanne campus is chosen as the site.

  • 1999

    IMD begins the Personal Development Elective (PDE) for MBA course participants. Jungian counsellors are available for MBA course participants. A one-hour, weekly session is offered.

  • 2002

    Course participants take part in a visit to Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a region devastated by recent war.

  • 2008

    Financial crisis spreads around the world in the wake of the sub-prime scandal and the collapse or bail-out of major banks across the western world. Costs for the MBA rise 30%. IMD arranges interest-free loans for the 2009 intake.

  • 2009

    Martha Maznevski becomes the first female Dean of the MBA.

  • 2013

    An intensive, two-week program of project work at 20 small and medium-sized businesses takes place in South Africa.

  • 2020

    The Covid-19 pandemic forces the closure of in-person classes between March and June. Intensive rearranging of program delivery by virtual means, plus special arrangements for partial return of in-person sessions by June, enables the cohort to complete the course within schedule.

  • 2022

    Omar Toulan takes over as program dean. Sustainability is more deeply embedded in the MBA and a strategic partnership is set up with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. New MBA Venture Award to support future entrepreneurs is announced.