TC084-15 - IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Leadership

Ashish Singh hones his skills for future leadership roles

“I found the leadership stream to be one of the most impactful programs at IMD.”
June 2017

 - IMD Business SchoolAshish Singh comes to IMD from a highly technical background and intends to leverage his expertise within the oil and gas sector to pursue a role in corporate business strategy.

Originally from Vindhyanagar, Madhya Pradesh in India, Ashish Singh obtained his Bachelor of Technologyat the Indian Institute of Technology in Roorkee. Over the next ten years, he was employed in various technical and leadership roles across the globe – often in unpredictable security environments, – by Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services provider. In his latest position as Operations Manager, Schlumberger-Iraq, he led a diverse team of 300 employees, oversaw high volume operations for top-tier IOC clients and managed a substantial P&L.

Why did you choose to come to IMD?

Three reasons contributed to my choice of IMD:

  1.  I considered only global one-year programs which are better suited for experienced global professionals. With an average work experience of 8 years, your cohort at IMD becomes a key enabler in your learning experience.
  2. I wanted an immersive academic experience (with a pinch of fun) to further hone my understanding of leadership, finance and strategy, subjects vital for future leadership roles.
  3. Finally, the diversity of our class in terms of nationalities (44 nationalities in a selective class of 90), industries and functions is impressive.

What wasyour favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?

I found the leadership stream to be one of the most impactful programs at IMD. It is especially relevant for future business leaders because at upper echelons of corporate management, leadership and people skills are becoming the key differentiators. This stream allows students to develop a deeper understanding of their own significant personality dispositions, individual behavior in groups, thereby enabling them to respond better in leadership situations.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?

The opportunity to interact with the who’s who of the business world at IMD through lectures or informal interactions over lunch. This really helps MBA candidates understand the business world better and forge stronger networks.

What is the biggest myth about IMD?

The IMD MBA program has a long-standing reputation for its academic intensity, especially in the foundation stage (first 6 months of the program). Yes, it is an intense program and essentially covers the equivalent of a two-year program within a year. But, the academic pressure only makes the joy of learning multi-fold and teaches students to prioritize.

What was the most surprising thing about IMD for you?

The fact that once your application gets short-listed, IMD (unlike any other school) asks all potential candidates to visit Lausanne for an on-campus assessment day. But the initial surprise turned quickly into the satisfaction of knowing my future school in a more personal way. My wife also joined me and got a sense of family life at IMD through her interactions with a current partner and the admissions committee.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?

I led a team of 60 at a remote oilfield base in South Sudan between 2011-13. On two occasions during this period, due to political unrest and civil war, the security situation deteriorated rapidly, putting my team at risk. Although relatively inexperienced, I liaised promptly with the clients and security agencies to safely evacuate my team (and myself) from the hotspot, and secured the most critical assets. It was a bittersweet feeling to watch this new nation fall into chaos coupled with the pride of leading my team to safety through these crises.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?

Despite the significant academic workload during the first half of the program, I decided to restart playing competitive badminton (after a hiatus of eleven years). I managed my time, joined the local badminton circuit, put in significant effort, and managed to stand amongst the best players at Lausanne Badminton open in 2017. It gives me a sense of immense satisfaction to have become a part of the licensed players network for the year 2017-18. To have achieved this without compromising my professional / academic success reflects the importance of having a healthy balance between work, health and family in my life and I intend to stay this course in future.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into IMD?

Fortune favors the prepared. Please research the program well, put your best foot forward during application, be yourself during the assessment day and bring an open mind to the program.

Where will you be working after graduation?

Post MBA, I intend to leverage my expertise within the oil and gas sector to pursue a corporate business strategy role with a global energy major. 

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal?

I envision growing to top echelons within a global energy corporation, with an objective to making a positive impact on people, technology and society. In the distant future, I see myself in a leadership position to influence my nation’s energy policy with a view to balancing energy needs and its impact on the environment.

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:

A humble individual, a dedicated professional and a caring human-being.

A fun fact about yourself:

Google the 5 most dangerous countries in the world. I have worked at and thrived in three of those places, and I’m very happy to share my story.


Sports (Badminton & Tennis), Adventure Sports (Skydiving) and Photography

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you:

Not just a peer, but a caring friend for life.