- IMD Business School
Alumni Stories · Leadership

OWP: a chance to push your limits and learn beyond your area of expertise

The IMD experience in a major global business hub
February 2019

Twice a year, IMD welcomes participants from all over the world to its Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) programs. In 2019, the first will take place in June in Lausanne, while the second is to take place in Dubai in November.

OWP provides sessions that address a whole range of hot topics affecting business leadership today. These include subjects as varied as analytics and artificial intelligence, agility, guidance on leadership in the digital age, disruption, and many more.

Participants can customize their program and also attend keynote talks by eminent speakers. Lasting five days, OWP also offers an excellent opportunity to network and meet like-minded people from across the globe.

We caught up with some participants who attended OWP in 2018, to hear their thoughts on the program.

Attendee Maria Gutierres, who works at Mars Inc. as Head of Marketing and Strategic Demand across Central Eurasia, Belarus and Turkey, says the networking part was invaluable during OWP: “I loved the program because you are not learning only from professors and speakers, you are learning also from participants all around you and it’s amazing. This means you multiply your intensity of learning.”

Participant Mohammed Habis agrees. “I joined IMD because of the people who are there. You meet people from all around the globe, from different backgrounds and with different experience. This enriched my experience,” says Mohammed, who works at METHAK Investment Holding in Saudi Arabia. He adds that for him a key takeaway from OWP was how to think differently and accept the unknown.

Maria, meanwhile, says she realized the importance of humility when attending the program: “When you’ve reached a certain level in your career and after a number of years of experience, you are carrying a lot of baggage, consisting of learnings and beliefs. I discovered that it’s very important to stay humble, so that you create an opportunity to learn new things and to unlearn some of what you already know.”

Maria also wanted to go beyond her comfort zone and says she achieved this during OWP. “I wanted to push my boundaries, to learn more about other industries, other markets, my colleagues across the globe and I can say that the program exceeded my expectations.

For Martha Mendoza Sazon, who works at Globe Telecom in the Philippines where she is Senior Vice President, the experience at OWP was beneficial to her personal development as well as teaching her to be a better leader.

Martha says what inspired her most was the level of expertise around digital disruption, such as FinTech. “In all these disruptions, there’s a way to deal with it, and I liked the tools and frameworks that were presented to us in a way that we could understand and we could take away with us, so that we can apply them in our own companies.”

Attendee Selim Tansuğ, who works at Unilever Vietnam as President, Supply Chain, says the program gave him more in-depth knowledge of current trends in the technology sector: “OWP is fantastic – I learned a lot about what’s happening out there in FinTech, how the Blockchain technologies are applied, and how we take all this big data and apply machine learning,” he says. “I knew about these concepts before, but now I’m much more familiar with them and I have some ideas that I can actually apply to my business back at home,” he says.

Selim explains that when he had looked at selecting which elements of the program to attend, he wanted to strike a “healthy balance” between the various modules. “I love following technology, but also wanted to learn about leadership styles, so also attended the executive resilience session because I know that nowadays, we are spending a lot of hours connected every day, so I wanted to learn how better to have some time to myself.”

When asking all these participants what they would say to business leaders thinking about attending OWP, their response is unanimous.

Says Martha: “I would say that they should not miss this course, as it has gone beyond my expectation. It’s definitely not your ‘business as usual’ [type of program] – it’s very transformative in terms of thinking and I would describe it as mind-boggling, fun, and breakthrough.”

Selim also agrees that it “exceeded my expectations,” while Mohammed says: “I would say to the people who are attending this course to come with an open mindset, to accept this experience, which will take you to a different level.”

Finally, Maria says: “If you want to meet different people from across the globe who might be facing similar problems, if you want to shift your mindset from the market more towards the global leader, if you want a fantastic, rich, diverse experience on the number of topics, then this is your program.”

She adds: “I would recommend staying very open and connect more with the people around you, and also attend different topics, not just the topics that are only in the area of your professional interest.”

Find out more about OWP Lausanne