- IMD Business School
IMD Impact Stories · Strategy

“The pedagogy all but guarantees success”

Africa-based telecom company MTN benefitted from IMD custom online solutions to get ahead
July 2017

MTN is an Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, which also operates in the Middle East.


In 2014, MTN began working with IMD by signing up 10 high-potential executives to participate in IMD’s online programs. According to Birgitte Davy, Learning Solutions Manager – Leadership at MTN Group, the company saw value in gaining cutting-edge knowledge and best-practice learnings by interacting with other enterprises and executives. However, for MTN with its headquarters based in Johannesburg, it would have been prohibitive to send a larger number of executives to IMD in Switzerland.

IMD custom solution

Participants in IMD’s online programs engage in highly-personalized and interactive experiences that involve dynamic videos, individual coaching and learning partnerships with peers. In addition, the courses give real feedback and recommendations from IMD in order to maximize the effectiveness of the learning.

For MTN and other clients, IMD often provides customized modules of these programs tailored to their specific needs. In this case IMD provided two programs exclusively to MTN.

In 2016, MTN decided to strengthen its membership in IMD’s Corporate Learning Network so that it would have the capability to provide access to IMD’s learning to a greater number of executives. MTN was especially interested in creating an in-house program to boost its pricing capabilities.


Thanks to the IMD programs, MTN greatly increased its knowledge and expertise in the area of pricing and found out that the subject was especially challenging in the regions in which the company operates due to the complexity of regulation. “Our executives learned a great deal from the program and applied their learnings immediately by using the costing methods from the course to adjust roaming fees, for example,” says Birgitte.

One of the outcomes of the program is that MTN now has a working group on pricing and they are developing an understanding of how to be more agile in that area.

One of the absolute strengths of IMD’s model of online learning, according to Birgitte, is the personalized follow-ups, which have resulted in success rates of almost 100%.

“The way IMD carries out the methodology and the pedagogy for its online programs almost guarantees success. The structure of the programs makes participants feel like they are accompanied, even though they can learn at their own pace,” says Birgitte.

“Participants are not just a number. There is constant feedback and follow up. The programs are highly supported by IMD’s expert faculty.”

Not only does developing the capabilities of its executives give MTN a competitive advantage, but learning with IMD gives the employees a lot of value as well. “I have people telling me that they really appreciate it because it is so cutting-edge,” said Birgitte.

MTN carried out its own survey on the program’s impact, and the findings suggest that 100% of the participants would recommend the program and that it was heavily geared toward the actual implementation of the learning afterwards, as there is a built-in work-based module.

Next steps

MTN was successful in developing its executives’ expertise on pricing with IMD’s assistance and Birgitte says that the company will deploy a similar strategy to tackle the subject of digital disruption.

“Disruption will hit all of us in the future if we’re not sufficiently prepared,” she says.