RICHARD SLOVENSKI – MBA Class of 1999 – Vice President Analysis and Improvement, BHP Billiton Marketing Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

IMD: Why did you decide to enroll in the MBA program at IMD? 

RICHARD SLOVENSKI: At that point in time I’d been in Asia for five years and I’d done a number of different things, from trading to actually developing businesses in Vietnam. But I that felt I didn’t have enough business background to really move it to the next level, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to come to IMD. 

IMD: What were some of the learnings that have stayed with you? 

RICHARD SLOVENSKI: Well, I think there’s three things I took away from IMD. The first was that there’s no absolutes, whether it’s in life or in business. And I think that manifested itself in one of our first cases, where someone said, “It all depends.” And I think that’s something I’ve taken with me since I left IMD. 

The second lesson that I learned, that I’ve taken with me and used through my career since then, was one of our professors said to us, “Make your behavior serve your goals.” And that is probably one of the most important things I took away from my time here at IMD. 

The third basically was having to interact with my classmates. We were all very well accomplished by the time we arrived here at the school, and each one of us had had our own careers, our successes and had really great educations up to that point. But we’re also quite different – and learning how to deal with one another was also another really great lesson for me and has actually helped me since I’ve left IMD and gone on into the professional world. 

So those are really the three big takeaways for me. 

IMD: Do you think your career trajectory would have been the same if you hadn’t done your MBA at IMD? 

RICHARD SLOVENSKI: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. When I left IMD, I had a lot of tools in my toolbox to be able to use and that actually has helped me enormously in the last 20 years.