Far from being a super power that one is born with, leadership is more like a muscle that needs challenge, support and nourishment to reach its potential. Scholarships at IMD ensure that anyone with the talent and tenacity to develop their leadership ability can be supported on their journey to challenging what is and inspiring what could be.

With scholarships at its heart, IMD launched its inaugural Giving Day on 7 and 8 December 2021. Thanks in no small part to the enthusiasm and commitment of the IMD Alumni Community, this first Giving Day was a resounding success. Springing from the four corners of the globe, IMD donors and ambassadors gave over CHF 350,000 to the MBA Leaders of Tomorrow, and EMBA Diversity scholarships, as well as to the ‘empowering women in leadership’ challenge.

It was this challenge that was particularly compelling for Sandro Sulcis, who believes in the importance of increasing female representation in senior roles. Having completed his EMBA in 2021, Sulcis went on to explore his entrepreneurial side and is now co-CEO of Avobis Group, a pioneering real estate financial service. He also sits on five boards.

Reflecting on his decision to be both a Giving Day ambassador and donor, Sulcis commented: “I count myself among the lucky and privileged ones who were fortunate enough to study at IMD. Such an opportunity remains inaccessible to many people. If we want to enable disruptive innovation, we need to ensure that there is diversity of thought leadership. That is why it was important for me to support others in their leadership journey.”

Accessing the IMD learning experience

A key motivation for Giselle Richterich (EMBA 2020) was the knowledge that her engagement as an ambassador and her donation would open up the unique IMD learning experience to bright, motivated candidates who may not have been as fortunate as she was. “I had the opportunity to get a good education and I wanted to contribute and help others access the IMD learning experience. My hope is that, together, as reflective and communicative leaders, we can create a sustainable future for everyone,” she explained.

Giselle began her career as a dentist and oral surgeon in her native Peru, passing through Canada and then moved to Switzerland before her embarking on her EMBA. Since graduating she has served as Project Manager for a medical equipment supplier in Zurich, Switzerland. Like her fellow alumnus Sandro, Giselle highlighted how important it was for her to be able to contribute to levelling the playing field when it comes to lifechanging opportunities.

Where leaders are made

Having had the chance to develop his own leadership skills, Abdullah Alreziza (EMBA 2021) now leads a team of nine analysts at Saudi Aramco. Based in Saudi Arabia, Alreziza credits his time at IMD as having given him an appreciation for the continuous process of leadership development. Ensuring that students from eclectic backgrounds can benefit from the transformative IMD experience motivated Abdullah to donate and be an ambassador during Giving Day.

“IMD is where leaders are made, and it has a special place in my heart. The least I can do is contribute to opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to benefit from the transformative IMD experience.”

Ask a successful leader to recount key moments in their development and they will often cite a helping hand offered at just the right instant. For the beneficiaries of Giving Day, that helping hand comes in the form of scholarships supported by the generosity  of the IMD Alumni and donor community.

“Witnessing the engagement of our alumni is a source of great inspiration for IMD. They are embodying a culture of philanthropy, of  paying it forward, at IMD and this will go a long way in ensuring  that we continue to foster and develop the future generations of exceptional, and inclusive leaders,” said Rudina Turhani, Annual Giving Manager at IMD.