In the search for India’s brightest and best, IMD organized the IMD MBA “Create Our Future” Challenge, a one-day intense think-in where participants engaged in groups to brainstorm how society should address some of its most pressing challenges. The event took place in Mumbai, India in May this year.

The IMD selection team shortlisted candidates who demonstrated leadership and potential for greatness and selected one future IMD MBA to receive a scholarship of CHF 40,000 to attend the program in 2019. IMD is pleased to announce Vivekanand Pandey as a future IMD MBA participant and holder of the “Create our Future” Challenge scholarship.

Originally from a small town – Motihari, Bihar in India – Vivekanand graduated with distinction in Mechanical Engineering from BIT Mesra, Ranchi. He was previously part of the elite Fast Track Selection Scheme (FTSS) – an in-house leadership development program at Tata Motors. He managed the high-end range of trucks by Tata Motors, Tata Prima where he focused on bringing digital disruption to Tata’s sales processes.

IMD interviewed Vivekanand to mark the occasion.

IMD: What surprised you about Create our Future Challenge? What did you learn and enjoy?

Vivekanand Pandey: There is no shortage of information and shared testimonials about the IMD MBA assessment day on its campus in Lausanne, Switzerland. But ahead of the challenge in Mumbai I had the feeling that it would be less conventional than the Lausanne edition. We received a brief and schedule for the event five days in advance, which described the assessment challenge as a puzzle in itself.

On the first day of the event, an alumni panel discussion and networking cocktail were scheduled. We were surprised to see the admission team, immediately after meeting us 56 participants, already knowing a great deal about our backgrounds, companies and experience. This showed that IMD’s admissions team really did their homework. This reassured me about my choice of B-school.

On the second day all 56 of us started out as strangers and towards the end of the day, became good friends. It was all because of the very well-designed process, which helped us identify each other’s strengths and leverage them. We learned how to celebrate our diverse ideas and how to align them to achieve our shared goal. In short, this was a day filled with thinking out of the box, learning from others, innovating together, and working in diverse teams. How can a business school’s selection process be so innovative and engaging? I was awestruck to see such an effort put in by IMD admission’s team.

IMD: What do you think differentiated you from the others? Do you think this is what you will bring to the class of 2019?

Vivekanand Pandey: Coming up with many innovative ideas and solutions on your own is one thing. Co-creating innovative solutions in a diverse team is quite another. Convincing others to accept your ideas and solutions is easy but letting go of your ideas and solutions to achieve a shared goal is tough. Remaining motivated and agile in an ever-changing environment is what we all strive to do but keeping one’s team motivated and agile in such an environment makes one stand out. I believe that my collaborative approach, my ability to inspire and motivate others, my consistent focus on the shared goal of the team and my out of the box thinking helped differentiate me.

What would be your advice to future Challenges participants?

Do your very best during the application phase. Once you get shortlisted, sleep well the night before, come with an open mind on D-day and be yourself during the assessment. 

IMD: Why did you choose IMD? How did you find out about the school? What impressed you? 

Vivekanand Pandey: What I was looking for in my target B school were – a strong academic reputation, industry focus, ideal fit for experienced candidates, a focus on learning through company engagements and consulting projects, developing a global outlook through business expeditions and conferences, regular networking opportunities with business leaders and alumni, a focus on developing leadership skills, peer-to-peer learning, and global opportunities post MBA. Based on these factors, and after extensive discussions with many IMD alumni, I realized that IMD is the ideal school for me. I decided to apply only to my number one choice – IMD; the best or nothing! 

IMD: How do you think it will impact your career and life paths?

Vivekanand Pandey: I have about nine years of leadership experience in operations, purchasing, project management and sales & marketing. Over the course of my career, I was mainly learning by doing. At IMD, I will be able to regroup myself and gain the required leadership toolkit and further business acumen. I will expand my international network tremendously and broaden my outlook regarding different industries, geographies, and jobs. I look forward to the leadership stream that will give me access to personal coaches who provide constant and constructive feedback throughout the year. I will be able to develop a deeper understanding of myself. A year of self-reflection and learning at IMD will help me evolve as a person and as a leader. 

IMD: What do you think will be the key learnings and highlights of this experience? 

Vivekanand Pandey: I am confident that the key learnings will come not only from the program but also from the cohort with an average work experience of 7-8 years, with 40+ nationalities, and with diverse professional backgrounds. Another key highlight of the IMD MBA will be the addition of 89 brilliant future leaders from all around the world to my community of friends. I look forward to this one-year, life-changing experience.

 

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