The composition of that first cohort at CEI, later to become the International Management Institute (IMI), revealed what would prove to be the enduring and defining values of IMD – an open, internationalist and pioneering spirit of collaboration in pursuit of development and progress.
The aim of that first post-war class was to develop leaders who understood one another and would build a better future together. As the origin story of IMD, this initial ambition of a globally-minded institute founded by business, for business, has also remained a central and unique thread.
In 1957, Swiss multinational Nestlé established its own management training center – the Institut pour l’Étude des Méthodes de Direction de l’Enterprise (IMEDE) in Lausanne in coordination with Harvard Business School.
Inspired by the new management training styles of North American university-based business schools in the post-war era, the decision by Alcan and Nestlé to establish their own schools was an exceptional one at the time.
It also introduced a different lens to the discipline that, over time, has enabled IMD to build clear differentiation in the market and a global reputation as an expert partner that understands real business and leadership challenges and delivers real learning and impact.
Indeed, these two pioneering institutes placed an emphasis on practical, field-based research and executive education that created value for executives and their organizations.
In 1990, in response to a highly competitive global market, the two institutes merged to form the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), an independent academic institute located in Lausanne at its present day campus, just meters away from the stunning Lac Léman.