IMD’s EMBA discovery journey focuses on developing growth strategies in challenging environments
Last April IMD’s EMBA participants headed to Brazil to meet with both domestic and multinational companies, academics and government officials to learn about the internationalization strategies of Brazilian companies and the main constraints for Brazil to reach its growth potential.
With the insights gained locally, the EMBA participants carried out competitive analysis to identify binding constraints for the Brazilian economy and how this translates into growth strategies at the level of the enterprise.
Guided by the inspiration of Professor Carlos P. Braga, local experts, and hands-on learning, the EMBAs were immersed in the economy, but also the country and society.
“Professor Braga introduced us to some of the best companies in Brazil and we heard from and met with interesting industry leaders,” said a participant of the trip.
On the expeditions, EMBAs see life as it is, in companies, as well as in the cultural, economic and political context in which they operate. As one alumna put it: “Broad learnings linking all aspects of the country: macro and micro economics, politics, society and people.”
But these are not exercises in industrial tourism – the objective of each Discovery Expedition is to help participants rapidly absorb a large amount about the world and the global business environment and to translate those learnings to their own company and work context. To quote another participant: “Inspiring and giving insights expedition. People, society, business – all topics are covered. [This Discovery Expedition] helps to understand how to do business in Brazil.”
The class started in Sao Paulo – a wonderful city to explore, with its own idiosyncrasies, the exquisite way of living of its inhabitants, and not to mention the world-class restaurants and diverse regional and international cuisine available to all tastes. It is also Brazil's most populous and wealthiest state. The group met with the IMD alumni club of Brazil for insightful local networking, and split into small groups for multiple company visits. Some of the contexts included sugar and ethanol in Brazil, agribusiness in Brazil, and Brazilian innovation challenges.
The next stop was Rio de Janeiro, a city always brimming with colour, sound, rhythm, and joy, it has become synonymous with Carnival, happiness, and beautiful people. Very few places in the world match the hospitality and natural charm of Rio. Here the group studied and experimented with managing complexity in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, as well as learning about the broader context of Brazil in the world economy.
The main purpose of the Discovery Expedition is to learn more about the globalizing world – not just through IMD teaching but by discovering Brazil through a variety of different approaches such as lectures, case studies, company visits, interviews and group assignments.
As a class, the group of 50 diverse executives from all types of backgrounds also experience this expedition through the eyes and through the challenges of their peers. When you work together with colleagues from 30 countries and 30 different industries not only do you develop your multicultural leadership skills you also learn practices from different industries, you understand that many approaches can lead to success and you identify your own weaknesses and opportunities for growth. You will learn how to expand your comfort zone and your resilience. Equally important, you will make friends that will enrich your life way beyond graduation day.
As one participant said “It has been a fantastic learning experience in an area that I can bring back home with me and directly apply in my own organisation.”
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