Easter has arrived! It is time for a (short) well-deserved rest after so much studying and so many challenges. While some of our colleagues decided to do a short trip or visit their families, some others are staying on campus. But that is not a problem, because the good weather has arrived, and Nyenrode is beautiful!
Flowers have filled the green lawn with colors, and now the feeling of “being in a fairytale” has become even stronger.
Enjoy the holidays, and meanwhile… Try not to eat too many chocolate eggs! :-)
A view of the stunning castle with some beautiful flowers:
At Nyenrode, we have a component known as – “Meet the CEO” as part of our IMBA program. Under this, we visit various organizations where we get a chance to interact with the CEO oand his / her team. In all these sessions, some members of our class present recommendations to the CEO based on the analysis done by them.
This is a great initiative which helps us to know soem of the best organizations from inside, learn about leadership and management firsthand from the CEO and his / her team, challenge ourselves to provide them recommendations and build distinguished networks.
The first of these sessions – ” Meet the CEO Atradius” ( http://global.atradius.com/) was conducted on 05th Feb 2014. Atradius is one of the top three global players in the field of Trade Credit Insurance. We visited Atradius headquarter office in Amsterdam.
The CEO, Mr. Isidoro Unda explained to us the qualities required to become a CEO. He also illustrated the role of Atradius in global trade and commerce. We also had a chance to interact with Dirk Hagener, Head of Strategy & Corporate Development for Atradius.
After that, four of our class members presented their recommendations to Atradius. The ideas were appreciated and encouraged for further development by the Mr. Unda and Mr. Hagener.
Then, to wrap it all up , we had some snacks and drinks :P to finish off a thrilling day filled with precious learning experience for all of us.
At Nyenrode IMBA, leadership is embedded in the core of our program. We have to a leadership course which runs right across the whole program. It aims to help us further improve in our quest to be a better and more influential leader.
One of the many methods we are supposed to use is to find leadership examples in various subjects we encounter during our MBA. The key idea behind this exercise is to develop the capability to identify leadership lessons in all spheres of life.
To illustrate an example, we will like to share some leadership insights we picked up from a topic in Business Statistics – The Normal Distribution.
The Normal Distribution Curve is the curve of nature. Almost all natural phenomenon shows normal distribution if we look at a sufficiently large data set.
So what leadership lesson does it teach us –
It is difficult to be different
- Our society and nature pushes us to be near the mean point where most people are. Any deviation from the mean is seen as bad and pressure is created on an individual who starts moving away from the mean.
It takes strength to move away and stay away from the mean.
- As leaders, we need to be away from the mean. We should not just go with the flow of things. Things / events away from the mean are rare but have the maximum impact.
- As leaders, we need to enable people to break away from the mean. This is our real test as a leader.
This is an example of trying to explore leadership lessons from other subjects. AtNyenrode, we are all motivated to find more and more lessons like this. We hope such exercises will make leadership a continuous and a ubiquitous attribute within us.
As part of our Information and Innovation course, we had the chance to attend a guest lecture by Ron Tolido, Senior Vice President and CTO Applications Continental Europe at the multinational consulting company Capgemini.
The topic was “The Black Swan”, or how are companies embracing uncertainty as a way to foster innovation and remain competitive in the marketplace.
Capgemini presented their “technovision” model, a framework utilized to identify the Black Swans in technology. Additionally, some of the 7 design principles and 30 technology and business trends as identified by Capgemini were discussed.
Eventually, an emphasis was made on the necessarily relationship between business and IT, and the changing paradigm of considering it as a fusion rather than an alignment, with stronger bonds.
On December 6th we had the chance to attend a very interesting guest lecture by Michel de Jong, Chief Operations Officer at GE Artesia Bank and Executive MBA at Nyenrode (2009-10). The topic was “Strategy Execution”, implying how to ensure the successful implementation of strategic decisions at different levels of the organization by facing the challenges of the market.
The main pillars in Strategy Execution, according to Michel de Jong, are:
- Strategy development: finding the balance between the internal capabilities of the company and looking externally, while having a mindset that ensures urgency and learning from mistakes from the past
- Communication: provide a simple and direct approach to the different stakeholders, tailored to the audience; repeat the main key themes
- Structure: set goals that are linked to strategy; make sure that achievement of goals is important for the employees, with a stable operating cycle
- People: understand motivations of people in the team; share concerns and engage them in the objectives of the organization
The talk gave us an absorbing overview of the main issues to be addressed in Strategy Execution, and provided us with a practical approach to strategy that complemented the knowledge gained in the courses. We’re looking forward to the next one!
Our second study block has finished! We covered courses so diverse as Business Process Management, Foundations of Finance, Introduction to Experiential Learning (research methods), Management Accounting and Control, and Management Communication Skills.
Now it’s time to get some fresh air and recover our energy because the next block is starting with BIG challenges! We’re looking forward to learning about Entrepreneurship, Microeconomics of Competitiveness, Corporate Finance… And most especially, start working on the Meet the CEO and Information&Innovation projects.
Let’s make the most out of it!
It looked like far away when we started. It also seemed impossible but cover all the material from these demanding courses. But the first block is over! The exams were demanding and it is time to celebrate. Charge batteries, get some sleep and of course, have a great time.
Some people went to Amsterdam and enjoyed a nice evening together, having dinner at Bazaar (http://bazaramsterdam.nl) and went for some drinks. Some others preferred staying in and relaxing. But most of us gathered together to celebrate Jorge’s birthday. It was a great night with a lot of fun, music, some drinks and dancing! We finished the evening at one of the two student-run bars on campus (http://experiencenyenrode.com/zolderbar-committee/)
And get ready for the second block! New challenges coming ahead!